Hendel does Israel

While I may no longer technically be in Israel, I have no intention of stopping who I am or what I am about. We all know the timeless Chabad teaching of "Mach Doh Eretz Yisael" - its very empowering. I'll let you know about my journey, my struggles and my dreams. JaHbless.

Friday, February 10, 2006

the blog is here to stay.

Here is a copy of a letter I put around yeshivah shul on shabbos.

I have been back from Israel for just two days, and many people have spoken to me and asked me questions about Amona. I find it quite disturbing how many people have taken sides with the media, and justified police actions against the protesters. However, what is more disturbing is how little people know about what really happened last week.

I am in the middle of writing a full account of the events in Amona, but it won’t be ready for a while. In the meantime, I feel a sense of urgency in shedding some light on the event.

First let me tell you about Amona.
Amona is a small village with about 40 residents and is located 30 minutes north of Jerusalem, in the Binyamin area. It is beautiful, surrounded by olive trees and rolling hills. In fact, the hill where HaShem showed Avraham Avinu all the land he was destined to inherit, is a few kilometres from Amona. Amona has a Shul, a Mikveh, a goat farm, two water towers, a kindergarten and a children’s playground. The people of Amona live in small caravans and were getting ready to move into their newly built houses, which now lie in ruins.

It is important to get the facts straight. I was there. I saw what happened with my own eyes. The media completely twisted the true events of Amona.


* The whole confrontation could have been avoided - if the police wanted it to. The police did not have to let all the protesters in to Amona (like in Gush Katif), nor did they have to say which day they were going to destroy the homes. People would not have camped out in Amona for more than a few days, the police could have come two weeks later, and destroyed Amona in the middle of the night. There would have been a small protest that could have been controlled in a peaceful way.

* The majority of people who came to Amona were under the age of eighteen and were not looking for a fight. The days leading up to the clash, were full of singing, dancing, learning Torah, simply hanging out and having a good time. It was more like a festival than a protest.

* The majority of protesters were sitting inside the houses when the police arrived, They were unarmed and had no intention of using violence. They were beaten for no reason, they pleaded for police to stop, but they refused.

* Contrary to media reports, the violence was not started by the settler youth. The first act of violence was by baton-swinging policeman mounted on horses, charging a crowd of people who were sitting on the ground and singing songs. Then, about 2000 police marched through a crowd, batons extended, smashing anyone and everyone in their way. They were followed by another 4000 police, all carrying wooden clubs or metal batons.

* The Torah demands a person to protect fellow Jews if they are in danger or being abused – even if the abuse is being carried out by a Jew. What would you do, if you saw your 15 year old daughter or sister, being beaten on the head with a metal baton? Just stand there? Give the policeman a hug and sympathise with him? Or, do anything in your power to stop him?

* No rocks were brought on the rooftops to throw at police. There were cinder blocks that were brought on to the roofs to hold down the barbwire around the perimeter of the roof. Only after seeing the police aggression against young kids, did some people (including myself) break the cinder blocks into small pieces and throw them at helmeted policeman, in order to stop them beating people. In one case we actually caused the police to retreat and rethink their strategy.

* No one anticipated the kind of violence that police used. By the end of the day, more than 200 protesters were seriously injured, the most severe being 15 year old boy who was beaten on his head, resulting in a coma from a fractured skull.

* The police did not intend on arresting anyone. They only brought two cars to transport prisoners. Out of 3000 protesters only 40 were arrested. Their intention was to ‘teach us a lesson’.

This protest was not about 9 houses, or Amona, or the entire West Bank for that matter. We knew, from the day we got there, that we would never be able to prevent the destruction of the houses. The government would bring in 100,000 police if it needed to. That is not why I or anyone else came to Amona.
We came to defend the Land of Israel. We came to make a Kidush HaShem (which I believe we did make). We came to protest against a secular Government who does not care about the Biblical (Torah) rights of Jewish people to live in the ENTIRE LAND OF ISRAEL.
We came to protest Gush Katif, where people hugged and cried with soldiers, earning the temporary sympathy of Israeli society. These people are now left without schools for their children, they are homeless, jobless, and have received zero compensation from the government.
We came to tell ourselves and the world that we will not remain silent and do nothing, as our brothers and sisters lives are being ruined, as the land of Israel is being destroyed and given away for political gain and as a victory for terror.

In Amona I protested and cried many tears. I cried for the Land. I cried for the wounded children. I cried for the policemen who have forgotten how to cry. I cried as I watched a young girl defiantly climb to the top of a huge bulldozer – only to be pulled down and beaten by three policemen swinging clubs. I cried for the man who spent his entire life savings ($100,000) on his home, only to see it turn to rubble in minutes. I cried after seeing policemen smile and laugh, despite being humiliated and being called Nazis. I saw a boy being beaten by a policeman. I kicked him, as hard as I could. I was beaten and dragged away.

Something happened to me at that moment. As I was being held down by two vicious policemen, my faced pressed into the gravel, my entire being became aware of something. This land is worth fighting for. It is real, and it is where I belong.

I will not forget, nor will I forgive.

Good Shabbos,

Moshe Feiglin


Blogger Dovid said...

Moish, while this letter is very good, nothing will melt some of the melbourne hearts i've encountered. Remember Gush katiff? While most of the community was behind the settlers, do you recall the vocal minority that laughed through the whole thing? hashem Yirachem!

2:15 PM  
Anonymous azov said...

Thank you for this letter! I sent it to a few friends- I hope that's OK. Waiting for your update...

9:05 AM  
Blogger subjewd said...

dovid - you are so right, i put a few copies in mizrachi and some people got angry and threw them out - but the general response in yeshivah was very good, people are simply unaware of what is going on...

azov, you are more then welcome to send it to friends, i have it as a word documented which has been edited and is free of typos, so if you give me your email adress i can send that to you as well...updates are a work in progress.

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

no heart in melbourne is made of stone... ice maybe...its solid as it comes, but with enough heat and passion it can be melted

9:12 PM  
Blogger subjewd said...

That is the point dovid was making when he said "melt some of the melbourne hearts"

the only way to melt hearts is with fire (inspiration) as long as there is apathy, hearts will continue to remain cold.

obviously, the fire I am talking about is the fire of chassidus, which, must be applied into a way that can reach and affect all people.

there is a small group of people commited, and already working ways to apply chassidus in an innovative way, to capture the hearts of the youth and ignite their souls and minds to seek beyond the material world.

10:50 PM  
Blogger the sabra said...

'i cried for the policemen who have forgotten how to cry'


i know the feeling. oh too well. and i remember shouting 'they are jews, not nazis. they have a neshama. you cannot judge them' as i was bein shlepped out.


baruch hashem i have chassidus

4:51 PM  

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