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      Tamar Yonah is one of Israel's most popular English-speaking radio show hosts. She made Aliyah from Southern California and after serving in the Israeli army began a prolific career in radio, including production, news and program development. She was the original creator and producer of 'The Aliyah Show' and still works whenever she can in that field. Tamar is a political activist, wife and mother residing in Judea and Samaria and currently hosts the top-rated shows of The Weekend Edition & The Tamar Yonah Show. Her award winning blog covers current events, religion, politics and anything else that's on her mind.

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      Av 24, 5767, 8/8/2007

      I Had A Dream

      by Tamar Yonah

      I see by the emails I have received and some of the talk backs below, that I have depressed some people, making them feel utterly hopeless, and defeated, and against making aliyah.

      People are writing me that the government of Israel is a Nazi government, that they are all evil, and that they feel impotent to do anything about it. They then make comments to the tune of, "Make a military coup", or "Why don't you guys play by the same rules they do and FIGHT?".
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      Photo from the AP.

      It is true that the government has an army and police force at it's disposal.  It is true that they are better organized to rally up thousands of forces with full battle gear and bring them to anywhere in Israel they want, to enforce their political agendas.  So how are we to fight them if we Jews who are  faithful to Torah and the Land of Israel, don't allow ourselves to act by the same rules?  While the State's forces go in to intimidate, scare, crack heads, expell and arrest protestors, we go in playing by defensive tactic rules.  We don't use guns, we don't use knives, we have no intent to kill, we have no battle gear, we sing songs and lock arms, and struggle wildly when being jerked away and pulled out of our G-d given land.  Perhaps, some will throw eggs, oil and flour on the police and soldiers, as if they wanted to make a cake, but we don't play by the same rules.  Whether one believes in this type of non-violent resistance, or not, is another matter, and one too serious for me to write in a blog without deep discussion first with a rabbi well learned in Torah, and with a particular and deep love for the Land of Israel.  -And even if one believed in using violence against our police and security forces, these protestors aren't equipped with what the IDF has at it's disposal.

      Therefore, looking at what IS, and not what some people think we SHOULD be doing to make the fight in the ring more exciting for the onlookers and arm-chair critics, what is the proper thing to do?

      Looking through the Tanach (the Bible) we read about many times in Israel when we had Jewish kings who threw their lot in with the world, feared other kings more than they feared G-d, made pacts with other kingdoms, and even embraced idol worshipping like our neighboring countries did.


      I remember a specific story involving one King Menasseh (Menashe).  He became the king of Judah, and embraced worldly trends at that time.  He became an idol worshipper, worshipping 'baal', he preformed necromancy, he walked his son through the fire, and he erected and installed idols in the Holy Temple.  He also killed a lot of innocent Jews.

      Kings II 21:16 Menasseh shed very much innocent blood, until he filled Jerusalem [from] end to end [with it]; aside from causing (the people of) Judah to sin, to do what was evil in the eyes of Hashem (the Lord). 

      According to the Radak (Rabbi David Kimchi who lived in southern France 1160-1235), "Menasseh had systematically destroyed all the Torah scrolls and alienated the nation so thoroughly from the Torah, that the people were completely unfamiliar with its contents.  Sixty seven years had elapsed since the beginning of Manasseh's reign..."

      Therefore, the Jews in Judah were without, and alienated from, our Holy Torah for approximately three generations. Some Torah scrolls might have been hidden away and studied in secret, but the general population had no means to learn it. It was not until a later king, (Menasseh's grandson) King Josiah (King Yoshiahu) decided to renovate the Temple, that a Torah scroll was found hidden away in the Temple.  When the scroll was read to him, King Josiah rent his garments, inquired of what G-d wanted from him, and then sealed a covenant with Him, to follow Hashem, and to observe his commandments.

