Activating an Activist

The "second page news" reports on the Arutz Sheva Internet site changed my life.<br/>

Aliza Karp,

The "second page news" reports on the Arutz Sheva Internet site changed my life.
 
Like so many English speakers, since Rosh Hashanah 5761 (the autumn of 2000) - the dawning of the era of increased terror attacks - I have turned to Arutz Sheva to be up to date on what is happening in Eretz Yisroel. That first year, it was drive by shootings and repeated suicide bombings that kept us glued to the computer screen. We needed to cry with the victims. We could not just go about our daily lives when Jewish blood was flowing.
 
On the sidebar of the homepage of Arutz Sheva were the latest headlines, the breaking news. You click where it says "More News Briefs" and it takes you to what I call "second page news." At first, there were just a few headlines, but by now, whoa! It can take me half an hour to read through the headlines and click on the ones that I want to know more about.
 
To me the "second page news" is where the news really is. I enjoy the features and articles on the homepage, but it is the second page that has changed my life.
 
As the new wave of terror was shaking the rest of the country - with lynching, shooting, stabbing and suicide bombers - mortars and rockets were bombarding Gush Katif. In fact, thousands of bombs were falling on Gush Katif. Every few hours, there would be a news brief on the second page reporting another bomb attack on Gush Katif. It would have been absurd to make it front page news every time, but Arutz Sheva obviously is not just looking for front page headlines. They loyally repeated what might have been considered by others as not being news because of its regularity and frequency.
 
In 5761, Gush Katif was one of the areas of Eretz Yisroel that I had never visited. At first, I skimmed over the repeated announcements of the bombings. That is, until I realized that just because I had not been there did not mean Gush Katif was not important. Jews were living there. So, I started reading each small, repetitive news report about Gush Katif. I even learned the difference between a mortar and a Kassam rocket.
 
But then it started to get to me. Every day, a few times a day, bombs are falling and exploding, and with each report there was minimal or no physical damage and no injuries. What was going on here? Was this a land of miracles or what?
 
In the spring of 5673 - 2003 - shortly after Pesach, I decided to visit Gush Katif. Not only did my interest in Gush Katif become aroused because of the Arutz Sheva's loyalty to details, but it was Arutz Sheva that put me in touch with my hosts, as I did not know anyone there before my first visit.
 
By the following spring, the fight against the Disengagement had begun and Gush Katif was full of visitors. But the year I visited, there were no tourists and no supporters, only bomb attacks. Due to the scarcity of visitors, I got VIP treatment. N'vei Dekalim representatives Eran Sternberg and Dror Vanunu - in jeans and a short-sleeved striped T-shirt - showed me around. How did I react to my experience there? To put it mildly, I was impressed and impassioned.

One year later, shortly after Pesach, I met Dror again. This time, I was hosting him. In his new role as an international representative for Gush Katif, he was wearing a white shirt, dark suit and tie. He came to America along with Moshe Saperstein, whom I had also met on my visit to Gush Katif, and the Honorable Aryeh Eldad, Member of Knesset. They were on a mission to garner support for the fight against the Disengagement.
 
Although I told them that Crown Heights is not the best place for fundraising, I was sure we could give them chizuk, inspiration.
 
My own passion to save Gush Katif was a combination of the teachings of my Rebbe and my first-hand experience. I was hopeful that the Disengagement would not come to be, but even at this early stage, I felt it was up to every Jew to put up a fight to make sure the evil plan was stopped. I was in charge of the advertising to bring a crowd to show our representatives from Gush Katif that we supported them. Boruch HaShem, my time, energy and passion brought results. Our enthusiastic crowd at 770 numbered in the thousands, and we even raised a respectable amount of cash for our visitors to arm themselves for the battle ahead.
 
From that project on, I was unable to free myself from the fight against the Disengagement. Just today, a year and a half after the destruction of Gush Katif, I spoke with Dror. I am doing a follow-up article for a project I did with him for Gush Katif Day last summer, the day of remembering Gush Katif at the time of year it was destroyed, a yahrzeit, so to speak.
 
Dror gave me a quote for my article. He spoke of returning to Gush Katif. I cannot imagine the pain that the refugees live with every moment.
 
Yes, Arutz Sheva has been my guiding light. Do I agree with all their points of view? No. Do they agree with mine? No. Many of my articles have not been posted. But still, the partnership is there. I have benefited from their important work of publicizing the truth; and I only hope that I have processed the raw material they have given me and produced material - through my writing and activist projects - that has been beneficial to others.
 
May we soon experience the light of the truth reported by Arutz Sheva illuminating the minds of the leaders who live in darkness, until the day that Arutz Sheva will bring us news of return to Gush Katif and to all four communities in northern Samaria - with police escort, not impediment. And we will live in peace, one Jew with another, under the authority of Torah, and there will be no confusion, and all external enemies will be dealt with appropriately, so that there will be true peace in the land. Moshiach Now!

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