Faith and Love

by Yosef Ben Tzion (Joel Busner) — November 2006

Dear supporters of a Jewish state of Israel,

A moment or two after a katyusha rocket comes close to killing you is a good time to reflect on one’s life. We had been delivering supplies the entire day to the beleaguered residents of the village of Shlomi, on the Israeli side of the Lebanese border. Several times we ran for cover as katyushas kept falling all around the area. I estimate that around 75% of the village’s residents had fled in pursuit of safety. Many who remained did not leave because they did not have where to go. We were departing from our last delivery for the day, which one of our crew had been filming, when, suddenly, a loud blast made everything around us shake. We panicked and ran down to the building’s bomb shelter that we had just ascended from moments earlier (the actual film of this occurrence can be seen on our website). After several minutes had passed, we were relieved to learn that no one around us was injured or, G–d forbid, killed.

After the incident mentioned above, I sat looking at my friend Zev, who was definitely not his usual upbeat self and I began to reflect as to why we do these types of activities. I suppose this is for the same reason that B’Ahavat Yisrael has made so many food deliveries deep into the Shomron without bullet proof vehicles and without armed security (which we would have welcomed were funds available). Perhaps it is for the same reason that B’Ahavat Yisrael still makes deliveries to the expelled residents of Gush Katif when their plight is barely making a mention in any of Israel’s media and the Jewish establishment’s Diaspora newspapers. Maybe it is for the same reason that B’Ahavat Yisrael continues to go to hospitals to sit with injured Jews and their families while bringing them generous gift packages even though we have to struggle with the administrations of most of these hospitals before and during those visits.

True it is scary to dodge katyusha rockets. It is also scary to be a soldier sworn to defend your land and your people when at the same time your army under the direction of your “what will the world say?” government puts more and more shackles on its soldiers, prohibiting you and your comrades from winning.

It must have been very discouraging in the pre–State land of Israel for Irgun and Lehi fighters who were hunted by both the British occupiers and the false leaders of the establishment Left in those years. After all, all they wanted was to secure the Jewish home for the Jewish people in our land.

While the masses of Diaspora Jews concerned themselves with keeping up with the Cohens or Schwartzes, or whatever Jewish equivalent to the Joneses, there were those who spent time in jail for being guilty of fighting to free their brothers and sisters in the former Soviet Union from the late 1960’s until the mid–1980’s. It is not their fault that today the Israeli government and Jewish agency by design have encouraged hundreds of thousands of non–Jewish Russians to make aliyah. The fact that hundreds of thousands of Jews from Russia were freed and have made Israel their home is testimony to the fact that their efforts paid off even if the average Jew has no idea who most of these heroes were.

And … for over 20 years, he sits and waits. Jonathan Pollard, whose biggest crime was caring about Jews and Israel too much. From the establishment types, we cannot expect anything. But … those who claim to believe, where are they? Pollard is the symbol. His endless and cruel incarceration is proof positive that the Jewish people have not done what needs to be done in order to be redeemed. There are the few who demonstrate in Israel and America. There were those who tried to block the roads to his former prison. There are those who travel great distances to visit him and give him hope. It will take a united front, not a majority, but it will take a leap of faith to free Jonathan. Are we ready to break the barricades?

When one goes to Tzfat, there is a very large cemetery. On any given day, you can visit there and see many locals and tourists visiting the graves of some renowned rabbis. If you wander down a little more, there are seven graves. They are not the graves of rabbis. They are not the graves of politicians. They are graves of seven young Jews who voluntarily gave their lives fighting British and Arab Jew–haters and they were hung by the British humanists in Akko. Some of them were given the option of living by the British if only they would plea–bargain. None of them did. It is because of Jews like them, with the help of G–d, that we acquired a Jewish state.

It is up to all of us to have faith and “ahavat Yisrael” (love of one’s fellow Jew) to overcome petty differences and make this country great as was promised by the Creator.