Tuesday, May 28, 1996

Day of Judgement

Day of Judgement

May 28,  1996

We have been waiting for tomorrow for four years.  Since Israeli TV 
commentator Haim Yavine uttered one word, at 10:00 pm, almost four 
years ago - MAHAPACH!  Mahapach, meaning reversal - upset, a change 
in government.
     Since that instant we have been waiting for the opportunity to turn 
the tables upside down - to once again hear that magic word:MAHAPACH!

     So much has happened - too much to begin to enumerate.  But I 
feel an obligation to mention some of those who, four years ago, were 
here with us, and now, are not: Mordechai and Shalom Lapid, Raphael 
Yairi, Nachum Hoss, Yehuda Partush, Hava Wacksberg, Sarit Prigal, 
Ephraim Iubi, Rav Shimon Biran, Rav Ami Ulami, HY"D.

    The list isn't inclusive - there are many many more - these are 
only a few I remember from memory.  By right, they, along with 
hundreds of others, should still be here with us today.  But they are 

    Tomorrow is a day of Judgement - a Day of Awe.  It is a day when 
the Israeli People must make a choice - one of the most, if not the 
most, important, critical, fateful decisions made by a public body, a 
Jewish body, ever.  Most decisions are made by a small group of 
people, in the heat of a crisis.  Who decides war or peace, who 
decides life and death?  Usually a few leaders, if not only one - who 
sits alone, pondering the future of his people, weighing the lives of 
his soldiers, the fate of his county, of the world.  

    Elections may generally be important, but usually, the outcome, 
in spite of differences between the candidates, is not 
earthshattering - it doesn't have an immediate effect on the 
existence  of a People, on the future of a Land.  

    Tomorrow, in Israel,  without trying to be overly 
melodramatic, the truth is, that this is exactly what we are facing. 

     Does this mean that if Peres is reelected 'we are done for?'  No 
- of course not.  Nothing or nobody has been able to eradicate the 
Jewish People and nothing or nobody ever will.  Israel is eternal.  

The prospects for the immediate future will not be easy regardless of 
the results of the election.  If Peres wins, he will continue on his 
chosen path until the bubble bursts - until the Arabs have so much 
that even he will have to say stop - and by then it will be too late. 
The resulting war will be barbaric and bloody, but it will have to be 
fought and won.

    And if Bibi wins, - we mustn't live under any illusions.  The 
policies of the last four years have left us with problems that will 
be very difficult to solve.  Last night Faruk Ashara, Syrian Foreign 
Minister, all but announced a declaration of war should Bibi be 
elected.  Arafat's terrorists have been given thousands of weapons, 
and they will not hesitate to turn them upon us.  The nations of the 
world, led by the United States, will apply pressure which may be 
close to unbearable, trying to force a Likud government to continue 
capitulating to Arafat's demands.  That may also lead to war.

     Don't be surprised, even after a Peres defeat, if he attempts to 
withdraw the IDF from Hebron, completing the 'long-awaited' 
redeployment in the city.  Legally, until a new government is formed, 
Peres can do whatever he wants, including abandonment of Hebron.

   Where does this all lead?  Is our future all black?  Almost all of 
the reporters who arrive in Hebron ask me the same question: "What 
will you do if Peres wins?"  There is only one reply: Hebron existed 
before Peres and Netanyahu.  Hebron will continue to exist after 
Peres and Netanyahu.  We are staying in Hebron, regardless of who 
wins the elections. That is our right and our obligation.  
"And what if...  what if... what if..."

There are so many hypothetical possibilities, it is impossible to 
prepare contingency plans for them all.  We hope and pray that 
most all of them will never materialize, that we will never have to 
worry about them.  And if and when IT should happen - we'll worry 
about it then.  We have to do what we know and believe is right, not 
for us, but for the Jewish People, of past, present and future.  

    That is, of course, a tremendous responsibility.  But if we have 
been so privileged as to be where we are, when we are, we trust in 
G-d that He will give us the tools to make the right decisions at the 
right time.

    Such it is, not only with Hebron, but with all of Israel - the 
Land and the People.  We don't live in easy times.  But we, the 
citizens of the State of Israel,  have been given the privilege to participate 
in the dream of the Jewish People, to be a part of the return to 
Israel after a 2,000 year exile.  We believe with all our hearts that 
we weren't brought back here only to be thrown out again - and we 
won't be.  How the dice will fall, how it will all work out, is a 
great unknown - but in the end, it will work out.  There may be 
different directions to go in, there may be easier routes and more 
difficult ones, but in the end they all lead to the same place.  

    So tomorrow's Day of Judgement isn't a question of survival or 
destruction - it is rather the road we will take to ensure our 
survival - whether it will be easier or harder.  We have, to some 
degree, the possiblity to determine our own future. But regardless of 
the results we will survive - in Hebron, in Jerusalem and in Eretz 
Yisrael - forever.

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