We Went to Strengthen and Left Strengthened

Hearing Hanan and Zimru talking like healthy, proud Jews reminded us that a very large part of the People of Israel is strong. They love their Land and their Jewish heritage. The problem is that we are stuck with the most corrupt and dangerous of political leaders.

Nadia Matar,

OpEds Nadia Matar
Nadia Matar
Arutz 7
By Nadia Matar & Anita Finkelstein

A delegation of 14 Women in Green from Jerusalem, Gush Etzion and Beersheva, together with Professor Arieh Zaritzky from Beersheva and Yehudit Katzover from the Eretz Israel Loyalists organization, went this week to pay a shiv'a (mourning period) call to the Yaakobov family in Sderot, whose father and husband, 43-year-old Yaakov, H.y.d., was killed by a Kassam rocket.

Sitting in a big tent on the grass near their house were Yaakov's sons, including 12-year-old Hanan, who moved us all with his heart-wrenching interview on Arutz-7 TV. His brother, Salomon, will have a Bar Mitzvah in a month.

"How will I celebrate my Bar Mitzvah without my father?" Salomon asks. A relative of the family comforted him by saying that many people, especially from his father's job, are working on giving him a nice Bar Mitzvah celebration at the Kotel.

Next to the boys sat their Uncle Zimru, Yaakov's brother. An amazing family.

Hearing Zimru made us understand where Hanan's self-confidence and healthy Jewish pride came from. Zimru did not mince his words: "This government has to go. They are a danger to the survival of the State of Israel." Zimru told us that instead of sinking into depression, he wants to use his anger, frustration and mourning, to do all he can to bring down this government, for the sake of all the children of Israel, before more Jews will be killed. His dream is to organize the people of Sderot, wake them up into action, so that they should lead the way to the downfall of this government.

He knows it is not an easy task. Zimru knows that many politicians, opportunists, will try to "use" him, and thus he is very careful not to hook up with any of them. In fact, he told us how his family refused to let any minister come to the funeral. During the shiv'a, security guards came to the mourning tent and announced that Minister Tzippy Livni was outside waiting in her car, asking if they would let her come to pay a shiv'a call. The family told the guards: "Tell her to get out of here immediately. We do not want to see her."

Hearing Hanan and Zimru talking like healthy, proud Jews reminded us that a very large part of the People of Israel is strong. They love their Land and their Jewish heritage. The problem is that we are stuck with the most corrupt and dangerous of political leaders, who are more interested in pleasing Israel's enemies than in protecting the People and the Land of Israel.

We gave the Yaakobov boys a book, Elnakam by Ezra Yachin. The book recaptures the dedication, self-sacrifice and courage of the Lehi fighters for the freedom of Israel in the nineteen-forties. On the cover of the book, we wrote to Hanan and his brothers: "We went to strengthen and left strengthened. Your impressive interview in the media inspired us all, and gave us all strength and hope that soon, please G-d, a new leadership will arise in Israel, a leadership of proud Jews like Hanan and his family, who are a continuation of the proud Jewish heroes described in this book."

After the shiv'a, all 16 of us went to do some "shopping" in the center of Sderot, to give the stores there some business. The city was almost a ghost town. Many stores were closed. One could still see the horrendous damage one Kassam had done when it fell in the center of town, destroying four shops completely and shattering the glass windows of tens of surrounding stores.

All the stores had a big poster attached to the front window: "Lehatzil et ha-ir!" ("Save our City!") Store-owners looked at our group as if we had come from Mars. When we told them we came to do some shopping to show our support, they thanked us profusely. One store-owner, seeing orange Gush Katif bracelets and ribbons on our purses, admitted to us that she and some other Sderot residents had been in favor of the Disengagement Plan: "We really thought there would be quiet after that. Now we are paying a heavy price for our naivete."

The Yaakobov family, on the other hand, are not naive. At the shiv'a, Hanan was giving an interview over the phone. He was asked what he thought about the "cease-fire". Without blinking an eye, Hanan answered: "What cease-fire? Don't you know that what they call 'cease-fire' is simply another word for 're-arming'? They are using this period to reorganize and get more and more lethal weapons. We already had so-called 'cease-fires' in the past, and after each one of them, the attacks on Sderot were even worse."

Hanan reminds us of the little boy who screamed, "The emperor has no clothes!"

We left Sderot around 2:00 pm. An hour after we left, we heard on the news that two more Kassams had been launched at Sderot. Were these Olmert's so-called "cease-fire Kassams"?



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