Friday, February 18, 2011

The Disengagement and Divine Retribution

More See Retribution for Disengagement Doers by David Yisraeli, Chabad Info

While right-wing activists have been warning for years of the downfall of all public leaders associated with the expulsion of Gaza's Jewish population, the ultra-Orthodox seemed less inclined to see the connection. However, public opinion has changed with a clear pattern being formed, as one leader after another suddenly and inexplicably disappears from public life.

13 Adar-I 5771 (17.02.2011)
Articles and op-eds by many right-wing organizations opposing Israel's disengagement are unsurprising. Even the occasional harsh rhetoric against leaders who subscribed to the notion of pulling out thousands of Jews from their decades-old homes seemed natural.

Sometimes, these pundits went so far as to connect the career short stops of many Israeli leaders. This style of commentary was uncommon, and left for the most radical.

It seems that the ultra-Orthodox community, that basically ignored the plight of Gaza's Jewry, is now recanting their original perspective. And they are beginning their trek by lashing out at the perpetrators of the evacuation plan.

In the author's own words:

"No matter how you look at it, in recent years a coup has taken place. Yes, a revolution similar to that in Egypt. But there's one difference: Here (in Israel) it was done quietly, gradually and even legally.

"In just a few years all positions of government were either replaced, impeached or simply left office: two prime ministers, chief of staff, chief commissioner and senior ministers.

"The common characteristic in all these instances was a career cut short unexpectedly. A second common factor is that all the demoted officials had a part in the disengagement plan."

Although the religious community ignored the detriment of the dire path, down which Israel's leaders were dragging the nation, apparently the ultra-Orthodox believe in the lessons taught. It's too bad that their own spiritual leaders didn't heed the warning of the Torah. Like many issues brought before the insular, and self-isolating Chareidi community in Israel, it seems that their realizations on the correct path come a little too late.

The article from the Hamevaser newspaper (free translation):

It started some years ago, as what seemed a mere hype. Perhaps a little disturbing.

Some determined people raised their voices claiming to know the secret cord connecting the implementation of the Gaza pullout plan and the political blows landing on countless Israeli leaders. Reluctance from mainstream media was clearly expected. No one can know what's to happen.

Purporting to determine "a price tag" for ones involvement in the disengagement plan, is not our place.

These voices began emerging with the sudden exit of the "father of the disengagement," Ariel Sharon, from the political scene. An unexpected decline in his health, and since then, silence. It is a tragedy. A prime minister at the height of his career and popularity is wiped off, in an instant, from being relevant. However, Sharon's disappearance can be attributed to natural causes. He was not a young man and his health was certainly not up to par.

After this, the stream turned into floods. The 'cases' began to proliferate, spinning many twists, making front page colored headlines. All these instances were isolated, with nothing connecting them. Only the 'knowers' continued to cry out, to explain and to prove.

Now this hum of untraditional political elucidation became louder. Now, everyone was beginning to hear their message. Even without drawing any conclusions, the picture reality was painting was nothing but chilling.

No matter how you look at it, in recent years a coup has taken place. Yes, a revolution similar to that in Egypt. But there's one difference: Here (in Israel) it was done quietly, gradually and even legally.

In just a few years all positions of government were either replaced, impeached or simply left office: two prime ministers, chief of staff, chief commissioner and senior ministers.

The common characteristic in all these instances was a career cut short unexpectedly. A second common factor is that all the demoted officials had a part in the disengagement plan.

Then came the second stage. Executives seeking to advance and surpass previously reached vertices. They are all talented, highly experienced and well known. Their upward path is seemingly guaranteed. But it seems that they carry a destructive genetic code. They were at the disengagement. And, just when they learn of a possible appointment, and nearly reach to the top of their career's summit, an unexpected blow comes from an unknown place that casts them down, lower than their original stature. The careers end with their reputations tarnished for good.

This was the case with the last appointment for chief of staff Yoav Galant - he was one of the most celebrated officers in the nation, having fought bravely to defend his nation, returning with a crown of victory. Just before his career met its climax, a minor argument with neighbors concerning the location of the fence in is driveway, erected a Wall of China in front of his dreams of career advancement. He leaves the scene, degraded and humiliated.

And then the realization hits you. Yoav Galant served at the military secretary of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from 2002, after which he was promoted to major general. During his tenure, the preparation and execution of the disengagement plan took place. This is no longer a coincidence.

It's a giant puzzle, made up of many pieces, that makes up one big picture. You can ignore it, divert attention away from it, but it won't go away. It's there. It exists.

