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Interview with Naomi and Asher Ragen pt 2
Interview with Naomi Ragen and son Asher, a student in Harvard. The family had been at the Park Hotel for Seder when it was bombed and explain the explosion and their escape.,14:01:10>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,I believe that this was Divine intervention. It was the hand of God, I can't see any other reason for it. And a few weeks after the explosion at the Park Hotel, the Israeli army picked up a few terrorists from the same area and one of them, it turned out, said he was supposed to be the partner of the person who blew up the Park Hotel. They were supposed to come together. He was supposed to blow himself up upstairs, where we were, and the other one, who actually showed up, was supposed to blow himself up downstairs. But the one who was supposed to blow himself up upstairs said he didn't feel well. He didn't feel good enough to come that night. So because he wasn't feeling well enough to blow himself up, he didn't come. And that's why only one suicide bomber blew up the Park Hotel instead of having two. , INTERVIEWER:,I'm going to ask you a difficult question. It's a question that people often ask [INAUDIBLE] Holocaust survivors about. It's Divine intervention perhaps there's something going on here about saving your lives but where is the divine intervention for all the people who died? ,14:02:21>>>, NAOMI RAGEN: , Whenever anybody asks me about the whole idea of God being personally involved with the fate of the human being- I know that there are some people who don't believe that at all. They say whatever happens ,happens and God is not on the level where He interferes with peoples' lives personally. And you can always say why me, why did I survive and not the next guy? But I can say, and I believe that this is true, that when you say a prayer and that prayer is answered, you're allowed to thank God, and say thank you for answering my prayer., INTERVIEWER:, What about the person who says a prayer and is not answered?,14:03:00>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:, Uh, no is also an answer to a prayer. I have a friend whose son was kidnapped and killed by terrorists and all of us Friday night- this is the Wachsman family, Nachshon Wachsman, these people are my neighbors, my friends. and we, thousands of people went to the Kotel, fifty thousand prayed that God should save him and he was killed. And at the funeral his father was asked about that and he said, God heard us, but the answer was no. And in this particular case, God's answer to me, personally, was yes. And I thank God for that., INTERVIEWER:, Do you feel that if you were the Wachsman family, that God should at least explain why the answer was no?,14:03:41>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:, Well I actually know the Wachsman family, and I know that they're people of great faith and that they don't ask that question. They are also Holocaust survivors, and Esther, who is the mother of Nachshon- all of them are Holocaust survivors. And they feel that to answer a prayer, God can say yes and He can say no and this is something that we don't question. As we have faith, we don't question. Why things are happening, we don't question. The only thing that you can say is that if you believe that God is just, and you believe that the Bible is trying to teach people how to live, you can say that the only thing I have control over is how I behave. And the only thing I have control over is what I do. And I choose to believe. I choose to thank God for saving me and for saving my family, and I choose to mourn the people who were killed. And they weren't killed by an earthquake. They weren't killed by Divine Intervention. They were killed by other human beings who murdered them. And everyone has freedom of choice, and that suicide bomber also had freedom of choice, and he chose to blow himself up and kill innocent people- and that was his freedom of choice. And I think that it's very hard to, um, say how other people feel and how they should view things. And I can only speak for myself and my own faith., INTERVIEWER:,What goes through your mind, if you think about the
Interview with Naomi Ragen and son Asher, a student in Harvard. The family had been at the Park Hotel for Seder when it was bombed and explain the explosion and their escape.,14:01:10>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,I believe that this was Divine intervention. It was the hand of God, I can't see any other reason for it. And a few weeks after the explosion at the Park Hotel, the Israeli army picked up a few terrorists from the same area and one of them, it turned out, said he was supposed to be the partner of the person who blew up the Park Hotel. They were supposed to come together. He was supposed to blow himself up upstairs, where we were, and the other one, who actually showed up, was supposed to blow himself up downstairs. But the one who was supposed to blow himself up upstairs said he didn't feel well. He didn't feel good enough to come that night. So because he wasn't feeling well enough to blow himself up, he didn't come. And that's why only one suicide bomber blew up the Park Hotel instead of having two. , INTERVIEWER:,I'm going to ask you a difficult question. It's a question that people often ask [INAUDIBLE] Holocaust