Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Do Murderers Sit Shiva?

This is a piece that I wrote last year but I did not post for technical reasons. As the injustice, criminality and foolishness of the "disengagement" become clear to more and more people, I feel that this piece is still timely:

Ari Shavit of Ha'aretz wrote an interesting article in the midst of the "disengagement" entitled "Israel Must Sit Shiva." The article describes at length how Gush Katif looked as it was being destroyed by the IDF and the Israeli police:
Gush Katif is dying. The settlements are breathing their last. Some are reconciled, others are resisting. Some are fighting back, others are falling apart. Some are grieving deeply, others have broken hearts. The settlers have been defeated. Their greenhouses are withering. Their synagogues are empty. Their rooms are wide open. Their villages are ghost towns.
From the description we might have thought that Shavit was equating Gush Katif to an old man who was on his death bed dying of natural causes. Perhaps he was likening them to a patient in the last stages of a terminal illness.

But the truth is that the greenhouses did not wither because the residents of the Gush were inexpert farmers. Nor were the synagogues empty for lack of people that wanted to worship. The villages did not become ghost towns because their inhabitants sought better fortune elsewhere.

Gush Katif was a block of settlements that was healthy socially and economically. Their contribution to Israel's economy is well known. Their participation in the combat units of the IDF was high. In spite of the difficult security situation, which was a direct product of the Oslo Agreements, the residents of Gush Katif showed great tenacity. Gush Katif was alive and vibrant.

But, as Shavit pointed out, Gush Katif was dying, and now it is already dead. However, Gush Katif did not die of natural causes. Gush Katif was murdered in cold blood. The Gush was a victim of a violent slaying, ordered by a prime minister who swindeled his constituants, carried out by his troops, and cheered on by Israel's mainstream media.

Shavit goes on to point out the lack of compassion showed by the Israeli secular intellectuals towards the suffering of the settlers:
The hard-heartedness of the intellectual and legal elites in the face of the catastrophe that befell the residents of Gush Katif will not be forgotten. It will seep into the groundwater of our shared lives and pollute it.
Yeah, right. Our shared lives are already polluted by the post-Zionism, anti-Zionism, anti-Judaism and corruption in the highest echelons of the Israeli government and media that made the destruction of Gush Katif possible.

Shavit continues with the following observation:
Gush Katif was a world of its own - a world of work and faith, of patriotic innocence and communal warmth; a world that touches the heart, that was established in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, as this world is being buried in the sand, Israel must sit shiva for it.
In my view Ari Shavit's piece is full of errors that stem from his secular-leftist weltanschauung, and I have not come to elaborate on all of these mistakes. However, his reference to sitting shiva is bizarre, entirely out of place, especially coming from the pen of a secular-leftist. It is true that relatives of the departed sit shiva. However if the relative murdered the deceased, does the murderer sit shiva? I don't know, and its not the kind of question that I am going to ask my rabbi! In any case, even if the halacha requires the murderer to sit shiva, the spectacle would be quite repugnant. Such is the case of Gush Katif's destroyers sitting shiva for it.

1 comment:

Batya said...

and you're not talking about an unintentional murder
the real thing
what about tshuva?

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