The Masquerade is Over December 27, 1996 This morning on the Kol Yisrael radio news, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai, speaking about the Hebron accords, emphasized that he has ordered his subordinates to insure that the Jewish residents of Hebron will not feel any lessening of their security following `redeployment.' A few weeks ago Mordechai took a walking tour from Beit Hadassah to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. As he inspected the market, due to be reopened with implementation of the agreement, I shook his hand, welcomed him to Hebron and pointed out to him that the market, located on Jewish property, was stolen from us following the expulsion of the Jewish community in 1929. His response: "And how much land did we take from them?" Shocked at this answer, especially because in Hebron we didn't take any land from the Arabs, I responded, "but they murdered us and then stole our land." Mordechai retorted, "you're looking at this from an historical perspective; where does that historical perspective begin?" This is the Israeli Likud Minister of Defense, who we put into office. Last week, on Friday, the Bibi bombshell exploded. But unfortunately, too many of us are so shell-shocked that even when a bomb explodes in your face, you're liable to miss it. Netanyahu's right-hand man, David Bar- Ilan, former editor of the Jerusalem Post and one of the most right-wing, if not the most right-wing member of the Prime Minister's team, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, revealed that Netanyahu has rejected the idea of `Eretz Yisrael HaShlema' the idea of a `complete Israel', that the Land will have to be shared and that he will accept a `limited palestinian state.' Of course the words `limited state' contradict themselves. There is no such animal. A state is, by definition, sovereign. If it is not sovereign, it is not a state. And if it is sovereign, it is not limited. And even if Arafat should agree to accept `limited sovereignty - we all know how much Arafat feels obligated by signed agreements. When this was pointed out to Bar Ilan, he confirmed that the administration is aware of this, but even so.... He even went so far as to agree with the interviewer's observation that with the advent of Oslo, and Israel's acceptance of its obligations, there is very little difference today between the Likud and Labor. Bar-Ilan wasn't speaking for himself. He was speaking for Benyamin Netanyahu. Our Prime Minister. Who we elected. What is one of the major predicaments of the Hebron accords? It is very simple, but unfortunately remains totally unnoticed. When the Rabin-Peres administration signed the agreement, they did so with the full intention of removing all Jewish presence from Hebron. Rabin, speaking before groups from the US, said time and time again that he had no intention of leaving the Jewish Community in Hebron. He promised not to remove any `settlements' during the interim stage of the accords, but planned, as part of final status agreement, to expel Hebron's Jews from the City of the Patriarchs. Knowing this, both he and Peres had no compunctions about signing an agreement which, for all intensive purposes, sealed the fate of the community. They knew that the terms and conditions of the accords created an intolerable unlivable situation. But that didn't bother them, because that is what they wanted. That is, as disgusting as it is, comprehensible. That they were willing to forsake Jewish lives, to sacrifice Jewish blood, as a means to a goal, is not. But the terms of the accords were at one with the expected future - a Judenrein Hebron. BUT, Netanyahu, by all accounts, is interested in maintaining a Jewish presence in Hebron. He does not want to abandon Ma'arat HaMachpela to Arafat. He truly desires a strong Jewish community in the city. On the face of it, he does not wish to be responsible for more `sacrifices for peace.' But what is he doing? He is planning on implementing an agreement, geared around expulsion of the Jewish community, while promising to leave the Jews in Hebron, with `the same security that we presently have,' in spite of the allowance of what will eventually be, thousands of armed Arab terrorists patrolling in and around the city. In other words, he is contradicting himself. He is trying to implement a suicide pact and remain alive, even after firing the bullet into his brain. And it just doesn't work. If you shoot yourself in the head, you die, like it or not. This morning Yitzhak Mordechai was quoted as saying that he too is unhappy with the Hebron agreement, that it is not good for us, but, what can you do? A `legitimate' Israeli government signed an official agreement that binds not only that government, but the country. We have no choice, in his opinion, but to honor the accords. Personally, I have a lot of trouble with this philosophy. True, when an agreement is broken one must be think out the possible consequences and be ready to pay the price. But everyone with eyes in his head sees what Arafat is doing. Using the salami method, he is taking a slice at a time. And he is doing it very successfully. We all know what his goal is. No, not only Jerusalem. Jerusalem is, as is Hebron, a means to an end. He is interested in Haifa and Acco and Yaffo, and Nazareth and, well, all of Eretz Yisrael. He desires to be King of Palestine stretching from the Mediterranean to the Jordan, and perhaps over to the east side of the Jordan too. His goal is not a Judenrein Hebron - it is a Judenrein Israel. And we are playing straight into his hands. We are killing ourselves for him - saving him the work. He is dictating the conditions of our obligations, the conditions of our suicide, while sitting on the sidelines and watching us destroy ourselves. Arafat took off his mask a long time ago. He doesn't fulfill his obligations and he makes it very clear that he has no intention to - as per extradition of murderers to Israel. The problem isn't Arafat - it is Netanyahu and his administration. I'm not sure if Netanyahu is wearing a mask that has blinded him, or if he is hallucinating, thinking that the Arafat he sees isn't the real Arafat - that Arafat is still wearing his mask. But the whole story is very reminiscent of the Emperor's New Clothes. I will not say that Netanyahu has betrayed us. He is not a traitor. He did create Oslo and is not responsible for its existence. But, he is implementing it, against all expectations, against all his promises, against his own personal political philosophies, against all logic or reason. So, inasmuch as I will say that we are very disappointed in him, as are so many others, I won't say that he is a traitor, or that he has betrayed us, that he has betrayed Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael or Torat Yisrael. But I don't know what history will say.
Friday, December 27, 1996
Friday, December 13, 1996
December 13, 1996
Yesterday's double funeral of Ita and Ephraim Tzur at Beit El was as heart wrenching as can be imagined. It is almost impossible to express in words the emotions felt here when hearing such horrible news. All I know is that the identical sensation experienced too many times in the past, a sensation that I try not to recall under any circumstances, exploded inside me on Wednesday night, in full force. And it tends to linger on for quite a long time. At the cemetery, Ita and Ephraim Tzur were buried next to Ohad Bachrach, murdered last year in Wadi Kelt, together with Uri Shachor. Beit El too, as in Hebron, has had to allocate a row of graves to murdered Jews. Waiting by the graves, I stood several meters from Minister of Defense Yitzhak Mordechai, Foreign Minister David Levi, and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. The expressions on their faces, especially those of Levi and Netanyahu, reflected excruciating pain and anger. Yoel Tzur, husband and father of the victims, is a personal friend and acquaintance of the two ministers. It must be said that the arrival of the three most important figures in the Israeli government, along with Ariel Sharon, Zevulun Hammer, and others, represents a major shift in policy, as was displayed, or perhaps, better termed, not displayed, by the previous administration. Official government representation at funerals of terrorist victims was delegated to mayors, or minor officials. Families of terror victims were totally ignored by the Rabin-Peres administrations. Participation of so many of the most important people running the county is more than symbolic: It is a clear statement by the Netanyahu government, expressing the words that Netanyahu uttered during his eulogy: You (the residents of Yesha) are as much a part of us, as are all the people in Israel. During the previous administration we were isolated and related to as the lowest level of being; we were enemies of the State. Netanyahu's government has clearly returned us to the fold - we are no longer considered outcasts. However, during the eulogies, two clearly contradictory statements were spoken. The first declared that the government must react to this display of terrorism with a 'Zionist solution.' Behind this phrase are suggestions of expanding present Jewish communities in Yesha, as well as founding and development of new communities. The other remark, also emphasized by almost all the speakers went as follows: 'We will demand that the palestinian authority fulfil its commitment toward protecting the security of Israelis, as undertaken by the Oslo Accords." If my understanding of Zionism is accurate, this last statement is the exact antithesis of Zionism. True Zionism was practised by the pioneers who moved to Eretz Yisrael primarily at the end of the 1800's and throughout this century . They realized that living in Israel demanded security - and this security had to be self-sustained. (The error made by the Jewish Community of Hebron in 1929 was that they so trusted their Arab neighbors, that they refused to accept weapons to protect themselves, after notification that the Grand Mufti in Jerusalem, Amin el-Hussaini, [uncle of Faisel el-Hussaini] was inciting and riots were sure to break out throughout Israel.) The most anti-Zionist answer possible to any terrorist action is to rely on our arch-enemies to provide security for Israel. Anyone with eyes in his head can see, and knows, as clear as day, that the Arabs know that they have one, and only one responsibility. That is, of course, to annihilate the Jews living Israel and transform the State of Israel to the State of Palestine. Why do we have to be so blind and so stupid as to really expect that Arafat will actively participate in protecting a People who he hates, and who, by their very presence, contradict his existence. Arafat has yet to condemn the terrorist attack that left Ita and Ephraim Tzur dead. Kol Yisrael today reported that Israeli security and intelligence forces warned 'palestinian sources' that a terrorist attack by the Chazit HaAmamit was impending. Yet, no preemptive action was taken by the palestinians. No one belonging to the Chazit HaAmamit was arrested. This is a true palestinian concern for Israeli security. Israel, and Israel alone can be responsible for Israeli security. Any other solution is madness which negates Zionism, the return of Am Yisrael to Eretz Yisrael. I hope and pray that the Prime Minister and his cabinet will reach this conclusion before any more tragedy strikes.
