Like every year on Holocaust Remembrance Day, there was an enormous banner headline: "Remember, and Never Ever Forget." But in the memorial ceremony, on which a report followed under that headline, there was not much of a reference to the memories of the past, the inconceivable horror for whose commemoration this date had been inserted in our calendar. On the past which needs to be remembered our PM had only a few perfunctory words to say, before rushing on to his real interest - the future which awaits us, the new Auschwitz which is prepared for us in Iran, and the might and power of our army and our Air Force which would soon go rushing over there to crush the terrible plot. (At least, on this occasion Netanyahu he made no jokes about ducks).
Lieutenant General Benny Gantz, Army Chief of Staff, spoke at another ceremony marking Holocaust Memorial Day and he too warned all enemies that the IDF's fist of steel stands ready to deal a harsh blow to any who attempt to harm the Jewish People. President and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shimon Peres delivered a speech on yet a third Holocaust Memorial Day ceremony and he too devoted the bulk of his speech to our villainous enemies and sternly warned them not to underestimate the visible and the hidden capabilities of the State of Israel to deal with a threat from Iran.
Indeed, Shimon Peres is incomparably qualified to talk about the hidden capabilities of the State of Israel to strike at its enemies, having been involved in the creation and development of these capabilities from their very start, more than fifty years ago. He had gone through the entire process: the reactor built secretly and initially asserted to be "nothing more than a textile factory", and the construction of centrifuges to enrich uranium, and the playing of games of cat and mouse with a President of the United States who did not like this reactor and this nuclear program, and then the breakthrough and the first bomb and the second and the tenth and up to many hundreds, and the missiles designed to carry the bombs to their destination, and the submarines designed to carry the missiles and provide a second-strike capability. In fact, Shimon Peres, with his rich experience in this field, could have given valuable professional advice to the Iranians, who take their own first steps on the same road fifty years later.
Incidentally, the Prime Minister appealed to me not only through the papers and TV. In recent weeks I received from him almost every day a personal message offering me a link of friendship. So did Mr. Benjamin Netanyahu write:
"Dear citizen, in every generation enemies are rising up to destroy us - but our enemies will not succeed. I invite you to join my personal Facebook page. Have a happy and kosher Passover."
Yes, Netanyahu is right. All of them are our enemies – from the villainous Black President in the White House, though the bastard Nobel Prize Laureate in Germany and - yes even a real enemy in Tehran. But these bastards will not succeed, for we have got a great leader, strong and heroic, Benjamin Netanyahu is his name. Against all our enemies, each and every one of them, our Prime Minister is ever ready to mobilize the full panoply of our country's might. When the Iranian Great Duck is threatening to build a nuclear bomb, we will make a great uproar throughout the world and demand of all states to impose severe sanctions on the duck and strangle his economy. Even so, we would not put our trust in the hypocritical world, but will get our own good Air Force pilots ready to launch an offensive and a bombing and a war. And by the same measure, when activists threaten to arrive at Ben Gurion Airport, carrying in their pockets toothbrushes and invitations from Palestinian organizations to visit Bethlehem, we will make a great uproar throughout the world and demand of all airlines to cancel their tickets to block their way. Also in this case we would not put our trust in the hypocritical world, but will get our own good Riot Police ready to immediately pounce and drag off to prison any activist who dares to show his face here.
So why oh why pick on one little miserable lieutenant colonel who got the message of his supreme commander, trickling down directly from the top of the pyramid? Eisner the officer saw the Palestinian and European enemies of Israel, armed with bikes, racing towards the Jordan Valley Highway which is reserved for the use of Israelis only, and hurried to do in his own sphere what the Prime Minister instructed, make sure with his own personal gun that these dangerous enemies who rise up against us will not succeed.
In some other places this week had been no camera, and there the result was really very different. For example, there had been no cameras in the Beit Hanina Neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Settler leader Aryeh King and his men, accompanied by Israeli police, came to the house of Khaled Natsheh Suleiman, whose family had lived there since 1935 - and soon the family was thrown into the street. Newspapers reported (those who bothered to report this at all) that "the evacuation had gone on relatively calmly, except for the family father's getting arrested". All this was a perfectly legal action. As in previous cases in East Jerusalem, an Israeli court ruled with all proper procedure that the piece of land on which the house was built had belonged many decades ago to Jews, which at present makes it the property of the settlers and of their "Land of Israel Fund". (Of course, the land which Palestinians owned long ago, is NOT to be given back to them according to Israeli laws enforced by Israeli courts...)
Immediately, good Jewish settler families entered the emptied house. According to the settler King, he had carefully chosen especially idealistic couples to come and live there, as it is a unique pioneering act which enhances and strengthens the Jewish presence in Jerusalem, the Eternal Capital of Israel. And the idealistic couples already managed to settle down in their new home by the time the Holocaust Memorial Day began on that same evening. Like the rest of Israel's citizen body they could take part in the Moment of Silence when the ceremonies were talking place where the Prime Minister and President and Chief of Staff spoke to commemorate the memory of the Holocaust and raise the fist of steel to smite the enemies who rise up against us in every generation.
