A LETTER TO MY DAUGHTER KIM BEFORE SHE EMBARKS ON THE MARCH OF THE LIVING

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A Letter to My Daughter Kim before she embarks on the March of The Living…

Dearest Kim,

The March of the Living is an extraordinary, unforgettable experience.  With thousands  of Jewish people, from countries all around the world, you will share in a once in a lifetime experience when they march three kilometers from Auschwitz to Birkenau, the largest concentration camp complex built by the Nazis during World War II. The March commemorates Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day. You with be there – along with over 8,000 participants who will be part of this historic event.

As one of the Marchers, you will retrace the steps of the March of Death, the actual route which countless numbers of our people were forced to take on their way to the gas chambers at Birkenau. You will experience Jewish history where it was made. This time, however, there will be a difference. It will be a March of the Living with thousands of Jewish youth, like yourself, marching shoulder to shoulder. You will take part in a memorial service at one of the gas chambers/crematoria, in Birkenau, which will close with the singing of Hatikvah, reaffirming Am Yisrael Chai – The Jewish People Live.

Kaddish is a Jewish Prayer to Remember the Dead and normally said by Men. In the absence of a Male Member of the Family ( there are only your brother Jonathan and I left) when you place the Three Jerusalem Stones with the Names of Three Branches of your Family that were Murdered in the Holocaust  say Kaddish out Loud . Say Kaddish for the Drues of Kraków and your Great Aunt Hadasaeah that died in Belzec extermination camp   and all the other  Drues cousins of Kraków that died in Belzec,Treblinska and Auschwitz .Over 280 Drues s of Kraków  relations died. There are no known survivors.. Say Kaddish  for the Drues of Majzugola near Vilna who died in the  Vaivara and Auschwitz Camp if they were not murdered first in the Forest of Paneriai   .There are no known survivors . Say Kaddish for the Shabelshok/Fialkov Families of Riga  who were murdered between 30th November and 8th December  in the Rumbula Forest near Riga with  25,000 thousand other Jews from Latvia. Say Kaddish for the sisters and brothers of your Great Grandmother Freda Shabelstok Baker who died in the Forrest of Rumbula . Say Kaddish for Sarah , Robert, Michael, David , Gregor , Rachel , Lazer, Leah and Fredrich , Freda and Rosa Shabelstok’s older sisters and brothers and all their children and even grandchildren  Not one survived. Over 350 members of the Shabelstok / Fialkov Families died in the misty Forest of Rumbula with  other Latvian Jews mainly from Riga and surrounding areas. Say Kaddish for all the Shabelstok/Fialkov/Drues cousins and relations …there must have  been hundreds and hundreds, , if not thousands and thousands, in the extended Shabelstok / Fialkov families .Four Shabeltok Siblings married four Fialkov Siblings. None are no  known survivors.

Say Kaddish in Tears and then Scream … “We Survived and Are Here Now Again -Never Ever Again” , אנחנו שרדנו ואנחנו כאן עכשיו – לעולם לא עוד יהיה שם שואה חוזרת

Those that Survived The Holocaust but did not experience it first hand:-

Shabelskok: Freda and her younger Rosa . Freda was in Uitenhague ,South Africa married to Chaim Baker  and Rosa, her younger sister  in Norway taken there by the Danish Resistance with most of the Danish Jews.They were the youngest of 11 siblings . All the siblings were married with kids .all the siblings and their families were murdered in the Forest of Rumbuka

Fialkov: Twin Brothers Manny ( Mordechai) and Jay ( Josef) in Cape Town,South Africa . They were the youngest of 10 siblings . None of their siblings or their families survived the Holocaust..

Drues: Samuel  ( your great grandfather) and Naomi in Cape Town, South Africa and William in Chicago, USA survived the Holocaust.. The children of Hadaseah who died in Belzec, joined Shomer Hazair,immigrated to Israel in 1932 and survived in Israel . They were Freda and Hashya who married the Kurman Brothers , Max , who was wounded twice in Palmach operations and Chaim who was a teacher for 43 years before retiring.

