Saturday, December 23, 2006

The Betrayers of the Flame

- The future Prime Minister of Israel is covered in lice on the lower decks of a prison boat headed for Siberia. The criminal gangs control most of the boat, killing the political prisoners, taking their clothes and shoes. A dying Jewish Communist who was the former assistant editor of Pravda asks him to sing him a song he remembers before he dies. The Lashuv song. Lashuv El Eretz Avoteinu. To Return to the Land of Our Fathers. The Hatikvah.

- In a Soviet Gulag when men were dying of the forced labor and the cold, when food and warm clothing were more precious than gold and hope was gone, a prisoner sat translating a copy of Leon Uris' Exodus. It is a mediocre book and unknown to him others in the USSR are engaged in the same task. When the translation is done it will be smuggled out again and circulated among those Russian Jews desperate for their homeland. Their true homeland.

- It is 1944 and a young Jewish girl is crossing the border into Hungary. Before she crosses over she passes on a poem and then she is gone. She had come out of Israel off a Kibbutz to warn Hungarian Jews about the Nazi death camps, to help her mother and to join up with the resistance. Instead she is captured by the SS, tortured and executed. Before her death she goes on carving poems into the walls of her cell. The words of the poem she passed on at the border were once known by every Israeli schoolchild. They take the form of a blessing.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame. Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart

The story of Israel, the story of the Jewish people, is the story of the struggle between those who fought and died to keep that flame burning and the betrayers of the flame. It is the same battle we have been fighting for thousands of years. We are still fighting it today until we have at long last come face to face with the enemy in our own ranks that truly represents the nullification of the flame.

Our enemies today in the ranks of Kadima, among varieties of Judaism so liberalized it has thrown out everything but a handful of customs, among Jews to assimilated their only connection to Judaism is a pronounced distaste are not motivated by a fire of their own, by a burning passion for anything; but by a moral, religious and nationalistic vacuum. We are no longer fighting the left. We are not combating an ideology. We are fighting arrogant men and women devoid of ideology who have no beliefs beyond their own careers and wallets. What they do is not in the name of Marxism or Socialism, Fascism or any known ideology. They represent the corrupt breakdown of all values to the point of anarchy where nothing exists anymore but criminal conspiracies with no further end than power and greed and no thought or concern for the consequences and the future.

The dream is dying. The dream a hundred thousand matches kindled into a great flame is in danger of going out. There is no longer a leadership. There is no longer one way. Name any national movement and it has splintered into many fragments. From the students of Jabotinsky to Religious Zionism from the followers of Kahane to the Haredi parties to the Labor party, the Kibbutz movement and even Shinui itself. All that remains are many quarreling factions who often as not fight as each other more vigorously than they do anyone else. Everything has fragmented into chaos. No one leads. Everyone contends. The flame that burned in those three I named above and in so many others. The flame is going out and the Betrayers of the Flame are winning.

Today Israel and the Jewish people face a choice. It is not between left and right or between religious and irreligious, Sefardi and Ashkenazi or any of the ethnic, political and social strains tearing apart Israel. It is between the darkness and the flame. It is a choice between lighting the match that burns in us and holding it with others to form the flame that is the Jewish nation or to go off apart into the darkness of apathy, self-interest and greed that Kadima and the Betrayers of the Flame represent.

The movements that formed Israel, even the Labor Zionists, held a dream for which any sacrifice was worthwhile. Right or wrong they pursued that dream. The forces that have taken over Israel now are the anti-thesis of all forms of Zionism, of all forms of belief. They represent cynical greed and a lust for power. They feed Israelis disillusionment, convince them that only fools and fanatics like the settlers sacrifice for Zionism and that smart men are only out for themselves, out to grab as much as they can, to live the high life at anyone else's expense. Olmert and Peres and the rest of the followers are the perfect patron saints for such a poisoned worldview. They are men who climbed to power despite their incompetence, their corruption and utter lack of merits. They are professional careerists who always land on their feet and care for no one but themselves.

The men and women who struggled and sacrificed to build Israel left behind comfortable lives for the hardships of Israel. The men and women who have taken over now shovel their accomplishments into the rubbish heap while proclaiming with their actions and attitudes that the only worthwhile goal is a comfortable life. They lead the way in selling out their country, in selling out their friends and colleagues, selling out their parties and government positions; and encourage the rest of the country to follow their example leading the people into the lowest imaginable depths. They go to each man and say to him that the match that burns must be put out, the flame dampened and replaced with the dark abyss of complete unbelief in anything at all.