Wednesday, December 11, 1996
The Eighth Candle December 11, 1996 Hanukka, 5757 To The Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu Jerusalem, Israel Dear Mr. Prime Minister, Tonight I was driving home with my parents and my sisters, to light Hanukka candles. Candle-lighting in Beit El is a very special experience. Tonight, the seventh night of Hanukka, we were looking forward to the special event. Hanukka is such a special holiday, a celebration of light, of hope, of purity, of heroism - a true holiday of the People of Israel. However, suddenly the lights of my family were extinguished. All at once, my world was dark. But only for a little while. Soon I found myself together with my mother, in a world of light, a world of good. But Mr. Prime Minister, from where we are, my mother and I, we could see back into your world. We saw so many people standing around our car, full of bullet holes. I saw people that I knew cradling me in their arms and crying. I saw soldiers, and doctors, and I could even see my father and sisters, in the hospital. They all looked so scared and so sad. And I felt so bad for them. But you know, from where I am now, I can see so much, and it is all so clear. I see what looks like a huge cloud hanging over the world. It is black, oblique, frightening. But all the way below the cloud I can see a spark of light - it is a small light, but it is so bright - it is so visible through the cloud - it is so brilliant that it illuminates everything. But it is so small - only a spark. And when I looked very closely, I could see that that spark is Israel - it is us - Am Yisrael. Such a small spark, giving off such a great light. And when I looked even more closely, I could see that the spark emanates from Eretz Yisrael and, yes, I could even see the different places in Eretz Yisrael. And they were all aglow. You know, I thought how strange it was, the spark seemed to be one, yet it also, at the same time, seemed to be divided into seven parts. Maybe because tonight is the seventh night of Hanukka? But, when I looked even closer, I could see that where I lived, in Beit El, the spark seemed to be ebbing - just a little - it wasn't quite as strong a light as in the other places - like a little bit was missing from it. Mr. Prime Minister, looking at you from where I am, - yes, I can see you - but not just your body - I can see into your soul - and it is so big - I can see your potential- I can see what you want and what you think. And it is all so good, so positive, so impressive. But I also see a shadow, fighting you, fighting your soul, trying to pull at it, trying to replace it. Yes, the shadow wants to replace the light of your soul. Mr. Prime Minister, you must not let this happen - you have no idea what can be - or what will be - but, but, I can't talk about that - they won't let me, it is forbidden - but, listen to me please, Am Yisrael is so full of light, so full of energy, so full of goodness - you must not let the shadow be victorious - and believe me, you have the power to stop it - you must be yourself and do as you know you should - and I can see that you know what you must do. Do it! Mr. Prime Minister, in this world there is no sadness, no sorrow, no tears. It is a world only of light - of good, of happiness. But I can see, in your world, there is so much sadness, so much despair, so much turmoil. You can do something about it, if you want. You can make it better, if you want. I don't want anyone to be sad because of me, or because of my mother. We did what we had to do. But now it is your turn - you must do what you have to do. Mr. Prime Minister, if you want to, you, leading Israel, can change that spark into a flame and really illuminate the entire world. You can disperse the cloud. Please, Mr. Prime Minister - don't try to comfort my father or my family with words - for words won't help them. But if you comfort them with deeds, I know, because I can see it from here, I know, that that really will comfort them, and with them, all the others who tonight are so sad. Mr. Prime Minister, I didn't light Hanukka candles tonight. I am asking you to do it for me - tomorrow you must light the eighth candle for me and for my mother, and for all the people of Israel - the candle of the miracle - the light which must never be extinguished - the light of Israel - the light of our G-d. Mr. Prime Minister, Happy Hanukka.
Epraim Tzu Age 12
Formerly of Beit El, Israel
Friday, November 15, 1996
Hebron and Jerusalem - Dream of Hope or Terror? November 15, 1996 This morning, in honor of 'palestinian independence day' the palestinian national council released a statement declaring that 'the flag' will soon wave in Hebron and Jerusalem, capital of the palestinian state. Yassir Arafat has a dream. The fulfilment of the dream began when an Israeli government recognized his legitimacy. In order to begin reaching this goal he used all means at his disposal. The most effective tool was, (and still is,) terrorism. He killed and maimed Israelis and Jews throughout the world. Of course, the primary target was in Israel. Over the years hundreds of men, women and children were slaughtered at Arafat's command. Over the years Israel refused to deal with the terrorist. Perhaps the greatest example of refusal to compromise with terrorism was Entebbe. When Israel recognized Arafat, Israel recognized the legitimacy of terror and denounced the ideal of Entebbe. Less than two months ago, Arafat, being 'frustrated,' once again reverted to the methods he knows best. He gave the order to start shooting, at our soldiers, with the weapons we agreed that they have. His troops attacked Kever Yosef in Shechem, hoping to capture the site, and force Israel to withdraw. They also attacked Kfar Darom in Gazza. Only a miracle prevented civilian injuries there. Arafat says explicitly that his goal is a Jew-free palestine. He still spouts Jihad. And the next step, after Hebron, on the way to achieving his goal, is Jerusalem, Palestine. What will Bibi do when Arafat gives the orders again, when he is told, "no, you can't have Jerusalem."? What will he do when PLO soldiers open up on Israelis in Hebron, in Kiryat Arba, and in other areas throughout Yesha? What will he do when, in response to Israeli intransigence, a few Katushas fall on Kfar Saba, Petach Tikva, or even Tel Aviv? World opinion will undoubtedly justify Arafat - after all, Israel isn't compromising. And terror has been recognized as legitimate. Yassir Arafat has a dream. He is in the process of fulfilling his dream. Prime Minister Netanyahu, will you be the man who is remembered throughout generations of Jewish history, who helped, assisted, supported, Yassir Arafat's dream? Prime Minister Netanyahu - you know what Arafat wants. He says so, loud and clear. He knows how to achieve his goal - if you allow him to. If you give Arafat Hebron, you are giving him Jerusalem - you are giving him a palestinian state. It will be almost impossible to stop - to turn the clock back. And if that is what you think you'll be able to do, have you any idea how many casualties it will involve? Prime Minister Netanyahu - burst the bubble now - Do not give Arafat a prize for terror - do not give him Hebron - do not give him Jerusalem - do not give him a palestinian state - do not give him the Land of Israel. Whose dream will be fulfilled - that of hope and Zion or that of terror? Mr Prime Minister - STOP BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE!