Mourn and then Celebrate the Shabelstok/ Fialkov / Drues Survival when you March from Birkenau to Auschwitz… you are their Symbol of Survival .

 

  

 

 

Love You To Bits

xxx

Dad

On the Origin of our surname 

Stephen Darori ( Drori) 

Before I Hebrewized my surname on the 6th September 1986 I was Stephen Ellis Drus…the son of Fay Baker Drus and Morrie Drus  z’l

Fay Baker Drus was the daughter of Freda Shabelstol Baker and Hymie ( Chaim Baker) one of the 3 founders of Betar in South Africa in 1931 and Jabotinskyt stayed at him when he visited the Eastern Cape, South Africa in the same year.

Morrie ( Morris ) Drus is the son of Samuel Drues and Sarah Kaplan Drues. . They were married in Poland and then in 1921 immigrated to Cape Town , South Africa. Drues became Drus.

 

The logic of the Hebrewaization of Drus ro Darori. Drus דרוס pronounced Darus is the Gerund of “Ledareis”.לדרס..” to be trodden on to be run over”…. could not live with that when I came on Aliyah from Cape town, South Africa and a letter change דרוס -> דרור which became דרורי the Biblical word for a Sparrow. Cage a Sparrow and it will die wrote Acad Ha’am so Eliezer Ben Yehuda, the reviver of the Hebrew Language  in his New  Hebrew dictionary gave Drori a new metaphorical meaning  of “Freedom and Liberty”. The “a’ was added for Branding Purposes . Darori ( Drori) is very approproiate… Kim , your great Aunt Professor Ethel Drus led the committee of 12 ( 9 Jews and Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo and Z.K. Mathews ) who drafted the Freedom Charter , the most important document of the African National Congress. Both your Grandparents and I were very active in the Progressive Party of Helen Susman and Harry Oppenheimer which has evolved into the Democratic Alliance, the Liberal Opposition to the ANC, 

References

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rumbula_massacre

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auschwitz_concentration_camp

http://www.jewishgen.org/forgottencamps/camps/auschwitzeng.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treblinka_extermination_camp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Belzec_extermination_camp

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilna_Ghetto#Liquidation

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaddish

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27 Anti-Israel Moments that Should Make You Want to Support Our Homeland

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1. Protesters outside the Israeli Embassy in London

2. Protesters in London’s Trafalgar Square

1000012

http://legalinsurrection.com/2013/12/reader-crowdsourcing-project-to-fight-american-studies-assoc-anti-israel-boycott/

3. Anti-Semitic demonstration in Copenhagen’s main square

(Watch the Nazi salute at 0:41 one of the protesters says in Danish at 1:10, “We want to kill all the Jews, all the Jews should be slain, they have no right to exist!“, among many other offensive statements in Arabic and Danish.) Via http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?m=200901

4. Global demonstrations in support of Palestine and a free Jerusalem in Jordan Valley

1000013

http://www.vosizneias.com/103886/2012/03/30/beirut-in-photos-neturai-karta-t/

5. Brainwashing children to hate Jews, San Francisco

1000014

http://www.zombietime.com/zomblog/?m=200901

6. Anti-Israel activity on US college campuses

Campus

http://blog.adl.org/international/adl-report-on-campus-anti-israel-activity-in-2011-12

7. Anti-Israel sentiment on the streets of America

intifada

http://www.barenakedislam.com

8. Muslim students in the US promoting Islamic propaganda, United States

rally 2

http://www.barenakedislam.com/2010/02/26/campus-jihad-a-jew-hating-intifada-is-in-full-swing-at-u-s-colleges-and-universities/

9. Anti-Israel demonstration in Malaysia

rally 3

http://elderofziyon.blogspot.com/2012/08/sa-newspaper-chooses-anti-semitic.html#.Us2-Wix8OP9

