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