Wednesday, November 13, 1996
The Day After November 13, 1996 The Israeli army has, by all accounts, almost completely concluded its abandonment of the City of the Patriarchs. The IDF has removed almost 100% of its outposts in and around the city, in the areas to be transferred to Arafat. Legally, Israel still has access to the entire city, but patrols in nearly all the neighborhoods have been halted. The major difference between today and post- abandonment is the entrance of the armed, uniformed terrorists into Hebron. Presently, Hebron's Arabs are still wearing civilian clothing and their weapons are still in the closets. Following official `redeployment' that changes. As will Israeli access to about 90% of the city. Barring a miracle - and miracles do happen, we know them very well - but barring a miracle, Arafat's flag will actually fly over the Hebron military compound in the very near future. His soldiers will be patrolling in the hills above the Jewish Community of Hebron, possibly by next Sunday morning. According to the most recent news accounts, Netanyahu, who was supposed to leave tonight for the west coast of the United States, canceled his trip. Early this morning palestinian negotiators met with President Ezer Weitzman, and as a result of this meeting, met tonight between seven and eight, with Netanyahu. It is possible that tonight, or early tomorrow an agreement will be initialed by both sides. The agreement will have to be ratified by the Israeli Cabinet and may be implemented on Saturday night. Israeli officers hosted palestinian `officers' including Jabril Rajub in the city, and discussed Hebron post-redeployment. Earlier tonight all roads leading into Hebron were closed off. Not even Hebron residents were allowed into the city. The reason for the confusion: A enormous military exercise, practicing measures to be taken following a massive terrorist attack outside Ma'arat HaMachpela. Peace has arrived. Earlier this afternoon a reporter sat questioning me in my office . "So," he asked, "what will you do? Are you going to try and stop it?" My response: "What can we do? Everything we could possibly do we have done. Tens and hundreds of thousands of Jews have come into Hebron to show support. Meetings, rallies, both in Israel and in the US, a legitimate attempt to influence public opinion, and to sway the politicians. We brought about a political revolution - leading to a change in governments. Whatever there was to do, we did it." "Now, we cannot force the Israeli army to patrol where they don't want to patrol. We have no intentions of forming our own militias - that is not our task. Fifty four adult males will not be able to prevent armed Arabs, called police, dressed like soldiers, from entering the vacuum created by the abandonment of the city by the IDF. There really isn't too much else left for us to do. Barring a miracle." So then the reported continued. "What will you do the morning after, the morning after redeployment?" "I suppose we will get up in the morning, the way we get up every morning," I answered. "We will go to morning prayers, eat breakfast, - the kids will go to school and we will go to work." "That's it!?" he queried, "life as normal?" His voice sounded incredulous. "Yeah, I suppose so." What else is there to do? We aren't planning on leaving, if that's what you are alluding to." "But life as normal?" He couldn't believe it. "Look," I answered, "our goal was, and still is, to live as normally as possible, within the given circumstances. True, things will change - they will change drastically. Unbelievable amounts of soldiers and police will wonder the streets and rooftops in the areas still controlled by Israel. We don't really want to live feeling like we are embedded inside a military camp - but we don't have too much choice." "Our security, in spite of the military presence, will have been compromised. No amount of soldiers can prevent sniper fire from the hills surrounding us. We know that, and will have to find a way to live with it." "O.K.," he said. But what's next? You've spent so much time just fighting for survival. That was your goal, almost since the previous government was elected and the Oslo accords were signed. What do you do now - where do you go from here?" I sat and thought for a moment and then responded. "We are going to try to do whatever we can to proceed forward - to build wherever we can and to struggle to build where we will be told that we cannot. We are going to bring as many more people into Hebron as we can, both to visit, and as permanent residents. We are going to keep living in Hebron, and we will develop and expand however we can." It won't be exactly as we wanted it - but we can only do what is in our hands, within our limits. We try, but that is all we can be held responsible for - trying. What we can do, we will do. What we can't do, we won't do." Hebron existed before Oslo, Rabin, Peres and Netanyahu and will continue to exist after them. Three thousand seven hundred years of history, of heritage, of Judaism cannot be eradicated by anyone or anything. There may be those who believe, for one reason or other, that they are above history. But history will prove them wrong. Just as the Jewish people are eternal, so are our roots. Nothing can severe those roots, because they are so deep, that they touch the very essence of existence. That is the status of Hebron. There may be setbacks, there may be failures - but these are temporary. We were exiled from Hebron from 1929 to 1967 against our wills, but we returned home - the same as we returned to Eretz Yisrael after a 2,000 year exile. We may again find ourselves facing a situation whereby most of Hebron is Judenrein. However, we will be back. Hebron-Past, Present and Forever is not only a slogan - it is an expression of truth - of essence. And just as it was, and is, it always will be.
Tuesday, November 12, 1996
Blood Libel November 12, 1996 The last few days have brought forth very interesting news articles concerning Hebron. 1. There was a television report disclosing plans by two Jewish women in Hebron to immolate themselves to prevent the Israeli army from abandoning Hebron. 2. It was also revealed that a Hebron `extremist' might attempt to assassinate either PM Netanyahu or Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai. 3. Hebron's Jewish residents, it was reported, are hoarding illegal weapons and ammunition. 4. In addition, a list of some thirty names of Hebron-Kiryat Arba `fanatics' was discovered by press sources. These people are to be placed under immediate administrative detention preceding `redeployment'. (Hebron's Noam Federman was already arrested for two months by administrative order.) 5. And finally, anonymous sources within the military divulged that quiet will never come to Hebron as long as there are Jews in the city, leading to the conclusion that the Jews should be evicted. 1. Yesterday, police commissioner Asaf Hefetz, reacting to the press accounts concerning immolation, publicly announced that this report was a figment of the imagination of a particular police officer. In reality, there was never any truth to the report. 2,3, and 4. Hebron police are not bashful. If they know, or even suspect illegal activities, they know what to do. In most democratic countries, when a person is suspected of illegal activities, he is arrested, indicted and tried for his crimes. If there really is stockpiling of illegal weapons, or if there are plans to kill anyone, not only political leaders, why are the perpetrators not arrested and officially charged with breaking the law? Why aren't the illegal weapons confiscated? Who are some of the BIG 30? Anat Cohen, mother of eight and pregnant, together with her husband Ronen, Orit Struk, mother of eight, Rav Moshe Bleicher, Dean of the Shavei Hebron Yeshiva, Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, Executive Director of the Association for the Renewal of the Jewish Community of Hebron, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, Father of Hebron's Jewish community and Noam Arnon, Spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron. These are some of the dangerous fanatic extremists who must be incarcerated using military administrative orders to ensure successful implementation of the Oslo abandonment accords in Hebron. 5. The "peace accords" were drawn up and are being implemented in order to usher in a new era of peace. Why then, can't Jews and Arabs live together in Hebron? The answer is, of course, because the Arabs aren't interested in peace. They are interested in `piece' - taking Israel apart, piece by piece. That includes, initially, eradication of the Jewish Community of Hebron and any Jewish presence in Hebron. In future Arafat plans, it includes annihilation of the State of Israel. Why must Hebron's Jews pay the price of a cowardly accord, which is already a failure? Rather than introducing peace and coexistence, it is paving the road to extermination. However the real issue that must be faced is WHAT IS GOING ON? Who is behind this concerted, intentional campaign to continue on the path of the previous administration to delegitimize Hebron Jewish Community and its residents. Who are the `anonymous' high-ranking officers who have decided, and taken it upon themselves to notify the press, that the Jewish Community of Hebron must be uprooted. Does the military create political policy, or does it follow orders given by the political establishment, led by the Prime Minister and Defense Minister? There is a group of people with the military, as well as in positions of authority throughout the government, who may be classified as "The Oslo Group." These are people who assisted in initiating Oslo and furthering it over the past few years. They are still in positions which allow them to circumvent present administration policy, and at the very least, continue to throw mud at the Jewish Community of Hebron. The Israeli media is an instrumental tool in this blood libel, which is attempting to paint a picture of fanatic crazies who will do absolutely anything - the ends justify the means. This is, of course, total nonsense. The events undertaken by Hebron's Jewish Community prove the point. We have undertaken numerous legal activities, both in Israel and throughout the world, to influence public and political opinion. This is a legitimate right in any democratic country. It should be noted that we have been successful in our efforts. The New York Solidarity Concert was attended by 1,500 people. Last Shabbat, 10,000 people from all over Israel came to Hebron to celebrate Abraham's purchase of Ma'arat HaMachpela 3,700 years ago, as read in the weekly Torah portion. Yesterday about 2,500 Jews came into Hebron for special prayers and to show solidarity with the Jewish Community of Hebron. Unfortunately, there are those who attempt to undermine this right and obligation, by using any means at their disposal. The result is the smear campaign presently being waged against us, with the cooperation of the press and tools such as administrative detention. ------------------------------
--------------------------- ---------------------- Yesterday I participated in a meeting that included Hebron and Yesha leaders with Likud MKs and the Minister of Defense. The details of the meeting were released by Arutz 7 news. However, one point must be stressed. There are Likud MKs who, in spite of their lack of public expression, are very torn by the continued implementation of Oslo, especially concerning Hebron. They know and admit the tremendous error being made, deeply regret it. This may be illustrated by the following answer by MK Michael Eitan, the Likud Coalition Leader in the Knesset to Dr. Aaron Lerner's question: IMRA: It sounds like you are talking to a cancer patient who is terminally ill. Eitan: That is a good example. A doctor can have a cancer patient and he cuts an arm and a leg and he tells the patient that that will heal him yet he knows that cutting the arms and leg won't suffice. There is not today a serious person who can say "gentlemen there is today a position to stop the process at such and such a stage" - even Jerusalem. There are no red lines. And I am well aware of what people in the government are saying and doing. (The entire interview is available from email@example.com). He, with others, understands the problem, but is seemingly unaware of the solution. However, Eitan later speaks of the lack of leadership within the right. That leadership vacuum doesn't necessarily have to exist. He, along with the others who, by definition, are `crying', must not only speak up - they must scream out for all to hear. They must speak the truth, as they see and feel it - that is their responsibility and obligation as elected leaders. They must proceed without any consideration of their personal political future because at the moment the destiny and fate of all our futures- the future of the State of Israel and the Jewish People is at stake.
