I did something yesterday that I haven't done for a while: I went to a demonstration. It was the 36-hour anti-disengagement demonstration that was being held near the Knesset. During the 1980's and the 1990's I went to a lot of demonstrations. I think that the first demonstration that I went to was to protest the infamous Ahmed Jibril deal in 1985 where the Israeli government released 1500 terrorists from jail in return for three soldiers that had been captured in Lebanon. This was Israel's first capitulation to Arab extortion, a foolish mistake that cost the Jewish people many lives. Many of the released terrorists returned to terror, initiating the first "intifada." I was also active in many of the demonstrations against the Oslo agreements. Since then, I have given up on demonstrations. I saw that the politicians that had orated at these demonstrations (Netanyahu, Sharon, etc.) later continued the same insane policies that they had spoken out against. The voice of Roger Daltrey singing, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" echoed in my mind.
I walked to the demonstration after work. The weather was nice. On the way I took note of one of the signs that winter is almost over: Wild barley stalks had sprouted up on the unpaved areas on the sides of the streets. I wanted to get to the demonstration by shortest path possible, which would have led me past the Prime Minister's office. Nothing doing! The police were out in numbers making sure that nobody could get near that area. (Here they were, I thought to myself, Israel's men and women in blue. Here were our policemen, those who work so hard to thwart terrorist attacks. Are these very policemen soon to play the role of Nazi storm troopers, throwing Jews out of their legally owned homes in order to make sure that the Gaza Strip is judenrein?) I had no choice but to go where the police would let me. This considerably lengthened the distance that I had to walk.
Finally I arrived at the demonstration. There they were, all of those fine people who had sacrificed so much to settle the land. Many of the youth had brought guitars and were strumming away. On the podium Chezki Sofer played a few Carlebach tunes. He sounded a lot like Carlebach, even taking a breath in the middle of a phrase just like R' Shlomo used to: "David Melech, (breath) Melech Yisrael, David Melech, Melech Yisrael..." Then, as is usual at demonstrations, I met an old friend. We've been friends since we were students at the Beit El Yeshiva many years ago. He still lives in Beit El. In 1982, he was in Yamit when the Begin government destroyed that settlement. We found a place to sit and started chatting. "I'm so upset, I can't believe that Sharon is doing this," he said. We talked about our families. Suddenly he looked at all of the youth and said, "You know, when they destroyed Yamit these kids weren't even born. I'm getting old."
I thought about the settlers that were being betrayed by the Israeli Government. I thought of others who were betrayed the Israeli Government: Jonathan Pollard, the soldiers of the South Lebanese Army, Arab collaborators from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who were abandoned and murdered by the Palestinian Authority. The list goes on and on. I thought of my son who is almost old enough to be drafted. Suddenly I heard the Roger Daltrey's voice again echoing in my brain: "We won't get fooled again!"