Monday, February 26, 2007

A Cedar of Lebanon

Erez Levanon's father was a poet. Cedar (of) Lebanon is the name he gave his son, a 'tree' that was felled before its time, in a forest, naturally. Except that the death was anything but natural.

I just returned from the funeral of the 42 year old musician, husband and father of 3 from Bat Ayin, a community near my own, in western Gush Etzion. As a Breslover Hassid, he would spend an hour a day by himself, meditating, getting to closer to the Creator, considering ways of bettering himself and his contribution to mankind. 'Hitbodedut' is the term, being alone with God and yourself. It is an essential part of Hassidut that the followers of Rav Nachman of Breslov follow, well, religiously.

Yesterday, however, the place of spirituality and self reflection was shattered by its cosmic opposite. In a classic scenario of Good meeting Evil, Arab terrorists who were familiar with his schedule brutally stabbed him to death as he communed with his Maker in a grove of trees near his home. They then stole his car. Why not, I guess. I mean, if you're already killing someone you might as well rip him off, too. It's not like it will weigh on whatever conscience these people have.

It is virtually impossible to wrap my mind around the scene, to consider that people could do this to another human being. You would think I would be inured to this after all these years of terror and murder and suicide bombings, but I'm not. And quite honestly, I hope that I never am.

So getting back to this afternoon. It was pouring rain as the eulogizers, as numb with grief as those listening, spoke of a gentle, humble man who is now making his music in a better place. He would spend summers in India as a Jewish point man for travellers from Israel, trying to bring them closer to God through his music and his own experiences, not having been raised in a traditional home. The deep fog muffled many of the sounds of sobbing and fit with the subdued atmosphere; clearly many mourners were still in shock. Someone said to me that they were surprised that there were no calls for revenge, no anger, only a mystical -spiritual attempt at acceptance. As if he had been killed by a pack of wild dogs. (Hmmm). My response was that whatever helps them cope is what they should do; that we cannot in any way judge how those whose lives will never be the same choose to deal with their loss. The system will have to bring the killers to justice and make sure that no one else falls victim to this inhuman madness.
He was buried in Kfar Etzion, near Koby Mandell and other terror victims, at whose funerals we prayed that they, too, would be the last to die that way. Not to be. Will Erez be the last?

What hurts all of us who live in Judea and Samaria is what will inevitably follow. The press and left wing insinuations or flat out statements that if he hadn't been there this wouldn't have happened. That just like Eliyahu Asheri, the teenager murdered last year in Samaria while hitchhiking, somehow the victim is at fault. Twin Tower investment bankers, London commuters, Bali partygoers, Breslan schoolchildren, Tel Aviv bar hoppers and Eilat bread buyers are innocent victims, but Jews in Judea and Samaria are deserving of death. Because? Because we shouldn't be here and so we brought it upon ourselves. Oh. Gotcha.

This is my first blog post. I have been speaking to groups and individuals for years about the right of Jews to live in all parts of the Land of Israel. I have been prevailed upon to blog as a way of perhaps getting some ideas out to more people, or at least my mom, on a regular basis so we'll give it a go.

I clearly have more to say on the ludicrous attitude that distinguishes 'settlers' from really innocent victims. I won't go into it now because; a) then you have no reason to come back again since everything will be so crystal clear to you; b) it makes this post way too long; c) my son is waiting to be picked up from a friend; d) My daughter asked me to search the web for the 7th episode of the 3rd season of Lost before it gets too late in the evening. No, peekvid doesn't have it, don't know why.

So, bye for now from a cold and wet Judean evening. I hope with all my heart that this is as 'heavy' a post as I'll have to make. But if you're a betting sort of guy or gal....

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