Wednesday, October 30, 1996
Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David Wilder
October 30, 1996
Yesterday, tens of thousands of Israelis poured into
a storm-struck Jerusalem to protest the planned
abandonment of Hebron. In New York, a group of concerned
Jews chanted in front of the Israeli consulate, "Don't
abandon Hebron." This morning a personal representative
of President Clinton visited Hebron to learn, first-hand,
And the negotiations continue.
Two major issues must be confronted. The Jewish
Community of Hebron has learned that all Jewish property,
including the buildings presently lived in by Jewish
residents, and all the property owned by Jews prior to
the 1929 massacre, is to be transferred to total
palestinian control. All Jewish property in Hebron was
held by a Jordanian `guardian' following the forced
removal of the surviving Jews in 1929. In 1967, with the
return of Israel to Hebron, an Israeli `guardian' had
official authority over all Jewish land and houses. This
authority is now to be transferred to a palestinian
Should this actually happen, all construction,
anywhere in Hebron, on Jewish property, will be dependent
on permission from the palestinian `guardian.' HE WILL
ALSO HAVE THE LEGAL POWER TO REMOVE JEWS FROM THE HOUSES
WE PRESENTLY LIVE IN, CLAIMING THAT IT IS ACTUALLY
PALESTINIAN PROPERTY, UNDER HIS AUTHORITY.
The second issue to be addressed concerns
administrative detention and curfews. According to media
accounts in all Israeli newspapers today, the "Shabak" -
otherwise known as Israeli intelligence, is demanding
that dozens of `right-wing extremists,' especially from
Hebron and the Hebron area, be placed under immediate
administrative detention. There are also rumors that a
curfew will be placed upon Jews in Hebron-Kiryat Arba
before commencement of abandonment. There are reports
that `redeployment' will be implemented by the end of
next week, should the agreement be signed.
The time has come for the Netanyahu government to
reveal, to one and all, its true self. We have assumed,
based on previous statements, declarations, and actions,
that Bibi Netanyahu's heart is actually in the `right
place,' in spite his continued implementation of the Oslo
curse. Netanyahu is, at least in theory, not Shimon
Peres. There really is no need to enumerate why we
worked so hard to put him in office. The reasons are
known to all.
However, it is possible that we were mistaken, and
should that be the case, our error is very grave, indeed.
The above-described intentions to transfer all Jewish
property to Arafat is more drastic than the original
`Peres-Arafat' agreement. How does a government, elected
on a platform guaranteeing continued Jewish development
in Hebron, literally strangle the existing Jewish
community!? How can a Prime Minister who has written
books on combating terrorism, reward Arafat with more
than even Peres was willing to do? How can an Israeli
administration create a situation making Hebron, de jure,
Judenrein? Jews have no property rights, no land rights,
in Hebron, the cradle of Jewish civilization? If we
have no land rights in Hebron, if we can't walk freely
and live normally in the city of Abraham, what
justification do we have in Tel-Aviv or Haifa. If Hebron
is defined as `conquered territory,' what is the status
of Jerusalem. Ma'arat HaMachpela is 3,700 years old.
The Kotel is 2,000 years old.
Administrative detention is a means to incarcerate
suspected terrorists. It is a procedure utilized to
combat terrorist attacks and, used properly, is a very
effective tool. However, the previous administration
began using it to smother political activists whose ideas
and philosophies differed from their own. In a
democratic state, a person suspected of committing a
crime is indicted and tried in a court of law. If found
guilty, he is punished. If acquitted, he is released.
There is no justification to restrict movement of any
citizen in a free, democratic state, and all the more so,
a person may not be imprisoned without just cause and due
process of law.
The previous administration used administrative
detention and house arrest to stifle political
expression. Baruch Marzel, prevented from leaving his
home for over two and a half years, has now been
presented with an additional renewed administrative house
arrest order. As reported above, tens of Jews may soon
be arrested by order of the Netanyahu government, in
complete contradiction to due process of law.
Should the Netanyahu government actually execute
these orders, and, at the same time, while abandoning
Hebron, transfer all property rights to Arafat, Israel
will truly be facing catastrophe, no less than that
threatened by the preceding Peres administration. This
impending disaster is not so much going to be caused by
our enemies. Rather our own government, a
`nationalistic' regime, may bring upon its own people
devastation beyond belief.
The only consolation I have to offer is that if we,
the Jewish Community of Hebron have anything to say or do
about it, it will not happen.
