ARTICLES BY DR. MATANIA GINOSAR ON THE ISRAELI STRUGGLE
First, let me introduce myself.
My name is Matania Ginosar, I was born and raised in Israel and was heavily involved in the creation of the state. I joined the Israeli underground Lechi (or “Stern Gang”-as the British called us) at 15 fighting to free Israel from Britain, was arrested twice and escaped, was a founding member of a border kibbutz, served in the Israeli military, and naturally I am concerned about the peace prospect there. My family is in Israel for some 200 years, and all my family, but me, live there, many of which have been peace activists for decades. And with all my heart I wish for peace in the Middle East and a good life to all the people in that troubled area.
I am an American citizen for several decades, married and helped my wife raise some lovely kids. I earned a BS and MS in Electrical Engineering, was a Teaching Assistant at MIT, and earned a master in Management and Doctorate in Environmental Science from UCLA. I am interested in solar and wind energies and live in central California. I made major contributions to California in these areas when I was the head of the solar office and the wind energy program for the state. For ten years I developed political pressure on Congress against nuclear war in several states as a full time volunteer.
For several years I gave seminars: "Discovering the Beauty of Judaism" in two local synagogues, and gave numerous talks about Israel.
For many years I have studied and written evaluation papers about the Israeli-Palestinian situation, which were well received. Many recipients requested that I send the material to their friends too, and that is how these articles were born.
My main goal is to inform Americans on the facts in that conflict since much of what we get from the media is incomplete or distorted.
Dr. Matania Ginosar
A letter to:
Editorial Page Editor
The Sacramento BEE
Dear Mr. Schrag:
I am not a militarist. In fact, I have worked full time for nuclear disarmament for eight years as a volunteer. But I believe that the Bee attitude towards Israel is too narrow and unrealistic, to say the least. I did not respond previously to the many anti Israeli cartoons by Renault, your cartoonist, and to the over simplistic articles on the Israeli situation you have carried over the years. I thought that one of these days intelligent people will see through the so-called solutions that are advocated by unrealistic, though well meaning, liberals. But I am surprised by the Bee that even now, after the Iraqi episode you are still so blind to reality. It is more than sad. It is inexcusable for intelligent, thinking people.
Some like to point to the nearly bloodless changes in Eastern Europe as an example what may be done in the Middle East. But the Arabs are not Western people and feel differently about human life. In Saudi Arabia they cut the hands of thieves; in Baghdad they hang people in the public square in front of thousands and show it on TV, and they gassed those they wish to. The Iraqi sent Scuds to kill civilians in Israel to the applauds of thousands of Palestinians in Jordan and the territories. The PLO, its predecessors and derivatives, kill women and children for over forty years now. More Palestinians were killed last year in the Territories by other Arabs than in clashes with the army. The Saudi pilot who shot down the first Iraqi plane in the air said, on U.S. TV, that he could not have lost. If he shot the Iraqi he would be a hero, if he were killed instead he would have gone straight to heaven. Arabs do the majority of international terrorism, including the killing of hundreds of uninvolved people in the PANAM destruction in 1989. These do not represent Western values and do not show compassion for human life.
With this clear lack of Compassion for human life, even for their own "brothers", why will they have any compassion for any one else, especially the Israelis? They consider the Israelis as their enemies. They represent to the Arabs the successful West, and thus their own failure, in a decaying, feudalistic, dictatorial civilization. With this ingrained disregard to human life how can Israel allow a new Arab power in the middle of its own country? It would create a tremendous security problem, and many more deaths. It may force Israel to retake the Territories again. But the Bee ignores this reality, and it goes again with attack on Israel and Jews. During the war with Iraq you wisely discouraged your cartoonist from presenting overly simplistic cartoons about the war. Since he is especially determined to attack Israel in the most anti Semitic terms that a liberal paper can do today in California, it would have been badly received when over 30 Scuds attacked innocent civilians in Israel. So now you invited another anti Jewish cartoon by Benson, but "innocently" put it on the op ed page (Friday March 8, 1991, page B7). And to do it after the war that demonstrated so clearly how savage the Arabs can be against their own brothers. Note especially the Palestinians and their cooperation with the Iraqis against their hosts the Kuwaitis. Just imagine what they would have done to Israelis under similar circumstances.
Just look at this cartoon carefully. First it depicts JEWS vs. ARABS. It is possible that great many Arabs do hate Israel, maybe even hate Jews, as was demonstrated by the glee of the Palestinians after the Scud attacks on Israel. I doubt very much that many Jews would think or utter the words included in this cartoon. That is not our way. I also know that very few Israelis would think, let alone say, these words. I never hear them from Jews nor from the many Israelis I know. You probably do not grasp that the reason Israel attacks terrorist installations is not as revenge, but to demonstrate to them that they would not be immune from a punishment every time they attack Israelis. Most Arabs do not feel like Western people, they believe that you are a coward if you do not respond powerfully to an attack. And they would increase their attacks on civilians. Only when they know it would not pay, they may be willing to stop. That clearly happened with Jordan and even militant Syria. They learned. Very rarely attacks come from these states.
It is so sad that you, an intelligent and sensible professional, is not able to see how biased you, and the rest of the people in the Bee who make these decisions, are. This cartoon equates the Jews and the Arabs in hatred. Who is that for over 40 years attacks innocent people and kills them whenever the opportunity arises? Did Israel initiate the many wars there? Did Israel maintain a state of war with its neighbors as a national policy?
I was born and raised in Israel. My relatives were nearly killed by an unprovoked Arab attack in Nablus 1929. Three of my friends were killed out of 40 members of my kibbutz near Gaza in less than one year. The UN did not allow us to receive one of the bodies of my friends because it was badly mutilated. More than a quarter of my classmates died in the various wars the Arabs initiated against Israel. Did the Israelis ask for that? They accepted the UN partition, the Arab did not. And still do not accept the existence of Israel.
Israel did make many mistakes, sometimes big ones, like the invasion of Lebanon. Its army responded too often with too much force to intifada attacks, and similar unacceptable actions. But it seeks peaceful co existence with the Arab states.
Are you aware that the Arab states have a clear policy of not allowing Palestinians to become citizens in any Arab country in order to prolong the instability in the area (Jordan may be the exception). This policy was stated a few days ago on national TV by one of the leaders of Kuwait. Are you aware that one million Jews left the Arab states to live in Israel and left most of their belonging, and obviously their housing, there. They are integrated in Israel. Why do so many Palestinians still live in refugee camps? Do they want it? With the wealth of the Arabs oil states they could have transferred to live like human being again. But this would reduce the pressure on Israel, so they will continue to be used as pawns by the Arab states.
Many liberals are so eager to offer the Territories for peace. Do they really know what it is to live near people that are determined to kill your population, women and children, as they are doing for years? I know it first hand. I don't believe it is possible for outsiders to grasp it, but you may try. Try to imagine Sacramento being attacked repeatedly from Davis by rockets and armed infiltrators eager to blow us up. I doubt liberals here will be giving a buffer zone to the attackers. They will ask for an immediate and powerful counterattack on the perpetrators.
Read the attached story by Yosef Lapid about some of the feelings of Israelis about the recent danger. Maybe you can get a glimpse of what it means to live under constant danger. I doubt that outsiders can understand what it means to know that your very life and that of your family is always in danger. I don't believe that outsiders can feel the fear of Israeli parents for their young sons when they know that as they become adults they will face the danger of a continuous military service and border attacks, or major wars. It is easy, very easy to propose solutions to Israel when you sit in the comfort of your secure home in the good old U.S.A.
Dr. Matania Ginosar