survivors about. It's Divine intervention perhaps there's something going on here about saving your lives but where is the divine intervention for all the people who died? ,14:02:21>>>, NAOMI RAGEN: , Whenever anybody asks me about the whole idea of God being personally involved with the fate of the human being- I know that there are some people who don't believe that at all. They say whatever happens ,happens and God is not on the level where He interferes with peoples' lives personally. And you can always say why me, why did I survive and not the next guy? But I can say, and I believe that this is true, that when you say a prayer and that prayer is answered, you're allowed to thank God, and say thank you for answering my prayer., INTERVIEWER:, What about the person who says a prayer and is not answered?,14:03:00>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:, Uh, no is also an answer to a prayer. I have a friend whose son was kidnapped and killed by terrorists and all of us Friday night- this is the Wachsman family, Nachshon Wachsman, these people are my neighbors, my friends. and we, thousands of people went to the Kotel, fifty thousand prayed that God should save him and he was killed. And at the funeral his father was asked about that and he said, God heard us, but the answer was no. And in this particular case, God's answer to me, personally, was yes. And I thank God for that., INTERVIEWER:, Do you feel that if you were the Wachsman family, that God should at least explain why the answer was no?,14:03:41>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:, Well I actually know the Wachsman family, and I know that they're people of great faith and that they don't ask that question. They are also Holocaust survivors, and Esther, who is the mother of Nachshon- all of them are Holocaust survivors. And they feel that to answer a prayer, God can say yes and He can say no and this is something that we don't question. As we have faith, we don't question. Why things are happening, we don't question. The only thing that you can say is that if you believe that God is just, and you believe that the Bible is trying to teach people how to live, you can say that the only thing I have control over is how I behave. And the only thing I have control over is what I do. And I choose to believe. I choose to thank God for saving me and for saving my family, and I choose to mourn the people who were killed. And they weren't killed by an earthquake. They weren't killed by Divine Intervention. They were killed by other human beings who murdered them. And everyone has freedom of choice, and that suicide bomber also had freedom of choice, and he chose to blow himself up and kill innocent people- and that was his freedom of choice. And I think that it's very hard to, um, say how other people feel and how they should view things. And I can only speak for myself and my own faith., INTERVIEWER:,What goes through your mind, if you think about the fact that the suicide bomber was successful in his operation? ,14:06:05>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,I think that, in general religious terminology is dragged into this, into these matters, way too often. I don't think God is involved. It's more devil, than god, with these things. And the fact that people who have these desires to - what are we talking about? Someone who wants to murder as many people as he can, and hopefully as many Jews as he can? I wouldn't like to call it desired prayers, or think that god is involved, in any way, on either side of it. I think that this is a person who has a very, very clear objective. And his objective is political. He wants to achieve political gain. He wants to kick the inhabitance of this country, that is us, me and my family, out of the land, and he wants to take it over. The fact that he is using religious terms to describe it, means nothing. It has nothing to do with God, it has nothing to do with prayers. ,14:07:00>>>,What really upsets me is when I see coverage of it on television, where most of the coverage is devoted to his perceived grievances. He is not happy about the sewage systems, he doesn't have a job, his mother isn't nice to him. There are always reasons for him doing, doing this. But if you think about what would cause a person, in normal western democracy, to walk into a building and murder 20 or 30 people, you probably wouldn't accept all those excuses. He had a bad day. The city didn't fix his sewage. His political rights weren't being heard. He couldn't vote for the person he wanted to vote for. These are all political objectives that people have, and the reason - the basest motives. These are murderers who want to do everything they can to murder as many Jews as they can. Prayers has very little to do with it. , INTERVIEWER:,How can we get them to decide not to continue along this destructive path? ,14:07:58>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,Okay. The, the big question is how do you get them to stop? And I - there are two schools of thought on this. One seems to think that if you take away the motivation, - i.e. take away all the perceived grievances, give him the sewage system, give him the state, give him whatever political rights he wants, at some point they will be satisfied and say, okay, we won't be killing, we won't kill your children anymore.,14:08:21>>>,The problem is, that the