Ha`aretz, covering the eviction of some Jewish families from an illegal settlement in Hebron, quoted Gershon Bar-Kochba, one of the residents who tried to resist eviction. The name also appeared in this New York Times article from 1989: “Gershon Bar Kochba, a seminary student from Hebron, was suspected of leading a group who opened fire on Palestinians in Hebron…” And this article on the Hebron Jewish community’s Web site laments that Gershon Bar-Kochba had to post a 25,000-shekel1 bond in order to bail out a 14-year-old settler, while Arab suspects were routinely released on their own recognizance2.
OK, this guy appears to be something of a macher in Hebron. What astounds me is that he carries the name of the leader of the last Jewish revolt against the Roman Empire. That revolt was thoroughly crushed by the Romans, after which all the remaining Jews were exiled from Judea, the province was renamed “Syria Palestina”, many Jewish practices (such as Torah study and Shabbat) were prohibited, and many rabbis were martyred. What kind of yeshiva bocher treats a guy like this as a role model? Does he learn from some Bizzarro-Talmud in which it says that God destroyed our Temple and exiled us from our homeland because we were insufficiently ruthless to our enemies?
1 Approximately US$6,000.
2 The article presented this as one example of how the Israeli government was treating Jewish settlers in Hebron more harshly than the Arabs. I mentioned this to my wife, and she said, “Well, they should. God Himself does.” After all, she went on, the Moslems only have the seven Noachide commandments to observe, while we have 613…of course, we can’t observe all of them today…and one of the reason we can’t observe all of them today is the misguided zealotry of Jews like the original Bar-Kochba.