(April 2, 2019 / JNS) Of all the things I’ve done in my life (and the list is not short), the one of which I’m most proud is raising seven children—and soon to be, please God, eight grandchildren—in the heart of our homeland.
Areas liberated from an illegal Jordanian occupation in another war we didn’t want followed by repeated refusals by Arabs to accept peace offered in many different variations over the last 52 years.
What’s shocking—and hence, it’s imperative that you all come see for yourselves—is the disparity between the facts on the ground and the portrayal of the areas in the media, social and anti-social. Shared, not apartheid roads; Arab mansions, wealth and huge expansions of their towns; blatant European Union interference and blaming Israel for situations caused by the breaking of international agreements by the other side, who literally get away with incitement to murder and educating to kill. The near global delegitimization of our rights—calling for another “ethnic cleansing” (yes, I’m calling it like it is) of Jews from parts of the land of Israel—has ramifications for good people everywhere who search for justice in a world that lost its moral compass.
A few weeks ago on Purim, we read what is likely the first time that Mordechai, a member of the tribe of Benjamin, is described as a Yehudi—literally, a Judean, in what from then becomes the general term for a Jew, not just someone from the tribe of Judah. Any Jew. Because in the eyes of the world, the nuances of our internal tribal squabbling is irrelevant. We hear unjustified criticisms of another Benjamin—democratically elected Prime Minister Netanyahu, who’s trying to combat existential regional dangers while others ignore, appease or even encourage the appalling behavior of totalitarian regimes, despots and absolute monarchs in the insanity of the Middle East.
Strong, proud Jews, devoted to our people and land, living proof that ancient prophecies came true, aren’t something the world is used to. It should come as no surprise then that an elected official in the United States has the audacity to say, “It’s all about the Benjamins,” a direct and ugly canard that feeds into anti-Semitism on the far-right and significantly on the far-left, too.
An anti-Semitism stoked by lies of evil, land-grabbing, racial genocidal occupying settlers, and hence, deserving of terror, boycotts, destruction, death.
This film we’ve seen before. It doesn’t end well for anyone, but can still be stopped.
Applying modern Israeli law and sovereignty in our heartland—and yes, there are solutions to the security, development of the local economy and demographics—will send a message to civilized people everywhere who are trying to survive while playing by Western rules that other don’t hold by. We have to connect the dots and relegate to the dustbin the possibility of relinquishing Judea and Samaria to an enemy who wishes to destroy Israel and leave Jews the way we were 80 short years ago. Vulnerable. Beholden to others’ whims. Not happening again.
We’re home. We are staying home. And that’s good news for all of you. So come on over and see what it looks like when a people regathers around the dining-room table.
Eve Harow is director of tourism at One Israel Fund. She served for more than a decade as a councilwoman in Efrat.