Thursday, January 29, 2004

Kill Jews – It Works!

January 29, 2004

Why do Arabs continue to kill Jews?

It’s clear that the suicide bomber, who exploded in a Jerusalem bus this morning, murdering 10 Jews (as of this writing) and wounding about 50, was acting out the goodness of his heart.

While the ‘palestinian policeman’ from Bethlehem who belonged to Gedudei El-Aktza of Arafat’s Fatah, was blowing the #19 bus to smithereens next to Ariel Sharon’s official residence, Israel was in the process of  implementing the ‘prisoner exchange’ with Hezbollah. Israel released, not only 400 live terrorists, but also 60 bodies of dead Hezbollah warrior terrorists. Today’s terrorist attack was an attempt to even the equation. After all, we were only getting three bodies back. So the terrorist exploded in an effort to even the score. Ten killed, fifty wounded, equals 60. Plus three soldiers’ bodies – Israel comes out on top.

That’s one reason to kill Jews. But of course, there are more.

Two days the Yesha Council held a unique press conference, during which they revealed the contents of ‘secret discussions’ between Yesha leaders and the highest levels of the Prime Minister’s office.  These leaders met, one at a time, with Dov Weisglass, Sharon’s Chief of Staff. He offered them a seemingly, tantalizing deal. The Sharon government would ‘disengage’ from seven Yesha communities sometime in the near future. Those communities named were: Kfar Darom, Netzarim and Morag, in Gush Katif, Kadim and Ganim in northern Shomron, and Sa-Naur and Homesh in central Shomron. In return, Sharon promised to refrain from any other ‘disengagements’ until a final agreement with the PA terrorists. In addition, he promised to try and ‘save’ the rest of Gush Katif in Gaza.

At the press conference, the Yesha Council vehemently rejected this ‘deal,’ calling it a disgrace. But that’s not really what is important. What is important is that the ‘deal’ was offered in the first place. Our Arab enemies could view this planned eviction of Jews from at least two different perspectives. On the one hand, they must have been disappointed at the small number of communities Sharon was offering to destroy. But, on the other hand, the very fact that Ariel Sharon, the great warmonger, the brain behind Sabra and Shatila, would even consider deleting any Jewish settlements in Israel must have been seen as a great victory.

Their analysis must have been short and sweet. The reason behind Sharon’s proffered ‘disengagement’ was simple. The above-named communities and their surrounding vicinities are all prime targets of Arab terror attacks. Numerous security forces are needed to provide them with even semi-adequate protection. Sharon himself said, not too long ago, to a group of Bedouins that he hopes the time will soon come when Israeli troops will no longer have to serve in Gaza. Why? Because it’s too violent there.

The terrorists may not all be university graduates, but simple arithmetic isn’t beyond their capabilities. They know that one plus one equals two. Kill Jews plus Kill More Jews equals capitulation-withdrawal-‘disengagement.’ One need not be a genius to figure it out.

Actually, today’s prisoner exchange is a case in point.  In truth, were I in a decision-making position, I really don’t know what I’d do. It is similar to a King Solomon trial (when having to decide which woman the baby belonged to, Solomon commanded that it be cut in half). But the absurdity of the deal screams out to the heavens. Elhanan Tennenbaum, an Israeli colonel in the reserves, whose kidnapping is cloaked in mystery and question marks was freed. In addition Israel received the bodies of three soldiers who were killed by Hezbollah on the Lebanese border for the purpose of kidnapping them. Hezbollah terror leader Nasrallah is already on record proclaiming that he will kidnap more Israeli soldiers in order to use them to liberate other captured terrorists.

In return Israel was forced to release four hundred! live terrorists – four hundred, most of whom will undoubtedly return to their favorite pastime – and we all know what that is. (See: Jibril, Achmad: Victory Over Israel - How I Added One Thousand Soldiers to my Private Terror Force.)

It seems that the nucleus of the deal was not Tennenbaum or the dead soldiers. Rather, it is the missing aviator Ron Arad. Israel has been promised, at the very least, information concerning Arad, and particularly, whether he is still alive. For that information we will release another Arab murderer. The price to obtain Arad, living or dead, will be astronomical.

In other words, Israel, pushed into a corner, is continuing to acquiesce. Our enemies take the offensive, we take the defensive, they are victorious and we lose.

