Sunday, September 11

To Destroy or Not to Destroy the Gush Katif Synagogues

The issue of destroying the synagogues or not has become a hot potato. The cabinet backtracked on an earlier decision to destroy the synagogues and voted against the destruction by 14 - 2. This vote had exacerbated antagonism between Israel and the Palestinians and this resulted in the Palestinians boycotting the pullout ceremony from Gaza. There was a certain amount of surrealism in the modest pullout ceremony without the Palestinian presence. One would have expected a handing over ceremony of Gaza to the Palestinians with the raising of the Palestinian flag after the lowering of the Israeli flag. This symbolic ceremony could have caught the attention of the world and Israel's credibility may have received a few more points.

The synagogues in Gush Katif were a rallying place for extremist right wing views. Right wing rabbis have used these pulpits for spewing out zealotry views not very different in motivation to the extremist hate filled imams in many Gaza mosques. The content of the sermons between the two faiths may differ. Perhaps it is understandable that the Palestinians would like to see the end of all vestiges of settlers in their areas.

The settlers in the Gaza strip had it good in the midst of a sea of poverty stricken Palestinians. The settlers had made full use of Palestinian cheap labor for working their agricultural projects. Right wing rabbis never mentioned increasing Palestinian worker's salaries and improving their social conditions. There was great emphasis on the right of the settlers to colonize Palestinian territory. The basis for this was the Torah in its extreme interpretation. The Gush Katif synagogues became symbols of oppression and racism. Here the affluent settlers would make peace with their belief in God and then return to their palatial homes at the end of the day. These homes were the result of generous Israeli Governmental aid at the taxpayer's expense. There were islands of affluent settlers amidst a tragic sea of poverty stricken Palestinians who are weak economically. This in itself is grist for the mill of dissatisfaction amongst the Palestinian population whose offspring have no future. This frustration amongst the Palestinians is also a factor in terrorism and hate for Israel.

The settlers had not done anything to improve the lot of the Palestinians in their midst. It paid them to keep them impoverished and dependent on them for work at starvation wages.

Israel, itself has not done justice to her own workforce within the green line as far as salaries are concerned. Promotions in many jobs are slow. Many people are employed at minimum wages. This is far worse in the Arab sector, not to mention the shocking wages and inhuman treatment meted out to the Palestinians.

At the end of the day, the Gush Katif Synagogues, a breeding ground for zealotry and racism is symbolic of an intolerant, self righteous, perverted mutant of Judaism. Unfortunately, the government had voted against the destruction of these synagogues, which are a negative blot on Jewish history. Houses of worship that are hot beds of extremism and hate (and this applies to all faiths) ought to be treated with the contempt that they deserve. They do not serve the intended purpose of their respective faiths, which claim to be tolerant towards all, irrespective of race, color or creed.

2 comments:

zac said...

Israel had occupied Gaza and encouraged
settlement. The building of synagogues was another
symbol of the occupation no matter how one views it. The razing of
the synagogues - while it is objectionable, it is also understandable
if one views this solely as a symbol of occupation.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque has been in Jerusalem for many hundreds of years
as well as the Church of Nativity. The legitimacy of these places is
unquestionable within this context and even the thought of destroying
these places of worship is absurd.

The Gaza synagogues are a different matter. The synagogues were built
by settlers in areas that were Palestinian lands. They were never
part of the Gaza landscape until the settlers arrived. This in itself
does not give them legitimacy. It is like occupying somebody else's
land and illegally building a home there.

By the way, I am for religious freedom and do NOT support cutting
off "peyot" of the ultra-Orthodox. I support their right to lead
their lives as they see fit as long as they do not interfere with
those who do not hold their beliefs. I also find Tommy Lapid's views
on the ultra-Orthodox obscene and divisive.

There are enough places under the sun for everybody. While I do find
the Friday sermons of many Moslem preachers in Gaza as being disgusting, racist, filled with exaggerated untruths and fantasies. These imams are within their own
areas and are not in the category of occupation as disgusting as they
are in their hate for Jews.

Mosques in this part of the world have been an unquestionable part of
the Middle East for centuries. The thought of destroying them is
outlandish and is against the principles of religious freedom.
The destruction of houses of worship of any religion is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Your opinion regarding the destruction of the shules in Gaza is incredibly racist.
You would like to see synagogues destroyed? Do you have any idea what you are advocating?
Maybe you think it a good idea if all synagogues were destroyed.
Why do you write AGAINST your own people?
Why do you blame your own people for the problems?
Jews are a peaceful nation, we don't want any problems. We just want to live in peace in our own land.
Why don't you rant and rave about the rich Arab Sheiks, who own castles made of gold and silver, and cannot afford to let their own people, the Palestinians, have some land.
Instead, they try to take ours away.