Friday, March 22, 1996


Hebron-Past, Present and Forever
by David Wilder
March 22, 1996

Over the last week I have received tens of letters concerning the continued administrative detention of Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh. I know that hundreds of letters have poured into Habad, from people around the world. Protest letters are flowing to Senators, Congressmen, Israeli Consulate and Embassies. Yet the deaf ears of Shimon Peres etc. refuse to hear - their hardened hearts refuse to soften. They continue to hold an exemplary Torah Scholar behind bars in subhuman conditions, reserved for dangerous criminal being punished for atrocious crimes. The elementary rights to kosher food and prayer are being denied him. His telephone time is limited to less than 20 minutes a day. He is held in a very small cell with another prisoner in bunk beds - his bed is too short for his legs. Supporters are urged to call:
972-2-247185 - Israel Prison Authorities and/or 972-8 - 239821 - the spokesman of the Prison authorities.
Speak to them about the conditions Rav Ginsburgh is being held in.
Earlier this week Rav Aharon Halprin, editor of the magazine Kfar Habad, when returning from a trip abroad, was taken into custody at Ben Gurion airport by police authorities. He described how all of his belongings were searched, included "every piece of paper he had in his pockets." It should be noted that the magazine has an editorial policy very right of center and has been extremely critical of the government, and its policies.
An hour or so ago, while taking a group around Hebron, I spoke to them, while at Tel Rumeida, the plight of Barch Marzel and David Shirel, both being held under house arrest. One of the women asked me, astounded, "how can they punish them, without an indictment and a trial? Is it legal?" What kind of answer can I give? Is it legal - it’s written on the books from British Mandatory presence in Israel. Does that make it legal? Does that make it moral?

As we approach the beginning of spring, the Hebrew month of Nisan - the month of redemption from Egypt - the holiday of Passover, we must do a little reflecting - how do the events of yesteryear apply to us today. Then too there was an evil Pharoh - Moses went to him demanding: LET MY PEOPLE GO.
Pharoh refused. To the contrary, life for the enslaved Israelites worsened, conditions deteriorated. Moses returned and cried: LET MY PEOPLE GO! - to deaf ears. Then the plagues began - after each one it seemed that reconciliation was possible, an understanding could be reached. But then, after a short while, back to where we started from - sometimes even worse than that. Until finally, enough - the tenth plague, the death of the Egyptian first born - the exodus from Egypt, culminating with the parting of the sea and the drowning of the persuers. It is written that the only one left alive, of all the army, was Pharoh himself - he lived to see the ruins of his people.

Following the murder of Yitzhak Rabin, the Jewish Community of Hebron publicized a strong condemnation of the assassination. Killing is not the answer. No one should dare lift a hand against Peres or any of his cronies. That is not our job. But, it wouldn’t bother me in the slightest if, after his defeat on May 29, Shimon Peres, together with the rest of his regime, were indicted and tried for high treason against the Land of Israel, the People of Israel, the State of Israel, and the Torah of Israel.

Today we don’t have one Moses - we all have to play the part. I hope and pray that we will not be inundated with ‘plagues’ that we will not have to witness what the Egyptians were forced to, before the redemption, for in the end, this will all stop and good will overcome evil. But for the time being, we will all, as did Moses - cry out:


Saturday, March 16, 1996

The Absurdity Of It All

The Absurdity Of  It  All                                            
March 16, 1996

In the North we are bombing away - and the Katushas keep
bouncing back..  Hizbulla is Public Enemy #1, - the bad
guys.  Shimon Peres isn't doing everything he can to blow
them away - but he is doing.

     In the South - in Gazza, the same Shimon Peres has
granted permits to Nief Hawatmei, Muhammad Daud Ooda,
otherwise known as Ibn Daud, and Leila Khaled to enter -
to attend the PNC convention.  Hawatmei was responsible
for, among other things, the massacre in Ma'alot.  Ibn
Daud planned the Olympic kidnapping and murder of Israeli
athletes.  Khaled is a well-known airplane hijacker. And
who's next on the list - none other than our old friend
George Habash.

