Gush Katif settlers are evacuated from Gaza 311 (R).
(photo credit: Paul Hanna / Reuters)
It’s almost seven years ago to the day that I visited Gush Katif for the first
and last time. Seven years since I saw the sand dunes miraculously bloom, walked
through hothouses bursting with exotic flowers and packaging plants scented with
peppers and dill.
Seven years since I watched the blue sea crash onto the
shores of Shirat Hayam. It’s been seven years, and the color orange will never
be the same. Neither will the State of Israel.
The downward spiral that
followed the expulsion from Gush Katif and exposed Israel to unfathomable
dangers came even faster than anyone could have predicted. And though the
writing was on the wall, no one wanted to read it. My friend’s brother, who
lived in Neve Dekalim for over 15 years, used to tell his worried parents, “I
live in Gush Katif so you could live in Tel Aviv.”
Today that fact is
lost on no one, certainly not the residents of Sderot, Ashkelon and
And the irony of an increasingly isolated Israel becomes more and
Each year following the sacrifice of Israeli land for
“peace” come increased sacrifices of endangered Jewish lives in Israel and
throughout the world. And rather than earning the sought-after international
recognition of a nation of givers, we have become a nation of losers in every
sense of the word.
Seven years after the Disengagement, Israel now faces
the hostilities of friends and foes alike. Rockets are fired into Sderot,
accompanied by deafening world silence. The threat of a nuclear Iran looms ever
larger, and the international community is loathe to allow Israel to strike in
self defense. Fatah has formally merged with Hamas, and the Arab Spring has
quickly turned a neighborhood of bad neighbors into menacing ones. Syria
continues to burn, and the alarming dangers of a lawless Sinai only confirm the
perils of relinquishing land for an elusive peace.
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Whereas a few short
years ago we debated the follies of a two-state solution, prestigious Harvard
University will now be hosting a conference in March entitled “One State
Conference: Israel/Palestine and the One State Solution.” And Israel’s stalwart
ally, the United States, is encumbered by a president and administration bent on
playing international appeaser, whose appetite for Jewish land seems only
whetted by Israeli capitulation.
Against this dangerous backdrop, it
becomes increasingly imperative for us to learn the lessons of the
To this end, one hero has worked tirelessly to keep the
memory of the Gush Katif expulsion alive and commemorate the suffering that the
10,000 expellees suffered. Rabbi Sholom Dov Wolpo is a Lubavitch hassid who
heads the Rambam Hashalem Torah Institute, based in Beitar Illit, and SOS, an
organization promoting the halachic prohibition of surrendering parts of the
Land of Israel. In 2008, Rabbi Wolpo established the Gush Katif Museum in
The museum has since educated tens of thousands of Israeli and
foreign visitors, so many of whom had been ignorant or impervious to the
suffering of the Gush Katif residents and to the ideals their lives symbolized
for the State of Israel. Last Wednesday, February 22, marked the first dinner to
be held in New York City in honor of the Gush Katif Museum.
featured speakers who understood the madness Israel perpetrated against herself
with the Disengagement and understand the danger of Israel ever contemplating
further capitulation of Jewish land.
Addressing the audience was former
US ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton, the outspoken representative
who served in the lion’s den while vociferously defending Israel’s right to
exist among its enemies without relinquishing its land or its security. Also
featured was Congressman Lee Raymond Terry from Nebraska, a staunch supporter of
Israel who discovered his Jewish roots later in life, and popular radio and TV
commentator Glenn Beck. A favorite punching bag of the media Left, Beck turned
his Israel advocacy and belief in the Biblical rights of the Jews to the Holy
Land into action with the launching of his Restoring Courage event in Israel
this past summer.
This dinner raised awareness of the Disengagement
debacle at a most crucial time. The purpose of the Gush Katif Museum is not just
to preserve historic exhibits for future generations but to serve as a warning
for Jews worldwide.
Weakness emboldens enemies, and Jewish weakness
emboldens the worst of them.The writer is a freelancer who writes for
The Jewish Press and other publications. She has interviewed many politicians
and media personalities both in America and Israel.
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