יום ש', יג’ בשבט תשע”ט
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Moshe Saperstein

“Don’t whine, Rachel!” my friend admonished. “It’s over. You’re not going back. There is no way you will ever see Gush Katif again, or what remains of it. Just stop whining. Look to the future. Talk only about your future. No one cares about you anymore. You’re history. You’re yesterday’s news. No one cares about your problems. Talk about Lachish. Forget Gush Katif. Forget Gush Katif!” Forget Gush Katif? Can we as a Jewish nation forget Tish’a b’Av and our expulsion from Eretz Yisrael? Can we forget our wandering from land to land as edict after edict turned us into a homeless people? The creation of the Jewish State was to change this history of wandering. The days of the edicts of expulsion were no longer to be part of our history. The story of Gush Katif proved us wrong. A national Jewish tragedy took place with the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif. Just as we, as a collective Jewish nation, feel the pain of each calamity that befalls us, the calamity of Gush Katif has affected each and every one of us. This was not the personal tragedy of Rachel and Moshe Saperstein, or of the people of Gush Katif. This was a national tragedy that affected each Jew whether in Israel or abroad. Once again we were not safe. Our homes were not sacred. Our synagogues were burned. Our graves were violated. Israel was no longer a refuge for the wandering Jew. A Jewish Prime Minister, aided by a Jewish Knesset, a Jewish Supreme Court, a Jewish army and a Jewish police force, trained by a perverted band of Jewish psychiatrists and psychologists, did what the non-Jewish world had done generation after generation – the expulsion of Jews from their homes. And as Israel was capable of expelling its Jews from Gush Katif, is it any wonder that the government of the United States of America is demanding the same expulsions in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem? When a nation is willing to give away its God-given land for no purpose at all… When a nation is willing to allow its citizens to live under fire for eight years (!) without retaliation… that is a nation willing to commit suicide in order to win favor in the eyes of its so-called allies. “Stop whining, Rachel” my friend said. Don’t talk about your life in the refugee camp, in the temporary plasterboard structures that have housed your people for four years. Don’t talk about the inadequate compensation – inadequate even by the standards of those giving it to you! – that you had to beg for and is slowly disappearing because there are no jobs and the families need food. Don’t talk about the people who are still paying off mortgages on the homes their own government destroyed. Don’t talk about men and women who still wake up in the middle of the night, shaking, because they still see the soldiers surrounding their homes. Don’t talk about the one hundred and twenty families still collecting food from the gemach each month. Don’t talk about the Bridal Showers for Gush Katif Brides and Grooms because the families cannot afford to buy pots and pans for their soon-to-be-wed children. Stop whining, Rachel! Talk about the future, Rachel. Talk about the future. Okay. Let me talk about the future. Many of our people will be living in Nitzan. Some, like myself, will be moving to Lachish. After four years of negotiations Motti Shomron – a man of vision, strength and enormous faith – called to say that the tractors had finally begun to prepare the infrastructure for our new town. Where is Lachish?, you ask. Right smack in the middle of the country. Lachish is south of Beit Shemesh, north of Kiryat Gat. Few Jews live there. Facing the Hebron Hills, one sees the encroachment of Arab housing moving towards Lachish. So in Lachish, as in Gush Katif, we will fulfill a vital national role. Lachish is the site of the caves inhabited by Bar Kochba fighters after their expulsion from Jerusalem. We, the remnants of the Gush Katif expulsion, will settle this land. The area is grape-growing country and one sees the vineyards stretching for kilometers. Our town will be called Bnei Dekalim and will be home to five hundred families. We will build a five-star hotel, a spa, a retirement village, and cottages for rabbis on Sabbatical. A world-class Judaica library will be built to serve them, and us. Our spa will be the first truly Jewish spa in the world, teaching the Jewish route to good health both physically and spiritually. Lachish is an area for migratory birds and we will encourage bird-watchers to visit. Bblical Lachish will come alive as you discover sites mentioned in the Torah since the days of Joshua. Our Lachish will be as one with its natural surroundings. Wind and sun will be used to give us energy. Even the wildflowers uprooted during construction will be saved and re-planted. Don’t whine, Rachel. There are wonderful days ahead as long as you stay within the parameters set by US President Barack Hussein Obama. I have lived in Israel for over forty years. I lived in Yerushalayim for close to thirty years, in Gush Katif for eight years, in a tiny hotel room for nine months, and in the refugee camp for three years. I hope to finally put down my roots in Lachish. I’ll be well over seventy then. It will be exciting to see a town built from its beginnings. Will I stop whining? Probably not. And if the Almighty wills it, my friends, I will return to Gush Katif.