10. Jobbik Party Protest against ‘Israeli Conquerors’ in Hungary

anti-semitic-supporters

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/jobbik-world-jewish-congress-budapest-hungary-464620

11. Hezbollah rally in London

hezb

http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2006/07/george-galloway-supports-hezbollah.html

12. Star of David carved Into Iraqi’s back during attack in St. Louis

St. Louis

http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2011/09/28/iraqi-poet-in-st-louis-allegedly-has-star-of-david-carved-into-his-back/

13. Anti-Israel protesters in Barcelona

Barcelona

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-grouped-with-iran-north-korea-as-world-s-least-popular-countries-1.347636

14. Anti-Israel protesters in Indonesia

destroy-israel

http://hizbut-tahrir.or.id/2009/03/22/kehancuran-negara-bani-israel-makin-dekat-2/

15. Black Gangs Target Jews In ‘Knockout Game’ Hate Crimes in NY

16. Let’s talk history..

jews-against-israel-2

http://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=20&t=136636&p=6984094

17. Israel could face a second Holocaust

zionists-equal-nazis

http://www.newsrealblog.com/2010/10/07/potentially-israel-faces-a-second-holocaust/

18. Brandeis University rally, Boston

BrandeisAntiIsraelProtest021

http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=20394&only

19. Toronto Palestinian Leader to Israelis: Leave (Israel) or You will be Shot

http://www.tlvfaces.com/toronto-palestinian-leader-to-israelis-leave-or-you-will-be-shot-video/

20. “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.” – Council on American Islamic Relations 

Dominate

http://seanrobsville.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-buddhists-and-pagans-need-to-know.html

21. California campuses in Irvine and Santa Cruz cleared in U.S. probes of anti-Semitism

la

http://articles.latimes.com/2013/aug/28/local/la-me-ln-uc-jewish-20130828

22. UNWatch: Hot mic catches UN interpreter saying Anti-Israel votes are ‘a bit much’

23. Islamic Jihad’s kindergarten graduation: Where are the cake and cookies?

5

http://www.tlvfaces.com/islamic-jihads-kindergarten-graduation-wheres-the-cake-and-cookies/

24. A ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ rally

jer

http://cifwatch.com/2012/04/01/brainwashing-children-to-hate-israel-the-palestine-solidarity-campaign-way/

25. Children Intifada: European children singing for freedom in Palestine

26. Norway’s Annual Israel Hate Day

Norway

http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/norways-annual-israel-hate-day/

27. Taxi in Amsterdam

Taxi-in-Amsterdam-IsraelTerror-State-0610

Read more: 

Tel Aviv Beach Like You’ve Never Seen Before… You’ve got 15 Seconds to Hide!

14 COMMENTS

  1. אוריאל

    January 8, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    This is scary. What cant the Israel supports do something? How can we do nothing?

  2. Ilana

    January 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm

    Very sad to see this and am not sure if there is a way to stop it. might got too far

  3. שרון תא

    January 8, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    Just wondering what the Israeli government have to say about it

  4. Ari N

    January 8, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    תעירו אותי כשממשלת ישראל תתעורר

  5. froyerush

    January 9, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    the nations are now conspiring to legitimize what the Nazi did, i.e. dehumanize the Jews in order to annihilate them..by turning the Nazi label onto the Jews and Israel, these nations above are almost completing the task of dehumanizing and preparing for genocide of the Jews. Europe and USA are in the mix of this de-civilization..what an indictment to the whole humanity..people all over the world, use your God-given thinking faculties..study history yourself thoroughly , and look into why you’re joining this highly emotive hate-bandwagon instead of letting yourself be brainwashed by the descendants of the real Nazi.. ideology..

  6. Hachem

    January 9, 2014 at 5:22 pm

    All this people can go like tourists in beaches or in Hotel’s Clubs to swim with Arabic.

    • kåre rolland

      January 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      the demon(stants) must be shamed, they have no historical connection to judea samaria or Jerusalem,they bild a fals story and liars cause they cant prove where they belong,go back to Jordan and other arabisk country and ceep your mouth shut, they cant belive a word of what they are telling the world, that cause you cant prove thing.no documentasion just false history.

