Friday, December 27, 1996

The Masquerade is Over

The Masquerade is Over
December 27, 1996

This  morning  on  the  Kol Yisrael radio  news,  Defense
Minister  Yitzhak  Mordechai, speaking about  the  Hebron
accords,  emphasized that he has ordered his subordinates
to  insure that the Jewish residents of Hebron  will  not
feel   any   lessening   of  their   security   following
`redeployment.'  A few weeks ago Mordechai took a walking
tour   from   Beit   Hadassah  to   the   Avraham   Avinu
neighborhood.   As  he inspected the market,  due  to  be
reopened with implementation of the agreement,   I  shook
his  hand, welcomed him to Hebron and pointed out to  him
that  the market, located on Jewish property, was  stolen
from  us  following the expulsion of the Jewish community
in  1929.  His response: "And how much land did  we  take
from  them?"  Shocked at this answer, especially  because
in  Hebron  we  didn't take any land from  the  Arabs,  I
responded,  "but  they murdered us  and  then  stole  our
land."  Mordechai retorted, "you're looking at this  from
an  historical  perspective; where does  that  historical
perspective  begin?"  This is the Israeli Likud  Minister
of Defense, who we put into office.
      Last  week, on Friday, the Bibi bombshell exploded.
But  unfortunately, too many of us are  so  shell-shocked
that  even  when  a  bomb explodes in your  face,  you're
liable to miss it.  Netanyahu's right-hand man, David Bar-
Ilan, former editor of the Jerusalem Post and one of  the
most right-wing, if not the most right-wing member of the
Prime Minister's team, in an interview with the Jerusalem
Post,  revealed that Netanyahu has rejected the  idea  of
`Eretz Yisrael HaShlema' the idea of a `complete Israel',
that  the  Land will have to be shared and that  he  will
accept  a  `limited palestinian state.'   Of  course  the
words `limited state' contradict themselves.  There is no
such  animal.  A state is, by definition, sovereign.   If
it  is  not sovereign, it is not a state.  And if  it  is
sovereign, it is not limited.  And even if Arafat  should
agree  to  accept `limited sovereignty - we all know  how
much  Arafat feels obligated by signed agreements.   When
this  was pointed out to Bar Ilan, he confirmed that  the
administration is aware of this, but even so....  He even
went   so   far   as  to  agree  with  the  interviewer's
observation  that with the advent of Oslo,  and  Israel's
acceptance  of  its  obligations, there  is  very  little
difference today between the Likud and Labor.
      Bar-Ilan  wasn't  speaking  for  himself.   He  was
speaking  for  Benyamin Netanyahu.  Our  Prime  Minister.
Who we elected.
      What is one of the major predicaments of the Hebron
accords?   It  is very simple, but unfortunately  remains
totally  unnoticed.  When the Rabin-Peres  administration
signed the agreement, they did so with the full intention
of  removing  all  Jewish presence from  Hebron.   Rabin,
speaking  before groups from the US, said time  and  time
again  that  he  had no intention of leaving  the  Jewish
Community  in  Hebron.  He promised  not  to  remove  any
`settlements'  during the interim stage of  the  accords,
but  planned, as part of final status agreement, to expel
Hebron's  Jews from the City of the Patriarchs.   Knowing
this, both he and Peres had no compunctions about signing
an  agreement  which, for all intensive purposes,  sealed
the  fate of the community.  They knew that the terms and
conditions   of   the  accords  created  an   intolerable
unlivable  situation.   But  that  didn't  bother   them,
because that is what they wanted.  That is, as disgusting