And at the same when the settler King arrived at the house in Beit Hanina, the steel fist of the Israeli Defense Forces was very much in evidence at the village of Aqaba in the northern Jordan Valley, which is actually not so far from the spot where Lieutenant Colonel Eisner taught a lesson to the wretched peace activist enemy of Israel from Denmark. And the fist of steel came down upon the two access roads connecting the small village of Aqaba to the town of Tubas to the west and to the Bardala Junction to the east, and which also allow residents access to their farmland. Military bulldozers plowed and destroyed and blocked the roads thoroughly, so as to prevent residents from using them. And all this was perfectly and impeccably legal, as the military governor had signed with his own hand a decree prohibiting the residents of Aqaba from establishing roads in and out to their village, and warning them that such roads would be destroyed and blocked if found to have been created. And also to build houses is forbidden to the people of Aqaba, and houses found to have been built anyway are to be destroyed. In fact, this village just should not be there, and that is because the government does not want Arabs to be living in this area. The Jordan Valley Region is considered a strategic area which should remain in Israeli control, and therefore should not be inhabited by Arabs.
And in the village of Aqaba, which in the opinion of the State of Israel should not exist but its three hundred residents have a different opinion about this issue, there actually were photographers present. There was an Israeli activist and two Americans and one Australian. They did make photos of a Palestinian village mayor in a wheelchair trying vainly to reason with Israeli soldiers, but the footage was not dramatic enough and no TV channel was interested. And the Israeli woman who was there asked the Border Guard officer who was in charge of safeguarding the destruction of the roads: "Why are you doing this?" And he replied "It pains me too, I just follow orders." And another officer was furious about the presence of activists and yelled at them "You leftists get in the way and interfere with our carrying out our mission, but we'll come back when you're not here and settle accounts." Both officers – the one who was only obeying orders and the one who promised to end accounts – ended in good time the destruction and blocking of the roads, and in the evening they were in their homes with their families, so that they too could take part in the Moment of Silence to commemorate the Holocaust.
And the newspaper "Israel Today", which is published by American billionaire Sheldon Edelson on behalf Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, published on the occasion of Holocaust Memorial Day a big and important article by the well-known columnist Dan Margalit, entitled "Stop the Holocuast Denial from Within." In this article Dan Margalit made a startling new exposure: within the State of Israel a malignant new type of Holocaust deniers has arisen. Not that these people deny that the Holocaust did happen, but they do stubbornly refuse to draw the correct conclusions from it. Holocaust deniers are those who do not want to go to Auschwitz and wave there Blue and White flags and stride there wearing IDF uniforms and fly in the skies over the silent gas chambers in fighter jets of the Israeli Air Force. Holocaust deniers are those who do not draw the conclusion that The Jew must always walk with gun in hand, in the paths of his own country as anywhere else in the world. Holocaust deniers are the ones who do not understand that "without the steel helmet and the artillery's muzzle, we will not be able to plant a tree or build a house." Holocaust deniers are those who do not accept that "in order to establish the right of the Jewish people to be here we must rely on our 3800 years old title deed to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, but also on the Holocaust, and on the Israel Defense Forces – an unbreakable Threefold Bond from the Cave to the Gas Chamber to the Military Base". And worst of all Holocaust deniers are those who dare assert that "the most terrible carnage in history is even more a human tragedy than a Jewish one".
Like every year, a week after Holocaust Memorial Day comes the turn of Independence Day. The State of Israel celebrates sixty-four years of independence, and as in previous years will continue to prevent the Palestinians from celebrating their own First Independence Day. The settlers throughout the West Bank are also preparing to celebrate, and they already published an invitation for a great outdoors celebration in the Nablus Region, within a well fenced compound guarded by the army so as not to give the Palestinian neighbors any chance of disrupting the joy of Independence Day. A festive joint invitation was published, on behalf of the Samaria Regional Council for the settlers and the Samaria Regional Brigade on behalf for the Israel Defense Forces, decorated with the pictures of smiling soldiers and smiling settlers, and the settler children are guaranteed a rich artistic program and a free popsickle for each child. Dan Margalit could be proud of how much they don't deny the Holocaust.
This week, the call up day came for two young Israelis, Noam Gur and Alon Gurman. Dozens of their friends accompanied them up to the gates of the Induction Center at Tel Hashomer. Noam Gur handed the officers in charge a copy of her letter, stating: "I refuse to join an army that has been, since its inception, engaged in dominating another people, plundering and terrorizing a civilian population which lives under its rule." She was immediately sent off to military prison. According to past precedents, in a few weeks' time she will be returned to the Induction Center and asked again to join the army, and refuse again and go again to jail and so on and on until the military authorities get tired of the game.
The officers then turned to Alon Gurman, who also had a letter ready: "My refusal to serve in the Israeli military, in addition to being a refusal to take part in occupation and apartheid, is an act of solidarity with our Palestinian friends living under Israeli rule and with their struggle for liberty, justice and equality."
He had expected to get to the military prison, too, and had brought with him some gear to ease his stay there. But to Gurman's surprise, the officers sent him home and informed him that he will soon be interviewed by a Mental Health Officer, to verify the condition of his mind.
Overall, a reasonable decision. An 18-year old dares to confront, head on, the Prime Minister, and the Minister of Defense, and the Minister of Education, and the Army Chief of Staff, and all officers of the Israeli Defense Forces, and also Dan Margalit whose wise words are being printed in hundreds of thousands of copies and distributed free of charge in the streets of all Israeli cities. There is a real reason to check, maybe something is wrong with this young guy.