Imagine if you owned a home and worked within a community to turn desert into farmland.Â Imagine if over a third of your life you toiled to build industry and had reached the stage where your business exported millions of dollars worth of agricultural produce.Â Then one day your own Government arrived on your doorstep, took your home (that they had encouraged you to buy) and gave it to a murderous enemy who wanted to kill you.Â Within minutes of entering your former home the new occupants burnt it to the ground along with your school, place of worship, and greenhouses.Â
Earlier this week Dudi Reich visited Perth to present to the JNF on his story.Â Unlike some of the more resistent former residents of Gush Katif who were evacuated in 2004, he peacefully led many of the members of his community from Atzmona to a former kibbutz, Givot Bar,Â near Hebron.Â In the space of a few small years the new community has doubled in size.Â It has planted 35,000 olive trees, and has a massive dairy farming business.Â They are irrigating land that has been previously left barren, and are building a school and other town infrastructure.Â Their attitude is that Zionism is above politics.Â They will not fight other Jews, and they will live by the ideals of Torah.Â Therefore if they lose everything they will simply resettle and start again.Â Dudi said it was all about hard work and trust in Hashem.
I cannot do justice in the form ofÂ a summary of Dudi’s talk to the Perth Jewish community.Â I can only say that the State of Israel was built on the type of unrelenting ideological committment that Dudi displays, and that the Jewish people will always endure as long as there are leaders like this who are taking the most unfathomable obstaclesÂ in their stride as they carry on doing what is important to them.Â His talk was not inspiring because he is an orator, and not inspiring because he has accomplished something that is beyond the capability of a normal person. It was inspiring becauase he has modestly worked within a community to rebuild itself from scratch, and because he embodies the type of Zionist pioneer spirit that is sadly lost from many sectors of Israeli society today.
Thank you to the JNF and those who worked to bring this incredible presentation to Perth for a second time.