IDF soldiers at Joseph's Tomb
IDF soldiers at Joseph's TombYaakov Naumi/Flash 90

Retired IDF General Gadi Shami (former head of Judea and Samaria command ) reacted to the recurring Arab attacks on Jewish worshippers at the ancient holy site of Joseph's tomb in the biblical city of Shechem. He said, "the entire Joseph tomb is a mistake" not the identification of the sitie, but holding on to it.

Another former head of the Judea and Samaria command, now an MK, once IDF General, Yair Golan called the tomb a "hallucination"

These generals see no reason for Jews to visit the ancient holy place, a landmark that no other people can boast of.

To them, it makes no sense to anger our enemies over a pile of old stones.

These are very practical military people. What does national pride or faith have to do with "reality"?

I wonder, which "reality" ware their grandparents thinking of when they decided to fulfill a people's dream of two thousand years and come to this land of old stones?

Were they practical like them or were they illusionary?

If they knew that their offspring would have to defend the stones of this land would they have been puzzled or proud?

What, for these generals, does it make sense to defend?

Which part of our tiny beloved land is worth defending, and which stones are worth arousing the ire of our enemies?

Which part of our land is not a "hallucination"

These generals will insist that retreating from Gush Katif made sense and the same from the security zone( abandoning our Lebanese allies there) in southern Lebanon.

They will assert that tens of thousands of rockets shot at us since our withdrawal and many more poised for the certain next attack is an improvement.

The same generals will explain how it was a good move - no. a brilliant one, to bring Yassar Arafat from his exile to the heart of our land, hand over large portions of it to him, create a government for him and lavishly arm his terrorists so they would "protect us from the really bad guys." That was the plan.

That also worked out well, they will tell you.

What are some ancient stones worth when you can buy a promise of some quiet from Yassar Arafat?

Our generals had very authoritative and respected leaders to learn from.

Shimon Peres belittled the importance of land in an era of technology and a chance for peace. He said the days of infantry soldiers were over and that strategic depth was meaningless.

He also dismissed the importance of history. His vision of Israel was to be a Singapore. Old stones don't make money or win friends.

Yitzchak Rabin announced that the bible is a book of real estate and he will decide what to do with it.

These statesmen and generals have much in common.

They are too sophisticated to feel emotion or allegiance to "old stones"

They certainly don't believe they are worth upsetting our neighbors.

When I first moved to Israel I had a conversation with a cousin of mine who was born here. He is a very nice, accomplished man. He is not "religious".

We had the typical political discussion;" land for peace", etc.

He said something that shocked me at the time but today I understand.

He said that he did not care who controls Kotel. He did not want to fight over a few stones.

His mother came from Europe in the early twentieth century to a land of only stones and swamps. She was happy to sacrifice for it.

What, for people like my cousin, I wonder, is worth fighting for


I don't think I said it at the time but, if I ask myself why I left NY for Israel? It was about these stones.

It wasn't for democracy or any material blandishments that I missed in NY

Why else would I have come?

The statesmen and generals of Israel today can not understand why anyone would come to Israel from NY.

Ask the millions of former Israelis who left the old stones for NY, Berlin, and Portugal.

The love of the promised land and its stones that brought their grandparents home was not transmitted to their grandchildren.


Because the Jewish people are not people without Torah.

Because there is no Jewish land without Torah

Because there is no Jewish state without Torah.

The most professional soldiers and best equipment can not prevent Jews from hiding from our enemies in bunkers and behind walls. It does not prevent millions of Israelis from fleeing.

It does not prevent them from leaving Israel for NY, Berlin, and Portugal

Other Jews leave those places for the "old stones" of our beloved, promised land and a visit to Joseph's tomb is why they came.

We are witnessing an amazing prophetic process that is determining just what is the land of Israel and who will be "the children of Israel"

Shalom Pollack is a veteran tour guide and author of Jews, Israelis and Arabs, who says: "I have the oppportunity to observe many sides of our beloved country. As a Jew who has come home, I am passionate about sharing my observations and thoughts." He can be reached at [email protected]