I was at Chomesh
Yesterday, December 23, 2021, I went to Chomesh.
What is there?
Why did I go?
What did I see?
What were my thoughts?
Yehudah Dimentman, twenty-five years old was murdered by Arabs on his way home from the yeshiva where he learned in Chomesh, a hilltop in Samaria.
Why was he killed? The Arabs proudly claim it is because he is a settler, part of the occupation of the "Palestinian " Homeland
Chomesh was once a dynamic Jewish community strategically overlooking the coastal plain, until 2005 when prime minister Sharon ordered it and three other flourishing Jewish towns nearby be demolished and its population forcefully expelled. No reason for the destruction and expulsions in Samaria were given but the same decree that extinguished the communities firmly ordered that they never be rebuilt. (Sounds like an edict of a Roman emperor after the destruction of the temple?)
Yehudah Dimentman was not only a criminal by Arab definition; Israeli law considers him and those studying Torah amongst the debris of Chomesh criminals as well.
Why did I go?
The widow of the murdered young man, left with a baby, begged prime minister Bennet to please lift the ban on rebuilding Chomesh and at least the yeshiva where her husband studied, prayed, and was murdered, be allowed to exist. After the seven-day mourning period, she asked that "Am Yisroel" join her in remembering her husband and in supporting the rebuilding of Chomesh and the yeshiva.
When she asked that "Am Yisroel" join her, I understood that Am Yisroel indeed had to be there that day. We could not disappoint her or ourselves as Am Yisroel.
There is a saying," if it hurts you scream out". it did hurt. The murder hurt, the widow hurt, and the situation that allowed these tragedies hurt the most. I had to be there with the finest of Am Yisroel, and that is who I met.
What did I see?
I saw the finest that we have. I expected to because whenever Jews or the land of Israel are in danger, the same section of the population shows up.
It was a cold rainy day but that did not stop over fifteen thousand Jews from coming from far and wide.
Most were teens, boys, and girls. Some carried flags. There was a powerful spirit emanating from the wonderful youth. There was no flirting or intermingling; so different from what one would expect to find when thousands of teens gather This was part of their education and discipline. They came for a serious reason and they understood.
There were also a number of young families with children in tow and babies in their arms and in carriages.
I was amazed at how these parents managed. We walked long distances up and down to reach our destination on top of the hill.
There were also a few older people like me. I was reminded of my years as the many young people flitted by me on our way up the hill. On our way, we passed an Arab village. How did I know it was an Arab village? One; there were no fences or security measures to protect them. unlike Jewish villages who need protection. Two, the garbage was strewn all about. You would think if they really thought it was their land, they would have some pride in it.
On our way up the road, there was a large pit recently dug out across the road by the government to prevent the return to Chomesh by the stubborn yeshiva students and former residents.
A young man with a megaphone stood above the pit to warn people of the obstacle in the dark and urged us to fill the hole up with rocks to undo the work of those who would keep the place "Judenrein"
I was impressed by the vigor and leadership of this young Jewish man.
The rain became stronger. Huge puddles were formed. There were only a few umbrellas. Nothing deterred them or dampened the spirits.
It was impressive
What did I see?
I saw the best.
It was a great honor to march with them
I know that I have seen the future leaders of Israel.
I watched the soldiers and police who guarded the procession. I wondered what they thought of the n of Jews who care enough to march in the rain up a hill?
I thought of the neighboring Arabs. What did they think of the Jews who don't give up?
I felt good to know that I was on the right side of history.
This morning at the gym, I mentioned that I was at Chomesh yesterday. One fellow clearly wasn't impressed and sneered and said something to the effect of, ``Oh those people"
I said, ``Yes, our very best. The ones who still have faith. The roots that make sure this tree doesn't fall."
He wasn't impressed and said, "in the end, you will be the only ones in the country," I thought that was a very revealing statement. What I think he meant was that those people with their fanatic beliefs will make things so bad that normal Israelis like him will (continue to) leave the country. This fellow went for a holiday to Greece on Yom Kippur. He has his Jewish values right.
As former prime minister Olmert said, "I want a country that is fun to live in."
What's the point of our holy land if you can't have fun?
I get it.
That is why only a certain kind of Jew marches in the rain - even if it is not so much fun.
I told him yes, that is a possibility we might be the only ones left.
Perhaps we are experiencing a historic process of elimination. Not everyone will have the merit to be here when the story ends.
My book, "Jews, Israelis, and Arabs" explains it all.