Heshbon Nefesh Erev Yom Kippur 5757 September 22, 1996 Heshbon Nefesh, in Hebrew, means, a personal reflection, an accounting - a kind of `soul-searching.' In theory, a person should do a `heshbon nefesh' daily, but more than ever before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. A heshbon nefesh, however, is not only a personal affair. It must also be a national undertaking. The past year has been traumatic - climaxing the ordeals of the last four years. The murder of Yitzhak Rabin depicted perhaps, in the most cruel of ways, the division between two segments of the country. True, Yigal Amir represented only himself - he pulled the trigger, and that may never be condoned, but he was proven to be sane in a court of law. One has to reach deep down inside to probe, what could possibly bring a sane, intelligent Jew to perpetrate such an act. That is a question that our national conscience must ask, must scrutinize, in order to see to it that such a deed never again stains Israel. Today memorial services are being held around the country, mourning the dead, killed 23 years ago with the outbreak of a surprise-attack war by Syria and Egypt on Yom Kippur. With the present tension on the northern border, the analogy is too strong to be ignored. In one sense, we were caught with our pants down - but in reality, the Golda Meir government knew that war was going to break out hours before the first attack. They had enough time to begin mobilizing the troops - they could also have called for a preemptive strike. Such action would have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of lives. Yet, they did nothing, and the results were nearly catastrophic. Only the ferocity and determination of our soldiers, including Raphael Eitan and Avigdor Kahalani in the north, and Arik Sharon in the south, along with a tremendous dose of G-d given miracle, prevented, what Moshe Dayan called, the fall of the Third Temple. The situation during the first few days of the war was very very serious. Yet, the writing was on the wall - and nobody paid attention. Were they all really that blind? I don't know that anyone has the answer, but my question is, how can we use the lessons that we learned then, today. This morning, on the 7:00 news, there were two stories, one following the other. The first spoke of plans by Hamas and the Islamic Jihad to renew suicide terrorist attacks within Israel. According to the report, these groups have reached a decision to once again wreak havoc inside Israel, AFTER THE REDEPLOYMENT IN HEBRON. They are waiting until after redeployment so as not to jeopardize Israeli abandonment of the city. Of course, it goes without saying, that the terrorist attacks will be much easier to plan and carry out after Israel abandons 90% of the city to Arafat. The second report dealt with Egyptian president Husni Mubarach's declaration that "if Israel insists on continuing a policy of resettlement in Judea and Samaria, the intifada will be renewed. And this time, IT WILL NOT BE LIMITED TO THROWING STONES." One of the most traveled routes in Hebron over the past few weeks is that to Abu-Snenah. Abu-Snenah is the name of a hill overlooking downtown Hebron. From this hilltop the entrance to Ma'arat is clearly visible, as is the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and the road linking Kiryat Arba to Hebron. From the hills opposite Abu- Snenah, called in Arabic Harat el-Sheich, or in Hebrew, Givat Mamre , Beit Hadassah, Beit Shneerson, Beit Hason and Beit Kastel are within touching distance. These two hills, along with a main road running above the Jewish cemetery, only meters from Tel Rumedia, are due to be abandoned to Arafat in the near future, if the present government should implement the Peres-Arafat Accords. This land will be off-limits to the Israel Defense Forces. In addition, all civilian authority, including building permits, property transfer licenses, water supply and electricity WITHIN THE JEWISH NEIGHBORHOODS, will be in the hands of Hebron's Arab mayor Mustepha Natche and the Hebron municipality. IN OTHER WORDS, PLAIN AND SIMPLY, THE JEWISH COMMUNITY OF HEBRON WILL BE A CAPTIVE IN THE HANDS OF ARAFAT. SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY HOSTILE ARABS, RESTRICTED FROM WITHIN BY ENEMIES, THE JEWS OF HEBRON WILL BE DEPENDENT ON ARAFAT'S `GOOD WILL' FOR SURVIVAL. AND THAT WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE OVERWHELMING HAMAS MAJORITY IN HEBRON, WHICH DOES NOT TAKE ORDERS FROM ARAFAT. A few weeks ago I published a short account of a conversation that I had with Abed, an Arab in Hebron. On Friday the following account was printed in the Israeli press: *** HEBRON CLAN OPPOSES IDF REDEPLOYMENT - Palestinian intellectuals in Hebron joined in signing a declaration organized by one of the large clans in Hebron which was presented to the Israeli Military Government, opposing the withdrawal of IDF forces from their neighborhood as part of the redeployment in Hebron. ("Yediot Ahronot" 20 September, 1996- reprinted from IMRA). MR. PRIME MINISTER - BENYAMIN NETANYAHU, NEED MORE BE SAID? CAN'T YOU READ THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL? WHAT MORE WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT "OSLO" IS A CURSE - A SUICIDE-PACT, TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY ONLY ONE SIDE? MR. PRIME MINISTER, ON THIS DAY OF AWE, ON THIS DAY OF ATONEMENT, PLEASE, WHEN YOU REFLECT, WHEN YOU DO YOUR OWN HESHBON NEFESH, REMEMBER THAT THE STATE OF ISRAEL, THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, THE LAND OF ISRAEL ARE WEIGHTED ON YOUR SHOULDERS. YOUR DECISIONS WILL DETERMINE WHETHER THE EVENTS OF 23 YEARS AGO WILL RETURN ON THEMSELVES OR NOT. MR PRIME MINISTER, WE KNOW THAT YOU BELIEVE IN THE RIGHTS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO LIVE ANYWHERE IN ERETZ YISRAEL. YOU UNDERSTAND THE HERITAGE OF HEBRON, THE ROOTS OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE. DO NOT ABANDON US, THE JEWS OF HEBRON! DO NOT ABANDON ERETZ YISRAEL! THERE IS NO SIGNED DOCUMENT IN THE WORLD WHICH CAN ABROGATE JEWISH-ISRAELI RIGHTS TO THE CITY OF THE PATRIARCHS, TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL. DO NOT LET US, THE ISRAELI PEOPLE, WHO ELECTED YOU, DO NOT LET US DOWN. WITH G-D'S HELP, YOU WILL SUCCEED. GMAR HATIMA TOVA.