Monday, March 29, 2010

Sparta 2010

"No eye could have stayed dry at the funeral of Major Eliraz Peretz" said the radio reporter yesterday. All papers devoted their headlines to the bitter mourning of the mother Miriam Peretz for her officer son Eliraz killed three days ago in a Palestinian ambush at the Gaza Strip, and for officer son Uriel killed 12 years ago in a Lebanese ambush in southern Lebanon. Today the newspaper headlines told of the remaining two Peretz brothers, Avihai and Eliasaph, who told the Army Chief of Staff of their determination to continue combat military service also after what happened to Uriel and Eliraz. And the news reports followed up with the grieving mother who encouraged her living sons in this resolution, and of Prime Minister Netanyahu who paid a condolences visit and told her that she is a true heroine,

A very military family is the Peretz family. The men are all committed heart and soul to the Israeli Defense Forces in general and to the Golani Brigade in particular, always in uniform, always going around fighting the Enemy in the north and south and center. In fact, they continue fighting even when not in uniform, going out to settle Judea and Samaria and redeem a bit more of the land which God promised the Jewish People some three thousand years ago. Major Eliraz Peretz built his home at an illegal outpost, simply ignoring the fact that the land belonged to Palestinians from the nearby village. The government of Israel several times promised the U.S. government to evacuate this outpost (that was still in the time of George W. Bush). So they promised. The Judges of the Supreme Court also ordered the government to evacuate the outpost. So they ordered. And now, where can we find a hero who would dare to destroy the home of the hero Eliraz Peretz, who gave his life for his country?

Thousands of years ago, there was in Greece a city-state called Sparta, a city totally dedicated to its army. Its men spent their lives in military training, in between wars, and its women sang songs of praise to the heroes returning from the battlefield and mourned the fallen. Spartan soldiers went to external wars, but especially they were always on the alert for the threat of an uprising by the Helots, the large oppressed population which lived in Sparta itself and which did all the dirty work for their Spartan masters. The Spartans had no time or energy to spare for culture and art, or for philosophy. All this they left to their great enemies, the Athenians. The same for the stupid political system called "democracy", where so much precious time was wasted in all kinds of debates and arguments instead of being used for training and becoming better soldiers.

Had Sparta still existed today, the Peretz Family would have gotten its honorary citizenship. But how many Israelis truly want to live in the Sparta of 2010?