in october 2005 we took a family vacation in spain and due to an insight of dorit, my partner in life and best friend, we were most fortunate to visit abbey de poblet near tarragona. it is a beautiful monastery very well preserved from the 11th century.
on our return to israel i decided to write an article about the monastery and it was published in the israeli magazine “teva hadvarim”
but the most important step was researching poblet. this is when i first contacted father josep maria, who i now consider a dear friend. we correspond quite often but i will never forget father josep’s first email that opened “How lucky I am, dear Mr. Nir Alon, to make your acquaintance, with you, a real jew, living in Israel, near Jerusalem, the Holy City!”
i like to think i had a part in helping father josep fulfil a yearning – this september he plans to visit the holy land, with two other monks, and i will finally meet my friend face to face.
… if events allow
father josep is very understandably concerned with current political events in israel and how they may effect his visit. following is an excerpt of a reply i sent to him…
Dear Father Josep,
It is a good thing I did not reply yesterday. Had I replied yesterday I would have said “sure, no problem to visit Nazareth”. But, yesterday afternoon a rocket shot by the Hezbollah in Lebanon hit the town of Nazareth and killed two small Arab children. So, to answer your question – I will delay my answer hopefully only a week or two so things may quiet down.
But the death of the two children in Nazareth may be a reply to the other issue you raised – indiscriminate killing…
While Israel does everything possible to avoid innocent deaths, the Hezbollah does not.
In 1982 Israel invaded southern Lebanon under similar circumstances. There was no Hezbollah then, it was PLO terrorists that were terrorizing our northern border. They were eventually driven out of Lebanon to Tunisia. After many years of occupying southern Lebanon because the central Lebanese government could not take responsibility for securing the border, six years ago Israel pulled its military forces out of Lebanon, even though the security situation there was not good, in compliance with UN resolution 1559.
Resolution 1559 also called for disarming of Hezbollah and deployment of the Lebanese army in southern Lebanon. But the government of Lebanon did not comply with these requirements. Over the past six years the population of southern Lebanon and the government actively and passively helped the Hezbollah to strengthen in southern Lebanon, to build a terror network and infrastructure, and to stock thousands of rockets aimed at Israeli cities. Today it is clear how thorough the Hezbollah preparations and their intentions really were. Stocks of rockets are hidden and buried under civilian homes all over southern Lebanon. These rockets are today being used to indiscriminately shell
Israeli cities, towns, civilians and children. They do not even care if they kill innocent children. Arab children, their own people!!
The current violence was undoubtedly initiated by Hezbollah with a barrage of rockets all over Israel’s north, the penetration of Israel’s border, killing of 4 and abduction of two. There is world consensus justifying Israel’s military action against Hezbollah. For the first time in modern history the world is backing our actions. Even moderate Arab countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia are thankful we are trying to erase a radical terror organization. This in itself
is unbelievable! Egypt and the Saudis were our enemies not so many years ago.
The situation is that Israel today has no choice. we can no longer be held hostages, the whole country, under the threat of a terror organization in a country with a weak government. Under these impossible circumstances Israel is doing everything humanly possible to avoid civilian casualties on the Lebanese side. In contradiction to the military advantage of surprise, our planes drop notes over civilian areas notifying the population to evacuate areas controlled by Hezbollah or Hezbollah installations and facilities. We are
compromising our military intentions and the element of surprise to avoid civilian casualties as much as possible. Israel’s air force is using the most sophisticated smart-bombs available to make sure each bomb hits it’s exact target. Some strategically important targets are not hit if the risk of civilian casualties is too great.
If some of the Lebanon population identify with Hezbollah and actively support them, and if they do not listen to our advance warnings and evacuate, then their destiny is in the hands of God.
Indeed it is an impossible situation. Indeed it is sad and tragic on both sides. But we have all witnessed the extent of radicalism on the side of Islam all over the world. They have a term – “Jihad” – religious justification for murder of innocents. Is there another religion that justifies murder in the name of God?
“Hear O Israel, The Lord our God, The Lord is One”, Mt. Arbel, May 2005