  7. SHAWNDA DUPREE

    January 9, 2014 at 9:40 pm

    UMMM, I do not get it…Israel is bad why?? All the photos and videos I have just seen is hate coming from the opposite side…where are these “HATEFUL ISRAELIS”????

  8. Uzi Abrahams

    January 10, 2014 at 3:24 pm

    Our main problem is the silent of the western world who don’t understand that kind of problem ! It’s about time to wake up !
    Arabe Muslim lies about Israel continue to fly around the world, instead of supporting Israel , the western world boycote Israel and became so anti Israel !
    What Israel has contributed to the world until now, the Muslim Arab world didn’t.

    Think about it !

    Let’s fight for the truth and not for that Arab world lies !

    Israel will exist and for ever in that mad region we call, the Middle East !

    The Palestinian can go back to them countries they came from to that region.
    We means the Arab Muslim countries.

  9. Luke

    January 17, 2014 at 11:30 am

    It’s like Nazi Germany all over again. The left propagating hatred and lies about Israel. G_D bless Israel and long may Israel shine.

  10. Pat

    January 18, 2014 at 11:43 pm

    We,as Christians, are commanded to pray for the peace of Israel. Our Lord Jesus was born in Israel by a virgin Jewish mother, Mary. God is always in control. He made the world and everything in it. Jesus will return to Israel,not as a sacrifice for our sins, but as our Leader and Commander and easily destroy all of satan’s armies. I Love Israel and it’s people because God picked this tiny nation to fulfill all His promises of the Messiah, Jesus. God Bless Israel, amen

  11. CMav

    January 22, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    “Some minds are like soup in a poor restaurant—better left unstirred.”
    ― P.G. Wodehouse

    It’s unlikely that any of the idiots shown above can even find Israel on a map. Frankly, it’s a pleasant reminder that, while anti-Semitism is still flourishing like never before in Jew-hating Europe, its practitioners still possess the intelligence of a dust mite. And the ONLY known antidote is ISRAEL. Am Yisrael CHAI!!

  12. Sharon Klaff

    January 22, 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Yes, the Israeli government needs to act. We in the diaspora have bben on the streets trying to combat this, but it’s really huge. At last Naftali is saying a little something, but this is WWlll with Islam using terror with expert PR campaigning. Israel needs to up its PR – get a prestigious agency and start sending us who go on the streets pamphlets and posters, flags and messages. It needs to have ambassadors doing the universities and schools, government offices and churches its time to tell it as it is. Diplomacy time has run out.

  13. Raynav

    January 23, 2014 at 11:28 am

    We are all from this planet. All people (creed, race, etc.) are entitled to a land because we are all born here. Its not like one race or creed came later on from outer space. Scientists say our ancestors came from Africa, multiplied and branched out from there. Stop the hatred and fighting..

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Steven Harper: Flowers, Flags, Honor Guards and More

Aside
Normally, only presidents of countries and a King or Queen would have their national flags hanging on major streets for an official state visit to Jerusalem, Israel.

This week, however, Canadian Prime Minister Steven Harper has received that and much more for a royal welcome.

His speech in the Knesset got several standing ovations. The Prime Minister of Canada in front of the world said that Canada would go through fire and water to stand with Israel? WOW!

photo Steven Harper, picture Prime minister Canada and Israel , image Canada Prime minister in Israel

Not only were flags and flowers put out for the Prime Minister of Canada and his wife,

image red carpet, Israel honor guard photo, picture red carpet for Canada Prime Minister

but also red carpets lined with honor guards . (Please note all pant legs for men are tucked into boots, while women wear cute little white socks. Israeli dress style does not have pants with neat, sharp creased cuffs.)

