Monday, May 09, 2005

And so it begins

Yesterday Neriyah Ofan from Yitzhar was arrested and placed in administrative detention. Administrative detention is what they call it when a regime wants to arrest citizens but has no case against them. Lots of South American and Middle Eastern countries. Thsoe countries tend to get invaded by the US sooner or later; Israel, though, will probably get an increasing aid grant the more arrests are made.

Lest you think detention just means being locked in a jail cell and watching cable TV all day -- I have neighbors who've been through the routine. It means beatings, psychological torture, threats. It's certainly no summer vacation.

I'm not too well acquainted with Neriyah. In this area, men and women don't tend to hang out together. I know his wife Naomi well, though--she was homeroom teacher for The Middle Teen two years and The Youngest another two and a half. I saw her husband at parties and at PTA nights, and he always struck me as a kind, gentle man.

I have a theory. There are two types in this world--the constructive and destructive. Constructive people try to change public opinion by building, be it settlements or grassroots movements (Neriyah is one of the organizers of Sivuv Shearim, the monthly circling of Jerusalem's Old City walls.) The destructive plan attacks against the "enemy," be that enemy Arab or fellow Jews. These are two distinct types, and constructive people do not go around planting bombs in Arab schools -- they're too busy planning how to build good things, hoping good will crowd out bad, to plot impotent showpieces of violence.

So why is it the secret services arrest only the constructive types?

If anyone can arrange interviews with the local or international press, Naomi Ofan's phone numbers are (country code 972, then remove the first 0 if calling from outside Israel) cell: 052-4767131, home: 02-9400265.

A side note: Neriyah was arrested at the entrance to Jerusalem, with his wife and at least one child in the car. As Noami was making her way home, husband missing, she was attacked and firebombed.

I've never really classified myself as a Zionist. When I moved here, I did it to move to the Land of Israel, not the State of Israel. I have seen nothing in my nearly 15 years here to change my mind, so I won't be joining in Batya's flag-flying. I'm proud to live in Eretz Yisroel; I couldn't care less about what the State of Israel thinks of where I live.

Call me haredi, just don't call me late to the Independence Day barbeque!

P.S. to the secret services: My whole family will be out of the country this summer, something planned two years ago, so no need to arrest any of us as a preemptive measure. Thanks, anyway.

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