By HaRav Yisrael Rosen
Dean of the Zomet Institute
“Keep guard for me, my good G-d…
Do not uproot the plants / Do not abandon hope.
Bring me back and I will return / To the good land.
Guard, my G-d, over this house / Over the garden, and the wall
From grief, from sudden fear, and from war.”
(Naomi Shemer, “Al Hadevash V’al Ha’oketz” – (On Honey and on the Sting)
The Judgement of the “Evil God”
The above song by Naomi Shemer has become something of a “settler hymn” and their prayer to “the good G-d,” asking Him to guard over our plants and our walls. This prayer with its plea echoed through the air last week in the area of Binyamin, in the mists of Amona, which was torn apart in the noise of the bulldozers that were sent to storm the mountain, by order of the Supreme Court. Who is the “evil god,” better known as “Satan,” who has decreed that the plants should be uprooted and that grief should abound (to quote from the above song)? Who is the main “enemy” who leads the charge against Amona and its subsidiaries?
Would you say it is the Palestinians, our bitter enemies? For certain! Would you say it is the Israeli left, the “traitorous” ones? Absolutely, for sure! Would you say it is the newspaper, Ha’aretz? No doubt this is also true. Do you blame the Prime Minister? Not necessarily. While I do agree with all the criticism against him from the right and I am upset by his hesitation in political and legal terms, he does have some reasons for his actions – he is restrained by the courts, in general and in detail. What about the State Attorney? He too is led by a fear of the Supreme Court and by a “religious” dedication to the rule of law. Would you say that the “enemy” is the Supreme Court? If so, you are moving in the right direction. But just who is the Supreme Court? Do all the members of the court completely agree with each other? Do they all share the same exact viewpoint, together with the fervor to rule that “a legal ruling takes precedence over the mountain”? Evidently they are not all fashioned from the exact same mold! And so we conclude that there is no alternative than to look for “the evil god” at the highest level of the Supreme Court – in the office of the President of the court!
Only recently did it become clear to me that the President of the court appoints the members of the panels of judges – arbitrarily, without a set system of rotation or randomization, without regard for special expertise. Every manager (even in Zomet Institute) knows that he will get a different result for an assignment depending on who is given the job, and that this outcome can be predicted in advance. Our sages have taught us, “Just like the faces (of people) are different, so their opinions differ” [Yerushalmi Berachot 9:1]. I would humbly add that their opinions can be predicted from “their faces” – from their expressions, their social relationships, their place of residence, their life style, whether they are “liberal” or “conservative,” and so on. In the midst of the tumult of the evacuation of Amona on a rainy day, we were given the news that the Supreme Court had rejected the “Amona plan” that had been proposed for settling the matter (in spite of the fact that it was already a moot point). The panel was led by an Arab judge together with a second judge who has a completely leftist record, both appointees of the “evil gods.” The third judge, of course, “was more positive,” in an attempt to block any complaints about a distorted panel.