Tuesday, January 25, 2005


There is a puzzling disconnect, or perhaps an inadvertant metaphor, in David Treppenwitz's most recent story.

In the story, Dave is driving a carful of hitchhikers trhough a stretch of Arab villages, when he discovers that one of the riders is carrying a baby under the folds of her clothing. Understandably, he's furious:
Now I was pissed! I didn’t have a baby seat in the car and this idiot had put herself, her baby, and me in a very awkward (not to mention dangerous) situation. If we were near a Jewish settlement I would have pulled over and let her out right away. But in a potentially hostile area I was faced with the unhappy choice of continuing on with an unsecured baby in the car, or turning back and wasting half an hour in order to return her and her baby to Karmel. In the end I fumed in silence and dropped off the group in Kiryat Arba without a word.
In the end, David seems to decide that the woman with the baby is willing to go without a car seat simply because she trusts God more than he does. Fine, but the denouement puzzles:
I understand that this total trust in the Almighty (read: surrender of basic common sense/prudence) is a necessary personality trait for anyone who elects to raise a family in a trailer on one of these windswept hilltops amidst a gazillion angry Arabs. But where does one draw the line? When does this blind faith that everything will be OK cross over into dragging others (e.g. me) into extremely serious safety/liability issues?
Odd. Because, can't the exact same complaint be leveled at anyone who "elects to raise a family in a trailer on one of these windswept hilltops amidst a gazillion angry Arabs?" Aren't they, and their illegal outposts, selfishly and carelessly dragging all of Israel, even all of Judaism, into an "extremely serious safety/liability" situation? The woman with the baby trusts God, and is therefore willing to put David and her child, and the other people in the car at risk. Just like the most radical of the settlers*, no?

David’s anger toward the woman without the car seat is familiar. It’s how some of us feel toward the least prudent settlers.*

* No, we don’t mean Efrat. No, we don’t mean the natural growth of existing cities. We mean the entirely new outposts that have sprouted recently "on windswept hilltops" in definace of the wishes of Israel's goverment and the wishes of the majority of Israel's people.