Friday, October 25, 1996
Sitting Ducks October 25, 1996 A couple of days ago an Arab, identified as a "palestinian from Hebron" was interviewed on Kol Yisrael radio. He told Yoni ben Menachem that Hebron's Arabs are hoarding weapons and are `preparing a surprise' for Hebron's Jewish population. The interview was publicized in the Israeli press, including an article in the Jerusalem Post. Reaction to this explicit threat to kill Jews in Hebron was negligible. I wonder what would happen if a Jew, identified as an `extremist from Hebron,' interviewed on Israeli radio, announced intentions to `surprise Hebron Arabs,' using illegal weapons, cached for just this purpose. The truth is I know exactly what would happen. As does everyone else. A massive witch hunt, led by the Israeli left, with assistance from softhearts stationed somewhere near the political center, would demand immediate confiscation of all weapons held by all Jews in Hebron, Kiryat Arba, and elsewhere throughout Yesha. The Israeli media would spend days on all the radio and TV talkshows analyzing the renewal of violence as a tool by `Israeli right-wing fanatics' to further their `cause,' against the will of a majority of the Israeli public. However, when an Arab says the same thing, everyone sits back and shuts up. Kiryat Arba Mayor Tzvi Katzover expressed the thoughts and feelings of many of us when he declared that we will not sit back and allow ourselves to be sitting ducks, waiting to be picked off by the same snipers, and others like them, who shot and killed Israel soldiers a few weeks ago. Is that an implied threat? No - it is not a threat - it is a promise. We will not initiate armed violence against Hebron's Arab population, or any other population, for that matter. But WE WILL NOT BE SITTING DUCKS. We will not relive the 1929 bloodbath that left 67 Jews dead in Hebron, with the rest of the community forcibly exiled from the City of the Patriarchs. If we are endangered, if we are attacked, we expect the Israel Defense Forces to act as they act anywhere and everywhere else in Israel. If anyone, Arab or otherwise, thinks that we will cluster together and allow ourselves to br slaughtered, they are wrong. If we are attacked, we will not stand idly by. The Jews in 1929 had little choice - they had no defense. As a matter of fact, they refused to heed warnings from Jerusalem and rejected offers of taking arms to protect themselves. They believed that Hebron's Arabs were truly their friends, good next-door neighbors. They erred, and the mistake was deadly. We will not make that mistake again. It should also be clear that, as far as we are concerned, there are no borders in Hebron. Regardless of any proposed division of territory between Arabs and Jews in Hebron, should a terrorist propose to escape the long reach of Israeli justice by taking refuge in an `autonomous region' he will not escape unpunished. I am presently located in New York, working on Hebron awareness, as well as the Hebron Solidarity Concert to be held next Sunday, November 3, at Town Hall in NYC. The Hebron Community sent me to the US as an official representative of the community at this crucial time. In spite of the need to continue working around the clock in Hebron, a decision was reached to present the truth here in the US - a truth which is usually ignored or perverted by international media. I've spoken at a number of forums and speaking engagements, and usually the reaction is mixed. Some people, when they hear and understand what is really happening in Hebron are shocked. Others, having had some previous idea of the situation, ask immediately what they can do to help. And very honestly, I have been, together with Judy Tisser Grossman, Director of Public Relations for the Jewish Community of Hebron, extremely disappointed by New York-New Jersey `real' reaction to the current state of affairs in Hebron. We have been told, in no uncertain terms, that the abandonment of Hebron is to be reality in a very short period of time. All municipal authority is to be controlled by Yassir Arafat. Armed Arabs are to be stationed in the hills overlooking the Jewish Community of Hebron. The future of Ma'arat HaMachpela is to be negotiated three months after implementation of the withdrawal-surrender of Israel to Arafat's whims. How do we expect people to react? We have made several requests. People can fax PM Netanyahu, reminding him of his past promises concerning Hebron, and beseeching him to stand strong against demands made by terrorists who continue to kill Jews in Eretz Yisrael. Bibi Netanyahu's heart is in the right place. We just have to make sure he doesn't cave in to external pressures. (FAX:972-2-5664838) The other request we have had, is that people show active support for continued presence in Hebron by attending and assisting our Solidarity concert. The idea of a concert is to allow people to help Hebron financially, but at the same time, giving them something special in return. Our goal was to return to Hebron with enough money to allow us to begin construction of the new apartment building, Beit Nahum b'Yehuda, in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Unfortunately, response has been ghastly. Some `friends' of Hebron have spread rumors that the concert was sold out. This is not true. Others said that it was canceled. This is also a lie. But, people are telling us that the tickets are `too expensive.' It seems that the real point of helping Hebron today, when that help is so desperately needed, has been lost. The apathy and uncaring is unbelievable. I receive many `congratulations' after speaking, but very little more than that. Judy and I are facing a situation where we may have to go back to Hebron and inform our friends that in New York, we couldn't find 1,500 people to fill up an auditorium to support Hebron. I will feel quite ashamed should I have to actually do this. Anyone who wants to help Hebron, for real, can do so by calling 718-575-0056. Order tickets to the Hebron concert. If you don't want the tickets, we will see to it that someone else receives them. If no one answers the phone, leave a message and we will get back to you. Now is the time to help Hebron. IF I AM NOT FOR MYSELF, WHO AM I - IF NOT NOW, WHEN?
Wednesday, October 16, 1996
Will the Real Bibi Please STAND UP October 16 1996 Jews have, relentlessly, bent over backwards, and sometimes even stood on their heads, to appease world opinion. Even the iron-willed David Ben Gurion saluted to Eisenhower's orders following the Sinai War in 1957. However, over the years, the demands have increased, the pressure has multiplied, and Israel has, unfortunately, complied. Perhaps the greatest error the State of Israel ever made was when Menachem Begin initiated the Oslo Accords - yes, you read right - when Menachem Begin initiated the Peres-Arafat Agreement in 1979, at Camp David. The Camp David accords set a major precedent by abandoning and uprooting Jewish communities, and, worst of all, allowed for the commencement of `autonomy talks' concerning the `West Bank.' Geula Cohen, former MK of the Techiya and Likud parties and long-time right-wing activist, cried the day Camp David was passed in the Knesset, wailing, "This is the beginning of the end of Judea and Samaria." Yitzhak Shamir, a man of platinum nerves, was forced into attending the Madrid Conference by Bush-Baker. Rabin-Peres didn't have to be pressured - they initiated the Arafat talks themselves. But today, we are facing a new situation. Israel has relinquished huge amounts of territory and has received in return, bullets. When Bibi Netanyahu spoke of reciprocity before the US Congress, the expectation was that all Israeli concessions would end until Arafat began living up to his side of the agreement. He was supposed to stop terrorism, change the palestinian covenant, extradite murderers, remove illegal arms from Arab terrorists, etc. etc. Instead, he did nothing. No, excuse me, that's not correct - he gave orders to his crack sniper squad formerly of Force 17, to start shooting Israeli soldiers in Gaza, Ramallah, and Shechem. There were two `official' excuses: the Jerusalem tunnel episode, and frustration over lack of `progress' concerning abandonment of Hebron. Extremely suitable, understandable reasonable reasons to kill Israeli soldiers. I had no doubt whatsoever, that following this pogrom Hebron had ceased to be a topic for negotiation. Can any leader, in his right mind, continue to transfer ANY land to a self-proclaimed enemy, who continues to spout violence as a solution to `frustration?!' However, it seems that Bibi is bending. The following is a quote from Thursday, September 7, 1995: Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu led a delegation of 14 Likud MKs to Hebron yesterday to show solidarity with the Jewish settlement there, and said that he and his colleagues will come to Hebron if a decision to uproot the settlement is taken. "The Jewish settlement will remain in Hebron permanently," Netanyahu said. "If someone tries to take it away, my friends and I will be here, and they will have to take us away as well". Netanyahu said he thinks "it will be a fatal mistake to bring hundreds of armed Palestinian policemen here, and there will be a small area where the Jews can pass and where the police and IDF can operate. If there will be a conflict, the IDF will not be able to function and will quickly collide with the Palestinian forces. This is a prescription for tragedy". Netanyahu said he is worried about a time when there will be an attack in one of the alleys, and the attackers will run to the area under Palestinian control. Netanyahu said it is impossible to divide responsibility for security in Hebron: 'There is one body responsible, and that has to be the IDF". This is the Benyamin Netanyahu who was elected to be Prime Minister of the State of Israel. This is the Benyamin Netanyahu who was supported by hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world. This is the Benyamin Netanyahu who said on Monday, May 13, 1996 "redeployment should be put off until the final settlement. Hebron is a very complicated problem. It is the oldest Jewish settlement in the world, and the Jewish community there is in great danger. We all remember what happened in 1929. It is preferable that such a complex matter be carefully considered at the final status talks." This is the Benyamin Netanyahu who was supposed to transpose the Rabin-Peres decisions. This is the Benyamin Netanyahu who was going to keep Hebron. This is the Benyamin Netanyahu who was going to sit down with the leaders of the Hebron Jewish Community, TALK TO THEM, NOT IGNORE THEM. Prime Minister Netanyahu has, through today, totally ignored the Jewish Community of Hebron. It is almost as though we don't exist. An Israel Line report quoted HA'ARETZ as saying "that there are indications that an understanding exists on the Hebron redeployment between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli residents of Kiryat Arba and Hebron. Of course there is an understanding between the Jewish Community of Hebron and Bibi Netanyahu. That understanding can even be described as total agreement. We agree one hundred percent with all of those statements, and more, just like them, quoted above. However, there is no understanding, or agreement with the seemingly impending deals in the offing. The question is: Who is the real Bibi Netanyahu? Is he the man who stood tall, and proudly, at the first Hebron concert, with Avraham Fried at Binyanei HaUma in Jerusalem assembly on behalf of the Jewish community in Hebron on December 8, 1994 and proclaimed..."We are in Hebron by right, but also by the force of possession and inheritance. We will not forfeit our rights, nor the force to defend our rights." Or, is the real Bibi Netanyahu the person who called mass murdered Arafat a `friend and partner,' after the terrorist gave orders to kill Israeli soldiers, attack civilian communities and set fire to Kever Yosef in Shechem and Kever Rachel in Beit Lechem. The Israeli public and Jews around the world have a right to know who is going to be leading them for the next four years. Is he a true Israeli leader or is he a carbon copy of our immediate past prime ministers. Will history remember him as a courageous Jew, or declare him a poor imitation of Shimon Peres? Will the real Benyamin Netanyahu stop bending over, stop trying to please world opinion and PLEASE STAND UP?!