      Well, we see here, that we have lived through worse times than we do today. And still, there are those who reject the idea of coming to Israel on Aliyah.
      I am living the dream that our ancestors prayed for every day


      So,,,,  should Jews who were living at the time of King Menashe's reign have abandoned Israel, or any other of our kings who embraced the fad religions of the world, and said, "I am not going to live in that corrupt country, with a king who has innocent people slain, destroys our holy Torah scrolls, worships idols and even places them in G-d's Holy Temple."?  No, the Jewish People stayed, and built, and dwelled, and had children there, and continued their lives there, in the home that G-d gave us.   - By the way, King Menasseh, that evil king, finally made tshuva (repented) and removed the idols from Jerusalem, brought peace and thanksgiving offerings to Hashem, and commanded the [people] of Judah to worship Hashem, the G-d of Israel. 

      I know Jews have killed Jews in our past, reading the Tanach will show you this, but this part of our history always bothered me. I know that I don't want to be responsible for taking the life of any of our soldiers or police, - any Jew.  Everyone who lives in Israel is so interconnected.  A soldier could be the son of a co-worker, someone from a  neighboring community, or even a distant cousin who lives in Tel Aviv or Haifa.  Couldn't you also imagine the Hamas, Fatah and all our Arab enemies dancing in the streets, handing out candy, and singing praises to allah if they would see news footage of Jews killing Jews?

      And so, what do we do?  How do we protect the Land of Israel and G-d's Torah?

      Demonstrations have not stopped the continuing Oslo peace process or our politicians and their desires to meld with the world, and throw off Jewish values.  So, we pray, we go to TRY to stop expulsions, some people added on special mitzvoth to do, we just try harder and improve our faith in G-d.

      About 2 years ago, the rabbi of our yishuv died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).  A little before he died, in the last stages of his disease, he looked pale and colorless.  He was thin like a skeleton and laid horizontally in a hospital bed in his living room,  with a breathing tube in his throat.  He was completely incapacitated, and could not communicate.  A little before he died, I had a dream with him in it..   In my dream, I was standing  in his living room, and he was standing in front of me as well.  He looked like he used to. Well fed, healthy, dark beard and hair, in a suit and tie- not like he looked in real life anymore.  I was asking him in the dream, "Rav (rabbi), what should we be doing about the situation [in Israel]?  Should we be going to even more demonstrations, should we go and possibly get arrested, what should we do?  What can we do?
      He looked at me, and I am crying now as I write these words...  he looked at me and said to me by some type of communication, because I can't remember if it was in Hebrew or in English...  he looked at me and said something to the effect of, "Just continue."

      I woke up from that dream, and tried to understand the meaning of it.  I think he was trying to tell me, 'just continue what you are doing'.  Just the fact that I am living in YESHA, raising a family here, taking up space living in the Land, planting a garden, and thriving here with my husband and children, just THAT FACT is already doing something.  Should we go to demonstrations?  Yes. Perhaps the government will not care, but I believe that G-d hears our cries, and gathering together in prayer and supplication and unity, is a positive thing. Should we continue to pray and add more good deeds in our lives?  Yes. We show Hashem that we are taking more upon ourselves to try to weigh the heavenly scales in our favor. 

      Living in Israel, with the righteous Jews as neighbors and friends, with bringing life back to this Land that has sat empty and barren for 2,000 years, and see flowers and trees and grass now, in its place...  well, there is nothing more beautiful to me.  I am living the dream that our ancestors prayed for every day, and after the Passover (Pesach) Seder, 'Next Year in Jerusalem'.  I am the fortunate one.  I am the one who doesn't have to live under a foreign entity, no matter how materialistically comfortable it is.  It is not my home.

       

      Israel is my home, and even with the bickering and ideological differences in our Jewish society, I know that if G-d forbid a war were to occur here in Israel, all the barriers and differences would melt in a second.  Tzahal (the IDF) would be all our boys, and the People of Israel would come together.  It happened last year during the 2nd Lebanon war, as it happens for every war. Secular Jewish men from Tel Aviv fight and even die to protect Israel, as do religious men, side by side. Because after one peels off the exterior layers, we are all one. All brothers and sisters. 

      To Jews here in Israel, "Just continue".  To our brothers and sisters still residing in the Exile, come home and join us.  Read the Tanach, see the promises G-d promised us, be His partner, and help pave the way to a better world. Because in the end, it will be G-d's rules that will be obeyed, and not man's.