The press is full of articles trying to predict
the survival and future life of brain-injured Gabrielle Giffords. She was young
and healthy when shot a few days ago.
My mind connects this with Ariel Sharon, Israel's former Prime Minister and
military hero. He has been in a coma for five years. He was no youngster when he
had a series of strokes. The strokes and operations to save his life have left
him alive but dead in terms of response and any chance of rehabilitation.
I hope that Giffords has a recovery. They say that she responds. Sharon doesn't
according to reports.
I knew nothing about Giffords before she was shot, but like probably all
Israelis and many Jews world-wide I'd been following Arik Sharon for decades.
Sharon was a very gifted leader, very charismatic.
"When he was good he was very, very good, and when he was bad he was horrid." Of
course, Israelis from all sides of the political spectrum would disagree on when
he was good and when he was bad, but I highly doubt if anyone followed him on
his unpredictable twisting path. Unfortunately, he ended his public career with
an all-time low, supporting Disengagement which has left the Israeli south
vulnerable to rocket attacks from Gush Katif. Gush Katif, prior to
Disengagement, was full of Jewish communities and an amazingly successful
Israeli agricultural industry/business. Thousands of innocent Jewish families
forced out of their homes are still living in rickety temporary structures.
I'll just end this with a good story about Sharon. Just under thirty years ago,
he visited Shiloh which then had about thirty to forty families and the
hesder yeshiva, which in a five year program combines religious studies with
army service. The community was all of three years old and centered around a
very old structure near the Tel Shiloh. The families had started to plan their
permanent housing on the hill to the east overlooking the Tel. Sharon looked
around and told them that they were making a mistake. They were planning too
small. The hill further east was much larger and could accommodate many more
families. He was then Minister of Housing and immediately allocated fifty top
quality, prefabricated cement structures and budget for infrastructure to build
a new neighborhood on the larger hill. That's where we and more than half of my
Shiloh neighbors live today.
Refuah Shleimah, a complete recovery to both Giffords, Sharon and all
others in need.