Sunday, September 24, 1995

The New Year

Several minutes ago the “Israeli delegation” led by Shimon Peres, initialed an
agreement with the terrorist Arafat, that, in their opinion, effectively
transfers the heart of Eretz Yisrael to a foreign terrorist power. On the
face of it, the Israeli govenment has defeated us. They have managed to sign
an agreement that transfers almost all civilian and military responsiblity to
the PLO. The agreement concerning Hebron is “valid” for six months, at which
time it will be re-negotiated - possibly giving Arafat total control over
Hebron, with total removal of Israeli forces from the city, including Ma’arat
However, this victory is illusory. It is as real as the Emporer’s New
Clothing. Why?
I would like to give you a living example:
Several days ago an elderly man came into my office in the Avraham Avinu
Neighborhood in Hebron. It was after 5:00 in the afternoon, and I was trying
to finish up the days work. He told me that he’d come to visit in Hebron and
needed a place to sleep. I called a friend who is charge of the hostile and
asked him if he had a vacancy. He answered that he’d be back in the city
within the hour, then he would fix things up. I told our guest and
accompanied him to a vacant chair, where he could sit and rest for the next
hour. After bringing him a cup of tea, we started talking and he told me that
he was born in Hebron some 83 years ago. He told me that he was an orphan -
his father had been killed fighting for the Turks during World War One and his
mother died not long after that. He spent most of his childhood in Hebron and
Jerusalem. On the fateful Sabbath of August 1929, when 67 Jews were massacred
he was in Jerusalem.
We spoke for over an hour, Mr. Ya’akov DeSoto and myself. He is a
Sfaradi Jew, with ancestors who were thrown out of Spain in 1492, moved to
Turkey, and from there to Israel. His story was very interesting - but the
most interesting part was as follows:
Mr. DeSoto told me that after the destruction of the Hebron Jewish Community
he became very influenced by leftist politics - so much so that he joined the
Communist Party. As a result of this he had to leave Jerusalem for Tel Aviv,
and eventually he moved to Haifa. He spent most of his life as a communist
activist - until very recently.
He told me that he wrote a letter to the Labor Party, resigning his
membership. He said, “There policies are beyond understanding.” “I can’t
understand how they could want to depart with Hebron.”
When I asked him about his present politics, he said, “I think that the real
pioneers are like the people here in Hebron - religious Zionists.” I asked
why and he answerer, “First of all, most of them have at least five or six
children. Also, the learn Torah. Maybe, as a result of their learning Torah,
we will merit the right to stay in Eretz Yisrael.”
I might add that Mr. DeSoto did not have a head-covering on his head
ie, he is not a religiously observant Jew.
But, he is aware, in spite of the last 65 years or so, of his Jewish
Heritage - his Jewish roots. He is aware of the importance of continuing and
enlarging the Jewish population in Israel, and he is aware that Jewish
heritage is based on the word of G-d - on the Bible, on the rights of the
Jewish People to the Land of Israel.
He told me that, in spite of his age, he spent the entire day touring
Jerusalem and Hebron. He even remembers where he lived in old Hebron - in the
Kasba, behind the Tombs of the Patriarchs. He came back to Hebron, to visit
and to show his solidarity with the present Jewish Community of Hebron.
He didn’t spend the evening in the hostile. A family with 10 children
hosted him for the night, giving him dinner and a place to sleep, and
listening to his stories.
This is the reason that Peres and Co. haven’t succeed - people like
Ya’akov DeSoto, who so long age went another way, in another direction,
eventually return - they come back to their roots. It may take some time -
perhaps a year, perhaps a generation - but the Jewish People, as a people,
will never relinquish their homeland - their roots. That is what the New Year
is all about - Returning - coming back. Returning has many implications,
there are many forms of repentence - but perhaps the most important is the
return to Eretz Yisrael - to the Heritage of Israel. Ya’akov DeSoto did so,
and so will others.
A new family has come to live with us in Hebron. It is now less than
2 hours before the advent of the New Year - I don’t have much time - but
enough to tell you that they have come straight from New York, - with two
children, to live in the heart of Hebron. People like themselves and people
like Ya’akov DeSoto are living proof - of the past and the present - that we
still have a future. We haven’t given up and we never will. That is the crux
of the New Year - Faith and action that have maintained the Jews through 2,000
years of exile and have brought us back to Eretz Yisrael. Israel is
synonymous with eternity.
Past - Present - Forever
Hebron - Jerusalem - Israel
Happy New Year from the City of the Patriarchs.

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