But there is more – Israel went the whole kit and caboodle for the visiting Canadians.

image sushi table, picture of sushi for reception Harper, picture sushi

A mound of  sushi at one of many food stations was just part of the repast for guests at the Israeli Prime Minister’s office for the official welcome. (Ok, I still have not recovered from shock of 10 shekel charge for water at Obama’s speech in Israel last year.)

image Israeli leaders, photo Israeli politicians, picture reception line for Harpers

For the Harpers’ visit, Israeli politicians stood quietly, waiting in a reception line,

image Israeli political leaders, photo Knesset leaders, picture reception line israel leaders

and dressed in very ‘unIsraeli’ style, with dark suits, pressed dress shirts and blue-striped ties.

image Israeli politicians, photo Israeli leaders, picture Knesset leaders

Well… almost all the men wore a suit and tie.

image Jerusalem leaders, photo Jerusalem mayor with religious leaders, picture Jerusalem political and religious leaders

For the Harpers, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat stood along with leaders of various religions, and waited in the very long reception line.

image Steven Harper with Bib Netanyahu, photo Harper and Netanyahu, picture Steven Harper in israel

First, they stood and listened to an Israeli army band play the anthems, O’Canada and Hatikvah.

image Harper and Netanyahu, photo Canadian Prime Minister in Israel, picture Prime ministers

No, the prime ministers were not holding hands as they walked the red carpet. But this visit certainly has given Israeli PM much to smile about.

image tuba, photo two tuba players, picture Israel army musicians

From red carpet welcome with big brass band

image state limo, photo Israeli limo, picture state ceremony

to official limo service into and out of the welcoming ceremony,

image Larueen and Steven Harper, photo of Steven Harper in Israel , picture Steven Harper and wife

Prime Minister Steven  and Laureen Harper have received as royal and stylish a welcome as little Israel with big heart can put on.

Israel went the whole nine yards to say thank you.

 

Yoynbee- Herzog debate McGill University 1961

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March 24, 1961

JERUSALEM (Mar. 23)

President Ben-Zvi said today he had sent a communication to Yaakov Herzog, Israel’s Ambassador to Canada, praising the envoy’s initiative in inducing British historian Arnold Toynbee to engage in a public debate on the historian’s anti-Israel charges in February.

The President expressed gratification at the tone and content of Mr. Herzog’s presentation in a two-hour debate with Dr. Toynbee on February 1, at the Hillel House at McGill University in Montreal. The envoy issued the challenge after Dr. Toynbee repeated to Hillel House audience a week earlier his public stand that there was a moral parallel between the Israeli treatment of the Arabs during the War of Independence and the Nazi genocide against the Jews.

Read more: http://www.jta.org/1961/03/24/archive/israel-ambassador-in-canada-lauded-for-his-debate-with-toynbee#ixzz2r0h93u00

Naftali Bennett: Palestinian state will destroy Israel’s economy

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In passionate speech, Bennett slams two-state solution, those claiming peace talks in Israel’s economic benefit. ‘For decades there has been desire to divide Israel, excuse keeps changing: First it was peace, then demographics, now economics’To his visual aid, Bennett came armed with a map of Israel – West Bank included – in which he portrayed Judea and Samaria as a mountainous shield protecting central Israel from West Bank Palestinians. Related stories:

Pointing to the map, Bennett said: “Copy paste what happened in Sderot to the rest of Israel. How will Israel’s economy look if a rocket will fall in Shenkar Street in central Herzliya? What if once a year a plane will crash at Ben Gurion Airport?” Pointing to his second visual aid, a graph showing the correlation between peace negotiations and growth of Israeli economy, Bennett made the claim that peace talks, and their ensuing political fallout, have a negative effect on Israel’s growth, the largest alleged drop being registered after former prime minister Ehud Barak‘s Camp David talks with Yasser Arafet. “Israel belongs to the Jewish people for thousands of years, that’s a fact. But now I am talking about economy. “For over 20 years there has been a determination to divide the country, only the excuse has changed. Once they said it was for peace… then (Livni said) for appeasing the world, then for demographics and now economy.”