One of rules of Israeli negotiations centers on the principle which states that terrorists ‘with blood on their hands’ i.e., who have murdered Israelis, will not be released from jail. Despite this code of conduct, several Arabs with ‘blood on their hands’ were today set free. And ten others with blood on their hands and faces, legs and arms, all over their bodies, were also liberated – not from Israel, but from this world, for eternity.

Hamas spokesman Abdel Aziz Rantissi said, after today’s bombing, “It's not important who carried out this operation. The only thing which is very important is that we are resisting occupiers who came ... to occupy our land and to kill our people."

Rantissi isn’t talking about Gaza – he’s talking about Jerusalem and Hebron, Tel Aviv and Haifa, Eilat and Kiryat Shemona. After all, Sharon is folding – he’s offering to ‘disengage’ from Israeli communities, he’s offering a palestinian state, he’s releasing hundreds of terrorists from Israeli jails, in return for…. Killing Jews!

So, in reality why not KILL JEWS  - IT WORKS!

Monday, January 19, 2004

The Seventh Year

January, 2004

The seventh year is known to be one of rest, allowing for study and introspection, looking back at the past, learning from it, drawing conclusions, while amassing strength and looking to the future.

So the time has come to look back. Exactly seven years ago Israel signed and implemented the Hebron accords – ceding over eighty percent of the city to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.

December 30, 1996-News from Hebron: Several members of the Jewish Community of Hebron met with Prime Minister  Netanyahu for over half an hour early yesterday afternoon. None of the problems  raised by the Hebron residents were resolved at the meeting.
        When asked about the continued renovations in the Kasba behind the Avraham
Avinu neighborhood, the Prime Minister admitted that he knows the buildings are
to be filled with terrorists. But he said that the buildings belong to the
Arabs, and "they can populate them with whoever they want."
        When questioned about the Jewish property to be transferred to Arafat and the
PA, Netanyahu claimed that this is a "pandora's box" that must not be opened.
        When asked about other security issues, Netanyahu told his visitors to 'trust
him.' Asked about the possibility of terrorist attacks and car bombs on King
David Street (Shuhada), Netanyahu gestured that he was aware of the problem,
but did not suggest any solution.

January 14, 1997- From “Moments of Truth” by David Wilder: Tonight  not only is Hebron on the chopping  block. Tonight almost all of the land area of Judea, Samaria and
Gazza is up for grabs.  In addition to abandoning Hebron, Netanyahu has agreed to part with close to 70%  of  Yesha by  September  1, 1998.  Netanyahu is not only  beheading
The  Jewish  Community of Hebron.  He is  castrating  the Land of Israel… abandonment of land in Israel is contrary to our very  existence.  We came back to Eretz Yisrael to settle the land, to live on the land - not to divide it and hand it  over to our enemies, to terrorists. The direction  of the  present `moment of truth' is clearly negative.   But eventually,  this will change and the crossroads  we  are turning down now will reach a dead-end, and we won't have any  choice but to turn around, come back, and  turn  the other  way.   Whatever the cost, we must know  this,  and live accordingly.”

January 17, 1997-News from Hebron: “At ten minutes after six this morning, the last officer left the Hebron Military Compound and handed the keys to his Arab counterpart. Leaving the compound, this act completed abandonment of 80% of Hebron to Arafat. Arab soldiers were deployed throughout the areas evacuated by the Israeli army.
Thousands of Arabs, many of whom spent the night outside the compound, began
chanting, "With blood, with fire, we will liberate palestine."…The initial stone-throwing attacks by Arabs in Hebron, and the IDF's unwillingness to arrest the perpetrators is far from encouraging. The distance between throwing rocks, or throwing hand grenades, or shooting, is very short…Concession to American pressure will only lead to more and more capitulation. Concession to terrorism will only lead to further terror. Arafat has proven his ineffectiveness in preventing terror attacks.”

January 17, 1997-From ‘Rest in Peace’ by David Wilder: Last  night Prime Minister Netanyahu, speaking  at  a press  conference,  told  viewers  that  "Israel  is  not withdrawing from  Hebron,  rather  is  resituating   in Hebron." There are those who have written Hebron off -  they expect  Hebron's  Jewish community to  leave.  They  have
declared:  Hebron - Rest In Peace.  For some reason  they really  believe  that  we are in the  midst  of  a  peace process.   They  also believe that a Jewish  presence  in
Hebron  is  provocative and unnecessary.  But,  they  are wrong.  Only true peace brings true rest. Hebron will not rest,  surely not as part of this false peace.   The  lie
called  Oslo will not allow us peace and quiet.  Much  to the  contrary. The more we concede, the more  trouble  we will  have. Hebron has been transformed into a `piece'  -
the  exact opposite of its true essence, which  is  total unity.