These thoughts began to bother me last week.

I went to speak to a friend whose logical style rejects any of the prejudices and hateful rhetoric which are common amongst many analysts. I showed him the Galant story, and the scores of others who partook in the disengagement, having been removed from public office in utter disgrace, amid degrading red newspaper headlines.

As I expected, he exhibited skepticism. He spent some time to find a decisive argument to dispel my train of thought.

And then he said: "What about Yai Naveh? He is going to be the temporary chief of staff. That's what Barak and Netanyahu agreed!"

I quickly reviewed the records. Naveh served as the commander at the Central Command, actually executing the disengagement. What's more, he ran the notorious Amonah evacuation which is remembered for its police brutality, apparently upon the orders of the army hierarchy.

My tower of reason, built upon this theory of retribution, was on the brink of collapse.

I did not give up. I countered my friend's argument. "If it happens that even as an interim chief of staff he is rejected, will you agree that there is something?"

He agreed. Perhaps because he knew, as well as I did, that Naveh's appointment was finalized from all perspectives. His name had already been announced in all the newspapers. Barak and Netanyahu wouldn't risk it again.

But then on Saturday night, the news was aired on Israeli television and radio: Naveh's appointment has been revoked.

Gantz is to replace him, as the permanent chief of staff. If you're interested in the facts, (he) served as a commander in the Northern Command, holding no responsibility for the disengagement plan.

Source: Chabad Info


Leah said...

Very nice work, Devorah. I just got off the phone with a friend and we were saying that while only Hashem knows truly, a person would still have to be in a state of denial not to find some connection. Coincedence is Hashem's way of staying anonymous.

Moriah said...

As I often state to my husband in regard to the rationalists among us: Divine retribution is not something that only existed thousands of years ago for our ancient ancestors. If G-d is not a man and the Torah is eternal and applicable throughout the lifespan of His world then so is His retribution.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

So, nu? When do the 2 UTJ Chareidi enablers of the Sharon government do public teshuvah for their crime of indecency? Is not human decency kadmah to the Torah? I will not even mention their names, for I am composing a letter right now to one of them to do just that before the bombing of Ashkelon, Ashdod, Tel Aviv, and yes Bnai Brak begins precisely from the same place where four yishuvim in Northern Gaza once existed! On top of this, both of these two icons of Ashkenazi Chareidim have hundreds of thousands of followers in America and throughout the world who hang on to their every word. Because their "gedolim" enabled Sharon to commit this evil travesty, many assumed that their Gedolim supported the Disengagement. I personally know of at least two Yeshivah students and one Rav who have expressed that sentiment to me. Most of their followers throughout the world simply did nothing because their Gedolim did nothing. There were no all night learning sedarim for the people of Gaza and the Northern Shomron to win Divine favor to stop the evacuation. Even when 600,000 Jews tried to show up at the Kotel just days before the evacuation to ask for Divine Mercy, one of the two gents issued a ruling that no one from the Litvak Yeshivah world could participate in this outpouring of public prayer because there would be too much danger of coming into close proximity with women because of the packed nature of the crowd that was there. Why did not the gent consider a satellite link from his yeshivot to the event so that Klal Yisrael could daven as one? The human indecency of this affair boggles the mind. Not only were 10,000 people pulled from their homes without compensation for almost a full year after the Disengagement, but at least 200,000 people were placed into range of more accurate and longer range missiles that Hamas and Islamic Jihad would easily get from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. All of this was known before the evacuation and was totally predictable. No wonder that the Targum Yonatan specifically mentions this Disengagement in his illustrious commentary from 2000 years ago about the last day of Moshe Rabbeinu's life and what he saw from Mt. Nevo! The foundation of the Torah, human decency, is rotting away. The Torah of anyone who did nothing to stop this or even worse enabled it to happen is skewed because the foundation has given way! Oy, mah haya lanu!! The Achronic Era of Gedolim has obviously ended with the passing of Rav Moshe Feinstein ztl, Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ztl, and the 7th Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rav Menachem Mendel Schneerson ztl. This travesty would simply have not occurred during their collective lifetimes.

I pray that my letter has an impact because Divine Mercy from teshuvah for this Crime will ameliorate what will happen when the War begins. But time is short because no one in galut who was influenced to do nothing at the time can simply shrug off what they could have done but did not do. So I publish this for them, for everyone during this year of Hoshana Rabbah must do teshuvah before the end of the year.

Devorah said...

A public teshuvah - now that would be something! I can't remember hearing about anyone doing a public teshuvah, although I keep reading about people going to jail, breaking the law, protesting their innocence.... but no teshuva.

