Israelis taking part in the annual flag parade for Jerusalem Day on the streets of Jerusalem, June 01, 2011.


By Shalom Pollack

As I entered the club where I work out, I was greeted by Shalom, a member of the kibbutz that owns the facility.

He asked what the meaning of my t-shirt was. It was a depiction of Jerusalem with a famous biblical quote, “For Jerusalem’s sake I will not be silent,” in Hebrew and English.

He thought it was corny at best, perhaps even provocative.

I told him that my Christian tourists love it and really identify with the message.

He smirked and said, they have no “sechel” (sense).

I said, “You may think they have no sechel, but I can tell you that they have lots of heart.”

Then I added, “Yes, we have Jews with so much sechel that they even work for the enemy. They all have fancy degrees and titles and are using them to dig their (and our) own graves in the name of ‘sechel.’”

On my way out, he stopped me to have a serious exchange. He must have given a little thought to our previous conversation.

He said with some exasperation, “You have to pursue peace, no matter the setbacks. There are other people living in this land and they must be accommodated.”

I thought that this tired mantra died with the terrible price we paid for Oslo and other lands for peace disasters, but no. I was talking to what may be an echo of an old broken record that just keeps spinning on and on long after the party is over.

I asked what his solution to the “problem” was. He said we have no choice but to continue “pursuing peace.” There is no other alternative.

Does he mean more conceding of land to “the other people”?


But that did not work. Does he agree that whenever we did abandon land to “them” it always resulted in blood and fire?

He agreed.

However, he said, “We have no choice.”

But they want all the land. They say so, I reminded him.

“I know,” he said.

He then began to explain that there are “extremists on all sides” and we have to work towards a logical, fair middle.

I related to him an interview that I heard on the radio some years ago. It was with Dr. (full of titles and sechel) Yossi Beilin.

He was one of the architects of the Oslo disaster.

Upon mention of his name, my friend stiffened, showing great respect and admiration.

I recalled that he was asked, “Now after a few years have passed since Oslo and the great upsurge in Arab violence and hatred, do you think it was perhaps not a wise move?”

His answer was one I will never forget because it capsulizes the approach of the Left in a few short and honest words.

He gave it a few seconds and then responded, “I simply cannot live in a world bereft of any hope. There must be that light at the end of the tunnel and I am prepared to continue to pay a price and not to ever abandon that hope.”

My friend totally understood the words of the great Dr. Beilin. He pondered them with great admiration.

There was still hope with sages like him among us.

Now that’s sechel!

Shalom Pollack is a veteran tour guide, passionate about sharing his observations and thoughts. Visit to learn more.


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