Monday, August 18, 2014

Prolonging The Conflict

Israeli-distributed candies in the West Bank bear the slogan
'Here are some sweets because Hamas is making life bitter in the West Bank.'
For more than a month, Hamas and Israel have been doing back and forth both on the ground and in the conference room. Papers and missiles have been exchanged on a regular basis with no realistic end in sight. Those that haven’t been keeping current on the conflict probably don’t realize that it has been that long… it seems as though this is one of those unfortunate wars when we lose sight of the beginning.

During this prolonged conflict, ceasefires have come and gone and holidays have passed by without peace prevailing. Tisha B'Av offered little respite during this time but hope remained palpable as people reflected on the loss, the strife, the anger, the fear. What are usually marked as days unlike other in the surrounding blocks of the calendar, were a continuation of the same emotions dominating the regional psyche. For Jews, this was just another event to mourn during this sorrowful day.

Tisha B'Av, the Fast of the Ninth of Av, is a day of mourning to commemorate the many tragedies that have befallen the Jewish people, many of which have occurred on the ninth of Av.

Tisha B'Av primarily commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples, both of which were destroyed on the ninth of Av (the first by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E.; the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.).

Although this holiday is primarily meant to commemorate the destruction of the Temple, it is appropriate to consider on this day the many other tragedies of the Jewish people, many of which occurred on this day, most notably the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and from England in 1290.

It is during these times of what is usually holy celebration and reverence when the claws are drawn throughout the world. The back and forth between conflict and ceasefire, holiday and conflict, has the world in an uproar for all the wrong reasons. So who is to blame? Unlike many of the protests and ‘reports’ Israel is not to blame for the elusiveness of peace.

Every ceasefire that has been negotiated and strong armed have not been times for the people of Israel to break or the IDF to relax. They have served as perpetual countdowns to the next rocket to sail over the boarder at innocent civilians. This FACT seems to be lost on the world. However, as we have reflected on what has seemed like a prolonged period of mourning, we have kept in the forefront of our minds that, while the situation is tenuous, it will pass and be but a memory which we will forever remember. We are strong, we will fight, and we will not allow the world to destroy our land or expel our people. Hope will prevail and peace will once again return to our land.