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 30, 1996
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.