The  immediate future will be very difficult  -  of that I have no doubts or illusions. If  the Jewish People were  able  to  overcome the results of a Holocaust  that left  one  third of our people murdered, and in spite  of that were able  to create a viable state only three years after  the  furnaces were extinguished, we  can  overcome anything.   It  will not be easy, but we will  persevere.”

So, you ask, what has changed? The words all sound the same – then and today. Most of what I wrote then I could rewrite today, just changing the date. Ideas that I thought to develop concerning Sharon I found already written, about Netanyahu. It's enough to want to make you cry. Except for one small change: 

January 20, 1997 – Letter-Response to questions: There are presently 54 Jewish families in Hebron. The population is 540 There are over 200 children and over 200 yeshiva students. At the moment there are no vacancies - we are beginning to build to make room for more people.

January 20, 2004 – 7 years later: There are presently 80 Jewish families in Hebron. The population is over 800. There are over 300 children and over 300 yeshiva students. At the moment there are no vacancies – we are building to make room for more people.

In the past seven years people have been killed in Hebron, soldiers and civilians. Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan, Shalhevet Pass, Shlomo Shapiro, Gadi and Dina Levy, to name a few. Others were wounded. Many many escaped only due to Divine miracle. Hebron suffered two years of constant shooting attacks, perpetrated from the hills Bibi handed to Yassir on a silver platter. We were badgered by the Israeli left, by the police, by foreigner observers and interveners.

Yet, Hebron’s population has risen from 540 to 800. Then there were fifty four families – today 80 families. Then 200 children, today 300 children. Then 200 yeshiva students, today 300 yeshiva students.  Then, no room for new families, today no room for new families.

In the past seven years we built new apartment buildings in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and next to Beit Hadassah. A new building is going up in Tel Rumeida. The old ‘Arab market’ is now filled with young Jewish families. Almost no one has left Hebron in the past three years. And the waiting list of families wanting to live in Hebron still exists.

Why? Because the Jewish people believe in Eretz Yisrael – the Jewish people are not willing to abandon their homeland, their cities, their roots. Four years ago over 500,000 people visited Hebron annually. Of course, during the years of the “Olso War” those numbers dropped. However, in 2003, they rose back to over 300,000. People come from all over the world, Jews and gentiles alike, to see, to feel, to experience Hebron. Despite the problems, the dangers, the ‘situation.’  According to the schedule sitting on my desk, this week alone we have some twenty buses of visitors touring Hebron.

My friends, this is the power of Am Yisrael – this is the power of Eretz Yisrael.

I will conclude as I did on January 15, 1998, in an article “Next year without Oslo:”

I can only but bless all of us that in a year from now I'll be able to write about how finally all Israel woke up, putting an official end to the curse called Oslo.  We will then began to live again as proud Jews in our G-d - given Homeland - holding our heads high, doing what we know is right -  in Hebron, Jerusalem, in all of Eretz Yisrael.  Amen

With blessings from Hebron.

Wednesday, January 7, 2004

On a personal note: Consolation's Victory

On a personal note: Consolation's Victory
January 7, 2004


As some of you may have noticed, I didn’t post anything for a few weeks. A little while ago I posted a ‘current events’ commentary.  However, I’ll request your forgiveness and in addition, post a second, more personal article.

Almost four weeks ago my father died. He, and my mother, may she be blessed with many more years, visited us this past summer, for two weeks. In May Dad had undergone successful bypass surgery, and by August the doctors declared him healthy enough to make the trip from Sarasota, Florida to Israel. His strength still hadn’t returned as had been expected, but tests to determine the reason could be put off for a couple of weeks.

For Mom and Dad, visiting us in Israel was more than a generic trip to see the kids. Despite their dwelling in the United States, my parents’ heart was here, in Israel, and in Hebron. Dad had been active in Hebron events for quite a long time.  Many years ago he accepted the post of treasurer of the Hebron Fund in New York. More recently, both he and my mother lectured about Hebron and participated in public debates and programs concerning Israel’s presence in Hebron and Yesha.

