The Festival of Freedom – by Alik Ron

Alik Ron
[Retired Commander]
April 11, 2014

On Monday we will sit at the Seder table and our children will ask the questions. I will anticipate them and ask here today: Freedom? The Festival of Freedom? Freedom for whom? Are we really free? Not exactly. The conqueror is never free. Not when he faces the defeated, not when he faces the whole world and mostly not when the conqueror faces himself.

This week we launched Ofek 10, a reconnaissance satellite built with the best of Jewish ingenuity, capable of distinguishing objects the size of a soccer ball from the edge of the sky, from hundreds of kilometers above the earth. But this magical Golem will not be able to discern the suffering of hundreds of thousands of Israelis and their empty refrigerators that force them to stand in long lines in food pantries. This satellite Golem will not see the misery of our Palestinian neighbors at the checkpoints, nor will it detect the frustration and confusion of our young soldiers, our children, who we put in charge of these checkpoints.

This ingenious satellite does not know the enormous sums of money that pass without checkpoints or road inspection, money that makes its way to more and more settlements in Judea and Samaria. The smart satellite will not know the quality and texture of our life. Only we human beings are capable of evaluating life. To do so, we must have open eyes, attentive ears, thinking and judicious brains and most of all—human hearts–in which courage and compassion reside side by side. Only these qualities, and these human capacities can get us to that clear and worthy place of freedom. The smart satellite could identify the clouds of war on the horizon, but only thoughtfulness and courage on our part could disperse such clouds.

We, who fought in wars, we know how devastating they are. If we only redirect our courage, our heart and our might, truly and genuinely, without winking and blinking and pretending, we will not be required to once again rush from behind barricades and attack.

I am

calling on you, Mr. Prime Minister, I am asking you Bibi to look into your own heart where you could find courage, wisdom and compassion. The satellite is incapable of delivering any of these for you.

Translated from the Hebrew by Ayala Emmett