motivation is endless, and it has nothing to do with the real grievances. The reason people attack the World Trade Center, was not because they had a bad life. Most of those people were from Saudi Arabia, they had a very good life. They had money, they had family. The reason someone was educating them, and telling them that if they do this they will be achieving some wonderful religious goal, that someone was telling him that the enemy of all Muslims all over the world are people who live in democracies, people who enjoy freedom of speech, that freedom is, in some ways, their enemy. ,14:08:55>>>,The problem is not taking away the perceived grievances of the people who are going to blow themselves up. The problem is dealing with all those people who are facilitating this. Now, a person who is willing to commit suicide is not the sanest person. He is not the problem. The problem is the person who is supplying him with a bomb, the person who is paying his family money. The problem is the people who have set up this infrastructure. And we're talking about very rational people, and thousands and thousands of them. And if the whole world gets together to stop the money from flowing in, to arrest these people, to take apart the organizations, then there will be quiet. Once there is quiet, that will actually create an opportunity to solve the political problems. , INTERVIEWER:,In the meantime, you have a serious demographic problem. (Inaudible)-Can you ignore the problem that, if things continue to - if they, if the population continues to grow in that way, that 30-40 years from now they will outnumber the Jews who live here, and it will be impossible for you to have a one man, one vote system, and still retain control over the country? And could you please address that in a full way, so that people know what you're answering to? ,14:10:16>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,Okay, currently the population of the State of Israel is about 6 and a half million people. The number of Arabs living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip is about 3 and a half million. These people don't have political rights. And the Oslo Process that has been going on for eight years, was meant to give them political rights, to give them a state, [BACKGROUND NOISE] and to enable them to create - to enable us to really create two different states within the land of Israel; one Palestinian, one Israeli. I still think - [OFF CAMERA COMMENTS] So currently, there are about 6 and a half million Jewish citizens, of the State of Israel, and about 3 and a half million Arabs, living in the West Bank and Gaza, who do not have political rights. Israel has been controlling these areas, since 1967, looking for a way to give, give up the control of these territories, without endangering the security. One of the ways that Israel hoped to do that with the Oslo Process, which we are at the very end of right now, and it hasn't seemed to work. There is a problem that, in thirty or forty years, since the Arab population in the West Bank and Gaza is growing at a very high rate, there are going to be more Arabs living in between the river Jordan and the Mediterranean, than there are Jews. And since Israel is a democracy, and we value that tremendously, there are - some people think that we eventually won't be able to survive. ,14:11:47>>>,One of the motivations for some of the Arab extreme, extreme Arab movements is, that since, eventually, there will be more Arabs than Jews in the land of Israel, they don't have to worry, time is on their side. And whether they win this round, or the next round, eventually they will just be able to outnumber us. So totally that, whether we like it or not, the State of Israel will not be able to be what it wants to be. ,14:12:12>>>,I - unfortunately, people believe that. And the belief that the Palestinians have that time is on their side, in this sense, has caused them to give up some very, very generous offers. And they're making a big mistake for several reasons: One, never underestimate the ability of Israel to grow. My favorite story about this is in the 1930's, a British Commission came to see how many people, how many more Jews could be allowed into the State of Israel. At that point there were approximately 400,000 Jews living in the land of Israel. And the Commission said, in its conclusion, there is no room for even one more cat in the land of Israel. So since then, from 400,000 Jews, the country has gone to 6 and a half million. ,14:12:54>>>,The same problems with demographics were raised in the 1980's and the 1990's more than a million Jews came from the Soviet Union. So, I don't think that anyone should assume that the State of Israel, the population of the State of Israel will decrease, or will not grow quickly. , INTERVIEWER:,Can I ask you where you think the next ____ group of Jews might come from? ,14:13:14>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,There are a lot of Jews in the world. And -[OFF CAMERA COMMENTS] I think that there are a lot of Jews in the world. And the better quality of life, the State of Israel can offer them, the more Jews are going to come. And this country has made tremendous progress over the last fifty years. It's very depressing right now, but if you think about what was here in 1948, when the state was established, and considering all the wars that we've