Visiting Yad VaShem Before Disengagement

I went to Yad VaShem to prepare myself for Tisha B'Av, but I couldn't stop thinking about the deportation of the Jews from Gaza.

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Nachum Kligman,

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I went to Yad VaShem to prepare myself for Tisha B'Av, but I couldn't stop thinking about the deportation of the Jews from Gaza.

Visiting the new Yad VaShem with my wife and parents was supposed to help prepare us for the upcoming day of mourning, during which we reflect on all the tragedies that have befallen us throughout history. The problem was that everything I saw kept reminding me about the Jews of Gush Katif.

I know that Ariel Sharon is not preparing to murder the Jews that are being deported from their homes, but before the Jews of Nazi Germany were slaughtered, they too were forcibly ripped from their homes. They too had to choose between their possessions -- what they could take and what had to be left to be looted by our enemies. They too were being forced to move and live in very cramped quarters. And this is exactly what will happen to the Jews of Gaza, if, G-d forbid, the expulsion takes place as planned.

The first sign you see on the wall when entering the first section of the new museum relates the following quote: "A country is not just what it does, it is also what it tolerates." -- Kurt Tucholsky, German Jewish essayist.

I couldn't help but think what kind of country Israel has become when it can tolerate the expulsion of its own people from their own homes. When the same man who is prime minister today, Ariel Sharon, was the one who told them to move there in the first place. The State of Israel is playing with these families as if they were pawns. Whenever it suits them, they will move them around as needed. After all, they are not really Israelis, they are just "settlers".

A little further in the four-hour tour, my mother pointed out another sign on the wall and said, "All you have to do is change the name and the date."

This sign said: "I herewith order that the resettlement of the entire population of the Generalgouve be carried out and completed by December 31st, 1942." -- Heinrich Himmler, Head of the SS, July 19th, 1942.

So, I failed. I failed in my attempt to feel pain for the insurmountable loss we had sixty-five years ago. I failed trying to focus on the destruction of the two Temples and all the other tragedies that befell us on Tisha B'Av, the 9th day of the 11th month, or simply, 9/11. I couldn't focus. Instead of seeing red, I could only see orange.

And even if you want to argue that it has to be done, and that this is what is best for the State of Israel, how can you stomach it? How can you tolerate it? How can you accept it? And I'm not talking about the right-wing. I'm talking about the Left and the Centrists. In fact, I'm talking about all Jews in Israel. How can Jewish police officers tear the face apart of another Jew who was handcuffed and subdued? In the name of Disengagement. How can they smile while throwing a 56-year-old woman on the ground and kicking her? In the name of Disengagement. How can Sharon live comfortably on his ranch when he is preparing to throw thousands of Jews out of their homes. In the name of Disengagement. If he was a real leader, then he would remove himself from his own home and also live in a caravan while crying about what "has to be done."

How can the Left look so smug? How can they sit in the cafes and drink their lattes while their fellow Jews are about to be uprooted and thrown out of their homes, forced to live in caravans smaller than one room of their current homes? A family of eight in a caravan of 60 meters? I bet Shimon Peres has bathrooms bigger then that.

I hate to point something out to the Left. When I saw all the pictures and videos in Yad VaShem, it wasn't six million settlers who were murdered. It wasn't six million right-wingers, Kachniks, Orthodox, Hareidim, Har-dal, or what ever you want to call them who were murdered. It was six million Jews who were murdered. All types of Jews. Religious and non-religious, rightists and leftists -- it made no difference to the Nazi killing machine. And whether Sharon, Peres, Ehud Olmert, or any of those who are pro-Disengagement in Israel will admit to it or not, in Hitlerian eyes, they are also Jews. They too would have been murdered by the Nazis.

Why are these things happening to the Jews of Gaza? For one reason - because they are Jews. Just as in 1492, and in 1942, and now in 2005.

So, please, can you do me a favor? When the Jews of Gaza are, G-d forbid, being deported from their homes, when little Jewish children are crying for their mommies and daddies, when Jews yet once again will be beaten, thrown into cages and have their possessions lost forever - can you please shed a tear? Can you maybe not go to the cafes and the malls, and pretend that D-Day is just like any other day? Can you? Can you try and feel the pain? Can you try and share the pain? If you need some help, maybe you can stop by Yad VaShem. Maybe, just maybe, that would help you.