August 28, 2011

The Lunacy of Oslo

I took my 7-year-old daughter and two granddaughters to Rachel’s Tomb this afternoon. We went from there to Kiryat Arba, Hebron and Machpela, Cave of the Patriarchs and the tomb of Ruth.

Rachel’s Tomb is only accessible through a high-walled road corridor into Arab- controlled Bethlehem.

We gave that control to the Palestinian Authority under the Oslo Accords.

In return we got restaurant and bus bombings and daily rocket attacks which continue until today.

How Jews managed to retain even this tentative access to the tomb of the mother of the tribes of Israel is a miracle in itself. (See my Jewish Press article of some years ago HERE.)

Similarly the burial site of Ruth, located in Tel Rumeida, is accessible only through an army base and tin-sheeted corridor laced with barbed wire which zigzags into Arab-controlled Hebron.

That was another accord named Wye. It should have been called Why? (Our attachment to Hebron is the subject of another article of some years back HERE.)

Then there is Joseph's tomb in Shechem; another Oslo casualty where we have to visit in bus convoys in the middle of the night to avoid upsetting the Arab mayor of what they renamed the City of Nablus. (This is a derivative of the Roman name Neapolis - or Naples. Palestine was another Roman name used to erase the true biblical name of Judea.)  

Apart from reviving past writings, my point in blogging today’s excursion, is the irony that, in the Diaspora, Jews can freely visit the tombs of their rabbis and Hassidic mentors on visits to Poland, Russia, Germany, the Czech Republic, Spain … even Turkey and pretty much all over Europe.

But in our very own homeland, we can only visit our most revered sites like criminals, under armed guard at risk of a sniper’s bullet.

How does one explain this to a grandchild?

That we can do what we like in someone else’s house, but in our own home we appear like intruders?

That is the lunacy of Oslo.

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