Civil Blitzkrieg in Gaza

With all due respect to a very wise King Solomon, there is something new under the sun. It's the kind of upheaval that could have only been initiated by the insane decree of the most unwise among us.

Ellen W. Horowitz

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With all due respect to a very wise King Solomon, there is something new under the sun. It's the kind of upheaval that could have only been initiated by the insane decree of the most unwise among us. But you can be sure that it will be concluded in accordance with a stunning Divine plan. I call it "eclectic expulsion" or "potluck pinui" - anything and everything goes - but it's one tough cholent to swallow. Just take a look at the ingredients that unfolding events have conjured up for the individual, as well as the collective and traumatized, Jewish psyche.

There's a pinch of Holocaust and a generous touch of Tisha B'Av, with a sprinkling of Inquisition. A dash of Nazi, a lot of Roman and a hint of Judenrat (or was it classic collaboration with a bit of mediation?). We had rabbis refereeing in their orange emergency vests, while a few random individuals made a go at acts of zealotry for added color. Some heard Jeremiah and others Jabotinsky, and some Rabbi Kahane, Rabbi Kook or the Rebbe. There were extracts of Woodstock. A little love, a sort of rape, a lot of hugs and a few paintballs in between. There were those who marched in the spirit of Stalin, and those who actively evoked the passive restraint of Gandhi and Martin Luther King. And there was more than a bit of crazed Nero fiddling on the roof, while a very sound and sane Gush Katif went up in smoke. The members of those once-productive communities have now been relegated to refugee status.

You could almost see a very naked Emperor Ariel bow and submit to the more powerful American Caesar's declaration of, "Let the games begin." Our soldiers looked like storm troopers and the settlers like defiant rebels, but all watched as the would-be warriors morphed into rather reluctant, enslaved and disabled gladiators, performing for the world arena. Both sides engaged in a well-choreographed and civil (as in polite) rumble, knowing full well that the real enemy was looking on in utter glee, while sharpening his real swords for the real show to come (we got a preview of the fireworks in the form of a rocket attack very close to the airport and hotels of Eilat last Friday).

It was all so terribly humiliating, sad and revealing. It was like an anti-revelation. Everyone was present at the historic moment, and we heard the frightening sounds, but there was little to sing about - and too much to cry about.

However, we witnessed a miracle of sorts. In spite of the very best efforts of the media and government to delegitimize Israel's finest, and brand them as some type of demented and violent beast, the threat of civil war in Gaza was averted. This was not due to the compassionate soldiers (given the command, many would have wiped their tears and behaved differently), but because the residents of Gush Katif, for the most part, allowed themselves to be humbled and hugged to death - rather than risk violent civil strife.

It was a revelation, and I think by Shabbat, each and every one of us who had witnessed such unnecessary and unwarranted destruction, either in person or via the electronic media, had come to an understanding of just where we stand and what's at stake. But then, of course, there's always an erev rav (mixed multitude) who just never seem to get it.

There was no parting of the sea, but divisions have been made. By the end of Shabbat, Havdalah had taken on new meaning - lines had been drawn in divine fashion, as we prepared for another onslaught. By Saturday evening, the Arabs were firing rockets at Gush Katif, and Sharon's bulldozers and cranes were razing Jewish residents' homes and property.

Now, after the initial shock of this bizarre blitzkrieg is over, somehow I just can't picture the residents of Gush Katif hanging out on hotel lawn chairs or wallowing in makeshift refugee camps for very long (that style is far more suited to Arab sheiks and their Palestinian puppets); it's not the Jewish way.

Sharon made a very calculated, but mistaken, attempt to traumatize, depress and paralyze the strongest, most solid and productive sector of Israeli society. We must not let this happen. So, although there is a need to mourn with, recognize and assist the hundreds of families and individuals that are faced with a personal logistical nightmare, many of us will have to brush ourselves off in defiance, as we've got some fighting, rebuilding and planting to do. But, first and foremost, we've got a government to bring down.

[The writer is the author of the The Oslo Years: A Mother's Journal. The book is available through retailers listed at]