     And crazily enough - these permits are issued and
publicized on the Memorial and Remembrance Day for the
six million killed in the Holocaust, as well as the
freedom-fighters in the ghettos throughout Europe.  The
absurdity is so unbelievably apparent - the hypocrisy -
the contradiction - yet it actually is happening.

     Just to put events in perspective - let's say for a
minute (and I know the subject is controversial - shh shh
- and I'm not using it to express an opinion, rather only
to make a point) that Baruch Goldstein was still alive
and in jail- imprisoned for  life - and for some reason
he was released and allowed to attend a special meeting
of the Knesset, where his vote was needed to change some
earth-shattering law.  What would the entire world say -
not to mention the Arabs and Jews?!

     These people have  killed, maimed, and
psychologically destroyed  men, women and children, and
they haven't finished.  Khaled and Hawatmei encourage and
compliment terrorism.  They are true, man-eating beasts,
who belong only in one place - six feet under.  Yet, they
are being allowed back into Eretz Yisrael, temporarily
controlled by Arafat.

     What lesson can we learn from this?  First and
foremost: terrorism pays off.  A terrorist group which is
stubborn enough, and smart enough, can get whatever it
wants by blowing people up.   Arafat has succeeded in
moving Israel out of almost all major cities in Judea,
Samaria and Gazza.  Only Hebron, a tiny ray of light in
the foggy darkness, remains.  And the terrorists are
`coming home.'  What more could they possibly want?

     If you don't know - I'll tell you: they want us out
of here.  No, not just the Jews in Hebron, Kiryat Arba
and Gush Katif.  They want all of us out - all the Jews
living in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel.  And
anyone who thinks they are about to stop the terrorism
that has been so successful so far, is dreaming.  Take a
look at Hamas, working in tandem with Yassir - or, even
better - Hizbulla in the north. We are blowing them away,
but they  keep hitting back.  Syrian-Iranian aid,
assisted by tacit Lebanese  support, and bingo - they
keep up the good work.  This isn't the first time Israel
has been in South Lebanon, and it's not the first time
we've even bombed Beirut.  But last time, Arik Sharon was
pulling the trigger and Shimon Peres was raging.  Now,
Shimon is trigger-happy, and what he is actually
accomplishing is questionable.

     After all, the Hizbulla terrorists have temporarily
accomplished the seeming impossible.  They have  caused
75% of Kiryat Shemona's population to leave the city.
Everyone has, very simply, run away.  I cannot
legitimately condemn the Kiryat Shemona residents from
Hebron - but I can castigate a government which has
played into the hands of an Assad-Iranian gameplan, which
has led to the literal abandonment of a city in Eretz
Yisrael.  This is, of course, in total contradiction to
basic fundamental Zionist philosophy - never give in to
terrorists and never give up the ship - never, ever, run

     What does Shimon have to gain from all of this?  If
everything works out, even temporarily, he will look like
a winner - stopping Katusha attacks without causing the
deaths of Israeli soldiers.  Except that Israelis have
short memories - they tend to forget the soldiers kill
over the last weeks and months by Hizbulla in South
Lebanon.  They forget that this operation should have
been carried out long ago - before the situation reached
the current proportions. And they don't think about what
will be six months from now.  However, things don't
always work out as expected - Shimon still might be

     And what about the most absurd segment of this farce
- that is, that today is Holocaust Memorial Day.  I ask
myself, if those six million could talk to us - if they
could somehow communicate with us - what would they say?
The overwhelming atrocity of the Holocaust is so great
that it cannot be expressed.  But, if there was an answer
to the Holocaust, a result of the six million deaths, it
is the State of Israel, brought into being directly from
the ovens of Auchwitz.  If the six million did not die in
vain, (and I'm not saying that they didn't) it is only
because of the creation of the State of Israel - the
return of Am Yisrael to Eretz Yisrael.  What would they
have to say about a `Jewish leader,' who is going
backwards and giving the Promised Land to our arch-
enemies, some of whom cooperated with the German Death
Machine.  Listening to Shimon Peres speak at Yad V'Shem
last night, my stomach turned over.  Here, the absurdity
of absurdities - the person most responsible for
endangering the continued existence of the State of
Israel, and its entire Jewish population, - he is
eulogizing the people who died and brought about, in
their deaths, our being here.  What would they say if
they knew that the `leader of the Jewish People' wanted
to give Hebron, city of the Patriarchs, and major
segments of Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel, to
Arab terrorists who continue to kill Jews?  What would
they say if they knew that on the day memorializing their
memories, that same `Jewish leader' would officially
allow Hawatmei, Khaled and Ibn-Daud legally into Eretz
Yisrael?  The answer: I try very hard not to think about

