Monday, March 31, 1997

Land Day

Yesterday Israel celebrated Land Day. Such festivities! The IDF was out in

full force, as were the police. It was truly a day to be remembered.

    Of course, the stars of the show where Arabs, on both sides of the
Green Line.

They were having the time of their lives. It could almost have been mistaken

for the fourth of July: Pitching firebombs like horseshoes, throwing rocks like

baseballs, massive amounts of people rioting in city centers.

    In 1976 six Arabs were killed during demonstrations in the Shomron.

then, for the past 21 years, Land Day has become an annual event. I found

several aspects of yesterday's events fascinating.

    First of all, who participated? For instance, Jaffa's Arab community

to show full identification with the still repressed palestinians. An Arab

spokesman exclaimed quite clearly- 'we too are palestinians.' It is only a

coincidence that he happens to live in part of municipal Tel-Aviv. What a

sight- palestinian flags in Tel-Aviv!

    The Arabs in the Galil, living in the area called 'the Triangle'
marched with

palestinian flags and chanted slogans, well known from the past. The

difference between the past and the present is, theoretically, that now we are

at 'peace.'

    Tanks were stationed in the mountains around Shechem. Kever Yosef

has been closed to visitors and the Yeshiva students who study there,

on-and-off since last September.

    Kever Rachel looked like a war zone. Soldiers, shooting rubber bullets

tear gas replaced the daily worshippers who should have been chanting Psalms

and praying for a real peace.

    The street behind and adjacent to Beit Hadassah in Hebron has been

into 'rock alley.' If the Jewish residents of Hebron had moved as many rocks

into this street as the Arabs have over the past week, we would have been

accused of attempting to construct a new building. Hebron leaders Noam Arnon

and Moshe ben Zimra, in an attempt to present the "Jewish side" of affairs to

international observers in Hebron, found themselves in mortal danger. Their

automobiles were pounded by rocks while they spoke with the observers in the

H1-Arafat-controlled section of the city. Invited to speak at the request of

TIPH, the TIPH observers outside conveniently ignored the destructive rage of

the Arab mob.    

On the border of Ramallah, Israeli troops withdrew, so as to

prevent clashes with the palestinian mob, or with the palestinian police. It

didn't help. In the course of continued clashes, an Arab was killed. It is, no

doubt, Israel's responsibility.    

Gazza is not quiet either. There too, the Arabs were out in full force.

    In spite of the blood, riots, demonstrations, etc. etc., it really is

Arab celebration. They have something to celebrate. That being, Eretz

Yisrael. There should be no doubt - they still, even in this era of 'peace'

view all of Israel as 'palestine' and know that, one day, it will all belong to


    They have a cause and a reason to struggle.

    That cause, that struggle, has seen countless dead and maimed, on both

of the map. That, however, means absolutely nothing to them, for their respect

for human life is equivalent to zero. Their policy of 'the ends justify the

means,' has seen fruit. Arafat, an international gangster and terrorist,

responsible for the deaths of Americans and Israelis, who, according to Deputy

Minister of Education Moshe Peled, knew about the bombing of the World Trade

Center in New York and did nothing to stop it, has been transformed into an

international leader, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, a true hero. The

'palestinians' are gaining ground, gaining land, and Israel, well Israel is

losing ground and losing land. In fact, Israel is just plain losing.

    Why is Israel losing? Where is Israel's cause? I think that the answer

these questions lies with the fact that only the Arabs really celebrate a 'Land

Day,' and not Israel.

    Why don't we celebrate Land Day too? The truth is that we do have a
Land Day

- actually we have several Land Days. The latest one is usually marked on the

4th and 5th of Iyar. The former being the Israeli Memorial Day, memorializing

those who fell so that we may live on the Land, and the latter being

our Independence Day, the anniversary of the declaration of our renewed

existence on the Land.

    But we have other Land Days too. They begin with Abraham, continue

Moses and Joshua, to King David, until the fall of the Second Temple almost

2,000 years ago. We have a Land Day once a year in which we fast for 24 hours,

lamenting our ceasing to exist on the Land.

    Our trouble is that we have forgotten. We have forgotten that these too

Land Days, we have forgotten how to celebrate them, and more importantly, we

have forgotten WHY we have to celebrate them. We have seemingly reached the

pinnacle - now we don't have a cause - we have, so it seems, already achieved

it and have nothing left to do.

    But this is a mistake- we still have very much to do.

    Our job, today, is: 1. To make ourselves aware that we still have a

We must continue to build and develop Eretz Yisrael, physically and

spiritually. We must prepare Eretz Yisrael, and the State of Israel, to

continue to absorb Jews from around the world, who will make Aliyah, and settle

in the Land.

We have to know that the Land is ours. This is the only one we

have, including Hebron and Shechem, as well as Jerusalem.

    2. We must make the rest of the world understand that we will not

capitulate - under any circumstances. They must comprehend the alternative (see

George Will's article in the Washington Post "Land for a Liar's Promise).

    But the international community won't be convinced, can't be convinced,

we are, ourselves. If we continue to play Blind Man's Bluff, bordering on

Arafat roulette, we won't have anyone to blame but ourselves when paying the

inevitable price to push the clock back.    

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