From Masada To Yavne and Forth

September 3, 2010

Apparently, my Hebrew textbook endorses Ha’aretz pretty much I noticed. Most articles I’m supposed to read is 1997-1998 Haaretz articles. This afternoon, my assignment is to read מצדה גיבוריה- יבנה חכמיה. I’m not familiar with ancient history, but I notice how easy it is to tag something as a thing you don’t like- the author thinks Masada is a symbol of nationalism (that any modern society should abandon); a symbol of war (that a.k.a anti-peace). She appeals to us that we should not think in a way of 50 years ago. She thinks the fact that more and more people take part in peace movement indicates a new ideology (that endorses peace).

Well, I find it so often that what left wing believe in is exactly what I believe in. I’m fed up that you guys talk like I don’t know. But what’s the difference between us? It’s *how*. The words in my textbook implies that 50 years ago or so, Israeli people “preferred” war over peace. As far as I’m concerned Israel has never believed in anything else other than peace, though there have possibly been military and religious fanatic elements throughout the time. Just *how* to achieve peace.

And now *how* do we see Masada? If in the past, Masada-like education imposed danger of leaning toward military power, we can still correct it and see the positive side of Masada. That is, Masada is a symbol of strong spirit and persistence. Soldiers go up to Masada and swear to protect Israel and its people, that is to say they’ll fight like Masada soldiers when enemies want to destroy Israel, not when they’re wandering on the street. There is a condition. And it doesn’t promote violence. The author’s words implies that Masada is a symbol of war, which is exactly a proof that the author’s attitude toward Masada has not evolved, rather than that other people’s attitude toward peace hasn’t evolved.

I have said that most people in modern world actually share the same values with liberals. But every time I read their articles I keep trying to separate myself from them, as if to reassure myself I’m different from these fake liberals. I understand this is a subtle and delicate loathsome. They speak as if the rest of us don’t want peace, as if we were “un-enlightened”.

However, we should always bear in mind. Not to let military power control us, not to let nationalism and patriotism rise above human lives. Maybe all we can get from them are these noisy alerts, they keep ringing in case we forget.

Below is my answer to a question as required by my textbook. (An evidence of my poor Hebrew!)

היום אנחנו חיים בעולם מודרנית, לא כדאי לראות רוח מצדה בדרך ישן. מכבדים אנשי מצדה הם לא מכבדים כוח ומלחמה. אנחנו אנשי מצדה כי הם סימן של רוח חזק. אנחנו אוהבים המדינה והעם שלנו, ולכן אוהבים שלום. זאת לא אומרת שאנחנו מפסיקים לשמור על ישראל עם כוח שלנו. כאשר צרוך להילח’ם, אנחנו נחלם כמו אנשי מצדה.

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