as  it  is,  comprehensible.  That they were  willing  to
forsake  Jewish lives, to sacrifice Jewish  blood,  as  a
means  to  a goal, is not.  But the terms of the  accords
were  at  one  with  the expected future  -  a  Judenrein
      BUT,  Netanyahu, by all accounts, is interested  in
maintaining  a Jewish presence in Hebron.   He  does  not
want  to abandon Ma'arat HaMachpela to Arafat.  He  truly
desires  a strong Jewish community in the city.   On  the
face  of it, he does not wish to be responsible for  more
`sacrifices  for  peace.'  But what is he  doing?  He  is
planning  on  implementing  an agreement,  geared  around
expulsion  of  the Jewish community, while  promising  to
leave the Jews in Hebron, with `the same security that we
presently  have,' in spite of the allowance of what  will
eventually   be,  thousands  of  armed  Arab   terrorists
patrolling in and around the city.  In other words, he is
contradicting  himself.   He is  trying  to  implement  a
suicide  pact  and  remain alive, even after  firing  the
bullet into his brain.  And it just doesn't work.  If you
shoot yourself in the head, you die, like it or not.
      This morning Yitzhak Mordechai was quoted as saying
that he too is unhappy with the Hebron agreement, that it
is not good for us, but, what can you do?  A `legitimate'
Israeli  government  signed an  official  agreement  that
binds not only that government, but the country.  We have
no choice, in his opinion, but to honor the accords.
      Personally,  I  have  a lot of  trouble  with  this
philosophy.  True, when an agreement is broken  one  must
be  think  out the possible consequences and be ready  to
pay  the price.  But everyone with eyes in his head  sees
what  Arafat  is doing.  Using the salami method,  he  is
taking  a  slice  at a time.  And he  is  doing  it  very
successfully.   We all know what his goal  is.   No,  not
only Jerusalem. Jerusalem is, as is Hebron, a  means  to  
an end. He is interested in Haifa and Acco and Yaffo, and
Nazareth and, well, all of Eretz Yisrael.  He desires  to
be King of Palestine stretching from the Mediterranean to
the  Jordan,  and perhaps over to the east  side  of  the
Jordan too.  His goal is not a Judenrein Hebron - it is a
Judenrein Israel.  And we are playing straight  into  his
hands.  We are killing ourselves for him - saving him the
work.  He is dictating the conditions of our obligations,
the conditions of our suicide, while sitting on the 
sidelines  and  watching  us   destroy ourselves.
      Arafat  took  off  his mask a long  time  ago.   He
doesn't  fulfill  his obligations and he  makes  it  very
clear that he has no intention to - as per extradition of
murderers to Israel.  The problem isn't Arafat  -  it  is
Netanyahu  and  his  administration.   I'm  not  sure  if
Netanyahu is wearing  a mask that has blinded him, or  if
he  is  hallucinating,  thinking that the Arafat he  sees
isn't the real Arafat - that Arafat is still wearing  his
mask.   But  the whole story is very reminiscent  of  the
Emperor's New Clothes.
      I  will not say that Netanyahu has betrayed us.  He
is  not  a  traitor.   He  did create  Oslo  and  is  not
responsible  for its existence.  But, he is  implementing
it,  against all expectations, against all his  promises,
against  his own personal political philosophies, against
all logic or reason.  So, inasmuch as I will say that  we
are  very disappointed in him, as are so many others,   I
won't  say that he is a traitor, or that he has  betrayed
us,  that  he has betrayed Am Yisrael, Eretz  Yisrael  or
Torat Yisrael.
     But I don't know what history will say.

