Sitting Ducks October 25, 1996 A couple of days ago an Arab, identified as a "palestinian from Hebron" was interviewed on Kol Yisrael radio. He told Yoni ben Menachem that Hebron's Arabs are hoarding weapons and are `preparing a surprise' for Hebron's Jewish population. The interview was publicized in the Israeli press, including an article in the Jerusalem Post. Reaction to this explicit threat to kill Jews in Hebron was negligible. I wonder what would happen if a Jew, identified as an `extremist from Hebron,' interviewed on Israeli radio, announced intentions to `surprise Hebron Arabs,' using illegal weapons, cached for just this purpose. The truth is I know exactly what would happen. As does everyone else. A massive witch hunt, led by the Israeli left, with assistance from softhearts stationed somewhere near the political center, would demand immediate confiscation of all weapons held by all Jews in Hebron, Kiryat Arba, and elsewhere throughout Yesha. The Israeli media would spend days on all the radio and TV talkshows analyzing the renewal of violence as a tool by `Israeli right-wing fanatics' to further their `cause,' against the will of a majority of the Israeli public. However, when an Arab says the same thing, everyone sits back and shuts up. Kiryat Arba Mayor Tzvi Katzover expressed the thoughts and feelings of many of us when he declared that we will not sit back and allow ourselves to be sitting ducks, waiting to be picked off by the same snipers, and others like them, who shot and killed Israel soldiers a few weeks ago. Is that an implied threat? No - it is not a threat - it is a promise. We will not initiate armed violence against Hebron's Arab population, or any other population, for that matter. But WE WILL NOT BE SITTING DUCKS. We will not relive the 1929 bloodbath that left 67 Jews dead in Hebron, with the rest of the community forcibly exiled from the City of the Patriarchs. If we are endangered, if we are attacked, we expect the Israel Defense Forces to act as they act anywhere and everywhere else in Israel. If anyone, Arab or otherwise, thinks that we will cluster together and allow ourselves to br slaughtered, they are wrong. If we are attacked, we will not stand idly by. The Jews in 1929 had little choice - they had no defense. As a matter of fact, they refused to heed warnings from Jerusalem and rejected offers of taking arms to protect themselves. They believed that Hebron's Arabs were truly their friends, good next-door neighbors. They erred, and the mistake was deadly. We will not make that mistake again. It should also be clear that, as far as we are concerned, there are no borders in Hebron. Regardless of any proposed division of territory between Arabs and Jews in Hebron, should a terrorist propose to escape the long reach of Israeli justice by taking refuge in an `autonomous region' he will not escape unpunished. I am presently located in New York, working on Hebron awareness, as well as the Hebron Solidarity Concert to be held next Sunday, November 3, at Town Hall in NYC. The Hebron Community sent me to the US as an official representative of the community at this crucial time. In spite of the need to continue working around the clock in Hebron, a decision was reached to present the truth here in the US - a truth which is usually ignored or perverted by international media. I've spoken at a number of forums and speaking engagements, and usually the reaction is mixed. Some people, when they hear and understand what is really happening in Hebron are shocked. Others, having had some previous idea of the situation, ask immediately what they can do to help. And very honestly, I have been, together with Judy Tisser Grossman, Director of Public Relations for the Jewish Community of Hebron, extremely disappointed by New York-New Jersey `real' reaction to the current state of affairs in Hebron. We have been told, in no uncertain terms, that the abandonment of Hebron is to be reality in a very short period of time. All municipal authority is to be controlled by Yassir Arafat. Armed Arabs are to be stationed in the hills overlooking the Jewish Community of Hebron. The future of Ma'arat HaMachpela is to be negotiated three months after implementation of the withdrawal-surrender of Israel to Arafat's whims. How do we expect people to react? We have made several requests. People can fax PM Netanyahu, reminding him of his past promises concerning Hebron, and beseeching him to stand strong against demands made by terrorists who continue to kill Jews in Eretz Yisrael. Bibi Netanyahu's heart is in the right place. We just have to make sure he doesn't cave in to external pressures. (FAX:972-2-5664838) The other request we have had, is that people show active support for continued presence in Hebron by attending and assisting our Solidarity concert. The idea of a concert is to allow people to help Hebron financially, but at the same time, giving them something special in return. Our goal was to return to Hebron with enough money to allow us to begin construction of the new apartment building, Beit Nahum b'Yehuda, in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Unfortunately, response has been ghastly. Some `friends' of Hebron have spread rumors that the concert was sold out. This is not true. Others said that it was canceled. This is also a lie. But, people are telling us that the tickets are `too expensive.' It seems that the real point of helping Hebron today, when that help is so desperately needed, has been lost. The apathy and uncaring is unbelievable. I receive many `congratulations' after speaking, but very little more than that. Judy and I are facing a situation where we may have to go back to Hebron and inform our friends that in New York, we couldn't find 1,500 people to fill up an auditorium to support Hebron. I will feel quite ashamed should I have to actually do this. Anyone who wants to help Hebron, for real, can do so by calling 718-575-0056. Order tickets to the Hebron concert. If you don't want the tickets, we will see to it that someone else receives them. If no one answers the phone, leave a message and we will get back to you. Now is the time to help Hebron. IF I AM NOT FOR MYSELF, WHO AM I - IF NOT NOW, WHEN?