Friday, September 27, 1996
Gestures September 27, 1996 David Makovsky's headline article in today's Jerusalem Post is titled: US WANTS ISRAEL TO MAKE A GESTURE TO DEFUSE TENSION. The first paragraph states: "Secretary of State Warren Christopher has asked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to take "concrete steps," after the premier meets meeting with Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat, that would end the fighting AND LEAD TO THE RENEWAL OF NEGOTIATIONS ON HEBRON AS SOON AS SUNDAY, diplomatic sources said." Bill Clinton's Secretary of State is looking for a GESTURE from Israel. In other words, he is demanding that we capitulate - cave in to palestinian bullets, in order to allow us to continue down suicide lane. The American position follows a certain logic - acquiescence easily results in further debacle. This is, it seems, America's goal. And the theater of the absurd plays on. Our dead are not yet buried, the wounded still hospitalized - the country is in shock. Even the Israeli left, best represented by the news media, keep asking their interviewees, over and over again, `how do we deal with the fact that WE GAVE THEM THE WEAPONS THAT THEY ARE USING AGAINST OUR OWN SOLDIERS?!'. This morning 11 funerals are being conducted - 11 young men whose names have been repeated on the news since yesterday night, who died, not because of a 15 meter tunnel in Jerusalem, but because Arafat's terrorist soldiers are still convinced that using violence is the best way to achieve their aims: a Judenrein Gaza, Shechem and Beit Lechem. They fighting in Gaza by Kfar Dram and Netzarim was based around a desire to see these two communities uprooted and annihilated. As it was in Shechem. And in Shechem they almost succeeded. Today's newspaper accounts report that a final decision was made by DEFENSE MINISTER YITZHAK MORDECHAI TO EVACUATE OUR SOLDIERS FROM KEVER YOSEF AND ABANDON THE SITE TO ARAFAT. Why didn't it happen? According to these reports, Central Region Commander General Uzi Dayan superseded these orders and later convinced the cabinet, meeting in special session after Bibi's return from Europe, not to abandon the site. His reasoning: if we abandon Kever Yosef because of palestinian warfare, this will be used as a precedent to force us out of other areas. And he is right - one hundred percent. And that decision, not to abandon Joseph's Tomb, may have been instrumental in other decisions, and in the tone used to convey the decisions. According to a radio report at 11:45 this morning on Kol Yisrael, correspondent Yoni ben Menachem revealed that the Arabs have been warned that Israel regards recapture of parts of Shechem, especially the areas near Kever Yosef, as a viable option, to protect our interests in the city. The Arabs begged for another chance to prove that they can control the situation, and have subsequently placed the city under curfew. Back to Warren's plea for gestures. Is this man sane? Does he really believe that, following such a show of warfare against Israel, anyone would consider turning Hebron over to Arafat? The thoughts of what might have transpired had the `redeployment' in Hebron already been concluded, is intolerable. Had the hills surrounding the Jewish Community been occupied by terrorist sharpshooters, the results could very easily have been catastrophic. I think it is clear to everyone that Hebron is no longer a subject under discussion. The Israeli government, sitting in its capacity as a `security cabinet' has placed all the blame for the events of the past two days squarely on the shoulders of Yassir Arafat personally and the palestinian authority. Thank G-d, they are starting to see the light, starting to understand that the peace process is a `piece' process, starting to understand that we are dealing, not with partners, but with the equivalent of wild animals. It is only a matter of time until the "Oslo Accords" explode, finally, and conclusively. In the meantime, in Hebron, we are preparing for this week's holiday festivities, celebrating the festival of Succot. On Sunday and Monday the entire Ma'arat HaMachpela will be open to Jewish visitors, including `Ohel Yitzhak.' On Monday afternoon a special program will take place in the Ma'ara courtyard, starting at 3:00 PM. Next Saturday night, following the conclusion of Simchat Torah, Hebron will host `hakafot shniot' - a huge dancing festivity, at the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. This event will be attended by Jews from around the country, and will top off the week-long events. Just as Hebron will remain under total Israeli control, so will Jerusalem, all of Jerusalem. The decision to leave the Jerusalem tunnel open is the only gesture that Israel can possibly make, except for, perhaps, one, which is, to the best of my recollection, too vulgar to express in words.
Sunday, September 22, 1996
Heshbon Nefesh Erev Yom Kippur 5757 September 22, 1996 Heshbon Nefesh, in Hebrew, means, a personal reflection, an accounting - a kind of `soul-searching.' In theory, a person should do a `heshbon nefesh' daily, but more than ever before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A heshbon nefesh, however, is not only a personal affair. It must also be a national undertaking. The past year has been traumatic - climaxing the ordeals of the last four years. The murder of Yitzhak Rabin depicted perhaps, in the most cruel of ways, the division between two segments of the country. True, Yigal Amir represented only himself - he pulled the trigger, and that may never be condoned, but he was proven to be sane in a court of law. One has to reach deep down inside to probe, what could possibly bring a sane, intelligent Jew to perpetrate such an act. That is a question that our national conscience must ask, must scrutinize, in order to see to it that such a deed never again stains Israel. Today memorial services are being held around the country, mourning the dead, killed 23 years ago with the outbreak of a surprise-attack war by Syria and Egypt on Yom Kippur. With the present tension on the northern border, the analogy is too strong to be ignored. In one sense, we were caught with our pants down - but in reality, the Golda Meir government knew that war was going to break out hours before the first attack. They had enough time to begin mobilizing the troops - they could also have called for a preemptive strike. Such action would have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Yet, they did nothing, and the results were nearly catastrophic. Only the ferocity and determination of our soldiers, including Raphael Eitan and Avigdor Kahalani in the north, and Arik Sharon in the south, along with a tremendous dose of G-d given miracle, prevented, what Moshe Dayan called, the fall of the Third Temple. The situation during the first few days of the war was very very serious. Yet, the writing was on the wall - and nobody paid attention. Were they all really that blind? I don't know that anyone has the answer, but my question is, how can we use the lessons that we learned then, today. This morning, on the 7:00 news, there were two stories, one following the other. The first spoke of plans by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to renew suicide terrorist attacks within Israel. According to the report, these groups have reached a decision to once again wreak havoc inside Israel, AFTER THE REDEPLOYMENT IN HEBRON. They are waiting until after redeployment so as not to jeopardize Israeli abandonment of the city. Of course, it goes without saying, that the terrorist attacks will be much easier to plan and carry out after Israel abandons 90% of the city to Arafat. The second report dealt with Egyptian president Husni Mubarach's declaration that "if Israel insists on continuing a policy of resettlement in Judea and Samaria, the intifada will be renewed. And this time, IT WILL NOT BE LIMITED TO THROWING STONES." One of the most traveled routes in Hebron over the past few weeks is that to Abu-Snenah. Abu-Snenah is the name of a hill overlooking downtown Hebron. From this hilltop the entrance to Ma'arat is clearly visible, as is the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and