Author name: Orit

Born and raised in Los Angeles, Orit is a journalist, multi-media producer, and author currently based in Berlin. Prior to living in Berlin, where she covers German-Jewish-Israel affairs, she covered Israeli politics, society, lifestyle and culture for a variety of publications.

Day 12: The End (Until We Return)

I refused to go on the bus after being forced out of the Neve Dekalim synagogue. I wasn’t about to leave Gush Katif like cattle. I demanded that I at least go to the bathroom, which was fair enough, since the army kept feeding us water in the synagogue — like patting us on the back and then stabbing us. The girl who took me out of the synagogue escorted me to the bathroom to keep watch. “I can’t believe this. I’m 28 years-old with a lot of experience and this 20 year-old girl is dragging me out of a synagogue. It’s so humiliating!” “I’m not at peace with this,” she said, “but this is the system.” “The problem is that no one wants to fight the system.” With a sad look on her face she left me at the curb and continued with her work. I asked the policemen to let me feel normal and give me a cigarette. “Okay,” said the commander eventually, handcuffs on his waist. “You had your cigarette, now get on the bus.” “But I want to leave with my friends to Tel Aviv. They’re on the grass!” “Sorry, you can’t. Girls!” he called out to the female officers, who were busy dragging other girls. It was clear that this was a power issue, but the policewomen had rowdier girls to deal with. They ignored him. I snuck away and met an Israeli media assistant

Day 12: The End (Until We Return) Read More »

Day 11: Ariel Sharon vs. God

Sharon beat God. I was there.  I saw it, with my own eyes.  I saw the ark of the Torah and the tablets of the Ten Commandments above it.  I was in there when those beautiful, earnest, loving young women were praying and singing with all there hearts, with hope still burning inside them.  I felt their passion, their love for Israel, their love for God. I sang with them.  I heard their cries, and I cried with them. “Our Father Our King, annul all evil decrees against us!” “Our Father Our King, have mercy on us and answer us — for we have no deeds — act with charity and kindness and deliver us!” And I almost thought, looking at the Torah, that this was the moment — that we had it — that God would hear our prayers and that our cries would strike the hearts of the soldiers — and possibly even Bush’s — and they would be awestruck.  The decree would be annulled, and the soldiers would either join us or turn around, for how could they destroy such beauty?  How could they desecrate the God of Israel’s name in broad daylight, in the eyes of the world. “No, I can’t do it,” they would say to each other and to their commander. “How could we do this?” “We need a miracle!  Where’s the miracle?” cried one girl next to me, tears streaming down her face.

Day 11: Ariel Sharon vs. God Read More »

Day 10: What’s This Country Coming To?

In all the time I’ve lived in Israel, my mother has never been so worried. I’ve lived right near cafes where terrorist bombings have taken place, but she never had my dad and sister call me to try to convince me to be careful. Now, with brutal Israeli Police threatening to use force against stubborn infiltrators, she’s all aghast. She’s more afraid for my safety under the threat of a Jewish army and police force than under the threat of enemy terrorist attackers. What is this country coming to? Last night soldiers were sitting on the sidewalk near the Neve Dekalim gate and I sat in front of them. They weren’t doing anything in particular and I just started to sing. I sang zmirot, or lyrical tunes, of my teenage years and they sung from the move “The Prince of Egypt”, which Miriam and the Israelites sang during the Exodus from Egypt. “There can be miracles, when you believe. Though hope is frail, it’s hard to kill. Who knows what miracles you can achieve. When you believe, somehow you will.” Some were moved. Some weren’t. “Cleave to your cause,” said one soldier to me, privately. “What about you?” I asked. “I don’t think this is right but if I don’t do this they’ll take me out of my brigade. They’ll make me a ‘jobnik’.” “But you’ll have a clean conscience.” He just frowned. “There’s nothing to do,” said another. “Yes

Day 10: What’s This Country Coming To? Read More »

Day 9: Getting Engaged

Settlement residents and infiltrators are ambushing security forces — ambushing their hearts and their minds. I am on the frontlines of the Jewish soul. Border police created a new human border at the entrance of each settlement, and here at Neve Dekalim, and residents and infiltrators are ambushing them — ambushing their hearts and their minds. First, I shook their hands in my jeans and white T-shirt. They smiled back. They were trained not to smile, not to talk, but they were engaged. My friend Nava, one of the “Americans Opposing Jewish Expulsion,” engaged a pretty blue-eyed woman, dressed in black, trying to look tough. “You came from Russia to be here. You left a communist country to be part of the Israeli KGB! You shouldn’t be doing this. You should be a model!” She smiled, but the mean old policeman drove a wedge between soldiers and protestors. “Give them space.” “Give the people back their houses’ space!” I shouted. Then an 18-year-old woman, dressed modestly, found another black angel to pick on. “My grandfather was taken out of his home, now you’re going to take me out of my home? Jews don’t do this to Jews! We’ve suffered together! We’ve gone through so much together! Why inflict this suffering upon us?” “Listen to her,” another yelled. “She’s 18 years old and she understands more than you!” He couldn’t look her in the eye, but he was trying to hold

Day 9: Getting Engaged Read More »

Scroll to Top