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Cartooning in Conflict
Chicago Nov. 4-6


"Dance me to the end of love"

Dr. Jonah Bergor

Netanyahu in New - York and Leonard Cohen in Ramat - Gan

"There's a blaze of light
In every word
It doesn't matter which you heard
The holy or the broken Hallelujah. "
Fifty thousand Israelis gave up the pleasure of following  the brilliant speech by our prime minister at the United Nations General Assembly, when they chose to gather at the football stadium in Ramat Gan to participate in the amazing performance of Leonard Cohen. The distance between these two instances was far beyond the distance between Tel Aviv and New York. There, at the General Assembly, facing tie-wearing diplomats, stood the Israeli prime minister, waving the plans of the crematoria of Auschwitz to challenge Ahmadinajad and all the other Holocaust deniers, with the purpose of mobilizing the world into a pre-emptive war against the combination of religious fanaticism and nuclear weapons. Here in Israel, the  International artist stood and repeatedly strengthened the hands of the members of the Bereaved Families Forum, Israeli and Palestinian, who work together, fired by the will to live,in order to bring peace and reconciliation to this war-ridden, unhappy region. There, Bibi Netanyahu threatened a global eclipse if the report of the Special Envoy Goldstone would be accepted concerning the war crimes of Israels  Cast Lead Operation, while here fifty thousand enthusiastic Israelis sat, many of them in their twenties and thirties, sat, and connected with the mighty message of the song "Anthem" - "There is a crack, a crack, in everything", that's how the light gets in."
There, in a "dramatic" speech at the UN General Assembly, our prime minister recycled the Holocaust in order to create a national consensus regarding Iran; regarding Hamas; regarding the peace denying Palestinians. Here, at the soccer field, the great artist Leonard Cohen said," This evening I want to pray for the bereaved families, pray for peace ... a long time ago I heard about a coalition of Israeli and Palestinian families; about the depth of suffering on each side and their ability to stand alongside people who suffered like them. This is not about forgetting nor forgiving, nor about peace, however, this may be the beginning of it. This is the response to human grief and a holy human response. Thank God, I bow my head in humility at this initiative."  There, the name of God was raised for intimidation; here the name of God is in Hallelujah ". There it was clear to the speaker " who by fire, who by water, 
Who in the sunshine, who in the night time,
Who by high ordeal, who by common trial?".
Here, by green candlelight, fifty thousand fans joined to sing together 
" I've seen your flag on the marble arch Love is not a victory march
It's a cold and it's a broken Hallelujah ."
Here, the great priest finished the event with the blessing of the priests " May The Lord bless you and keep you.
May the Lord make his face to shine upon you, and be gracious to you.
May the Lord lift up his countenance upon you, and give you peace". There they were talking about security, where security is always the right of Israelis only; and about victims, where dead Palestinians are never victims. Here, at the event that preceded the concert, Ali Abu Awad, the representative of the bereaved Palestinians Families spoke about the necessity for  reconciliation between the two peoples; about the understandable but unnecessary boycott of the Palestinians against Cohen's appearance in Ramallah; about the the desire to be right against the need to be a realist, or as Leonard Cohen puts it, "Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering" . In New York, Bibi Netanyahu fought in the name of the victims against the aggressor and acts of terror and the shelling of civilians. The message is that the aggressor must be subdued at any price, even at the cost of  exceptions that are made to the rules of war. On the stage at Ramat Gan and on the grass of the stadium there was understanding and agreement that love will win; that reconciliation will overcome. Indeed, "Ah the wars they will
be fought again
The holy dove
She will be caught again ", but we Israelis and Palestinians, who believe in the dove of peace, will force our wings to fly over the mountains of the darkness of the next war. Here things were said, specifically, by the high priest of poetry ........ "I want us to turn our attention to all of the Israelis and Palestinians in a peace initiative. Some people will call them naive or stupid, but they achieved the only victory that perhaps can be achieved. The victory of the heart over despair and hatred".
There, amongst the lords of world  diplomacy and leaders of the world there is only one kind of victory the victory of military power. There, a lesson in the history of evil was given - " who by his own hand,
Who in mortal chains, who in power", but here a lesson was given in the love of mankind, exactly during the Ten Days of Repentance; just before the ultimate atonement of the Jewish people. Here we chose "" And who shall i say is calling?"

It was an amazing artistic experience; a rare Israeli experience; there is hope and love and they will win, even without wars. Thank you Leonard; Thank you Isaac Frankental and Ronnie Hirshenzon. What a depressing feeling that our late son Ziv was not here to see this special experience.
I will allow myself to finish with words of Leonard Cohen: "My brother and my killer, what is left for me to write more? Have I not said everything? Maybe I forgot maybe forgiven". Yes, Israel's Prime Minister was not chosen to forgive and certainly not to forget, but he must seek out the crack because " There is a crack, a crack in everything That's how the light gets in". A green effervescent light was spread on the seats and areas of the Ramat Gan stadium . Is there a possibility that a crack will be opened for him to enter?


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