Land of our fathers

By Sarah Honig


If the Jewish people ever - Heaven forfend - lose their state, it

would only be because they forgot that it was the Jewish state.


It's no longer bon ton even among diehard members of the National Camp

to stress the historic tie between Jews and the land in which they

re-proclaimed their independence - the land in which that original

independence first emerged.


For any normal nation, that tie would be an ever-resounding theme. For

us it's hackneyed and benighted. I once witnessed Romanian and

Hungarian journalists facing off passionately on which of their

respective ancestors initially appeared on which stretch of

Transylvania. The assumption was that the earlier migrant deserves the

title deed.


Arabs spuriously stake precisely these claims, though even a dabbler

in history knows they are latecomers. We, in extreme post-modernist

conceit, put ourselves above such argumentation. Indeed trendy

post-Zionists often buy into skewed Arab perceptions with undisguised

relish. Nevertheless, they bristle with intolerance and abuse if

fellow Jews dare mention we have dibs here, that our national

character was forged here (as distinguished from all others - from any

temporary sojourners and/or conquerors of this land) and that in

modern times we made barren Eretz Yisrael the attractive national

domicile it had become.


Talking about Jewish rights is uncool, which perhaps is why most of us

prefer pragmatic security-oriented parlance. Yet worthy and cogent

though the latter may be, exclusive reliance on it implies that we

only seek means to further entrench ourselves in usurped property.


In contrast, Hamas chieftain Ismail Haniyeh recently vowed "never to

relinquish the land of our fathers." His brazen sham should have sent

us shouting to high heaven. Haniyeh's words were geared to taunt us

and rub our noses in our own ideological decline.


Ardent "land-of-our-fathers" terminology fuelled Zionist zeal, and was

the bedrock of Jewish aspirations for two millennia, but nowadays "New

Historians" disapprove of unenlightened emotional attachments by Jews.

Hence while aggrieved "native" Haniyeh fights to regain the "legacy of

his forebears," we carp about border arrangements. We seem like

mediocre bureaucrats clutching as much as we can of our ill-gotten gains.


The ironic tragedy of course is that this is our homeland. Since Golda

Meir there hasn't been an Israeli leader with the intestinal fortitude

to remind the world that "Palestine isn't any nation, but a Roman name

specifically invented to humiliate defeated Jews." There's just as

much substance to that degrading appellation as there is to the

moniker the Romans coined for Jerusalem: Aelia Capitolina.


Golda was the last one to stress that "the Arabs only learned the name

from the British in 1918 and couldn't even pronounce it correctly at

that, distorting it into Falastin."


Every itinerant foreign Arab laborer drawn to this country by the Zionist endeavor up to 1946 was entitled to indigenous Palestinian refugee status by 1948, even if he resided here for less than two years!


HAD OUR instincts not been dulled by post-modernist relativism and

self-destructive revised narratives, our collective blood should have

boiled at the suggestion that our government gave an obsequious green

light for the Jordanian construction of a fifth minaret on the Temple



Isn't it ignominious enough that Jews are barred from their Holiest of Holies?


Under our aegis, the Mount's Solomon's Stables area was turned into

yet another mosque.


This illegal construction was accompanied by wanton and rampant devastation of unparalleled antiquities.


The remains of our most sacred site were dumped as so much refuse down the

slope. Israeli archeologists now sift through the debris in a desperate effort to salvage something from ruin wrought under supposed Jewish sovereignty.


Is there no limit to dishonor?


Perhaps not. Perhaps we deserve Dr. Hassan Khader's repeatedly

rebroadcast lecture on official Palestinian TV asserting that "Jews

have no historic connection" to the Western Wall or the Temple Mount,

that the Wall is a Muslim shrine named after Muhammad's horse

(al-Burak), that Jews treacherously contrived a spurious association

to the Wall only as recently as Ottoman times.


Khader additionally praised the "revolutions" launched by his

compatriots to "defend" the Wall and Mount from "Jewish predations,"

including the infamous 1929 riots in which numerous Jews were

butchered countrywide, and in the framework of which the bloody Hebron

Massacre was perpetrated.


People without pride have no memory and fail to realize that the

glorification of past slaughter constitutes incitement to the next.


By failing to uphold the justice of our case, we forfeit our future

security - everywhere.


On Rosh Hashana police beat up and detained a youth for blowing a

shofar at the Wall, because Arab neighbors complained. Shades of the

British Mandate.


On Simhat Torah the hesder yeshiva in Acre was besieged by hostile

Arabs and the traditional procession could not go forth. The yeshiva

head was knocked to the ground, punched in the face and kicked as he

lay on the pavement. Other Jewish worshipers were wounded. The police

failed to arrest knife-wielding Israeli Arabs.


The aim in Acre is unabashed - to rid at least parts of town of any

Jewish presence.


It's little better in Jaffa, where throughout Ramadan gangs of local

Arab youths attacked synagogues, stoned them and beat Jews who dared

venture out. Succot booths were burned and firecrackers tossed into

synagogues during Simhat Torah.


Our struggle for survival in this land doesn't merely hinge on border

demarcation technicalities or on territorial concessions. Pernicious

lack of conviction parading as pseudo-sophistication undercuts our

hold in every nook, on either side of the Green Line within what we

shy from affirming as the land of our fathers.

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