Monday, September 18, 1995

This Land is Our Land

I can remember back some 21 years ago, when I first came to Israel. At that
time I didn't know anything about anything: Israel was still, more or less, a
foreign country. At that time I had no intentions of making Aliyah; my mind
was set on studying law in the US. But I can distinctly remember during the
many conversations about the pros and cons of living in Israel, that the major
arguement against was: "I don't like the Israeli way of life, Israeli
politics, etc." My response was, at that time, in spite of my inclinations to
stay in the US, "If you don't like it, come here and change it."
Most people, of course, didn't buy it. Most of them went back to the
US and stayed there. But there are a few, perhaps only a handful, of people,
both Israeli ‘sabras' as well as those born abroad, who realize the secret of
living in Israel: The secret of DOING. People who realize and understand that
things can be changed, if you try hard enough.
Some of those people belong to an organization unheard of three years
ago. It was unheard of for the simple reason that it didn't yet exist.
However, with the rise to power of the Rabin-Peres-Arafat regime, the leaders
of ‘Zu Artzenu' - ‘This is Our Land', began to take action. They began to do.
The first major project undertaken by ‘Zu Artzenu' took place over a
year ago. Called ‘Mivtza Machpeel' or ‘Operation: Double', this nation-wide
operation had existing settlements "double" themselves, by occupying land
areas adjacent to the already populated settlements. This protest was
intended to stress a fact welknown by us, but ignored by many others: Eretz
Yisrael belongs to Am Yisrael - all of it! What is classified as "government
property" ie, Jewish land that has not yet been settled, (and which the
present Israeli regime plans on giving to the Arabs), is just as much a part
of Israel as are all settled areas.
Mivzta Machpeel made a lot of headlines, and made a point. Lately,
the organizers of Zu Artzenu have returned to the forefront. About a month
ago they organized a national protest by tying up traffic all over the
country. This scared the daylights out of Rabin and Co. The idea that a
small group of people could initiate a program that would effedctively close
up the county, even if only for a short period of time, was totally
unacceptable. So it was decided to treat Zu Artzenu activists as ‘rebels'.
The idea behind the Zu Artzenu programs is based on massive civil
disobedience. They do not operate in the underground. All meeting are held
in public buildings and are open to everyone. So there are no surprises.
Except perhaps, the mass support and participation that the people of Israel
have shown towards the organization.
This morning the Israeli police broke into the houses of Zu Artzenu
activists throughout the country. At 5:00AM a number of people found their
houses being bombarded by police, complete with Court Orders allowing them to
make full searches of their homes. Two of my friends, Rabbi Shalom Sar-el and
Kiryat Arba Councilman and school principal, Yehoshua Shani were abruptly
awoken by police who had come to search their homes. Not only were papers
taken, but computers were "searched" too. Five people were remanded for
further questioning and later arrested, because of the data banks that were
found on their computers. Among those arrested were the leader of Zu Artzenu
Moshe Feiglan and Kiryat Arba's Yehoshua Shani. They could have been released
had they signed statements agreeing to appear for further questioning, should
it be required. However, on principal they refused to cooperate. Therefore,
they were arrested and are being held in jail until a court hearing is
Why did the police (government) decide to hit Zu Artzenu this morning?
Ver simply because they are scared. Tonight, at exactly 7:10, all Israeli's
who are against the ‘piece plan' and are in favor of Eretz Yisrael, are
requested to turn on all the electrical appliances in their homes and leave
then on for ten minutes. At exactly 7:20, they are requested to turn off all
the electricity in their homes via their master circuit breaker switch. ("The
government policies are leaving us in the dark.") The electricity is to be
left off for ten minutes. At exactly 7:30, all the electricity is to be
switched on for an additional ten minutes. Then we will hear from the
electric company how many people participated in the evening's event.
Needless to say, we expect massive support from all over the country.
As I began this article, I finish it. Small groups of people CAN do
something. They can organize national events, and make the government
flip-flop, not knowing what to expect next. These people are doing their
utmost to help save Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael and for that they deserve a
lot of credit

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