Back to the Drawing Board

Funny time for a Golan columnist to opt out.

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Ellen W. Horowitz

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I've been thinking offline for several weeks plus. I've decided to take leave of my computer, and to put my writing and research on hold indefinitely.

Funny time for an activist from the Golan Heights to opt out of cyberspace.

Syria has embellished the art of classic Arab saber-rattling by taking a tip from the Sicilian school for diplomatic relations. They've initiated a two-pronged, forked-tongue approach by making Israel "an offer she can't refuse." It seems we either accept the Saudi initiative, or Syria won't hesitate to take the Golan Heights "by way of resistance."

Of course, anyone in possession of a shred of sanity would recognize this godfather-
Those of us living on the Golan do not need telescopic equipment.
like peace overture for the flagrant extortion and aggression that it is. But the very deluded world of diplomatic and political idiots continues to be intrigued by impossible possibilities, thanks to men like Honest Abe (Ibrahim) Suleiman. Syria's suave man in Washington - who just happened to put in an appearance in Jerusalem recently - knows how to work a room. This Syrian-American-Alawite business mogul is a long-time personal friend of the Assad family. According to Newsweek, he and Hafez were old backgammon buddies ("There was a casino along the river in Hama where he and I would drink coffee and play....").

While our Defense Minister can't seem to get the cover off of his binoculars, those of us living on the Golan do not need telescopic equipment in order to catch a glimpse across the border of the in-your-face Syrian build-up.

And where is the UN in all of this? Well, just over two weeks ago, the ever-watchful United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) had their binoculars pinned on two of my boys, who were busy clearing debris from a natural spring in an effort to restore the pristine beauty of the area and prepare an appropriate memorial for an outstanding IDF commander.

Yep, it's a funny time for a Golan resident and columnist to opt out of writing - there's just so much fodder to work with. But it's like this...

While my kids were engaging in a major mitzvah and enjoying their work in the crystal clear water of the Golan, I received an email from a colleague requesting that I delve into the international photo archives and retrieve pictures of the Gaza sewage flood for his research project. It was the last straw. It was an epiphany of sorts.

I'm not going there. I sure as hell am not going to wallow in the... uh..."mud" of Gaza; nor am I going to sit in a dark room behind this computer when it's springtime on the Heights.

Another colleague has asked that, in light of the deteriorating situation, I set up workshops for the various Golan communities in order to train representatives to prepare for and respond to the international media onslaught. Trying to impress a largely un-impressionable press is not where I feel I should be putting my energies at this time.

Now, don't get me wrong, because recording the events taking place in Gaza's sewers and dealing with the crap that the media dishes out are essential assignments, and those of us dedicated to banging our heads against the wall in an attempt to disseminate the truth and seek justice are to be commended. In fact, our seemingly futile efforts do, on occasion, make their indelible mark in this world - and they are most certainly recorded in the next world.

Two such endeavors were recorded for posterity this week. A 76-year-old Israeli professor managed to heroically shield his American university class from an unstoppable, gun-wielding madman by bracing himself against a door. And the image of a young Israeli woman, bracing herself against a misled battalion of shielded and baton- wielding troops in Amona, took the Pulitzer. Stunning images that make you kind of wonder about the potential power of a Jew who has his or her heart in the right place.
 
But some of us who are chained to our computers need to ask ourselves: Should we continue to relentlessly record grim chapters, or do we try to inspire new and more hopeful ones?

With our limited resources and energy, perhaps some of us should refocus, hone-in and pick and choose our fights intelligently. At this time, I've decided to strengthen the home front and reclaim a G-d-given gift.

Funny time to paint.
Some of us should refocus, hone-in and choose our fights intelligently.

I detect a serious lack of understanding among a significant segment of the Jewish people. We don't have an inkling of just who we are and where we are standing, and that each and every one of us has a part in this epic and crucial page in Jewish history. There is no opting out. I suppose I could continue to try and convey this concept in writing, but I'm a little tired of too many words, too much analysis, and too little action. But I'm not tired of trying, and there just has to be another way to get the Jewish people to appreciate the immense treasure and gift of the Land of Israel - and to gain an awareness of its sanctity. How do we get our people to see again?

I picked up some canvases last week and took some inventory of dust-laden brushes, pastels and paints. You know, the stuff feels much better than a plastic keyboard.

Painting is my first love and the language that I'm most comfortable with. So I guess my return to art is an appropriate move for a person who has been incessantly pleading with her people to get back to themselves and their source.

Many thanks to those who have read my writing, sent feedback, and encouraged me in my efforts throughout the past several years. With hopes and prayers for inspiring days ahead.


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