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.