Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Ein Gedi Botanic Garden
Seek the serenity of a Judean Desert sky in Autumn at the Ein Gedi Botanic Garden

Monday, May 30, 2005

The Garden

This past Shabbat, as the sun gently set over the hills of the Negev, I sat with my husband on the patio behind our house, gazing at the view and singing the 23rd psalm together. The blessing which thanks G-d for the fruit trees was recently said in its season, just before Pesach when the flowers have bloomed before giving way to their fruit.
"The fig tree is huge," I observed after the song ended. "What fig tree?" said my husband. He had not noticed it, hiding behind the blossoming honeysuckle against the fence. "The fig tree," I repeated patiently. "It's full of fruit." He went over to take a look. "So it is," he agreed. "We have to figure out a way to prevent the worms from getting in there. They come up from the ground and invade the fruit. It's gross."
The thought made me squirm. I had seen those little things last year at our previous residence. They looked like maggots.
"And the olive tree too," I reminded him. Last year's olives were gorgeous, but when I soaked them prior to pickling, hundreds of little white worms emerged. Gross. We have a very large olive tree in our yard across from Adam's first pair of underwear, and I could not bear the thought of another year of wasted olives.
"What is that bush?," I asked him, peering at a beautiful leafy little tree with bright orange-red flowers nearby. I had almost uprooted it a couple of months ago, thinking it was a dead shrub. When I saw the flowers, I had decided it might be honeysuckle, but the color was wrong.
"Pomegranates," he answered. I could not believe that I had missed that. Such a beautiful fruit, and sure enough when I went to look, the little tree was bursting with small green globes just starting the hint of a blush.
"The lemons are coming out," I commented. There were three of those, marching along the side of the house between our front and back yards. They were short but full, having somehow been cut down almost to destruction before we had moved in, and their leaves were curled, some with the scars of past disease. Careful nurturing has brought them back slowly, and I was surprised last week to see those tiny little green balls at the ends of some of the branches.
"Really?" Disbelief appeared in my husband's eyes. He knew the condition of those trees.
This beautiful garden, a real paradise, looked like real hell just three months ago, and I had been tempted to cut everything down and start over again.
And so it is with Israel.
There have been 500 anti-semitic incidents here in this country, the homeland of the Jewish people, within the past two years according to statistics gathered by Yad Vashem. In Arad, our own little town, there were ten such cases in the past year alone.
The State of Israel leads the world in annual incidence of anti-semitism, NOT BY ARABS, but rather by gentile immigrants claiming one Jewish grandparent in order to come in under the Law of Return. The last wave of Russians, in fact, included more such gentiles than Jews -- and many of them are outright anti-semites.
The representative of Misrad HaKlita (the Ministry of Absorption) here in Arad is herself a Russian Jew, one who looks like a "shikseh" as she describes her appearance. She has blond hair and beautiful blue eyes, the warmest manner you could possibly imagine and the sharpest glance I have ever seen. Several months ago, she warned my husband that many of the new Russian immigrants here in Arad were rabid anti-semites. How did she know?
It seems that she hears all kinds of interesting things from the new immigrants who come to her office for help with the benefits they are entitled to under the Law of Return. Like how they hate the Jews, how they managed to get out of Russia by faking the one Jewish grandparent that was their ticket to freedom in the Holy Land. Their eventual goal? A visa for entry to the United States of America, where they will live and work and spread their poison in Brooklyn, Queens and all the other meccas of Russian immigration.
Be warned, she said. This town is 45% Russian; of those, literally half do not meet halachic criteria to be defined as Jews -- nor do they want to be. This was their ticket out, and our naive Israeli government used Hitler's definition of who is a Jew to import this cancer into our midst.
The thought that Jewish tzedaka, Jewish taxes and Jewish blood has gone to support and protect the lives of this scum sickens my soul. In the one place a Jew should expect to be surrounded -- at least within our own borders -- by Jews and Gentiles who acknowledge our right to this Land and our existence, we have somehow managed to surround ourself with enemies from within. Not from Arabs, fighting for their own right to be here, having lived here themselves for hundreds of years -- from foreign anti-semites, goyim who would love nothing more than to see us dead while sucking our country dry of its scarce and precious resources.
"Should we leave?" asked my husband in despair. "It is so hard here; the salaries are slave wages and the expenses double what they were in the States. The bureacracy is a nightmare. The red tape is indescribable. Our kids are having such a hard time adjusting to school -- maybe this was a mistake. Maybe it's time to go."
"Go where?" I know from my own experiences as a child that there IS nowhere to go. You can't run from this. There is nowhere to hide. We brought this scourge upon ourselves -- not me, not my husband, but other Jews who were stupid and desperate to prove their righteousness to the world by its own vicious criteria. But it exists everywhere, and I was not raised by my parents to run. I was taught to stand my ground and fight for what is right.
The Lubavitcher Rebbe, of blessed memory, was the only Jew in Crown Heights to stay during the "white flight" of the sixties that followed a huge influx of African-American and Carribean-American tenement dwellers. Six other Brooklyn neighborhoods had already fallen, four Jewish and two Italian. But the Rebbe would not run, nor would he allow his Chassidim to either. And Crown Heights today has been regentrified, with houses that sell at astronomical, ridiculous prices -- and they barely make it to the market, usually snatched up through word of mouth within days.
So too will it be with our beautiful garden here in Arad and in the Land of Israel. Stupid Jews, willing to cut their own throats to please those who will never be pleased with us, no matter what we do simply because we are Jews, have led their own people down the path of self-destruction. It was what the Lubavitcher Rebbe screamed about more than ten years ago, when the Who Is A Jew issue was raised in the discussion of the Law of Return. It was what the Satmar Rebbe, of blessed memory, predicted when he ordered his Chassidim never to acknowledge the establishment of this State, predicated as it was and is on goyische standards of living, and goyische threats as a result.
Some say the Jewish state does not exist. I sometimes wonder as well. But it has in fact been born, although it is still in the neonatal intensive care unit and needs all the prayers and fight it can muster.
Like my garden in the winter.
G-d willing, Israel will bloom once more in the spring.

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