aired Jan. 19, 2014 on Dave’s Gone By. Youtube clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=USb-IKF3eU8
Shalom Dammit! This is Rabbi Sol Solomon with a Rabbinical Reflection for the week of January 19th, 2014.
It is with a sad heart that we bid farewell to Ariel Sharon, the former Prime Minister of Israel who died last Saturday at age 85. The end was a blessing because he’d been in a coma for the past eight years. Imagine, eight years without any kind of physical activity. Sort of like a Jewish marriage.
But seriously, Ariel Sharon was a war hero and a statesman and the kind of leader Israel needed again and again in its battles with the Arab world. In the 1948 war for independence, he was wounded but survived and came back strong. He was aggressive and rude and cocky – honestly, you’d never know he was Jewish. But he sure was, and in the 1950’s, he fought constantly against terrorism – sometimes killing civilians, which isn’t nice, and sometimes killing murderers, which is very nice. In 1967, as a general, Sharon took on Egypt and beat them in a war that lasted all of six days. I can’t get a passport in six days, this guy wins a whole freakin’ war.
And then in 1973, when the Jews were attacked on Yom Kippur – our holiest day of the year (if you don’t count Barbra Streisand concerts) – with Egypt’s Third Army massing against us, Ariel Sharon led 5,000 tanks over the Suez Canal and turned the tide of the war. Ariel Sharon was our Patton, our Sherman, our sword of vengeance and great protector.
Yes, he was a hawk, but kicking Egypt’s ass on Yom Kipper helped bring on the Sadat peace talks. And Sharon was willing to compromise for peace a lot more than other hawks around him. For years, he encouraged Jewish settlements in the so-called “occupied territories” – and why not? Gaza, the West Bank – those are places that Israel won, fair and square, in wars. What’s the point of conquering enemy territory if you’re not gonna build a Starbucks on it?
However, when Israel began negotiating with the Palestinians – or at least tried to – and settlements were standing in the way of progress, Ariel Sharon went in there and started pulling Jewish families out of their homes. Their land was then given over to Palestinian rule, and the Arabs were so grateful, they started sending rockets over with little red bows and thank-you notes. Oh well. The whole land-for-peace thing is a crock, but you can’t say Sharon didn’t try.
Now, no question, this man had blood on his hands. One time, he blew up an Arab village that he swore he thought was abandoned. It wasn’t. Well, it was when he got through with it. Another time, Sharon had the army surround a refugee camp and then allowed the Lebanese Christian militia to go in and look for terrorists. They may have found some, but it’s hard to tell, since the Phalangists wound up slaughtering all the refugees. So much for Christian charity.
But if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a trillion times: Israel is a safety net for the Jewish people. New York is over-crowded, and Miami has too many flying bugs, so Jews need the teeny-tiny country of Israel as their homeland. Arabs have all the rest of the Middle East and North Africa to call their own. All you need is a turban and a Koran, and you have eight-and-a-half million miles at your disposal. By comparison, Israel is the size of a King Soopers – and not even one of those big King Soopers that has furniture and garden supplies.
Ariel Sharon was our security guard. He was so feared and hated by our enemy that his mere visit to the Temple Mount set off a wave of Arab riots. I haven’t seen that kind of negative reaction to a personal appearance since John Tesh played Bonnaroo.
A big man with big appetites, Sharon paid for his high living with a stroke that put him on life support for nearly a decade. No one knows if he saw, heard or understood anything that was going on around him. Kind of like Chris Christie. But if those tragic eight years – plus the deaths of two wives and his only son – were payback for the bad things Ariel Sharon did, let the next thousand millennia in heaven reward him for his courage, his tenacity, and his devotion to eretz yisroel. Thank you, bulldozer.
Yisgadal veyisgadash shmei rabba. Beʻalma di vra khir’useh, veyamlikh malkhuseh, beḥayekhon uvyomekhon, uv’cḥaye d’chol bet yisrael, b’agalah uvizman kariv, v’yimeru amen.
This has been a Rabbinical Reflection from Rabbi Sol Solomon, Temple Sons of Bitches in Great Neck, New York.
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