had, and all the troubles this country has to deal with on a daily basis, and nobody else has to cope with, it's amazing how far the country has come. And in fifty years, the country will be even better off. There is no reason that Israel won't be able to offer a real European standard of living. And a lot of Jews, even today, from Argentina - coming, Jews from France are coming. Some of them are coming because the situation in their home countries, in Argentina, for example, the economic situation is very bad. In France, the anti-Semitism is on the rise, and that's why they're coming. But I think Jews will come because life here is good. , INTERVIEWER:,Okay. Of course, depending on what kind of security (Inaudible). Is this a war about real estate, or is this a cultural war, a Jewish/Religious war? ,14:51:09>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,I don't think this is anti-Jewish, I think this is anti-western. And I think that Israel is now at the forefront of an attack against western freedoms, and the western style democracies. And you see this all over the world. Then why - if this is against the Jews, then why are Christians being attacked in Indonesia? Why are we having, you know, Christian nurses in hospitals in Pakistan, shot? This is a problem that the entire world is facing, we have the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, which is looking to impose its lifestyle and its values on the rest of the world, and views, I think, their enemy is MTV. Their enemy is not the Jewish people. They just want the culture, the western culture to disappear. And we, as a western country, are the ones that are getting the brunt of it now. , INTERVIEWER:,But aren't the Palestinians, a secular people as a whole? I mean they're not there to - I was asking Palestinians last night, whether they thought that the Hamas (Inaudible) - I guess Arafat is noted for trying to be particularly religious. A lot of the Palestinians here, accepting Hamas people, will tell you that they are secular and they have no desire to have this. How are they part of a fundamentalist group, and if they are, if they are almost anti-religious, or A-religious? ,14:16:26>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,All I can tell you is, that I was one asked to represent Israel in a conference against domestic violence, in Strasburg, at the European Union. And there I met with Arab women from Jordan, Princess ____, who is still - sends me a New Year card every year. Ah, there were women from Morocco, there were women from Afghanistan. And a lot of these women consider themselves secular women. And Jordan, sometimes, also, is certainly - you wouldn't consider them Moslem fundamentalists. We discussed the problems. Just the problems that women have, living in secular Arab states, and how the laws of the country reflect the Moslem laws when it comes to the relationship between men and women. And the problems they have with the killings of young girls, by their brothers and fathers if they think they've dishonored the family in certain ways. And they were the most against this. But what you have is a society, whether or not you consider it religious or secular, which is based on certain fundamental, undemocratic principals, and it's getting worse and worse. And they see - every - all the freedoms that we have here in Israel, and in the rest of the western world, as a threat to their lifestyle. , INTERVIEWER:,Do you think that democracy and Zionism are compatible? ,14:18:00>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,Absolutely. , INTERVIEWER:,The Zion extreme is that the state has to remain Jewish. , NAOMI RAGEN:,Every country is allowed to say what its ideals are. And, you know, America - in, in many ways, is a Christian country. , INTERVIEWER:,Is it right to ask an Israeli Arab to (Inaudible) talks about how we, as Jews, long to come back for our country? ,14:18:25>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,Was it right for the public school I went to, as a Jew, to make me sing The Star Spangled Banner, Oh say can you see. This was MY country, I was living here, and I had to be loyal to the United States of America, when I was living in the United States of America, and I was a citizen. If an Arab wants to live in the State of Israel, he has to sing the Hatikvah [PH], the way that I have to sing The Star Spangled Banner. And if he doesn't want to sing Hatikvah, then he shouldn't be living here. , INTERVIEWER:,Would you make a distinction between The Star Spangled Banner, and ____? ,14:18:57>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,The Star Spangled Banner is The American National Anthem, and it speaks, I think, to all Americans. And Hatikvah is clearly a very Jewish song, and it speaks of Jewish aspirations. And I completely understand why an Arab couldn't relate to it. And might even find it a little offensive. However, you have to remember, a lot of countries, in Europe, for example, have no problem calling themselves Christian. The fact that a country has a religious majority in it, doesn't mean the people - the citizens don't have civil rights. Jews living in Greece, for example, which is a Christian country, have no trouble practicing their religion. And nobody forces them to swear anything on the cross, in the same way that nobody has ever forced an Arab to sing Hatikvah. He has full civil