Saturday, June 1, 1996

If I Forget Thee, Hebron...

What will happen if Hebron is abandoned and relinquished to Arafat? How will it affect us here in Israel? The resulting catastrophe will be two-sided. 

First, there is the security issue.Hebron is well known to be major pillar of Hamas terrorism. Hamas has promised to continue terrorist attacks against Israelis and Jews throughout the world. They were responsible for bus bombings in Jerusalem and the suicide attack in Tel Aviv. Most Hebron Arabs refused to participate in the PNC elections last January because of Hamas pressure and threats. 

 Hamas terrorism, of course, threatens Jews living in, and visiting Hebron and Kiryat Arba. However, the real danger is not in Hebron. It is in Jerusalem, Tel- Aviv and other Israeli cities. Hebron will become a breeding ground, a nest of Hamas terrorists. The attacks will be planned in Hebron, and the city will serve as a refuge following perpetration. 

 National Religious Party MK Hanan Porat quoted a high-ranking police official, who spoke of the planned redeployment in Hebron. He said, "I fear the results of an IDF withdrawal from Hebron. We have lists of hundreds of Hamas supporters living in Hebron who have signed written statements, agreeing to commit suicide attacks throughout Israel. As long as we are in Hebron, we have some control over them. Once we leave, it will be that much more difficult to prevent them from carrying out their missions." 

 Physical security is only one side of the problem. The other side, is, perhaps, more dangerous. Hebron was the first Jewish City in the Land of Israel. The Tombs of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, Avraham, Yitzhak, Ya'akov, Sarah, Rivka, and Lea, located in the Cave of Machpela, is the second holiest site in the world for the Jewish People. 

 The Kingdom of Israel began in Hebron. King David ruled here for over seven years before moving the capital to Jerusalem. If Jerusalem is characterized as the heart of the Jewish People, then Hebron can only be described as the roots of the Jewish People.

 Jews lived continuously in Hebron for thousands of years. Jews exiled from Spain settled the famous Jewish Quarter in 1540. Famous Rabbis and scholars made Hebron their home. Until 1929. Until the horrid massacre in August left 67 dead. The survivors were exiled from the city. The age-old Jewish Community of Hebron came to an abrupt end. 

 We came back to Hebron in 1967 as a result of the Six Day War. We founded the city of Kiryat Arba and resettled the Jewish Quarter in Hebron. Hundreds of thousands of Jews from all over the world arrive in Hebron, praying at Ma'arat HaMachpela. 

 What will happen to the Jewish People if they cut off their roots? How can we conceive of Jewish education in the State of Israel following abandonment of the City of the Patriarchs. What will we tell our children and our grandchildren when they ask us, "Why can't we visit the Tombs of the Patriarchs in Hebron? How will we answer when they ask, "How could a Jewish government withdraw from the city of Abraham? 

 The spiritual dilemma caused by abandonment of Hebron will be almost beyond rectification. When you chop up the roots of a tree, the branches dry up and eventually die. When you cut off the roots of a nation, the results may be cataclysmic. 

 Hebron, City of the Patriarchs, must never be abandoned. The roots of the Jewish People must not be allowed to wither up. Hebron is a Jewish city which must remain in Jewish hands forever

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