     At exactly 10:00 AM on Holocaust Memorial Day (and
on Memorial Day for soldiers and terrorist victims) a
siren blasts throughout the country.  All people stand,
wherever they happen to be, for two minutes.  The wailing
of the siren, usually used to broadcast the commencement
of hostilities, reminds us of what has been, and those
who are no longer with us, so that we might be here.
I've asked myself in the past, what do people think about
for those two minutes.  I imagine, about friends and
loved ones who fell, in war, terrorist attacks, in the
Holocaust.  But when I stand, I think of the unity of the
People of Israel, if even for only two minutes.  For
during those two minutes, we are one - really one.  I
think to myself the ultimate expression of oneness that I
know - in my head, silently, I say Shema Yisrael,
representing the unity of Am Yisrael, the unity and
oneness of G-d.  Those who knew they were going to their
deaths said these words with their last breath.  Others,
perhaps, as the last moment, thought them.  That is my
answer to the above absurdities - our trust and faith,
that G-d didn't bring us back to Eretz Yisrael after a
2,000 year-old exile, to let one Shimon Peres destroy the
hopes and dreams of the Jewish  People through the ages.

We will remain here, - and not just for us - but for all
those who died with Shema Yisrael on their lips, for the
last two thousand years, and for those who will not have
to die as they did, for the next thousand.