rights, and he's allowed to study in Arabic, he's allowed to live - to go to a, a Arabic speaking university. Yes, he does have to learn something about the culture of everyone else living here - the great majority of the citizens. And there's nothing wrong with that. Why shouldn't an Arab citizen have to learn about Jewish culture? In the same way that Jews have to learn about Arab culture. And I don't think that any of the rights you would call democratic, are denied. , INTERVIEWER:,But he does have to - I'm just asking (Inaudible) - he does have to sing the Pixa if he goes to elementary school _____? , ASHER RAGEN:,We don't sing Hatikvah like the Star Spangled Banner. , NAOMI RAGEN:,[OVERLAP] He goes to his own school, nobody makes him sing Hatikvah in his school. There aren't Arab-Jewish schools. Everybody has their own school, and everybody is teaching their children their own things. There aren't any joint schools - , INTERVIEWER:,You know, it's ironic that in the context of this discussion, we're really discussing about, about Jews, and its people have been persecuted through the ages. And you went for a ___ celebration, and in the (Inaudible) -.that every generation Jews have been persecuted, and god saves us. So, in that respect, isn't this just another episode of what has been happening to us for thousands of years? I mean, the context is different, the enemy is different, the situation is different. But is it really different, in terms of our history as a people, where we have been? ,14:21:11>>>, ASHER RAGEN:, I think, one of the most depressing things is that the whole premise of the State of Israel, was that things would be different, that there wouldn't be this endless roll of generation, after generation, that's being attacked. That we could take life into our own hands, and that we could grasp our history and control it. And there's something very, very depressing about the thought that we failed. That we're just another round of Jews being attacked because they're Jews. I don't think that's completely true. I think we have the options of defending ourselves, which a lot of Jews never had. I teach at Sunday School, in Boston, and after I came back, one of the girls, a seventh grader, said to me - we were just learning about Anne Frank, and she said to me, Israel sounds just like Anne Frank to me, why don't people leave? Don't they know what's going to happen to them? And, in the beginning I was horrified. I said, how could you call us - how could you compare us to Anne Frank? We're not defenseless. And then I realized that, that's what it looks like, over the last few years, we've been killed without defending ourselves. But the big difference is that we do have an army that will defend us, and we're not just gonna wait for someone to come and take us. , INTERVIEWER:,Speaking of which, you're on a campus in America, (Inaudible) explain when (Inaudible). Can you tell me something about the climate on the campus where you are? ,1:22:35>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,I am a student at Harvard -University. And the last couple of years, I've seen, on campus a lot of activity around the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. Unfortunately most of it comes from the Palestinian side, which has no desire to be objective, at all, and is trying to convince other students that what is happening in Israel is, ah, terrible abuse of human rights, and that there is only one culprit here, and that's Israel. Just last year at the University, there was a big program of divestment. That certain people urged Harvard University to stop investing its money in Israel. And it's reached such a stage where I thought that its border - it's bordering on anti-Semitism, already. Yes, there is a conflict here. Yes people are getting killed. Yes I cannot promise you that every Palestinian who was killed was, was guilty of terrible crimes. I'm sure people who were killed were innocent. And I can promise you that, the Israelis that have been killed were all completely innocent. And that we're doing our very, very best to solve the situation. The attempt to portray Israel as the sole culprit here, as someone who is not listening to reason, who is trying, out of some sheer malice, to hurt the Palestinians as much as they can, is offensive. And what's even more offensive is that these are intelligent people we are talking about. The campus has students who are there to learn. But there's this willingness on campus, on the one hand, the Palestinian students to sell this propaganda about the terrors of Israel, without ever mentioning the Palestinian side in the violence. And on the other hand, a lot of people on campus who are in a position to know better. A lot of Jewish students. A lot of people who know what's going on, stay silent. They just kind of walk by, it has nothing to do with them, they don't want to get involved. And we're paying a price for that. , INTERVIEWER:,Why, why don't they want to get involved? ,14:24:25>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,They don't want to get involved because I think they're a little embarrassed. They like being Jews when Seinfeld is on television, but they're a little embarrassed that the Jewish state is involved, and is fighting for - in a conflict where it's fighting for its life. And they don't want to be part of that. That's unpleasant. So