They have set up gods of gold and silver in foreign bank accounts and when they pray it is not to Jerusalem, but to Brussels, Washington D.C. and Rome. They are the new Yerovams cutting apart the nation not in the name of any belief or cause but in the name of their own power. In that name they destroyed Gush Katif. In that name they have waged war on religion in Israel. In that name they plan to destroy Yehuda and Shomron. And they will go on to destroy every shred of belief, every ideology from the left to the right, every part of Judaism, root and branch, and ground under every man and woman who still believe in something, in anything at all. Because belief is a candle and their way requires an utter darkness in which none can see or judge the evils that they do.

With each step on the road they have destroyed from within, undermined and corrupted the major political parties, the major nationalistic and religious movements. They have no opposition and they rule now. With each person they make complicit in their actions, with each policeman or soldier who plays a part in forcing Jews out of their home, with each voter who votes for a corrupt party because he believes it makes no difference anyway; they spread their darkness into more souls. They corrupt more and more Israelis, they deaden their hearts and sink low their souls into a well of apathy, disillusionment and despair. Their greatest victory is when people stop caring. When they believe in nothing and only look for personal gain.

Their war against the settlers is not only a means of destroying the strongest source of belief and Zionism remaining in the State, but to deaden the hearts of the Israeli public to the abuse of Jews and to make the military and the public complicit in their crimes so that they will have to excuse the crimes, to excuse themselves.

We stand now on the brink of an annihilation few can comprehend. Not merely the atom of Iran or the knives and bullets of the Palestinians. Those will come in time and do their work when all the flames are dimmed and the people of Israel are no more than a mob and every man's hand is raised against his neighbor and none stand together and all die together yet alone. While the former rulers of Kadima eat at expensive restaurants in Brussels and Rome, the blood of the people they have led into darkness will cover the streets of Haifa and Tel Aviv. When the ethos of Kadima fully rules Israel, when the people of Israel know no emotions beyond hatred, greed and fear, then they will have become beasts as the nations which surround them; and just as a man who descends to the level of an animal can no longer command it, they too will no longer be able to overcome them in war and they will be slaughtered.

As once was so will be again unless the matches are held together to form a flame. Unless a national movement forms driven by men who believe in something who are prepared not just to sacrifice for it but to stand together for a greater cause. Who care nothing for power or position. Who cannot be bought off with ministries and government cars. Who cannot be silenced with threats and warnings of civil war. There are many still who have the match lit in them but they lack leadership and direction and the Betrayers of the Flame, the enemy that rules now in Zion, picks them off one by one.

If we continue to focus on the pointless divisions that generate the infighting we will fail. If we continue to fight one another so that a handful of leaders and activists can retain their positions we will fail. If any further proof of that is needed the fall of second Bais Hamikdash is ample evidence of where we are headed. There is no virtue in being right while the Bais burns. There is only virtue in preserving it.

The greatest challenge we face now is not Kadima, it is ourselves. It is not giving in to the darkness, to the disillusionment and despair that has been fed to us over the last decade. It is not merely to reflexively and reactively oppose Kadima but to take the initiative back and to take the country back from a corrupt leadership of ministers, rabbanim and activists. We must recognize both that we can win and that we can lose. To believe that we can't win or that we can't lose is to give in to different kinds of apathy and inaction. Both lead to darkness, to an extinguishing of the flame.

As in Chanukah if we can relight the sacred flame we will win. If we cannot then the exile awaits.


ozarkyid said...

Sober, but inspiring. Yasher Koach!

Keliata said...

Outstanding article. Very eloquently written.

The girl's poem...I had to read it twice before the meaning of "Blessed is the match consumed" hit me. There were so many sacrifices to keep that flame kindled. May the flame never extinguish, May the hope never die.

chaim said...

WOW,this article has left me speechless ,it is beautifull,and oh so true,people of israel please rise up against this traitorous,and immoral
,crimmimaly insane government,before it is too late and you will find yourselves without a country god forbid

Sultan Knish said...


marallyn ben moshe said...

this is the most powerful piece i have read so far...anywhere...can i send it off to my list too? shavuah tov take my breath away...stay safe

Sultan Knish said...

of course you can and I would be very pleased if you did

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