“Will we divide Jerusalem because of the economy? Will we give up the Galilee? Or will we hand over the Negev because of international pressure on our treatment of the Bedouins.”

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When Netanyahu grows up

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Op-ed: What kind of prime minister does Netanyahu want to be remembered as in Israel’s history?

 

If there is a compliment Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahudeserves it’s exercising caution in using force. Not being trigger-happy. That’s a valuable trait, in my eyes at least. In his first term, he got into trouble for a moment when he opened the Western Wall Tunnel. In his second term, he launched a limited and short-term operation in Gaza called Pillar of Defense. But in general, he has shown a lot of restraint in situations in which other prime ministers would have already opened fire.

This caution is seen by his rivals as cowardice. I prefer to see it as discretion and serious consideration. Senior army and defense establishment officials, who have worked and work with Netanyahu, say that even when approving operations and sudden attacks, close activities and activities far beyond the border, he thinks deeply and is fussy, weighing the options before giving the green light. More than once or twice, to the regret of the defense establishment heads who had already prepared the system and stormed the action, he rejected operations.

Peacemaker Sharon
End of the last chance 
Op-ed: Ariel Sharon was the last right-wing statesman capable of bringing peace to Israel
Full op-ed

The big question is what he wants to do when he grows up. As what kind of prime minister does he want to be remembered in the books of Israel‘s history. History has a habit of dividing leaders into three types: Pioneers, those who reverse trends, and those who fail the outcome criteria – what they received from their predecessors and what they left their successors.

David Ben-Gurion was a pioneer. Menachem Begin reversed a trend through a peace treaty with Egypt, one of the results of which was Israel’s return to the international border, while Egyptian President Sadat inserted the Gaza Strip as a bonus. Begin is also responsible for the following declaration: The Palestinians, their legitimate rights and their justified claims. Although in sub-letter he had the pleasure of referring to the Palestinians as the Arabs of the Land of Israel. Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peresreversed a trend with the Oslo AccordsAriel Sharon with the disengagement. It’s reasonable to assume that had Sharon stuck to his health rather than falling asleep and becoming silent, he would have extended the disengagement to significant parts of the West Bank.

Two prime ministers who got the country in a good state and left behind ruins were Golda Meir and Ehud Barak. Golda with the Yom Kippur War. Barak with the hasty escape from Lebanon and the Second Intifada. Golda felt ashamed and went home. For years, her associates are arguing argumentations of punishment. Barak looked after his own interests, his houses and his daughters. He still acts like he is entitled to change.

Of all prime ministers of the past, Netanyahu can be likened to Yitzhak Shamir. They both gained a lot of years in this position. Shamir served for three terms and Netanyahu is in his third term. They are both described as people with modest goals who only sought to play for time. And yet, it should be mentioned that Shamir practiced restraint during the first Gulf War and avoided an Israeli operation in Iraq so as not to harm the alliance between the United States, the West and Arab states. He was responsible for, or at least participated in, two major prisoner exchange deals. One of them was the infamous Jibril Agreement, whose code name was “new frame of mind.” Shamir also went, namely led by the American administration, to a diplomatic conference, the Madrid Conference, which he was forced to attend under protest. He realized then what Netanyahu likely realizes now: There are moments when you can’t say “no.” If you there say “no,” the results will be much worse than the results of saying “yes.”

These days, Netanyahu is facing an Israeli-Palestinian memorandum of understanding brokered by John Kerry. Out of the joint paper is expected to burst forth a willingness to remove settlements, an agreement to security presence in the Jordan Valley as opposed to sovereignty, and signs distinguishing between Jerusalem and east Jerusalem. It’s too early to know what the final document will look like.

Netanyahu saw himself, in his mind’s eye, striking in Iran and removing the nuclear threat. That will likely not happen. But also a peace agreement will add him into history. There is even a certain resemblance between the missions: The likelihood of both of them is quite slim. In Iran, the main thing was the message rather than the pointless execution. With the Palestinians the main thing is ending or reducing the occupation, lifting the threat of a bi-national state and returning to the family of nations. Not necessarily peace.

