In Memoriam

For the Victims

Jerusalem Ashkelon, February 25, 1996

Jerusalem, March 3, 1996

Tel Aviv, March 4, 1996

 

Dateline: 5th March 1996, Purim 5756

 

Dear colleague, Dear friend,

Can anyone really feel a sense of Purim today?

Steeped in centuries of Jewish tradition, we know that each festival relates to both the past and the present meanings of its messages: "bayamim hahem bazman hazeh". Today, we cannot immerse ourselves in the Purim atmosphere, but we know that there will be other times, other Purim festivals, where we will remember and be able to rejoice in the miracle of the past in the time of the present.

Twice, Hamas have challenged the "Chai" - the Hebrew letters for the number 18, which - together - mean "life". This morning, the BBC news spoke of the Dizengoff explosion as "the straw which broke the camel's back", a New Testament expression. What is your opinion? Have we broken? Will we break?

 

Addressing the Issues

It is difficult to express the depths of our horror and shock as the wave of fanatic-led terror wreaks havoc on our streets. Nevertheless, we have received requests for assistance with presentation of current issues and indications for ventilation and discussion.

What we have decided to do initially, is to provide some guidelines and refer you to a number of files [see below] on the jer1 gopher on other terror attacks, reactions to them, discussion of the issues.

If you wish to develop any analysis or presentation of the latest attacks, we would like to state the following in most explicit terms:

  1. Please define your goals, using the guidelines below and stick to them.
  2. Use only the most experienced of moderators if you are working on reactions and feelings.
  3. Do NOT build an activity on personal fears [real, potential or imaginary], but if they emerge, see 2. above and allow a creative means of ventilation, rather than a vicious circle discussion.
  4. Direct your programme towards point [D] below, so that you create a sense of involvement and contribution.

 

Curriculum Goals

  1. Place the current events in their immediate context, the wider context of the violent culture and the circle of worldwide terrorism.
  2. Expose and evaluate the potential for resolution of the underlying issues in terms of desirability and goal feasibility [this MUST come first].
  3. Expose and assess the operational options for immediate contention with the logistics of Hamas or other terrorist action - from its leadership to the grass-roots.
  4. On the basis of the above, and not as an initial measure: Seek affective methods to express personal involvement and sympathy (commitment, for any adult population) with the victims of the current attacks and Israel as a whole - most groups are doing this anyway, but it could be more directed both towards the decision-makers in your own country (adults) and towards the ordinary citizens of Israel.

Below we bring a few perspectives to assist the staff in their preparation. Not all are suitable for school-age participants.

 

Terror and Terrorization

Gila Ansell Brauner

The perverted act of terror does not end in the swathe of death and destruction, the suffering of the injured, the inconsolable anguish of the bereaved.

Persistent acts of terror create a chain reaction within the sensitive, tense fabric of our society. Some will react with pain, grief and anger; others will feel helpless, frustrated and exhibit signs of stress; the vast majority will inevitably find the internal resources to cope and emerge - albeit not unscathed - if they are allowed the time to recover. Which is why it is important to give us time to grieve right now, rather than react in haste and heated anger.

Nevertheless, over the past nine days, earthquake after earthquake left no-one time to take stock and recoup forces in the short term; the dimensions of the immediate damage undermine the sense of personal security, creating an environment of collective and individual uncertainty to such a degree that it may be a major task to restore the confidence of many civilians in their daily lives, in themselves.

This is the ultimate goal of the psychological warfare which we are experiencing: the terrorization of a population - more soul-destroying than the bloody harvest of terror itself.

We are hearing other messages, too, which need to be diffused in wider circles. They come precisely from those who maintain their vigil in hospitals, from those who have experienced tragedy a week ago, a year ago:

"We have been through worse periods"

"We can be, we are strong enough to come through this, too"

"We do not wish or call for violence"

Not the words of politicians, but the determined resolve of ordinary people who have climbed back from the depths of the abyss.

To close, we refer to an interview given by Avraham Burg, Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and the WZO on Israeli television last night:

In the 1929 Hebron atrocities upon Jewish residents, half of one Jewish family was killed; the other half was saved by an Arab who concealed them. Our message must be that we must find him - and with him we will make peace.

 

Article Summary

A Lettter to a Palestinian Friend
Amos Oz
"Yediot Aharonot", 5th March 1996

"Shalom,

"Israel is our homeland; Palestine is your homeland. Anyone who is not prepared to live with these two simple facts is either blind or evil.

"Two years after the Oslo agreements, we have not yet agreed - you and us - on the conditions for peace. [...] the task of healing: this was the appeal made by Yassir Arafat in his Washington speech, entitled, "Peace of the Brave".

"Yitzhak Rabin was a brave man: he paid with his life for this endeavor. Shimon Peres is a brave man: his life and his future are in danger. It is time for Arafat to be brave at last - or to vacate his position to those more courageous than himself.

"[...] the core of the agreement is simple and unequivocal: we will cease to govern you and repress you, and you will recognize Israel and cease to kill us.

"[...] If peace comes, much will be repaired, but not everything. The essence of peace will not erase all past sufferings, but will avoid future hurt.

"You and we have to choose: between living and coming to terms with the pains of the past and carrying on the war with evermore suffering to come.

"For fifty years, Arab governments used the entire Palestinian people as a live bomb; they sent you out to suicide in order to kill us, while they watched from their armchairs and applauded. Most of the Arab governments are coming to terms with our existence, without shedding a tear on your fate. So how can the Palestinian people volunteer itself once again to act as live explosives on suicide missions for Iran and those worse than her?

"No, I have not forgotten: hundreds of thousands of your people are still languishing in refugee camps. [...] Is there really anyone among you who sincerely believed they [the problems] could all be resolved in the space of two years? Can one cure in two years a scar which has deepened and festered for three generations? Can there possibly be people who live under the illusion that you can get without giving up anything, and that we will give up without getting anything?

"You maintain that Israel has given you too little. Perhaps so. Yet it remains a fact that the Israel of Rabin and Peres has done more for the Palestinian people in two and a half years than all the Arab states ever did. Moreover, what the Palestinians now have was not achieved by force [...]

"[...] It is inconceivable that Israel should continue to uphold the majority of its comitments under the accords, while you continue to pay in deferred cheques, "because it is so difficult": difficult to repeal the Covenant, difficult to confront Hamas, difficult to change the school curriculum, difficult to isolate the extremists. Of course it's hard for you - but what of it, it's hard for us getting killed, too.

"[...] where are they - at this very moment - the mass demonstrations against murder and on behalf of peace? Where are the intellectuals and the opinion leaders? Where are teachers of religion and the poets? Where are the outlawing and ban on the murderers and their supporters? Where is the gathering place in the public square of a Palestinian "Peace Now" lobby?

"If you turn a deaf ear at this hour, if you content yourselves with paying lip-service and mumbling condolences, to making soothing noises to your Israeli friends, the Oslo accords may well turn speedily into a window of opportunity that was missed. [...]

"Such an eventuality would be a monstrous fulfilment of the dreams of your demon-sapper (Yehi Ayash) and our infamous doctor (Baruch Goldstein). [...] There can be no delay."

 

 

 

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27 Aug 2007 / 13 Elul 5767 0