‘I live in Gush Katif so you can live in TA’

The irony of an increasingly isolated Israel becomes more and more bitter.

Gush Katif settlers are evacuated from Gaza 311 (R) (photo credit: Paul Hanna / Reuters)
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 Ashdod.
And the irony of an increasingly isolated Israel becomes more and more bitter.
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.
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 Disengagement.
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 Jerusalem.
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.
And it 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.