The Sunken Synagogue
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Monday, January 08, 2007
If you didn't like Yonatan Bassi before...

I've been shaken from my blog-neglecting stupor by an amazing story from YNet.

Yonatan Bassi, who was the head of the Disengagement Authority that coordinated the complete removal of thousands Jews from the Gaza Strip a little over a year ago, has decided to move off of his kibbutz, Sde Eliyahu, for a couple of years. He and his family have been experiencing harrassment from a vocal minority of fellow kibbutzniks who haven't gotten over what he did while in that post.

Many will surely see this as divine punishment, מידה כנגד מידה. He expelled others, and so he has to leave his own home. Fine ... though it doesn't seem to be be exactly measure for measure, since he's only going temporarily, he's not being hoisted out by soldiers, he doesn't have to watch his home being bulldozed and the ruins given to Arabs, and he's not going to be lied to and mistreated by the government. But anyway, he's getting some of the medicine he doled out ... close enough.

We can all look at this and smile and smirk at this pitiful man. But it doesn't really move me. I mean, it's predictable. Of course he was going to get his, later on if not now. What's positively shocking though is what he and his wife wrote in a letter to the director of their kibbutz:

"We love this place, and we love those living in it. We were both born here. The sunrise above the Gilad mountains every morning has accompanied us since the dawn of our childhood. Our entire adult lives have been invested in Sde Eliyahu. And now, on the brink of old age, how can we move to another place?" they wrote.
"A year and a half ago, we bounced back from a difficult period," wrote the Bassis. "It is very difficult. It is difficult for the people of Israel, difficult for Sde Eliyahu, and difficult for us, too. This period has created a crisis in the our relationships with some of our friends...."

That's chutzpah! How can they whine about experiencing the same thing they afflicted others with? Bassi kicked people out of the homes they loved and grew up in, with no respect for age or sentimentality, or the social and economic crises that would result. Does he think the former residents of Gush Katif don't get misty-eyed over their old homes and neighborhoods, the sun and the sand and surf, the gardens? Does he think they — not "the people of Israel," not he and his kibbutz up in the the Galilee, but the people in Gaza he smacked around — haven't been through a difficult period, that the parents among them aren't now going through divorces and the children turning to drugs?

I'm at a loss. This is worse than chutzpah. This is cruel, blind insensitivity. Stupidity. Callousness. He sets the next house on fire and then complains when the flames come back at him? People from Gush Katif are expendable and their well-being can be sacrificed, but if the blade grazes his fingertip all of the sudden there's a problem?

It's too bad, Yonatan Bassi! Eat it! Be thankful you're not moving to a caravilla!


I spoke too soon.

Anonymous informs me in the comments that Bassi is in fact moving to a caravilla. I don't know if this has been reported in English, but here's the story in Hebrew. It's also claimed there that although the Bassis only requested a two-year leave of absence, they're not likely to return.

Spooky, eh? If it didn't look like middah k'neged middah before, it sure does now. What I'd like to know is: what is Yonatan Bassi thinking now? I suspect that even if he hasn't yet a mind for repentence over his role in the Disengagement, he must have one heck of a grimace on his face.

Thanks, Anonymous.

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Name: Sabzi Aash
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