you just kind of walk by, and that has nothing to do with you at all. The practical result though is that public opinion can shift against Israel, and Israel pays a price for that. Israel makes concessions when American public opinion wants Israel to make concessions. And the result of those concessions are that sometimes people here get killed. ,14:25:02>>>,It's a terrible, terrible thing for someone to stand on the side and not do anything. One of the main commandments is, in Hebrew, [SPEAKS HEBREW], You are not allowed to stand idly by if someone is being hurt. If you are in a position to know better, and you know that someone is telling lies about Israel on campus, it's your responsibility to do something. , INTERVIEWER:,When someone comes up to me on campus - when people come up to my son who is a student, also, at the university, and they tell him - they hand out things - the leaflets and stuff, and they say Israel is an oppressive apartide state, what do you say to them? How do you answer them when they say this, and they say it is a state that has two societies? That it systematically oppresses Arabs, that even Israeli Arabs don't have the same level of educational opportunities, and (Inaudible), and they're not granted ____ jobs, and they can't serve in the army for, you know - what were you saying - [BACKGROUND NOISE] How do you respond to that, in a simplistic, a really simplistic talk that - ,14:26:16>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,[OVERLAP] I'd like to talk, I'd like to talk about this business with Israel being an apartheid state. Because that really gets my goat, more than anything else. It isn't an apartheid state. It means there's one fountain for the, the Arabs to drink out of, and one fountain for the Jews. There is one bus for the Arabs, and there's one bus for the Jews. And the Arabs are not allowed to go on the beach, on the same beach with the, with the Jews. You're talking about an apartheid state, what you're talking about is unequal opportunity, and that people are discriminated against. Well I'd like to tell people something. Living here in Jerusalem, after we've been through two years of getting blown up in the middle of our streets, every place we go, when I walk down the streets of Jerusalem, I see many Arabs. No Jew would ever, ever make them feel uncomfortable, make them feel unwelcome in the western part of the city. They come in, they shop in the stores, they're in our malls, they come to the beaches, they are everywhere and they're welcomed everywhere. There is no separation in Israel between Arab and Jew, and no one would ever think of it. , INTERVIEWER:,Do you think it's a good idea? ,14:27:22>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,I think it's the only thing that you can possibly do. And, in fact, my neighbor 1Arabs. They deliver our groceries, and they have to sometimes come into the house when I'm alone. And you have weeks and weeks, and weeks, where people are - Arabs are shooting people in their homes, and they're blowing you up on the buses. And my neighbor says to me, you know, I'm a little nervous when they come to the house, but I don't want to hurt their feelings. So of course I would never say anything to them about, you know, not coming into the house, or leaving the food outside, or something like that. And I said to her, you know, I feel the same way. I wouldn't want to hurt their feelings. , INTERVIEWER:, Please explain to me how, how you can be afraid to go into a public space, not knowing that anything is going to happen to you, and how you can not feel just as afraid being the only person in the house, here, and having a person who might stab you to death, come in here and put away your groceries? Where is the logic in that? ,14:28:20>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,People don't understand that -that our neighbors are Arabs. We have relationships with Arabs living in Jerusalem, every single day. I have relationships with Arabs. They're my electricians, and they're people who deliver my groceries, and we had the person who built this house, an engineer, who is an Arab. All the workmen were Arabs. We have a day-to-day relationship with Arabs. When we go to the supermarkets, they have their shopping cart, and I have my shopping cart. We shop in the same place. So, it's not possible, especially if you live in Jerusalem, to say, I'm not going into a place where there are Arabs. You can't say that, because Arabs are neighbors, and I make a distinction between terrorists and between Arabs. I don't have a problem with Arab people. I wish them only well. When I look across the hill and I see their children playing, believe me, I don't want anything bad to happen to their children, or to any of them. , INTERVIEWER:,Would you walk into their village? ,14:29:14>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,If I want to take my life into my hands, I can. But you have to understand something. All the peaceful villages have been infiltrated by terrorists. And the people who are against what's going on, there lives are just as much a danger of being murdered, as my life. Because now the atmosphere is, no one is allowed to oppose Yasser Arafat. No one is allowed, in one of these villages, to say we're against what's going on. I don't want my child to be a suicide bomber. I don't want my eight year old sent out to get