Shabbat Preparations Under Siege

I did all this and still managed to give mussar to Justice Minister Lapid and Labor Party leader Peres. This particular type of multitasking is something only a Jewish mother can handle - so no imitations, please.

Ellen W. Horowitz

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They wouldn't arrest a Yiddishe mamma, would they? After glancing at last week's headlines, I was no longer sure. I decided not to press my luck, so I hid all green baseball caps, girded myself with an apron and armed myself with a rolling pin, while I prepared Shabbat and reviewed the papers. I did all this and still managed to give mussar to Justice Minister Lapid and Labor Party leader Peres. This particular type of multitasking is something only a Jewish mother can handle - so no imitations, please.

Headline: Lapid Calls For Steps Against Rabbis Who Urge Refusal (Jerusalem Post 10/21)

Justice Minister Yosef (Tommy) Lapid, I understand that when you see pictures of old women searching through the rubble of homes that were used to aid and abet terrorists, you're reminded of your grandmother (I don't know who your grandmother was, but if she was helping the enemy, then I'm glad we never met).

Does the image of octogenarian rabbis being hauled off for questioning by the authorities jar that historically sensitive memory of yours? Think, Tommy, think.... Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome; Inquisitors, Czars, Pogroms, Bolsheviks, etc., etc., etc. (notice how I cleverly avoided mention of the word "Nazi" or any allusion to the Holocaust - as that could get me in trouble).

Rabbis (at least those outside of the political realm) grapple with profound moral and ethical issues. It takes tremendous time, scholarship, effort, concentration and soul searching to render a proper interpretation of our eternal laws, and to decipher the truth and consider the consequences. These rabbis also possess an intense devotion to the land and people of Israel, as well as an appropriate allegiance and dedication to the state.

It's worth noting that the original founders and framers of democratic doctrine also put forth similar efforts and possessed wisdom that comes from penetrating study, reflection and fear of G-d. This is something that a Justice Minister of your standing could never understand, so why do I even bother? My advice: perhaps you should stop talking so much and start thinking.

And speaking of octogenarian...

Headlines: Peres: Sharon Risks Assassination For Gaza Plan (Reuters)

Shimon Peres Warns Extremists Could Try To Assassinate Sharon Due To Gaza Pullout Plan (USA Today)

Israel's Peres 'Very Fearful' Extremists Could Try To Assassinate Sharon Due To Gaza Plan (ABC News)

Peres: Jewish Extremists May Assassinate Sharon (Al-Jazeera)

Now, it must be noted that a day after Shimon the Prophet's words made local and international headlines, security officials stated, "There are no concrete reports of intentions of Jews to hurt Sharon." Public Security Minister Gideon Ezra, a former senior Shin Bet official told Army Radio, "If there were specific threats, we would deal with them."

But the damage was already done.

According to my husband, "Peres always has to be the man to predict the future." He'll do his utmost to make sure that his predictions come true, because he hates to be wrong. Peres is a visionary and creates the future. Peres knows all. So if, G-d forbid, someone happens to come along and assassinate a government official, I think the investigators should knock on Shimon's door, because Peres claims to know everything.

Shimon! You're not G-d. You're over eighty and the Harvard speaking circuit needs you. I hear Luxembourg is nice this time of year - it's a small country and your nanotechnical plans would fit in well there. Or perhaps you can head to Palm Beach and sip Slim-Fast while you listen to old Streisand tunes at pool-side with your buddy S. Daniel Abraham. Just leave us in Israel, and your talk of assassination, alone. We've had enough.

I'm a visionary too, and one day...


Headline: Israelis Fear Incitement Plot (True News 10/21)

JERUSALEM - Those opposing Ariel Sharon's plans for territorial withdrawal say they are "very fearful" that loyalists to Sharon, the left-wing media and the so-called peace camp are deliberately creating a provocative and hateful atmosphere with the intent of slandering and inciting those Israelis residing in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and their supporters Many here feel that rather than encourage civil, democratic debate, the verbal attacks and threats of indictment have become more vociferous and may be intentionally planned to coincide with the anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.

The Israeli Left has used these tactics before. Most notable was the scandal of September 1995, when the media and General Security Services cooperated and staged a "swearing in ceremony" of the pseudo-fanatic Eyal organization. That filming was supervised by agent provocateur Avishai Raviv and was aired on Israeli state-controlled television, in addition to being disseminated to the international press. At the time, the intention was to make the very broad public opposition to the Oslo Accords appear to look like it comprised of small bands of extremists. In addition to working for Israeli intelligence, Raviv was also a well-acquainted with Yigal Amir, the alleged assassin of then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.

The plan backfired and, in spite of the accusations against the national camp and big question marks that surrounded that period of upheaval, the right-wing parties won the 1996 general elections.

In light of that history, national camp activists are puzzled as to why the government and left-wing factions would repeat this failed formula and employ these provocative tactics again...


Tommy and Shimon:

Last Friday evening, hundreds of thousands of Israelis turned off their televisions and radios, and we settled in to a place where the thought-police no longer affected us. Rather than subject ourselves to reading Friday's papers, we used them instead for fish bones and vegetable peels.

We sat down with our families over Kiddush and a good meal, and we discussed and debated the current crisis. We explored various means of bringing down the government and its leaders (democratically, of course) and ways to effect change in this beloved country of ours. We also allowed our soldier sons and daughters to openly grapple with their national duties and moral obligations. It's what being a Jew is all about.

We fervently prayed that our thoughts, dreams and efforts come to fruition soon, and I believe they will.

Shavua Tov, Gentlemen.