Illustration: Exercise at USAF Fitness Center by Tech. Sgt. Maeson L. Elleman, United States Air Force [Public Domain]
As I entered the health club where I work out, I was greeted by Shalom, a member of the kibbutz that runs and owns the facility.
He asked what the meaning of my T-shirt was — it was a depiction of Jerusalem with a famous biblical quote in Hebrew and English: “For Jerusalem's sake, I will not be silent."
He thought it was corny at best, perhaps even provocative. I told him that as a tour guide, my Christian tourists love it and really identify with the message. He smirked and said, “They have no sechel (common sense).”
I said, "You may think they have no sechel, but I can tell you that they have lots of heart." Then I added, "We have Jews with so much sechel that they even work for the enemy. They all have fancy degrees and titles and are using them to dig their (and our) own graves in the name of sechel."
On my way out, he stopped me to have a "serious exchange." He must have given a little thought to our previous conversation.
He said with some exasperation, "You have to pursue peace, no matter the setbacks. There are other people living in this land and they must be accommodated."
I thought that this tired mantra died with the terrible price we paid for the Oslo Accords and other "land for peace" disasters — but no! I was talking to what may be an echo of an old broken record that just keeps spinning on and on, long after the party is over.
I asked what his solution to the "problem" was. He said we have no choice but to continue "pursuing peace"; there is no other alternative.
Does he mean more conceding of land to "the other people"? His answer: "Yes."
But that did not work. Does he agree that whenever we did abandon land to "them" it always resulted in blood and fire?
He agreed. However, he said, "We have no choice."
But they want all the land. They say so, I reminded him.
"I know," he said.
He then began to explain that there are "extremists on all sides," and we have to work towards a logical fair middle position.
I related to him an interview that I heard on the radio some years ago. It was with Dr. Yossi Beilin — who is full of titles and sechel. He was one of the architects of the Oslo disaster. Upon mention of Beilin's name, my friend stiffened, showing great respect and admiration.
I recalled that Beilin was asked, "Now after a few years have passed since Oslo and the great upsurge in Arab violence and hatred, do you think it was perhaps not a wise move?”
His answer is one I will never forget, because it encapsulates the approach of the Left in a few short and honest words.
He gave it a few seconds and then responded, "I simply can not live in a world bereft of any hope. There must be that light at the end of the tunnel, and I am prepared to continue to pay a price and not to ever abandon that hope."
My friend totally understood the words of the great Dr. Beilin. He pondered them with great admiration. There was still hope with "sages" like him amongst us.
Now that's sechel!
Contact Shalom Pollack, veteran licensed tour guide, for upcoming tours at Shalom Pollack Tours: Personalized Tours in Israel. Join him Monday, August 19, for his Annual Negev Desert Stargazing Tour with a team of astronomers and telescopes. For details, contact him here. Click here to read more of this writer’s work in The Jerusalem Herald.