After moving to Sarasota almost 15 years ago, Dad initiated formation of that city’s chapter of PNAI – Parents of North American Israelis and acted as the group’s first president. Shortly after his death the group’s members decided to rename the chapter after my father. PNAI’s international board, upon hearing of his passing, had a tree planted in his memory, an honor usually bestowed only upon board members.

Mom and Dad came to visit almost every year. Since we moved to Hebron, over five years ago, they would rent a room in the Beitar Guest House in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, and walk back and forth to our apartment in Beit Hadassah. Upon occasion visitors to Hebron would stop them and ask directions – how to get to Ma’arat HaMachpela or Tel Rumeida. At the height of the Oslo War, when shooting attacks upon the community were a daily occurrence, they didn’t hesitate about their visit – they were coming to Hebron! When friends and relatives, aware of the situation, asked them how they could visit such a dangerous place they responded, “If our children and grandchildren can live there every day, why can’t we visit for two weeks?” And despite the shooting, they did just that.

We have a custom of celebrating everybody’s birthday during the summer months, when they would come to visit. A couple of years ago it was somewhat surrealistic – we were all sitting in our Beit Hadassah living room, surrounded by presents, singing birthday songs, with somewhat unusual background music – the sound of massive gunfire all around us. But that didn’t stop them.

This summer, while here, my parents were blessed to participate in the wedding of one of our daughters, Aderet. As are most weddings, it was a truly joyous affair, and for us even more so, due to their presence. Wedding pictures are always something to treasure, but these photos are particularly special – complete family portraits, including everyone, from great-grandparents to great-grandchildren, pictures that we will cherish forever. Little did we know that this would be the last time we’d all be together.

After returning to the US, Dad underwent various tests and before long the doctors found what they were looking for. They couldn’t promise a cure, but they could attempt a reprieve. Treatment began, but to no avail.

I visited my folks in Florida in the middle of November, when Dad was still on his feet. He wasn’t well, but could get from the bedroom into the living room, sit and eat a little, watch TV and chat. But when I bid my farewells, I wasn’t sure if I’d ever see him again.

His condition deteriorated fairly rapidly. I was in touch with them daily and finally decided that the time had come to make another trip to Florida. When I arrived on Tuesday afternoon Dad was asleep – he slept almost constantly. He opened his eyes once or twice, recognized me and was able to briefly smile before returning to his slumber. And that’s the way it was for two days, until twelve in the afternoon on Thursday, when his soul departed from his body and left us. I was there, together with Mom, at home. It is written that the soul, on its way to the next world, departs via Ma’arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, in Hebron. It was comforting to know that Dad’s last stop in this world, on his way to the next world, was right down the road from us, here in Hebron.

All people, upon the death of a loved one, search for consolation. One Jewish mourning custom calls for the bereaved to eat an egg immediately following conclusion of the funeral. The egg symbolizes the cycle of life, which goes around and around, seemingly without a beginning or end.

And so it really is. I found my consolation two nights ago when my oldest son, Elazar, married a wonderfully sweet woman named Avital. It was not easy for me to celebrate, for it is still less than a month since Dad passed away. But standing under the marriage canopy, the Chupa, together with Elazar and Avital, I could sense his presence and delight at his first grandson’s wedding. For that is the cycle of life, one generation departs and another generation commences.

Many years ago Dad was told that, due to a medical problem, he would never be able to have children. Despite that, he married my mother, and less than a year later I was born. Dad was privileged to have two children, eight grandchildren and a great grandson during his lifetime. And he knew of, and rejoiced in Elazar’s impending marriage.

We should all merit such rewards in this world.

May his memory be blessed.

Will David Cohen Die Again?

Will David Cohen Die Again?
January 7, 2004

Almost two months ago four ex-security chiefs made international headlines when they “chided Israel,” in the words of a BBC article. “The men called for Israel to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and dismantle Jewish settlements, or face "disaster"” []. Included in the group were four ex-heads of the Israeli Shin-Bet security services, all of whom are extremely left wing.
A couple of days ago another ex-security chief, Ephraim Halevy, former head of the Mossad, repeated and expanded upon his opinions concerning the current political situation.

