The Answer Was No! The Rest is History
The Answer Was No! The Rest is History

There are so many other events about which one ought to write. So much is happening on a daily, hourly basis, the typing fingers can’t possibly keep pace with the rush of minute and major episodes shaking the world. Slaughter in Norway, unrelenting turmoil in the Middle East, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, revolutions and the threat of a nuclear apocalypse emanating from the maniacal regime in Iran, are enough to boggle the mind.

It would be practically impossible to express an educated opinion about what one thinks is most important or vital for the public to know or understand. Each on its own and collectively are determining both the present and the immediate future. Which subject is uppermost in my mind?

It’s on the horizon; the sixth anniversary of the expulsion from Gaza is within a few days. And every year since that destruction, I make it a point, an important priority, to watch once again. Lest the memory begin to fade, I immerse myself into re-viewing the many video-clips which recorded that awful and painful time of one of the more poignant and painful  expulsion of Jews and the destruction of their homes.

I watched beautiful towns which were laid to waste and witnessed, again, how synagogues of exquisite architectural design were torn apart by the wreckers’ ball. In front of my eyes danced the images of ten thousand men, women and children, the old, the lame and the infirm as they were expelled by force. The memories of the not-so-long-ago past so vividly recreated in the never-to-be-forgotten scenes of anxiety and pain. The crying, the desperate, last-minute pleading…....the echoes still ring loud.

And I watched and listened, again, as I do every year, to the most heart-rending video of all, the last prayer in Neveh Dekalim’s soon-to-be-destroyed, beautiful synagogue. The electricity in the air was unbearable; the tears and fervent supplication to the One Above was simply extraordinary. A surrealistic vision, a scene that can never be duplicated is recorded for eternal posterity. ‘Tefilat HaBanot,’ they dubbed it, the Girls’ Prayer, by hundreds of girls and women. They beseeched G-d for a miracle, for a reprieve.

The walls shook from the intensity. The heat of prayer that was generated, threatened to burn everything around. ‘Tefilah Le’oni’……their eyes shut tight as if to banish the inevitable, the unavoidable, scene of their own expulsion by their own brothers and sisters. An army – a Jewish army – ordered and arrayed to dislodge, to destroy and to expel.

‘Please, G-d!’, they beseeched with fervor which almost certainly will never be duplicated. ‘Listen to my prayers, do not hide Your face from me.….’ The imploring voices raised in unison threatened to rip the roof over their heads.

Even the non-religious newsmen, TV camera-men and reporters, male and female soldiers, stood frozen in sheer awe at the enormity of the surrealistic scene as the  girls’ fervor knew no bounds. Many soldiers shed a tear or two, others were crying like children. And all this time, the girls paid no heed, but raised their voices in a unified voice of supplication..

The voices have long died down and those expelled have long accepted their fate. The media has long forgotten and the routine of life in Israel has long ago returned to its standard form of bickering and delusion. Peace is further today than it was a day before the expulsion.

Where are those girls? Where has life led them? How did they survive the incomprehensible emotional upheaval? The echo of their prayer reverberates through every Jewish soul. It robs one of sleep, pounds loudly in the heart which bled for those girls, for the entire Gush Katif community, for all of us.

The answer was No! The rest is history.