Friday, March 15, 1996

Refuat haNefesh v’Refuat haGuf

Refuat haNefesh v’Refuat haGuf
March 15, 1996

When a person is ill we pray for his complete recovery.  In Hebrew, the terminology used is ‘refuat haNefesh v’refuat haGuf ‘ - ‘the recovery of the spirit (soul) and the recovery of the body.’
                Why, when a person has the flu, should we pray for a complete healing of the spirit?  The answer, as deep as it really is, is also quite simple:  when a person is ill, the illness inflicts all components of the body.  A ‘minor’ infection in a finger, for example, can be the cause a major ailment if not treated properly and in time. 
                In the same way, a physical illness affects a person’s spirit - his soul.  We are aware of ‘hypochondriacs’  - people who imagine physical illness. Medical studies also prove that a person’s mental state influences his physical state.  The opposite is also true.  Sometimes the physical sickness is a result of the mental problem.  Other times, mental illness is the root of physical problems.
                An extremely serious illness has pervaded us, here in Israel.  No one is immune; no one can escape it.  It has invaded and spread rapidly throughout the Land.  It has physical implications, as well as mental ones.  Any country, any people, any religion which can allow itself to commit national suicide via intentional self-destruction, is sick. The physical appearance, a ‘piece plan’ which chops up the Land of Israel into itsy-bitsy pieces, is literally self-destruction.  Release of thousands of murderers and terrorists, is absurd.  But entrusting them with arms is beyond belief.  And then, confiscation of arms from those who need them most, to protect themselves from the above-mentioned animals - this is too much. 
                However, the roots of this madness are beginning to see the light.  Slowly but surely, the Labor regime is incarcerating leaders of the spiritual element of Israel.  Rav Ido Elba, Rav Moshe Levinger, Rav David Shirel, Baruch Marzel, and now, Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh.  Preceding the Ginsburgh administrative detention, the clearest example was the refusal of the DA’s office to allow the release of Rav Ido Elba, following his completion of two-thirds of his prison sentence.  The Israeli intelligence services admitted in court that Rav Elba is not ‘criminally’ dangerous.  He is classified as a ‘spiritual’ leader and is ‘spiritually’ dangerous.  When the Tel-Aviv Court judge ordered his immediate release this week, the DA appealed to the Supreme Court against the decision.  Rav Elba is being held in jail until the Supreme Court hearing, most probably to be heard next week.
                However, the administrative arrest and two month detention of Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh takes the cake.  Rav Ginsburgh is, to say the least, a genius.  His knowledge is encyclopedic, both in matters concerning Judaism as well as secular subjects.  His mathematics abilities, musical aptitude and philosophic erudition are considered to be extraordinary.  But the heart of Rav Ginzbugh’s strengths is his spiritual depth:  It is almost impossible to describe in words.  (Anyone wishing to view an example of Rav Ginsburgh’s work is ().  His classes are fascinating excursions into the profundity of Judaism.  The clarity of the ideas presented is astounding, considering the intensity of the subject discussed.  In short, Rav Ginsburgh can undoubtedly be classified as a primary Jewish thinker-educator, of the highest caliber.
                As with almost any aspect of Judaism, there are many sides to any particular idea - and Rav Ginsburgh represents a particular school of Jewish thought.  His ideas are different from those of others, even among the Habad Community, of which he is a member.  But this doesn’t detract from his scholarship: to the contrary, it distinguishes him and presents a unique approach to the deepest teachings Judaism has to offer.
                The present regime sees Rav Ginsburgh as a threat: He is a spiritual leader in Shechem and in Hebron. He has students throughout Israel, in Judea and Samaria, as well as in the United States and Europe.  He has been accused of incitement, yet the DA has yet to indict him for any crime.  The judge who heard this week’s appeal in Tel-Aviv admitted that Rav Ginsburgh is not ‘dangerous’ and has committed no crime.  Yet, he  must remain in jail.  WHY?
                Shimon Peres et al, without really fathoming any of Rav Ginsburgh’s teachings, do understand that he is a threat to them, to their outlook on life, to their very existence as leaders.  For they represent the diametrical opposite of Rav Ginsburgh - where he is deep, they are superficial.  Where he is knowledgeable, they are ignorant.  Where he is spiritual they are physical.  Where Rav Ginsburgh represents the future of Israel, they represent the destruction of Israel.  Where Rav Ginsburgh represents good, they represent evil. 
                Even without understanding his works, they sense it, they feel it in their bones.  And it scares them.  Because if Rav Ginsburgh succeeds, they, in their own eyes, have failed.  This is the reason they are, slowly, slowly, attempting to remove the ‘Rav Ginsburgh element’ from Israeli society - Rav Levinger, Rav Elba, and others.  If they cannot do it legally, they do it illegally.  Nothing can be more morally illegal than administrative detention of spiritual leaders, teachers, Rabbis. 
                However, we will continue to pray for a complete and total recovery: for the People of Israel, for the Land of Israel, for the State of Israel.  And we will pray for refuat haNefesh v’refuat haGuf - for the spirit and the body, and, with the help of G-d, will witness this complete recovery very very soon.