It seems teshuva is just for the "little" people these days - but we all know that in the world of truth, the little people are really the big people....

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Actually Rav Ovadia Yosef publicly distanced himself from his own support for Oslo and Wye in early 2003 during the height of the Al Aksa Intafada. See here:

So there is at least a precedent for a true Gadol to admit that he was wrong.

Leah said...

Dov Bar-Leib,I believe your letter will have impact on Divine mercy. It comes from a holy place. Your intentions are just and I believe they will not be overlooked.
I base my opinion on the conerse. If standing idly by will surely bring spiritual problems to Klal Yisroel then surely a Jew must think that doing somthing just (in this case, your words) will bring about mercy from Hashem.

Anonymous said...

from Ben:

Perhaps what appears as Divine Retribution is not to the political act of Gush Katif, but to the civil acts of politicians and military and, etc. "pursuing" (being rodef) innocent people, stealing property (without proper compensation), trying to break their spirits etc.

Perhaps since "Jews are all responsible for each other", instead of pointing fingers at others, perhaps if we prayed better, or did personal tshuva, such a thing would not have happened. Our job is to examine ourselves, not look at everyone else under a microscope.

And since "the hearts of kings and high public officials are in Hashem's hands" we know it was Hashem's wish that this happen. May we all, individually and together do proper tshuva, so there will not be any more
difficult decrees coming onto our nation. And may we help bring the final redemption, may it come soon in our days, Amen

Dov Bar-Leib said...

First half:

Of course Ben we all have to do teshuvah for all of our own sins. But the Crime committed here was a grave one. To say that it was a Decree from G-d that could not have been prevented by certain UTJ Rabbis who joined in for their own reasons is simply not true. In January of 2003 Ariel Sharon won a resounding victory over Amram Mitzna promising that there would be no uniltateral withdrawals from Gaza. He said in the campaign that "Netzarim (in Central Gaza) was no different than Tel Aviv." He doubled Mitzna'a Labour Party seat total in the election (38-19) primarily over that issue. Sharansky's Israel B'Aliyah took his two seats and gave them to Likud because he supported Sharon on the issue of no unilateral withdrawals. This gave Sharon a 40 seat plurality. Tommy Lapid's Shinui Party received 15 seats because of his visceral hatred for G-d which has a certain amount of support amongst secular Ashkenazim and for his support of civil marriage for Russian gentiles. Lapid had no position on Gaza, and therefore his success in 2003 can only be covered in a separate article about why one out of every 8 to 10 Jews, mostly secular Ashkenazim, has a visceral hatred for G-d. In two years what changed? Nothing and that is exactly the point. In May of 2004, Sharon's own Likud party rejected the Disengagement Plan by over 60% which is cloture in the US Senate and should have ended it for good. But no, Sharon pushed ahead. In December of 2004 Lapid quit the coalition in an argument with Sharon that everyone knew at the time was impossible to repair. Sharon himself admitted that if he could not get Labour and either UTJ or Shas to join his fractured Likud Party that there would have to be new elections. Thirteen members of his own party would not have voted for his new government out of loyalty to the previous May's referendum results. The other Likud Party hacks either treasured their Ministerial posts, were afraid of censure from Sharon, or actually agreed with the less than 40% of the rank and file and supported the unilateral withdrawal.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Second half:

So do the math yourself. 27 Likud seats plus 19 Labour seats plus 2 One Nation seats plus 6 Meretz seats (yes Meretz voted for Sharon's new government in Jan. 2005) plus four of five UTJ seats. Meir Porush abstained, G-d Bless him, for he knew that the decision of UTJ to join was wrong. That is 58 seats for a Disengagement Coalition and 56 against with six abstentions! He did not even have an outright majority. By the way, UTJ's Moetzeth Gedolei HaTorah was not much better. The vote there was 6 to join, 2 against, and eight abstentions. An outright majority is of course "Rov", but that is nine votes out of 16 not six votes. Is this a decision decided by Rov? Of course not! So should not the one who made the decision to join explain his reason for doing so even though he did not have the support of Rov on his Moetzah? I realize there were hungry Melamdim and Avreichim who needed sustenance for the three month period until new elections would have ended the horror. Then no one would have blamed him for joining the next government for his hungry flock. I am sure if an open appeal had gone out to the country's observant population to support these hungry people for three months through Rav Mordechai Eliyahu ztl or Rav Avraham Shapira ztl or Rav Ovadiah Yosef shlita or Rav Eliezer Berland shlita, the response would have been overwhelming! And to not announce the reason for joining to half a million followers throughout the world with a plea to do whatever they could to stop the insanity, this simply doubled the wrong that was done. We are not a nation that believes in pre-destination. Yes, the hearts of kings are in the Hands of G-d, but the king is still held accountable for his moral failings. The entire Southern coast of Israel is even now under threat from direct and accurate missile attack from the places in Northern Gaza that were evacuated. This was totally predicted up to a year before the Disengagement. The dismantling of the Philadelphi Corridor within a year of the Disengagement was also very predictable because the Western anchor, Gush Katif was gone. Derekh HaTeva we all are hurting because of this immoral decision. We are therefore depending upon a miracle to save us which we are forbidden to do if G-d gives a path to avoid depending on a miracle. At least four yeshivot alone were destroyed in Gush Katif. Excuse me if there were more, but the point is that destroying Torah in one place to buttress it in another is also immoral. In short, Ben, I fail to see your point.