In an article by Ari Shavit, published September 6, 2003 in Ha’aretz newspaper, Halevy says:
"The road map is not a road map. It is a plan for an imposed settlement. It marks out a clear route that leads to an imposed settlement. I don't think an imposed settlement is good for Israel. It's not good for the Palestinians, either. History shows that every imposed settlement has been a temporary settlement. So I believe that our future here in the region has to be based on our learning one day to live with the Arabs and the Palestinians. I believe that is an attainable goal, but it can't be attained by means of some imposed Pax Americana. I don't think the Americans have an interest in this kind of Pax Americana, either. It will impose on the United States responsibility that it won't be able to come to terms with…In the Oslo Accords, Israel recognized the rights of the Palestinians and in return obtained their agreement not to advance their goals by force. Not to use terrorism. Throughout the entire process, the Palestinians recognized only our reality, whereas we recognized their rights. That was a mistake. The road map repeats that mistake. It demands that Israel give the Palestinians strategic assets and in return all Israel gets is a war against terrorism and another war against terrorism. That's not good enough. It's even dangerous. It is liable to lead us in the end into a situation in which we will find ourselves close to the 1967 borders without the Palestinians having recognized Israel's right of existence and without their having forgone the right of return."

A couple of days ago, speaking to foreign journalists, Halevy restated these thoughts, calling the roadmap’s time line ‘irrelevant,’ and adding, "The road map... cannot be implemented. It can not be implemented. We know this, and the Palestinians know this, and the United States knows this.”

HaLevy called on the Sharon government to reconsider uprooting of settlements because of ‘their strategic importance.’ He said, “Settlement uprooting should be reconsidered due to their present strategic importance, and not as they were yesterday or the day before. Strategic considerations are not inflexible. They change over years.”

Included in the ‘first list’ of four ‘illegal outposts’ to be eradicated is “Hazon David,” near Kiryat Arba. When a staff member from the American consulate called and asked me about the “Hazon David outpost” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Only later did I discover that the tent-synagogue called Hazon David, just outside the west gate of Kiryat Arba, below the Givat HaAvot neighborhood, is classified as an ‘illegal outpost.’  According to the powers-that-be, this site is to be deleted from the face of the earth.

Last Saturday night several hundred people gathered at the synagogue, together with two Knesset members and Hebron-Kiryat Arba leaders. All the speakers said the ‘right’ things, basically reiterating what we all know.  The protest was an important show of support against destruction of the synagogue.

In my opinion, however, the following letter, sent earlier this week to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, says it all:

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,

With this letter, we turn to you, requesting from you a small sanctuary, a synagogue serving as a living memorial, dedicated at the site of the murder of our beloved son, David Cohen, HY”D, who was killed by wicked people, and is now defined as an ‘outpost’ due to be evacuated.

Two and a half years ago our son was murdered at the gates to Kiryat Arba. Since then, our world collapsed. Our world is not large but was filled by our son David, with tremendous love. His departure from our lives has left a void, empty of any content. During holidays, our pain increases sevenfold.

Small consolation and a new light entered our lives, knowing that at the site of our son's murder, at the gates of Kiryat Arba, a synagogue was established. This site gave us some comfort, where we were able to pour out our hearts and worship to the Creator of the world, about our son.

Using our scant resources, we purchased chairs and holy books for worshipers at the site, which newsmen and military officials see as a tattered tent. However, for us, the knowledge that every day and every Shabbat people are present there, studying and praying in memory of our dear son, granted us a new life.

Our thoughts escorted this synagogue, which is, for us, a memorial to our son David, at the site of his killing.

Several days ago our wound was reopened and refuses to heal. We read in newspapers that the site of our son’s memorial has been marked for destruction, G-d forbid, and that a military command ordering its removal has been signed.

Believe us, Mr. Prime Minister, we feel as though our son has again been sentenced to death, without being guilty of anything, and he can only be saved by a pardon.

We turn to you from the depths of our hearts, not out of consideration for the settlers, not due to political or security considerations. Rather only out of considerations of pain, of memory, of humanistic considerations, which no one excepting you could understand.

We beseech you, leave our son’s memorial!  Leave the tent where it is. It looks tattered and worn-out, but even with its shreds and neglect is so special and worth so much to us.

Nothing will be able to replace this tent, established at the site of our son’s murder, nothing will be able to compensate for the loss and the memorial.

With hope that you will take this letter into consideration,

Yaffa and Ya’akov Cohen

So, that is the question: Will Ariel Sharon and Shaul Mufaz force David Cohen HY”D to die again?

With blessings from Hebron.