the road linking Kiryat Arba to Hebron. From the hills opposite Abu- Snenah, called in Arabic Harat el-Sheich, or in Hebrew, Givat Mamre , Beit Hadassah, Beit Shneerson, Beit Hason and Beit Kastel are within touching distance. These two hills, along with a main road running above the Jewish cemetery, only meters from Tel Rumedia, are due to be abandoned to Arafat in the near future, if the present government should implement the Peres-Arafat Accords. This land will be off-limits to the Israel Defense Forces. In addition, all civilian authority, including building permits, property transfer licenses, water supply and electricity WITHIN THE JEWISH NEIGHBORHOODS, will be in the hands of Hebron's Arab mayor Mustepha Natche and the Hebron municipality. IN OTHER WORDS, PLAIN AND SIMPLY, THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF HEBRON WILL BE A CAPTIVE IN THE HANDS OF ARAFAT. SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY HOSTILE ARABS, RESTRICTED FROM WITHIN BY ENEMIES, THE JEWS OF HEBRON WILL BE DEPENDENT ON ARAFAT'S `GOOD WILL' FOR SURVIVAL. AND THAT WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE OVERWHELMING HAMAS MAJORITY IN HEBRON, WHICH DOES NOT TAKE ORDERS FROM ARAFAT. A few weeks ago I published a short account of a conversation that I had with Abed, an Arab in Hebron. On Friday the following account was printed in the Israeli press: *** HEBRON CLAN OPPOSES IDF REDEPLOYMENT - Palestinian intellectuals in Hebron joined in signing a declaration organized by one of the large clans in Hebron which was presented to the Israeli Military Government, opposing the withdrawal of IDF forces from their neighborhood as part of the redeployment in Hebron. ("Yediot Ahronot" 20 September, 1996- reprinted from IMRA). MR. PRIME MINISTER - BENYAMIN NETANYAHU, NEED MORE BE SAID? CAN'T YOU READ THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL? WHAT MORE WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT "OSLO" IS A CURSE - A SUICIDE-PACT, TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY ONLY ONE SIDE? MR. PRIME MINISTER, ON THIS DAY OF AWE, ON THIS DAY OF ATONEMENT, PLEASE, WHEN YOU REFLECT, WHEN YOU DO YOUR OWN HESHBON NEFESH, REMEMBER THAT THE STATE OF ISRAEL, THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, THE LAND OF ISRAEL ARE WEIGHTED ON YOUR SHOULDERS. YOUR DECISIONS WILL DETERMINE WHETHER THE EVENTS OF 23 YEARS AGO WILL RETURN ON THEMSELVES OR NOT. MR PRIME MINISTER, WE KNOW THAT YOU BELIEVE IN THE RIGHTS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO LIVE ANYWHERE IN ERETZ YISRAEL. YOU UNDERSTAND THE HERITAGE OF HEBRON, THE ROOTS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE. DO NOT ABANDON US, THE JEWS OF HEBRON! DO NOT ABANDON ERETZ YISRAEL! THERE IS NO SIGNED DOCUMENT IN THE WORLD WHICH CAN ABROGATE JEWISH-ISRAELI RIGHTS TO THE CITY OF THE PATRIARCHS, TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL. DO NOT LET US, THE ISRAELI PEOPLE, WHO ELECTED YOU, DO NOT LET US DOWN. WITH G-D'S HELP, YOU WILL SUCCEED. GMAR HATIMA TOVA.
Sunday, September 8, 1996
Hebron Tomorrow: After the Flood Erev Rosh HaShana 5757 September 8, 1996 Mission Impossible made possible - against all odds, reason and seeming logic - the impossible became reality. The "Mahapach" - the toppling of a government espousing abandonment, seeking a "piece plan," the Mahapach became reality with the rise of Benyamin Netanyahu to the office of Prime Minister and the Israeli `nationalistic' parties as a majority in the Knesset. The Mahapach of 1996 was a true G-d-given miracle. And a major element of this miracle was, and still is, Hebron. According to Oslo B - the Peres-Arafat Accords, 90% of Hebron was to be abandoned to Arafat and the Hamas terrorists on March 29. All the other major cities in Yesha - Shechem, Tulkarem, Jenin, Ramallah, and finally, Beit Lechem, were evacuated `on time' - Israel left and Arafat reigned, just as signed. The only city left was Hebron, and the clock was running down. But, wonder of wonders, miracle of miracles, it stopped. The price paid was unbelievably high - bloodshed in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv, and Ashkelon - but Peres had no choice but to face up to the inevitable - Hebron cannot be abandoned. And so it was. Election Day - May 29th - the 11th of Iyar, will remain an indelible mark in our memories - a holiday forever. Where do we stand today? It is clear that the honeymoon is over and the time has come to get down to the nitty-gritty. For a couple of months Netanyahu was able to buy time easily. He said much and did little. But that time has passed. International pressure, spearheaded by the United States, and supplemented by the Israeli left led to the deplorable meeting with terrorist Arafat. Egypt and Syria threatening from one side, with Clinton on the other side. And all eyes are on Hebron. What should Bibi do? There have been many different philosophies - a variety of game plans. Bibi himself, speaking before a joint session of Congress declared that the principal of reciprocity is nothing less than sacrosanct. In other words, he said, if Arafat wants something from us, he must also supply the goods. If he isn't capable of keeping his side of the agreement, why should we continue to keep our side of the agreement? Politically, this seems to be a safe position because it is doubtful whether Arafat desires to, or is capable of fulfilling his obligations. However, this cannot be guaranteed. As untenable as it sounds politically, Bibi must continue to espouse the same themes repeated so frequently, while he was opposition leader: Hebron, the first capital of Israel during the early reign of King David, is an eternal element of Israel. "We dwell in Hebron not out of benevolence but as a right. Hebron belongs to the Jewish people eternally as a result of our right and as a result of our strength, our strength of faith, our strength to stand up for what is legitimately ours...We must protect the foundation of Eternal Israel. Hebron is ours, Jerusalem is ours, the entire Eretz Yisrael is ours." Benyamin Netanyahu - Jerusalem, December 7, 1994. This is a language universally understood, and inevitably, universally accepted. When you speak the truth, not only your truth, but a Divine truth, your message is eventually acknowledged. Our lives in Hebron are focused around the most elementary truth in existence - our right to live in our eternal homeland. Netanyahu must drop Hebron from the present negotiating agenda. Just as Jerusalem is `not for sale,' so is should be with Hebron. The City of the Patriarchs is no less important than Jerusalem. Both are `off- limits.' The `final status' of both must be assured. Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu must begin to replace words with actions. In Megilat Esther, Mordechai sends a message to Esther after having learned of the decree calling for the annihilation of all Jews. He tells her, "IF YOU REMAIN SILENT AT THIS TIME, SALVATION WILL BE GRANTED TO THE JEWS FROM SOME OTHER SOURCE , YOU AND YOUR FATHER'S HOUSE WILL BE DOOMED - WHO KNOWS IF THIS WAS NOT THE REASON YOU WERE CROWNED?! Prime Minister Netanyahu - this IS why you were crowned - this is why we elected you to the Premiership - now is the time TO DO - as you have previously, so eloquently, enunciated. The Jewish Community of Hebron plans on doubling its present fifty two families over the next twelve months. Construction at Yeshivat Shavei Hebron continues. When completed, there will be room for 500 yeshiva students. Presently there are two hundred. And this is only the beginning. Jewish Hebron will undoubtedly flourish. Tourists continue to pour into the city, visiting the holy sites and Jewish neighborhoods, and praying at Ma'arat HaMachpela. Requests to live in Hebron arrive by mail and telephone. In spite of what others might intend, the future of Hebron, Jewish Hebron, the City of the Patriarchs, is assured. Mr. Netanyahu, we are waiting for your long-promised assistance. But you should know, that with or without it - we are in a new era, after the flood. And as we were promised, there will never again be another flood. With or without you, Hebron will remain Jewish forever. Happy New Year.