Ben said...

Sorry Dov,

If you reread your own posts, they are too much into politics and not enough into hashgocha proteus.

Everyone knows that yemach shmo, the German leader in the second world war, had successes for a while, above the order of nature.

The "disengagement" similarly. For whatever reason, even though I do not support any political party, I do not believe that it is fair to blame the party you choose to blame. The disengagement was done, it was clearly a challenge we were given from up above; it is up to us what we do next.

To explain it in political terms and not in hashgocha terms will not help us. Looking for scapegoats will not help us.

What will help us? Rabbi Nachman of Breslov was once asked why his great grandfather, the Baal Shem Tov, held his daughter Udel in such high esteem. He answered, because she always went through life asking "what does Hashem want me to do ... right now".

That is our task. For me, for you, for everyone without exception, including politicians and Rabbis of all persuasions.

Dov Bar-Leib said...

Thank you Ben. Now I understand what you are saying. I have work and kids and all the pleasures of dealing with both of them. And then of course there are shiurim and a Chevrutah after the kids have gone to bed. Besides that, "What does HaShem want me to do...right now?" I believe it is to write that letter asking the scholar in question to do teshuvah for enabling the Disengagement. As those missile emplacements in Northern Gaza are quickly replaced with the most modern and accurate of Persia's arsenal by way of the Muslim Brotherhood, I believe his teshuvah would be the single greatest deed that could ameliorate the upcoming agony of that which will be keenly felt by every Jew in this country. When and if the rubble bounces in Tel Aviv (and maybe even Bnei Brak), G-d forbid but it may happen, people will flee for safety to Yesha, for few if any bombs will fall here. During this process appropriate lessons will be learned about selling out one's fellow Jew for personal gain. Yet, once Tel Aviv shuts down, foodstuffs and every other product imaginable will be in short supply throughout the country as the nation's transportation hub shuts down. Electricity and water may also be cut off. We really do not know how serious this will get because Tel Aviv has not been bombed since 1948. In the short run we will be wrung through the wringer. So such a letter to the Rav is an urgent matter. An open apology to the refugees from Gaza and to everyone who has been placed in immediate danger from accurate and longer range missiles will reap untold benefit from our Merciful Father.

I often wonder why some of the most selfless of our citizens are made to suffer so that these lessons can be learned by all. At the time of the Disengagement, I even heard a Mekubal say that many or most of the residents of Gush Katif were gilgulim of the Sicarii who destoyed the grain supply of Yerushalayim at the beginning of the Roman siege in 66 ce. Since the Sicarii could care less about the untold suffering that the general population experienced as a result of the growing hunger in the City, so it is with the Disengagement when the refugees went through untold suffering because of it, very few cared. What a soul correction it was! Even if this is the case, and I am not saying either way, are the ones who cause the misery off the hook? Of course not. At the end of Sefer Shmuel, King David took a census. He was overcome with an evil spirit to do so, but when he did it, he took the blame all on himself and did not blame it on the Ruach Ra (evil spirit). Nor did he blame it on the people who would die from being counted, that they deserved to die. Because of his census 70,000 men died. The text does not tell us how many women and children died too. The point it that through hashgacha pratis, 70,000 men deserved to die. They were going to die anyway by other means if the census had not occurred. But David took the blame on himself and desired to do teshuvah. From his teshuvah came an altar on Mt. Moriah preceeding the Temple's altar. So let us say that the gilgulim of the Sicarii needed a tikun to remove the stain of their past lives. Does that mean that the ones who expelled them do not need to repent to remove the stain of what they just did?