Monday, August 08, 2005

Outside Prison on Motzei Shabbat

Every Motzei Shabbat, (Saturday night) close to 10:30 PM at night, people from all over Israel brave the humidity and gather for a melaveh malka outside the walls of the Maasiyahu prison.

On a barren sandy lot hundreds of people go to express their solidarity with the occupants of the "Anti-Disengagement" wing of the prison. These are not hardened criminals, drug users, or truants. They are people who have committed acts of passive civil disobedience to wake up Israel's population to the dangers of the disengagement. In case anyone had any doubts of what the Palestinians are planning the "day after" -- here's a link from today's Jerusalem Post:

And here's a video of what Sharon thinks of a unilateral disengagement:

But back to the prison. Men on one side, and a long fence separates them from the women. And the MC from Gush Katif, with his guitar starts a slow tune. Its not lively dancing, rather soulful. רחם נא על עמך ישראל May G-d have mercy on his people of Israel. The circle starts with 10-15 people, and slowly grows to hundreds, encompassing most of the sandy lot. The slow music and the songs of heartfelt prayer rise up and over the prison walls to the prisoners on the other side. Those who have already been released come back for the Saturday night's outside the prison walls -- they say its gives those on the inside lots of encouragement.

The high point of the evening is when the MC turns to the walls and says into the microphone, with the loudspeakers facing the prison, "To our brothers and sister inside, give us a sign that you hear us!" Its suddenly totally quiet, and from over the walls, we can hear a distant shout of "Shavua Tov." The crowd then yells back in unison, "Shavua Tov", and we know they hear us.

The regular police and assorted border policeman ignore this huge weekly turnout. They know we aren't a problem, and that those on the inside aren't the problem either. They would rather be doing anything else, than being involved in the disengagement. There are serious issues to deal with, and we're not one of them.

Before I end today's posting, here's a neighbor's upbeat video, "My Heart is Orange"

Lyrics found here:

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