Thursday, November 18, 2010

The View from Here

Here at Orot, they recently moved my office. Whereas before I was in a small office on the first floor, now I'm in a roomy, airy office on the third (highest) floor of the building. I at first resisted because, let's face it, we all hate change. But, upon about two seconds of reflection, I love my new office. I love it because it's a little bigger - I used to have to turn sideways to get to my desk). I love it because it's got a ton of natural light. But most of all, I love my office for the view. And what a view it is.

I share this view with you not just to boast, but because, if you look carefully you'll see at the upper left hand side the faint shadow of buildings. On a clear day you can see all the way to Tel Aviv. That's right - from my office, in Elkana, you can clearly see the largest, most densely populated area in Israel. The reason you can see it is because we're pretty darn close. Just look at the map:
As you can see, Elkana's on the right, Tel Aviv on the left, and they can't be much more than 15 miles apart. Moreover, my view is so great because we're on the top of a hill. You can see pretty much the entire Gush-Dan area from here, which gives me my amazing view, and makes the next statement pretty obvious:
Anyone who thinks that we should hand over Elkana to the Palestinians is crazy.
I write this because looking yet again at the map, you'll notice the dotted line running down the map about a quarter of the way from the right. That's the Green Line. (I wonder why the Goog made it grey.) Politically, Elkana's in the "wrong" place, on the wrong side of the map. But strategically, it's an absolutely essential location for Israel's safety and security. You don't need to fire rockets from here to kill innocent Israelis. All you'd need is a mortar. And not a big one at that.
I write these words because sometimes, looking at a map from halfway around the world people seem to know what's best for us over here. As an example I quote Jeffrey Goldberg, whose blog I enjoy, who seems to consider settlements like Elkana an obstacle to peace. He recently wrote,
I would like to see Prime Minister Netanyahu go to Ramallah and address the Palestinians directly, and provide them with a vision -- a generous vision, I hope -- of what the future could look like, and then set Israel on a course to achieve that vision. Part of that vision, of course, includes what he thinks the final borders of the unborn state of Palestine should be.
Why is it always up to us? Why does the Israeli Prime Minister need to travel to Ramallah to provide a vision? Has he ever heard of Hamas? Does he really think that the larger Palestinian goal is two live peacefully, side-by-side? And even if he does, would he bet his life on it, much less mine?
Over there, these are nice theoretical questions to ponder for political punditry. But that's over there. Mr. Goldberg, next time you're in Israel, come visit me in my office. We'll sit, drink coffee, and contemplate the view together. I daresay you might come to some different conclusions when, firsthand, you see the View from Here.