Sharon’s political legacy: Livni and Lapid are in his debt

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Pulling Israel out of Gaza, Sharon created a new constituency of Israeli voters looking for peace but without compromising on security. Its impact is felt even today

His military prowess made him famous, his disregard for the rules infamous and his decision to pull Israel out of Gaza a legend, but few outside of Israel remember him as the unlikely father of the Israeli political center.

Kadima election poster (Photo: Gilad Kollorchik)
Kadima election poster (Photo: Gilad Kollorchik)

Following his overwhelming defeat in the 1999 elections,Benjamin Netanyahu resigned the Likud leadership, and Sharon was elected as his successor in Israel’s right-wing party.

Related stories:

In 2001, with the Likud under his control, General Sharon ran against Ehud Barak in a special election for prime minister, and won by a landslide. Sharon was still the epitome of the Israeli rightwing: Militant, headstrong and unabashedly opposed to the land-for-peace formula.

But after two years of a brutal and bloody intifada, which left more than 4,000 Palestinians and Israelis dead, Sharon began to promote his plan for unilateral Israeli disengagement from the Gaza Strip.

The plan swayed neither to the left nor right: On the one hand it called for the uprooting of Israeli settlements, settlements Sharon himself had built as housing minister, yet it wasn’t leftist: its underlying rationale was not one of dialogue and peace, but rather a unilateral “disengagement” from the Palestinian people – a severing of a rotting umbilical cord, not an end to the occupation.

More importantly, the plan was primarily concerned with Gaza, and not with the West Bank.

Against all odds, and despite a severe internal crisis within the Likud, the Disengagement Plan took place in August of 2005; eight thousand settlers were removed from Gaza, and their homes demolished. In the aftermath and the not unexpected political fallout, Sharon announced his departure from the Likud to establish a new party – Kadima , or Forward.

The rationale behind the party’s formation was both ideological and political: Sharon had come to understand that he would not be able to realize his vision for the region through the Likud – yet it was obvious that he had no viable home in the Labor party that he despised, and which despised him just as much.

Pulling moderates from the Likud and disgruntled Labor MKs – among them current President Shimon Peres – Arik created ex nihilo a centrist party based around the premise of unilateral disengagement from Palestinians, a vaguely liberal ideology and a capitalistic agenda.

While it was far from being Israel’s first centrist party, Kadima succeeded where others had failed, overcoming classic political and ethnic fault lines and consolidating a constituency underrepresented on either the right or the left; both in terms of economy and security.

Unlike its political predecessors Shinui (Change) and before that Dash, which ran on a strong liberal and anti-religious agenda and failed to step beyond the niche of wealthy Ashkenazi voters, Kadima managed to pull in right-wing Sephardic votes – at the expense of the Likud – as well pragmatic and free-market oriented Labor voters.

Riding on Sharon’s political and military clout, Kadima managed to present a viable alternative to the classic left-right (Likud-Labor) divide. It allowed the middle class to vote for a two-state solution, without compromising on security. It was a peace-oriented jingoism of sorts.

Thus, Sharon, the man who always got his way, cashed in on a crisis of representation and facilitated a new type of politics in Israel – one unbound by international demands or messianic land-grabs.

Kadima’s impressive success in the elections after Sharon’s collapse consolidated the center as a long-term presence in the Israeli political scene; not so much as any specific party, but as a political force to be reckoned with.

And although Kadima failed to follow up on its 2006 victory, and its power seemed to slowly ebb away, the modest success ofTzipi Livni ‘s Hatnua and the massive win by Yair Lapid‘s Yesh Atidgive weight to the belief that there is a large number of Israelis still in search of a political home.

Lapid managed to pick up the votes that Livni and her Kadima successorShaul Mofaz lost, but the pool of voters over which they’re fighting is Sharon’s doing. Thanks to Sharon, a new constituency has been born in Israel.

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