Sunday, September 8, 1996

Hebron Tomorrow: After the Flood

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

      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

"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,

      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.

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