While reading this weeks Makor Rishon newspaper I came across Gilad Katz's article titled "Yes to Israel's Self-Interest, No to the the Palestinian Dream" (my translation). In it he describes the new national security policy called Defensible Borders for Israel, (see here in English, good maps included) which is the proposed alternative to the "Road Map" put forward by Member of Knesset Yuval Steinitz (Likud), Dr. Dore Gold, Maj -General (retired) Yaakov Amidror and the retired diplomat Meir Rosen.
This plan's advantage, according to its formulators, is that it focusses on defensible borders for Israel, versus the focus of other plans on the future of various population centers in Israel. According to Steinitz in the article, the policy of the Labor party is the return to 1967 borders, and the policy of the Kadima party speaks of the desire to retain certain settlement blocs in Israel's hands. Neither of these policies takes into consideration Israel's security interests. Only a plan that "widens Israel's narrow shoulders" is one that will provide security to Israel, even in times of peace, states Steinitz.
Another point made in the article, is that one of the selling points in marketing both the Road Map and the Geneva Accords is that the basics of their plans seem to be acceptable to the Palestinians, or to at least some of their representatives. The unique quality of the Defensible Borders plan is that it is based foremost on Israel's security interests, and the plan's founders state that whether or not the Palestinians accept it, Israel should stand by its principles.
After reading the article in Hebrew, and going on to the website in English, I couldn't help but think to myself, "this is so simple to understand, why is it considered so revolutionary to insist on our security interests first?"
It brought to mind a comment made by an English professor many years ago, in an aside about current events in Israel. He said that your point of view about the mideast conflict all depends on "how far back you go". In other words, where you pinpoint the beginning of the conflict is crucial to your understanding of it.
There are those in Israel who believe tht the conflict started in 1967 with the Six Day War, and that going back to pre-1967 borders will solve it. There are those who see the conflict starting with modern Israeli history. There are those who see the conflict starting during the time of the Bible (Old Testament).
Unfortunately, here in Israel at least, where you pinpoint the start of the conflict is too often defined by your religious affiliation. When I first came to Israel I studied Hebrew in an ulpan, and one of the frequent topics was the calendar and its significance. A non-religious teacher described the tenth of the Hebrew month Tevet as follows: The tenth of Tevet (which this year falls out on January 10) is the day that the religious here in Israel commemorate the Holocaust, and they say Kaddish (the mourners prayer) for those whose date of death is unkown. The secular chose the anniversary of the Warsaw ghetto uprising to commemorate the Holocaust.
Her explanation was somewhat crude and partially innacurate (religious people commemorate both days, for example). But it says worlds about how a lot of Israelis relate to their past.
The tenth of Tevet was chosen by the Israeli Rabbinate as the "Yom HaKadish HaKlali" - the day to say Kaddish for those whose date of death is unknown. The date was chosen because it also marks the date that calamitous events affected the Jewish people (see more here) primarily when Nebuchadnezzer started the siege on Jerusalem, which eventually led to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the Jews' expulsion to the Diaspora. In other words, the beginning of the end of our sovereignty which led to thousands of years of intermittent physical persecution.
This day was designated a fast day, and observant Jews do not eat from sunup to sunset. Why the religious community's observance of this law somehow makes it "the religious Holocaust remembrance day", and nullifies the historical significance to every Jew, regardless of their observance level, is a complete mystery to me.
This disconnect from our ancient past affects how some Jews see our present problems - and leads to the sometimes mistaken decisions about what to do in the future.