killed. If he opens his mouth, he's going to be killed. How many Arabs have been killed by security forces? , INTERVIEWER:,Have you ever had an Arab say to you, I really don't like this situation. I really, I really don't agree with what's going on. I really wish that it would all stop and we could just live together. Has anybody ever said anything like that to you personally? ,14:30:04>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:, No. , INTERVIEWER:,(Inaudible) , NAOMI RAGEN:,No. No. Absolutely not. , INTERVIEWER:,No one has said - so then how do you know that, that it might exist? ,14:30:12>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,I guess you just have faith in human nature. And you, you can't help but feel that your mother - there must be one mother out there that doesn't want her child to get killed. There has to be. Among all the woman that are, are praising their suicide bomber sons, I believe, and I don't care, no one will ever convince me otherwise, that there are not just as many women who want their children to be safe and don't want their children involved in this conflict. And it - that is just human nature, otherwise everybody would be a monster. And I, I just think that we're not allowing this feeling to be expressed. They can't allow this feeling to be expressed because of the dangers that are surrounding them. , INTERVIEWER:,Do you believe that the silent majority of the Palestinian people really wants this conflict to end, and really wants to live in peace with us, (Inaudible) two state solution? ,14:31:03 NAOMI RAGEN:,No. I don't think so. I don't think there is a silent majority. I think they have done, they've done surveys, which I've seen Palestinian places have done surveys among the Palestinian people, and the great majority want the conflict to continue, and don't have any problem with suicide bombing. , INTERVIEWER:,[OVERLAP] But, in the view of the fact that the, that there are people who are told that they can't, that they can't favor peace, that they can't favor coexistence, it would seem that logically we can't really rely on the validity or the accuracy of these surveys, anyway, as ____ true opinion, by your own discussion that they're afraid. So, what would you say to that, Asher? ,14:31:41>>>, ASHER RAGEN:, I think that we have to remember, we're talking about three and a half million Palestinians. I am sure that of those three and a half million - there might even be a million, a million and a half Palestinians who are opposed to terrorist attacks, who would love to have a peaceful solution. We're still only talking about a third of the population. And that's not enough to enforce their will on the whole Palestinian people. There must be hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who hate the situation. I have friends at school, I study Semitic languages, I have Arab friends at school, who tell me they hate it. It makes it difficult for them to make it to university, it makes it difficult for them to get a degree. They're not enjoying it. The problem is that they're not taking a stand. Now, I'm not judging them individually, but even if we're talking about a third of the Palestinian population, about 40% of the Palestinian population, which is, after all, more than a million and a half people, that's not enough. , INTERVIEWER:,Since their lives would be at risk if they took the stand, how would you suggest that they don't (Inaudible), had an impact and lived to tell the tale? ,14:32:40>>>, ASHER RAGEN:,I think, any Palestinian who takes a stand is putting his life at risk. But their lives are at risk, either way. The Moslem fanatics are eventually going to get to them as well. It's not a situation where they can sit by and hope that the Moslem fanatics will get their way, and kill as many Jews as they can. And then they will be able to continue with their lives. So, their part of this fight, the Palestinians who support peace, they are part of the fight as much as we are, even more. Because, unless they clean things up, we're going to have to do that. And the Israeli army is the one that's going to have to fight these terrorists. I'm not saying it's not without dangers, but the dangers are there as long the terrorist organizations are. , INTERVIEWER:,Well, surely the situation has its unique elements. We've never had a situation of, of ____, where we've been an independent state, at least not in the last two thousand years. But, Naomi, I saw you nodding your head, before, when you were talking about Jewish persecutions through the ages. But if you try to take this in the larger, macro, view, how do you see this (Inaudible)? ,14:33:46>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:, I, I see it as a continuation of all the other episodes. I see what's happening in Israel, today, as a continuation of Jewish history. I think everybody has to see the parallels between the idea of the Jewish people wanting to live peacefully. Finally, back in their own home, and being persecuted for no reason, that we can, we can possibly understand. And also, it's the whole idea that wherever Jews live, they're always telling you, no, you don't belong here, you should live some place else. How many centuries did people tell Jews of Europe to go back to Palestine. That is what they said to the Jews of Europe, go back to Palestine. So finally, the Jews go back to Palestine, and