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Tuesday, 10 April 2018

passover - I have an order

passover - pass over from order to goodness -
asking what is good instead of blind obidience

"My original thought was to ask the question how many soldiers would refuse to carry out that order today, and what the Court would do. On the one hand, the soldiers who refused the order acted in the tradition of the Hebrew midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh.  The midwives are an essential part of the Exodus story and I mention the every year in my “Haggadah Inserts.”  On the other hand, I thought that it is not feasible for an army to be based on every soldier judging every order, and not fair to compare even some of the orders that I see as immoral with intentionally shooting and killing those who are not posing a danger to anybody.
However, things have changed since last Friday.  (Not that there have been other somewhat comparable situations during the ensuing years.) I don’t pretend to know what actually happened on the Gaza border.  As a long time human rights activist, I know that we too must be very careful about running to draw conclusions, and the proper thing to do at this point is to demand a transparent independent Israeli investigation.  I hope that such an investigation will not only look at what happened last Friday, but also ask whether alternatives such as ending the Gaza closure might have prevented last Friday from taking place at all.   I do know that our Defense Minister seems to be saying that the army’s live fire orders include shooting to kill an unarmed person approaching the security fence, and will not change.  Our fellow human rights organization “B’Tselem is publicly reminding soldiers that they must disobey illegal orders, while Defense Minister Lieberman is calling B’Tselem’s action “sedition.”
We might be better off looking at what happens on a daily basis, and not at such an extreme and extraordinary case.  Those of you who follow me on facebook know that for the past several weeks (actually much longer) we (Torat Tzedek and Ta’ayush) have been intensively dealing with how the power of the Jewish State manifests itself in control over the lives of Palestinian shepherds in the Jordan Valley.  These aren’t the worst human rights violation we deal with.  It isn’t shoot to kill orders.  This isn’t villages with an immediate threat of being wiped out, such as Susya, Umm Al Hiran or Al Araqib. Arguably there is a  greater threat to Israelis living in poverty, and in need of a roof over their heads.  However what is awful in the case of the Jordan Valley is the banal, thoughtless normality and regularity of settlers instructing the army to issue non-security related closure orders for the sole purpose of keeping Palestinians out of what they have decided is their territory. A gun and an order allows soldiers to unquestioningly embitter the lives of Palestinian shepherds, and make it harder for them to earn a living.


Recognizing that maintaining a state and an army would be impossible if we were all midwives and Nakhshons, I would at least like to see more of us following the seder tradition of asking questions.  One of my favorite buttons that I wore as a college student was “Question Authority,” and every year in our freedom seders with asylum seekers we sing Bob Marley’s Redemption Song, “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery.  None but ourselves can free our minds.” We also need to emancipate the goodness and decency that I know is deep inside my fellow Israelis, even if sometimes it is hidden.
For us to truly free our minds and navigate the changes we must go through with self awareness, we ought to remember that our sages never intended the four questions to be the only questions we ask on seder night.  They were merely examples.  We must certainly ask “Ma Nishtana – What has changed.”  We should also be asking “Maduah histanah-Why have we changed,” “Ha’Im ha’shinuim tovim-Have the changes been good,” “Eikh anakhnu rotzim lhishtanot-How do we wish to change,” and “Eikh ani torem/et l’shinui sh’anakhnu rotzim?-How do I contribute to the change we desire.”  Seder night has passed, but on the seventh day of Passover we jump into the water."

Saturday, 7 April 2018

the great return march

the great return march:
killed for protesting for human right -
extensive information to know about
from jewish voice for peace.