Sunday, March 10, 1996

One Year Later

One Year Later 
March 10, 1996
This afternoon I stood, with about 150 other people, by
five graves. Opposite me, from left to right, were the graves 
of Shalom Lapid, Mordechai Lapid, Rafael Yairi, Nachum Hoss, and Yehuda Partush, Z"l Hy"d.  Five of over
160 'sacrifices for piece' - killed by Arab terrorists since the signing of
the Oslo Accords two years ago.  Five of the many others that lived, worked
and died in the Hebron region.  We gathered today to pay respect to Nahum Hoss
and Yehuda Partush who were killed on the 18th of Adar - three days after Purim
- last year.
    I have visited the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron dozens of times, usually
showing tourists the different plots, some of which are over 500 years old.  I
always stop near the graves of these five men and briefly tell their individual
stories.  But today, and not just today, but anytime we
gather in the cemetery for a memorial service, the feeling, the sense of loss,
is different.
     And as I stood, looking at the graves of my friends, asking myself what they
had died for, why did we have to be standing here,
....... suddenly my beeper started vibrating.  I pulled it out, and read the message:
"A few minutes ago Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh received an administrative detention
order, arresting him for 60 days in the Sharon prison. The order was signed by
the minister of defense Shimon Peres.  Rav Ginsburgh, dean of students at the Od
Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Shechem, and of the Menucha Rachel Kollel in Hebron, has
been under administrative order forbidding him from entering Yehuda and
Shomron for six months."
   And I ask myself, after such horrific events as those that have plagued us for
the last few weeks, doesn't anyone pay any attention?  In Judaism we are
required to perform a 'heshbon nefesh' - that is, an in-depth introspective contemplation, 
searching for ways to improve ourselves, looking back at what we did - how could it 
have been different - how could we have improved
our actions, our deeds.  We do a `heshbon nefesh' especially 
during times of crisis, both personal and national.  How, in the name of the L-rd, 
can a national leader, following the deaths of so many people by Arab
terrorists, after having released so many convicted terrorists from Israeli 
prisons, possibly arrest a Torahscholar of the caliber of Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh 
on an administrative detention order?
     Won't they ever learn?
     This morning an appeals court in Tel-Aviv ordered 
that Rav Ido Elba, be immediately released from prison.
Rav Elba, convicted for having supposedly authored a
theoretic halachic (Jewish legal) treatise concerning the
killing of non-Jewish enemies, was denied parole after
serving two-thirds of his two year sentence.  The Israeli
intelligence services opposed his release on the grounds
that he is `spiritually dangerous.'  Last week, Rav
Elba's father passed away after a long bout with cancer.
Rav Elba had originally been allowed to visit his ailing
father once every two weeks for two hours.  The ruling
authorities loosen their grip after being approached by
several notable public servants, and allowed him to visit
his father once every ten days.  After his father's
death, we wasn't granted a `vacation' as are most
prisoners under similar circumstances, rather he was
accompanied by prison guards, in handcuffs, to the
cemetery.  Only after an hour and a half delay, during
which time a second permit had to be obtained, was he
allowed to attend the service at the funeral home in
Jerusalem.  The next day, following pressure from over 20
MK's, was he allowed to go to his parent's home to sit
shiva.  This morning the appeals court ordered his
immediate release from prison.  The State attorneys
immediately announced that they were appealing the
     One of those mourning the murder of Nahum Hoss was
Rav Moshe Levinger, serving a seven month prison sentence
for `pushing a soldier' five years ago on Yom Kippur,
when Arabs almost started a riot during prayers.  Rav
Levinger, after intervention by various officials, was
allowed to attend today's memorial service at the
cemetery.  Nahum Hoss was his right-hand man.  They
worked together for years.  Today Nahum Hoss lies dead in
Hebron's cemetery - Rav Levinger is in jail.
     Can their be any greater absurdity?  Shimon Peres,
Prime Minister of Israel, is involved in releasing
hundreds of Arab terrorists from jail, giving the Arabs
Eretz Yisrael, arresting Rabbis, and preparing `major
international conferences on combating terrorism.'  And
we stand in front of the graves of the `sacrifices for
piece.'  And I keep asking myself , what do we have to do
to make these people understand.  And the truth is, I
don't have an answer.
     "...I remember very well our last telephone
conversation.  You called home and told me that you were
going to Jerusalem to buy a door knob for our front door.
As was your wont, you asked me,
`Avigail, is their anything else you need from
Jerusalem?'  And you added, `Don't worry, by eight I'll
be home.'
     Yes Nahum, you arrived at your true home, you
reached the eternal home, and perhaps with the door-
handle, you opened the door to the Garden of Eden here in
Hebron, in the place where you said,  "they'll never get
me out of Hebron, only in a casket!'  And you were right
Nahum, no one will ever take you from here,  here, under
the layers of dust, under the sacred earth of Hebron, you
are buried, side-by-side with the other holy ones, and
with those murdered in 1929.
     You left us in shock, mute, in pain, and the heart
refuses to believe, to be comforted, for the enormous
loss, for I miss you so, we all do...
     During your life you sanctified the name of G-d, and
with your death you made the supreme sacrifice to
sanctify the name of G-d, in the place you so loved ...."
               Writing with tears in my eyes,
                                 Your wife, Avigail
                 (From `Nachamu Ami - Nahum Hoss Hy"d, Ish Hevron'
                            Edited by Rav Mordechai Artzi
                            Available [in Hebrew] for $25.  from:
                            The Jewish Community of Hebron
                            POB 105  Kiryat Arba, Israel 90010)