Friday, August 30, 1996
Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David Wilder
My friend Moshe and Abed from Hebron
August 30, 1996
On Wednesday evening I was, with hundreds of others, celebrating the marriage
of Yaffa Bleicher, daughter of Yeshivat Shavei Hebron's Rosh Yeshiva, Rav Moshe Bleicher. The chuppa took place in front of Ma'arat HaMachpela. The courtyard
was filled with, in my estimation, well over one thousand people. The Chatan,
Yonatan, and the Kallah, Yaffa, seem to be an ideal young couple, and they
looked beautiful, as the wedding blessings were recited in the field of
Machpela, in Hebron.
Later, following the ceremony, we all walked to the Yeshiva. Yeshivat Shavei
Hebron is located in Beit Romano, a building over a hundred years old.
The structure, in the past, housed the "Sde Hemed" a renowned Talmudic scholar,
and early this century was home to Yeshivat Torat Emet of Habad. In 1917 the
British claimed the building and used it as a police station. Those murdered
and injured in the 1929 massacre were taken here on that fateful Saturday. The
present Yeshiva has been located in the building since the early 1980's.
While sitting at the festive outdoors meal, a nearby friend passed on the
information: "A 160 bus, from Jerusalem to Kiryat Arba - Hebron was just shot
at. One person was injured." It took a while to receive confirmation and
clarification. On the new Bethlehem bypass road, supposedly 'secure',
terrorists opened up with automatic weapons and hit the bus. It isn't clear
exactly how many bullets hit the bus - between 15 to 30. Fortunately, we now
travel in buses that have been mostly bulletproofed. This is the reason no
one was seriously injured. I say 'mostly' because there are several parts of
the bus which are not bullet proof. I won't elaborate for obvious reasons,
except to say that at least one bullet passed though a 'non-bullet proofed'
window, and miraculously, didn't hit anyone. The bus was full and there were
people standing. According to people on the bus, if it had not been bullet
proofed, much blood would have been spilled.
One of the people on the bus was a good friend of mine, Moshe Shachar. Moshe,
his wife Efrat, and their children have lived in Kiryat Arba for a number of
years. Moshe, aged 54, a math whiz and a computer genious, used to work for
Bezek and is presently employed by E.C.I., a private electronics firm in Petach
Tikvah. He travels back and forth from Petach Tikva several times a week. I
visited with Moshe a little while ago. The following is what he related to me:
" I attended an all-day meeting - nine hours. So when I was on the bus I
didn't have energy to do anything. I was dozing and leaning against the
window. Suddenly I heard automatic gunfire. It lasted for, maybe, three
seconds. In the middle of it I realized it was gunfire and not rocks. I was
leaning against the window. Exactly were my arm was, a bullet hit. (Showing
me the picture in the newspaper), Here is where one bullet hit. If the windows
weren't bulletproofed I would have been hit. And here above that bullet, is
where another one hit the glass. (That bullet hole was opposite his head.) I
was wounded in my leg. A bullet hit the side of the bus and must have
exploded. Either fragments of the bullet or pieces of the bus hit my leg. I
wasn't badly hurt. They took me to the hospital from Gush Etzion, washed the
leg and gave me antibiotics. The pieces of metal will remain in my leg. I
have to take it easy for a couple of weeks, but all-in-all, I'm O.K. (I
remarked that now, every time he enters Ma'arat HaMachpela, the metal-detector
will be activated. We laugh together.) What now? Very simple. As soon as the
doctor says it's ok, I'll continue going to work, the same way I always have.
What should we do now? Build a new settlement where the attack took place. We
have to strengthen our hold on Eretz Yisrael. The terrorists cannot be allowed
to control our lives."
That is my friend Moshe.
Earlier that day, I spent an hour with a photographer in Hebron. While we were
wondering around, an Arab named Abed stopped me on the street, across from Beit Romano. He
told me, in Hebrew, the following. (I translated to English for the
'I prefer the Israeli army in Hebron to Arafat. Arafat's people arrest Arabs,
jail them, torture them, and then kill them. The Israeli soldiers arrest
Arabs and question them, but don't torture or kill them. We've seen this in
other cities where Arafat rules. Do a lot of Hebron Arabs think this? Yes. And
you should know, I agree that Jews should live in Hebron. My grandmother used
to tell me stories that Jews lived on this land, five hundred - seven hundred
years ago. This is Jewish land. The Arabs stole it from them after the
Quote- Unquote - Abed from Hebron
Friday, August 9, 1996
Some Good News - But Where Is It Leading August 9, 1996
This morning I received some very good news. My friend David Shirel, long-time resident of Tel Rumedia, who has been confined to his neighborhood for the last 9 months by an administrative order, will be free as of midnight tonight. His present administrative order expires today and yesterday he was informed that it will not be extended, at least not for the time being. Tomorrow David will be able to legally pray in a minion at Ma'arat HaMachpela for the first time in NINE MONTHS. He will be able to leave his home at Tel Rumeida without fear of being arrested and imprisoned for disobeying a military administrative house arrest order. This really is good news. But the good news is only partial. Yesterday, when David Shirel was notified of his impending freedom by people whose identity I am not at liberty to reveal, it was extremely apparent that they had no evidence of any wrongdoing on his part. In other words, he was held under house arrest for three-quarters of a year without being charged of any crime, without being indicted, tried or convicted - and without the `authorities' having any reason for this incarceration. In spite of this, he was held, and yesterday `warned' not to participate in any illegal activities, `or else....'. David's neighbor, Baruch Marzel, is still restricted to Tel Rumeida by a similar order. He won't be free tomorrow. His present administrative order will not expire for another two months. His appeal to a military court against the order was rejected. He appealed to General Uzi Dayan for a permit to leave Tel Rumeida for a few hours in order to be interviewed for a position allowing him to work from his home. The request was denied. Last week his son asked why they never went to pray in Ma'arat HaMachpela. Baruch requested permission to pray, at least on Shabbat, in the Ma'ara. The request was denied. PRESENTLY, SOME 35 ISRAELIS ARE BEING RESTRICTED BY ADMINISTRATIVE ORDERS. So, what's with Bibi Netanyahu? After all, most of these orders go through Israeli intelligence services, which are directly responsible to the Prime Minister himself. Here is my analysis of the situation: Either Bibi is unaware of what is going on (which in unlikely), or the intelligence officers are lying to him (which is much more likely.) Being that he doesn't have time to check out everything he is told, he is relying on the information presented to him. Doesn't he realize that Israeli intelligence is a branch of the `far-left?' That too is a good question that is very difficult to answer. On the one hand, he has to give some backing to the existing parties. But, and this is a VERY BIG BUT, he also has to understand that he was elected in order to weed these people out, and change the system. These people are poisoning Israel, contaminating democracy, and destroying any remaining faith in the term justice. Bibi's allegiance is not to the head of the Israeli intelligence services, or the Chief of Staff, or the Attorney General. His allegiance has to be to the people of Israel, who look to him to initiate the changes necessary to rebuild Israel, and to stop the Bolshevik processes instituted by the previous government. That is why we elected him. And Bibi must know that if he doesn't do what he was elected to do, we will not refrain from pressuring him and demonstrating against him the same way that we did against Rabin and Peres. That is not what we want to do, but if there is no choice, we will not hold back. David Shirel was approached by some friends who wanted to hold a big Kiddush tomorrow morning in celebration of his release. He refused. He told them, when everyone is freed, Baruch Marzel and all the others, then we will all celebrate together. Until then, we have to continue to work." Let's hope that Bibi understands what he has to do and that he does it, without fear and without hesitation, very very soon.