Divrei ben Abuya

In the Babylonian Talmud, Elisha ben Abuya was a great sage who lost his faith in God. So great was he that his and subsequent generations continued learning from him - to the extent that the authors of the Talmud needed to create a story that would serve to legitimise his teachings despite his apostasy. His lesson is a lesson for us all: that great stature is not contingent upon blind faith, nor high learning upon the observation of Torah precepts.

June 28, 2006

Not normally political...

I am finding myself increasingly frustrated with the Palestinians. They complain that they don't have valid leadership and that their woes are not of their own devising. But the leader is not just the one who stands up the front; leadership manifests itself at every level of the community. Why do they spend so much time and effort training suicide bombers and missile-manufacturers? Why don't they spend this time training doctors, so that they don't have to rely upon Israeli hospitals? Or training teachers, so that the next generation will not be as irretrievably stupid as the current one?

Israel has left Gaza, but due to typical Palestinian belligerence (firing missiles, kidnapping an Israeli serviceman, etc), Israel is now threatening to go back in. And, of course, the Palestinians are loudly bemoaning their fate in true Islamic fashion. What is preventing them from declaring a state? They could declare a state in Gaza, and that would give them the political leverage they need to force Israel out of the West Bank. But they are lazy, and their laziness will prevent them from declaring a state even if the Israelis were to leave them the entire region.

Israel will, eventually, withdraw from the West Bank. They have no choice. But still the Palestinians will complain. They will complain that Israel needs to establish a state for them, that Israel needs to supply them with buses, banks, schools, hospitals. That Israel needs to train their army, raise their children, cook their dinner. Are they ever going to do anything for themselves? In a move that was strikingly similar to Joshua's hamstringing of the enemy horses, the Palestinians burned to the ground every item of Israeli infrastructure in Gaza. Rather than utilise pre-existent businesses, they preferred to loot and ransack them. We could always build them schools, but they'd probably only steal the pens and burn the building.


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