Friday, August 30, 1996

My friend Moshe and Abed from Hebron

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

No comments:

Post a Comment