Disengagement Diaries

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 […]

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Day 8: Sex on the Beach

I totally lost it on Friday. I was sitting under a beach hut with some residents who were lamenting that this was their “last Shabbat” at the Gush. The young, robust man who had snuck me in was gulping whiskey, tears in his eyes, his face red. I stepped into the ocean with my blue bikini and white belly button ring. The strong waves began to attack me and I fought back. It gave me strength. Yonder, I saw the hotel that the army had taken over by force about two months ago. There was a long, wide stairway leading to a corridor where soldiers seemed to be in the middle of an exercise, their guns pointed at the sea. I run into shooting range, fall on my knees on the sand, and put my hands up. “Don’t shoot!” I yelled. “Don’t shoot me,” I pleaded. Then I fell down on my back, moaning as I faked death. They all applauded my Oscar-winning show and invited me up to them. I happily obliged. Around 10 young, hunky Jewish soldiers surrounded me, tongues hanging out. “Are you the pullout forces?” I asked playfully in Hebrew, with my American accent. “What’s it to you?” asked the commander. “Because I have a fantasy.” The soldiers’ smiles widened. “How old are you?” one asked, looking me up and down. “I’m 17,” I said, then added as an afterthought, “And a virgin”. All eyes and

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Day 7: The Limits of Friendship

I cried for the first time today since I’ve been here. It wasn’t because I imagined cute little Israeli kids being torn from their parents; it wasn’t because women in wheelchairs will be begging officers to leave them alone; it wasn’t because synagogues and Jewish graves will be plundered; it wasn’t because I was warned seriously that police might hit me, even though that made me scared as hell. It was because my friends couldn’t give a shit. I decided I would call them and ask them to do something to help me. I asked one of them, who actually supported our struggle, to simply forward my to our mutual friends since I didn’t have their e-mail addresses. She hesitated. She couldn’t really explain why — she was busy — but it seemed like some sort of inconvenience. I called another good friend, who also supported our struggle, and pleaded: “I’m turning to you will all my heart — they might beat me here, and there is something you can do to stop it. There are organized marches to Gush Katif that will tie up the expulsion forces.” “I’m not going to a rally,” she said curtly. “But I might get hurt.” “You can’t tell me what to do,” she said. “It’s not my cause. I’m not as extreme as you are. You shouldn’t put yourself in danger.” “But you’re against the plan!” “But I think it’s going to happen.

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Day 6: Yellow Yankees

Gush Katif had a pleasant surprise today, like a bucket of sunshine. Men and women wearing bright yellow shirts with black letters “Americans Against the Expulsion of Jews” somehow managed to get in. The ingathering of exiles has begun. There were about 25 of them from different states: New York, New Jersey, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, of all streams and religions: reform, Conservative, Orthodox, Chabad, and Christian. Some were down-to-earth professionals, while others were down right cooky. But all of them decided that they could not sit at home and watch TV while this insanity, which their President encouraged, was going on. A Lubavicher guy organized the group, and somehow, they all found each other — through the internet, through word of mouth. And now they are here. And they are brimming with joy. Reporters were drawn to their yellow like little bugs. Many of the interviews turned into conversations. “Don’t you think we have to do something for peace?” asked an Israeli-Brazilian reporter, not only the story, but also for himself. He made aliya a few years ago and doesn’t know what to believe anymore. These Americans helped this poor soul out of the intellectual muck that the Israeli government, media, and intellectuals had stuffed his brain with. One replied: “Yes, and what you have to do is to stand-up for yourself, to stand up for Israel — not to appease the terrorists and give them what they

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Day 5: Frequent Flyers

Many flyers were handed out today. One advertised a handholding chain from Gaza to Jerusalem. Another advertised a communal prayer in the evening. Another flyer informed residents of the siege that would befall the settlements next week, when transportation between settlements will be forbidden and power and water possibly cut. The community called on us to stock up on canned foods, water, flashlights, toilet paper and many other amenities for at least two weeks. An official flyer from a senior IDF General, casually handed out to residents at Netzarim, Morag, and maybe some other settlements, expressed to the residents the government’s “deep understanding” of their pain but that nevertheless, starting Monday they have two days to leave voluntarily and receive the full compensation package and the luxury of having the army move most of their stuff. If not, it went on, the government will relinquish any serious responsibility for providing for them thereafter. The flyer acknowledged that Tisha B’Av, the day the siege begins, is the saddest day of the Jewish people, but that sometimes growth spawns from sorrow. Some residents burned the flyer. Then there were many national “flyers” that didn’t mention anything about these other flyers. The front page headline of Maariv read (and I kid you not): “Danger in Antalya.” Obviously, more Israelis are in danger in Turkey then they are in Israel itself. The other headlines read (paraphrased): “Veteran Israeli Actor Accused of Rape” and “One

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