Saturday, February 02, 2002

Zu viel mehr yidlaches! This really pisses me off. Here's the situation: you're a Sephard, a Litvak, or a richtig echte yidl, (un)happily living under the customary boot of goyische oppression in European or Near Eastern golus. Bang! Pogroms, the Holocaust, the great expulsion of Middle Eastern Jewry from their homes - all of youse folks not killed or diverted to America go to Medinat Yisroel, the Third Jewish Commonwealth, the Zionist Paradise, the Land that is safe for the Jews - owned, operated, and maintained for the benefit of Am Yisroel. You get subsidized housing. If you're really religious, you get out of serving in the conscript Army. There are social benefits - for children, health, education - decreed by the founding and following governments in order to buttress the Zionist project. You've recreated the residential isolation of your Muscat-Czestoschowa-Wilno roots - only this time, it's the less religious and secular Jews who are the putative goyim, and your neighborhood is right on the border of the State, linked to Jerusalem and the rest of Israel by a single highway, which has been the target of a couple of attacks. There's been a murder in the past three years, and the Palestinians living less than a baseball throw away are building like mad. Their homes and streets are creeping close to yours. There haven't been shots yet. But, above all, you worship the God of "Don't Make Waves!":

Ramat Shlomo residents fear that a fence or wall will impair the landscape and undermine their relations with the neighbors. Practically speaking, there are no relations or contacts between Ramat Shlomo residents and their Palestinian neighbors. However, the open ground separating Ramat Shlomo from the two Palestinian neighborhoods has given its Jewish residents the feeling that they are on good terms with their neighbors. Despite the neighborhood's calm, the intifada has levied a heavy price. Last year two Israelis were killed on Highway 9, Ramat Shlomo's only road link with the rest of Jerusalem. Palestinian terrorists passed the Israelis traveling on that highway late at night and shot them from close range. Three years ago, the body of Ramat Shlomo resident David Katorza was found close to his home.

"We feel we're sitting on the front lines," the neighborhood administrative council's director, Shlomo Amoyal, said last week and got a surprised reaction from the other council members. Last year, the council members, backed by local rabbis, decided unanimously to lower the neighborhood's media profile to avoid creating the impression that it was a dangerous place in which to live. "David's murder - may he rest in peace - was an isolated incident," council member Baruch David Gottlieb interjected, trying to soften the combat image conveyed by Amoyal's remark. The other members nodded their heads in agreement with Gottlieb's attempt to cool down the situation.

"Look," Gottlieb continued, "the feeling of the residents here is no different from that of all Israelis - namely that the entire country and the entire world have become battlefields. We all know that Esau will always hate Jacob and that the only one we can rely on is God."

The council members learned this week from the newspapers about the grandiose plans for "enveloping Jerusalem," which include roadblocks, fences, walls, etc. If these plans are implemented, Ramat Shlomo residents might discover that their neighborhood has changed character. The very thought of such a possibility worries them greatly. Even without these plans, last year was a very bad one for the neighborhood. Ramat Shlomo has become less attractive for potential residents. Relatives and friends of Ramat Shlomo inhabitants are staying away for fear of becoming targets of terrorism. Now talk has started over fortifications and is giving the neighborhood the image of a besieged community.

Had anyone asked them, the residents of Ramat Shlomo would have certainly said that they need no additional means of fortification. They can get by with the Civil Guard they established last year. "Our residents closely watch the movements of any Palestinians walking about in the neighborhood," Amoyal points out. "The Palestinians come here to work; however, the residents would like to see a situation that would ensure less break-ins. Cars and apartments are broken into and the residents come to us, demanding a fence to prevent Arabs from entering the neighborhood." Apparently, the residents are far more worried about burglars than about terrorists.

So what's the point? The Point is all the gottverdammt yiddische vacillation. A kind of selfish, yet gutless, moral cowardice that refuses to hold to moral decisions that cost anything. The Palestinians work cheap in Ramat Schlomo, and they can be sneered at over the width of the undeveloped field. Things are quiet. So why build a wall? It'll piss the Arabs off. It'll make us feel like we're living in a beseiged city. They''ll just drop rockets on our heads anyway. What the fuck!? Why live on the seam line at all? Why not live in B'nei Brak or another of the religious suburbs of the coastal plain? Oh, yeah - you want to live in Yerushalayim - L'shana haba'ah bi'yerushalayim - to be in a higher moral plane: only, for shame - it's too expensive to live in Israeli west Jerusalem. The Old City is right out. Ergo the cheap subsidized seam-line, Jerusalem-proximate neighborhoods. They want to live there, but they don't want to take up the moral responsibility that living there entails. If Eisav is always at war with Ya'akov - if the Palestinians truly don't want peace - that vacillating inaction is contemptible. Build the wall to keep the children safe. It won't always be thieves and burglars creeping the trails outside the neighborhood.

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