This time of the year is jam-packed with holidays. Beginning with Passover, leading into Independence Day, then Jerusalem Day, and finishing twenty-four hours later, with Hebron Liberation Day.
On Passover, the Jewish people were born. The exodus from Egypt, as slaves transformed into a free people, is the root of our faith, as a nation. The Ten Commandments do not being saying “I am the L-rd thy G-d, who created heavens and earth.” Rather “I am the L-rd thy G-d, who took you out of the land of Egypt to be your G-d.” No one was around to witness creation of the heavens and the earth. However, well over a million people, not only witnessed, but actually took part in the Exodus. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebeccah, Rachel and Leah, were an extended family. Those that left Egypt weren’t a family. They were a people.
Of course, way back when, the Israelites were led into the Promised Land after 40 years in the desert. But our stay was temporary. Twice the heart of our existence, the holy Temple, Beit HaMikdash, was destroyed. Twice we were exiled from our land; first for 70 years and then for almost 2,000 years. Independence Day, 1948, represents the rectification of Galut, of exile. We returned home, again, not as individuals, but as an Am, as a people. Once again, we ruled ourselves, in our land. This is, perhaps, the end of the long trail of the exodus. The last time Jews wll have to ‘come home.’ Now we are here to stay.
Jerusalem Day, the return to our holy city, represents another side of redemption. On May 15, 1948, the physical State of Israel was created. June 7, 1967 represents our spiritual homecoming, with the liberation of Temple Mount and the unification of Jerusalem. True, this salvation is still incomplete; the Temple has yet to be rebuilt. But now we’d come home, physically and spiritually.
The next day, June 8th, was the closing of the circle. Finally, the Jewish people, as a people, returned to the city of Abraham, where the first Jewish family commenced, almost 4,000 years ago. Here, enrooted in Hebron, are the seeds of the eternal Davidic monarchy. David ruled in Hebron for seven and a half years, establishing here a Divinely-appointed kingdom, embodying the timelessness of Am Yisrael. With the return to Hebron, another stage in our redemption was reached.
It would seem that the Jewish people had reestablished paradise on earth.
Unfortunately, it appears that much of this paradise in nothing more than an optical illusion. True, we were here in body. Some also in spirit. But our national presence, as expressed, not only by our being here, but by our actions, again, not as individuals, but as a nation, are far from any kind of redemptive actuality.
Many many examples can be enumerated. I will use only one, the latest in a series of disgraces perpetrated by our distinguished national leadership, as personified by the Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein, three of the most influential people in our society.
A short time before Passover a group of Jews moved into a newly purchased building in Hebron. Named Beit HaMachpela, the property is situated within the complex containing Ma’arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, just opposite a large parking lot, used by tourists arriving at this holy site. The building was legally purchased; Hundreds of thousands of dollars passed hands. One of the Arabs involved in the deal was arrested by the palestinian authority and sentenced to death. Sale of property to Jews is a capital offence, according to PA law.
Within days, following a government decision to leave the people in the house for at least a few weeks until further investigations could be concluded, Netenyahu gave Barak a green light to expel the building’s residents. Within an hour after the operation began, the structure was empty, with only two Israeli flags hanging from the windows, reminders as to the site’s new owners. It was locked and fenced off with border police left to guard there, twenty four hours a day, to ensure that the Jewish owners of the building not return.
Last night HaAretz correspondent Chaim Levinson published an article citing the ostensible reason for the expulsion: Fear of the goyim.
Levinson writes: (AG) Weinstein reportedly told (PM) Netanyahu and (DM) Barak that the expropriation of Palestinian land and homes, such as the Hebron takeover, could lead to Israeli officials being indicted at the International Criminal Court in The Hague…Sources in the Justice Ministry indicated that they fear the State of Israel or Israeli officials could be charged by the ICC, in operation since 2002. According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupier moving population into occupied land constitutes a war crime.
Accordingly, Netanyahu gave Barak the green light to throw the Jews out.
There are a few minor issues here.
1. First, is the use of the word ‘expropriate’ (l’hafkiya in Hebrew). This is defined as dispossession of ownership, usually by a ruling power or government. In other words, any legal purchase by Jews from Arabs in Hebron, or perhaps anywhere in Judea and Samaria, is viewed, by the Attorney General of the State of Israel, as ‘expropriation.’ Purchase is ‘dispossession of ownership.’ It makes no difference that the property was purchased for legal tender. It makes no difference if the party selling the property agreed to the sale, and preferring cash to real estate.
2. The attempt to use the Fourth Geneva Convention to prevent Jews from purchasing property has already been disproven by the Israeli government itself. A position paper, published on May 20, 2001, by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, clearly states:
International humanitarian law prohibits the forcible transfer of segments of the population of a state to the territory of another state which it has occupied as a result of the resort to armed force. This principle…was intended to protect the local population from displacement, including endangering its separate existence as a race, as occurred with respect to the forced population transfers in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary before and during the war. This is clearly not the case with regard to the West Bank and Gaza.
The attempt to present Israeli settlements as a violation of this principle is clearly untenable. As Professor Eugene Rostow, former Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs has written: "the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there" (AJIL, 1990, vol. 84, p.72).
The provisions of the Geneva Convention regarding forced population transfer to occupied sovereign territory cannot be viewed as prohibiting the voluntary return of individuals to the towns and villages from which they, or their ancestors, had been ousted.
3. After all of this, since when should the mighty state of Israel fear The Hague? Since when should the Prime Minister of Israel fear being charged with war crimes as a result of settlement of Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel? Buying a house in Hebron is a war crime?
Fear was not a trait characteristic of Abraham. Otherwise, he never would have purchased Ma’arat HaMachpela. He would not have gone to war to save his nephew Lot. He never would have attempted to convince anyone to believe in only one G-d.
Fear was not a trait characteristic of King David. Ask Goliath.
Fear was not a trait characteristic of David ben Gurion. Otherwise the State of Israel would not have been declared.
Fear was not, and is not a characteristic of Jews. Otherwise we would never have survived 2,000 years of exile, we would never have survived the inquisition, we would never have survived the pogroms, we would never have survived the Holocaust, we would have given up and left Israel, all of us, a long time ago.
Roosevelt said the only thing to fear, is fear itself. Jews, on the other hand, with faith in the Almight, do fear, but only One: G-d. And G-d commanded us, in the Torah, to settle our Land. G-d did not command us to fear Hague, certainly not people, who, if they had their way, would have prevented the rebirth of our people in our land, people who did nothing to prevent extermination of between six to seven million Jews a few decades ago, people, whose governments participated, actively or passively, with Nazi Germany.
The Prime Minister of Israel, together with his government, should be an exemplary model of Jewish faith, of Jewish attributes, of Jewish pride and courage. That means, first and foremost, not only allowing, but encouraging Jewish settlement throughout all our land, snubbing all those who say that this land is not ours.
Bibi – Snub the Hague!