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Monday, February 06, 2023


by Steve Bloom
Inspired by the poem “Agnus Dei” by Edna Shochat, Boise Idaho. Some elements taken directly from that poem with permission.

Religious Zionism will appoint lawmaker Orit Strock as Israel’s first National Missions Minister… Orit Strock is a leading figure in Hebron’s Jewish community and the founding chairwoman of the Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria, a controversial settlement group. Her son, Zvi, previously received a 2.5-year sentence for kidnapping and abusing a Palestinian boy. -Haaretz, December 7, 2022

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us. 

Oh, newborn lamb!

But this time you are not the lamb of God.
No, this time you are merely the lamb
of a young shepherd tending his flock
in the hills of Hebron, born
on this Spring Day in 2007.
Only hours after you emerge from the womb
an armed man—named Zvi Strock
enters your life, enters 
as the angel of your death.
First he captures, blindfolds
your 15-year-old shepherd, tortures him
to the edge of extinction, then 
turns his rage on you,
kicking you repeatedly until
nothing remains—except your remains.

Oh, newborn lamb!
Even in a lifespan of less
than a day you find a way
to take this measure of the evil 
that lurks in our world 

And so you do not see when, 
on his way to serving
a prison sentence of 18 months,
Zvi is toasted as a great hero 
at a “send-off party” organized
by Rabbi Chaim Druckman,
spiritual leader of the religious
Zionist right. I 
would have told you then, 
in the year 2010, 
that Rabbi Druckman 
and his political movement, 
were part of a far-right fringe. 

Oh, newborn lamb!
(Still and forever a newborn lamb)
I hope you rest in peace today,
though I do not when Orit Strock
Zvi's mother takes her post 
along with others who are 
of Rabbi Druckman's political persuasion
as ministers in the new Israeli ruling coalition,
and it dawns on some of us (at least) that those 
who hail Zvi Strock as a national hero
can be called a right-wing fringe no longer.
Today, instead, they take the power,
planning to organize something bigger 
than a send-off party for a young man
on his way to prison, kick the life 
out of more than just a newborn lamb.

Agnus Dei, miserere nobis. 
Lamb of God have mercy upon us. 

Steve Bloom is a New York City based poet, composer, and activist. He is the curator of the "Poetry of Protest and Struggle" videos that appear three times a year.