News & Call-In with Tamar Yonah
Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem. He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981.
Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History. He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes. He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.
I joined the Betar Zionist youth movement when I was 16. Among other things, my madrichim imbued us with a dislike of "hyphenated-Zionism". What did they mean by that term?
Well, all during the 1920's and 1930's Zionism after Herzl became divided up into conflicting loyalties. There were the Socialist-Zionists. There were the General-Zionists. There were the Cultural-Zionists. And there were the Religious-Zionists. Ze'ev Jabotinsky insisted that we must be monistic in our approach. There must be an over-riding, primary goal for all Zionists: the State that needs to be established. Afterwards we can argue about the content and character of that state.
Of course, that monistic concept, termed chad-nes (one flag) in Betar ideology, was misinterpreted by Jabotinsky's opponents and, in the end, his own party became known as the Revisionists-Zionists. And now, 60 years into statehood, we have the new Ehud Olmert brand of hyphenated Zionism: the Pay-As-You-Go Zionism.
About 12 years ago, Dedi Zucker and MK Anat Maor of Meretz adopted a Peace Now idea. Offer the revenant residents of Yesha money to pry them loose from their homes. Do it on a sliding scale. Those who leave immediately, get 100% compensation. Those who wait to see will receive, say 50%. And those that resist to the end and get thrown out of their homes receive 0%. Quite invidious those left-wingers.
The plan has been revived numerous times, most recently by Meretz MK Avshalom ("Abu-Vilan") Vilan from the Kibbutz Artzi Negba Kibbutz. MK Penis-Paz of Labour has jumped on and even Defense Minister Ehud Barak has started pushing the idea. PM Olmert has suggested it's still too early to discuss the matter.
National Union MK Uri Ariel is quite a logical person and so, he has suggested that if any bill is tabled for legislation regarding this early compensation theme, he will table one that will adopt the very same principles but apply them to Arabs. All's to be fair in politics. And if the Arabs have been complaining about discrimination and unfairness, well, now they have been equlaized with the Jewish population. No racism here.
That move was to be expected. However, my friend Gonen Ginat, former editor of the HaTzofeh news daily, published an article in which he struck out at the heart of Mr. Abu-Vilan's home turf. He is suggesting that the state of Israel start paying kibbutz members who are stuck in out-dated ideological frameworks of minor communism/major collectivism where the younger population has left and only the old, infirm and still ideological die-hard members are left. There are dozens of such kibbutzim (and, for sure, there are many that are quite successful, both financially and socially). There are other kibbutzim that are suffering daily Qassam attacks near Gaza. They are another category which could benefit from Ginat's scheme.
Of course, what this all boils down to is that with the peace process which began in 1992-93, the criteria is no longer the Zionist ethos, the security of Israel or even some sort of peace. It's the "New Middle East". Pay everyone off, Arabs and Jews, and we'll all be happy and satisfied. Set up industrial parks at the borders and all will participate. Problems? Pay. In Gush Katif, the greenhouses were bought for the Arabs - who promptly pillaged and burned them.
Now, some strange Jews with weird ideas think that they can buy off Jews from their homes. I imagine they will find a few dozen out of 280,000 Jews in Yesha (and another 300,00 in east Jerusalem neighborhoods) who will provide them with the headlines they need. But Zionism isn't a commercial venture. And those politicians who push such a line will lose their value very quickly.
While it is true that oil plays a major role in the scheme of Middle East politics, even blinding moral-based persons in American politics, we Jews, at this time of Chanukah, recall the other, better use for oil. The spirtual one. The one involving the Temple.
Have an enjoyable Holiday of Chanukah and, in my unique Hebrew-language fashion: חג מדליק!