Friday, March 8, 1996


March 8, 1996

Yesterday morning I had a telephone conversation with, unfortunately, a very ill person. His disease in not physical, rather mental. And probably the most dangerous aspect of his condition is that he is unaware of his problem.

The man (I’ll call him Dan for the purposes of this article) is a young (late 30’s), religious, Jerusalemite. He is bright (works with computers) in a major Jerusalem institution and in the past we worked together. During our conversation I asked him when he was last in Hebron, to which he responded when he was about ten years old. I invited him to come visit during Pesach when all the halls of Ma’arat HaMachpela will be open, including Ohel Yitzhak.

His answer floored me. He said, "Why should I endanger myself or my family? What good will it do anyone if I am stabbed or one of my children is injured?"

The conversation continued for quite a while, when he began accusing us (Hebron) of various crimes. "You danced in the streets when Rabin was killed." "You are all extremists." "You created the atmosphere that was responsible for Rabin’s murder". "We all saw tens of Kiryat Arba citizens jumping for joy when Rabin was killed."

I did my best to attempt to disprove the accusations but was not very successful. He continued:

"Yigal Amir was in Hebron." "We have a government. We must give them a chance."

I asked him if perhaps Yigal Amir once visited the institution which employs him, perhaps the institution should be closed? I also asked him if he does reserve duty in the army, or if he doesn’t endanger himself when he rides on a bus? He said, "I don’t ride on buses and I don’t go to the Kotel (Western Wall). I go to army service, but if the danger was too great, that the State was statistically unable to survive, we should leave."

Why did I begin this by saying that Dan is ill? Why does he feel the way he does? Dan is ill, not because his opinions are different from mine - that is legitimate - but rather because of the source of his opinons, that being the Israeli media. His total lack of faith, and his total blind acceptance of everything he hears and sees on Israel radio, television and newspapers has led to an overwhelming rejection of Hebron’s Jewish citizens as legitimate people. He has been totally cut off from his Jewish roots in spite of the fact that he has a kippa on his head and (probably) prays three times a day.

The media has begun again. They realize that Shimon Peres and the ‘piece plan’ is in danger. So......The latest scandel in Israel is the ‘PULSA D’NURA’ - a curse supposedly used against Yitzhak Rabin. Two men were arrested this week for supposedly planning to curse Shimon Peres. Kol Yisrael today suggested that the curse against Rabin was performed in Hebron, or perhaps, he added in Jerusalem . Later in the program they broadcast a reaction from Hebron, that the curse was performed in Jerusalem, in front of Rabin’s house.

All day Israel radio spoke of the demonstations in favor of the ‘piece plan’ in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, while almost totally ignoring the demostations at 70 different location throughout the country, initiated by the Yesha council, supporting the ‘machane ha-leumi’ (Israeli right).

In short, the Israeli media is out to ‘save’ Peres and all his cronies and they will do anything and everything to accomplish this.


On a brighter note visitors continue coming to Hebron. Last week three buses of Christians participating in the Christian Zionist Congress in Jerusalem came into Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Some of them, led by Ted Beckett and Bette Laugrun of the Christian Friends of ICDF (Israel Community Development Foundation) toured the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Their excitement was tangible. Jews and gentiles visit us daily, expressing support for Hebron and the Hebron Jewish Community.

Peres’ declaration that Hebron will not be abandoned as long as the palestinian covenant is not changed basically means that until the elections the IDF will not leave the city. The price we have had to pay for this declaration is unbelievably high -words cannot express the pain felt by all Israelis at the unnecessary loss of life - the unnecessary murders in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Ashkelon. But eventually this will end, and we will be able to live securely in all of Eretz Yisrael - all of us - together.