we're here. And I think that, especially people who read the Bible and, you know, not only Jewish people - they understand that we have a cultural and religious connection to this land. We are the native people of this land. We are the ones that settled this land three thousand years ago. The Arabs came along much later. You know, they've only been here a few hundred years. , INTERVIEWER:,So why did we, seemingly one of the only peoples of the world, who seem to have no home? ,14:34:50>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,We do have a home. And it's called the land of Israel. And we're here. And we're not going any place. , INTERVIEWER:,Why won't people recognize that? ,14:34:59>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,I think there's a lot of hatred of the Jewish people, which is irrational. And anybody who can look at the Land of Israel, and say that the Jewish people, who founded this land three thousand years ago, there was a kingdom of David and Solomon, and all of the Bible takes place here; Abraham walked this land, everybody knows the Jewish people - you put a spade into the ground, in any archeological dig, for thousands of years, you come up with Hebrew. We are the native people of this land. And, and the fact that people won't recognize it, it just shrieks of Anti-Semitism. , INTERVIEWER:,Well I would like to, I would like to ask you about a seeming anomaly that occurs to me. , ASHER RAGEN:,Mm-hm. , INTERVIEWER:,It seems that when the Palestinians sacrificed their children as martyrs, in many cases they seemed happy. They seemed to believe - they call it a (Inaudible) idea. They seem to believe that this is just an introduction to the world to come. And they even say, I wish I had more children to sacrifice. The only time they seem to cry, and this goes back to real estate questions, is when their house was destroyed. Then they see them wailing. When their property is destroyed, they cry. When their children are dying, they smile. Can you explain that to me? Can you tell me if there's any difference between them and other people, in this regard? Can you just reflect on it for a moment, and tell me what it makes you think about, and how it could be explained? I'd like to ask you both to answer the question separately. [OFF CAMERA COMMENTS] ,14:36:33>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,When I see Arab women, that are rejoicing over the death of their children as martyrs, and I see Arab families crying when their houses are blown up, it reminds me of, ah, a situation that we read about in the Bible, which is when people sacrifice their children to an evil god, called Mullah, and that was, you know, when this land was called Canaan, and it was three thousand years ago, there was a cult of people who felt that they should sacrifice their children to some god. And it's one of the basic things in the Bible which says to people, don't ever do something like this. The whole idea of - ,14:37:16>>>,One of the basic tenants in Judaism was when Abraham was asked to sacrifice his son, and then an angel came down and stayed his hand, and said, no don't ever do this. And there was once a Hamas activists, activists, terrorists, whatever you want to call them, who said, the Jewish people love life more than any other people. And he said it as an insult. He said it as a sense of, we are strong, and we are going to win, because the Jewish people love life. We don't love life. We love death. Death is what we are looking forward to. We're educating our children. We're -,14:37:54>>>,I just saw the other day on television, a, a broadcast of the Palestinian Authority, in which they showed what they're showing the little kids. They're showing little kids throwing rocks at tanks, and being killed. And this is what they're encouraging small children to do, to become one? It's like this campaign to convince children to get themselves killed. The only way I can look at this is to say, this is a fundamentally different culture in which people have sunk to the lowest possible moral level, in which they're willing to make all kinds of - I don't know, it's like a business. Because they get paid every time one of their children dies. I don't know how much you'd have to pay me to let me - to let somebody kill one of my children. , INTERVIEWER:,[OVERLAP] That's like, um - isn't that like producing children, is like producing arms and weapons? ,14:38:41>>>, NAOMI RAGEN:,It's hard to even imagine that people would view their children as an arm, or a weapon, or something, not as a human being. But as, as something to be used. Something to be blown up and used. And I can't understand people like this. And, and there's no way to - that's why I say, that's no way to talk to people like this. Because this is something that needs to be defeated. The way the Nazis had a philosophy that needed to be defeated. Sometimes you just can't negotiate with people over certain things, if you have no respect for human life. And Golda Meir said this, you know, maybe we can forgive you for killing our children, one day, but we can never forgive you for forcing us to kill your children. And there will be peace, she said, when the Palestinians care about their children as much as they care about other things. So, that's -, INTERVIEWER:,Asher? [OFF CAMERA COMMENTS]
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