Friday, December 13, 1996


December 13, 1996
Yesterday's double funeral of Ita and Ephraim Tzur at Beit El was as heart 
wrenching as can be imagined.  It is almost impossible to express in words the 
emotions felt here when hearing such horrible news.  All I know is that the 
identical sensation experienced too many times in the past, a sensation that I 
try not to recall under any circumstances, exploded inside me on Wednesday 
night, in full force. And it tends to linger on for quite a long time. 
 At the cemetery, Ita and Ephraim Tzur were buried next to Ohad Bachrach, 
murdered last year in Wadi Kelt, together with Uri Shachor.  Beit El too, as in 
Hebron, has had to allocate a row of graves to murdered Jews.
 Waiting by the graves, I stood several meters from Minister of Defense Yitzhak 
Mordechai, Foreign Minister David Levi, and Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu. 
The expressions on their faces, especially those of Levi and Netanyahu, 
reflected excruciating pain and anger.  Yoel Tzur, husband and father of the 
victims, is a personal friend and acquaintance of the two ministers. 
 It must be said that the arrival of the three most important figures in the 
Israeli government, along with Ariel Sharon, Zevulun Hammer, and others, 
represents a major shift in policy, as was displayed, or perhaps, better 
termed, not displayed, by the previous administration. Official government 
representation at funerals of terrorist victims was delegated to mayors, or 
minor officials.  Families of terror victims were totally ignored by the 
Rabin-Peres administrations.  Participation of so many of the most important 
people running the county is more than symbolic: It is a clear statement by the 
Netanyahu government, expressing the words that Netanyahu uttered during his 
eulogy: You (the residents of Yesha) are as much a part of us, as are all       
the people in Israel. During the previous administration we were isolated and 
related to as the lowest level of being; we were enemies of the State. 
Netanyahu's government has clearly returned us to the fold - we are no longer 
considered outcasts.
 However, during the eulogies, two clearly contradictory statements were 
spoken.  The first declared that the government must react to this display of 
terrorism with a 'Zionist solution.' Behind this phrase are suggestions of 
expanding present Jewish communities in Yesha, as well as founding and development      
of new communities. 
 The other remark, also emphasized by almost all the speakers went as follows:
'We will demand that the palestinian authority fulfil its commitment toward 
protecting the security of Israelis, as undertaken by the Oslo Accords."  
 If my understanding of Zionism is accurate, this last statement is the exact 
antithesis of Zionism.  True Zionism was practised by the pioneers who moved to 
Eretz Yisrael primarily at the end of the 1800's and throughout this century .  
They realized that living in Israel demanded security - and this security had 
to be self-sustained.  (The error made by the Jewish Community of Hebron in 
1929 was that they so trusted their Arab neighbors, that they refused to accept 
weapons to protect themselves, after notification that the Grand Mufti in 
Jerusalem, Amin el-Hussaini, [uncle of Faisel el-Hussaini] was inciting and 
riots were sure to break out throughout Israel.)
 The most anti-Zionist answer possible to any terrorist action is to rely on 
our arch-enemies to provide security for Israel.  Anyone with eyes in his head 
can see, and knows, as clear as day, that the Arabs know that they have one, 
and only one responsibility.  That is, of course, to annihilate the Jews 
living Israel and transform the State of Israel to the State of Palestine. 
Why do we have to be so blind and so stupid as to really expect that Arafat 
will actively participate in protecting a People who he hates, and who, by 
their very presence, contradict his existence. Arafat has yet to condemn the 
terrorist attack that left Ita and Ephraim Tzur dead. Kol Yisrael today 
reported that Israeli security and intelligence forces warned 'palestinian 
sources' that a terrorist attack by the Chazit HaAmamit was impending.  Yet, no 
preemptive action was taken by the palestinians.  No one belonging to the 
Chazit HaAmamit was arrested.  This is a true palestinian concern for Israeli 
 Israel, and Israel alone can be responsible for Israeli security. Any other 
solution is madness which negates Zionism, the return of Am Yisrael to Eretz 
Yisrael. I hope and pray that the Prime Minister and his cabinet will reach     
this conclusion before any more tragedy strikes.  

Wednesday, December 11, 1996

The Eighth Candle
December 11, 1996
Hanukka, 5757

To The Honorable Prime Minister
Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu
Jerusalem, Israel

Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
 Tonight I was driving home with my parents and  my sisters, to 
light Hanukka candles. Candle-lighting in Beit El is a very special experience.  
Tonight, the seventh night of Hanukka, we were looking forward to the special 
event. Hanukka is such a special holiday, a celebration of light, of hope, of 
purity, of heroism - a true holiday of the People of Israel.
 However, suddenly the lights of my family were extinguished. All at once, my world 
was dark.  But only for a little while.  Soon I found myself together with my 
mother, in a world of light, a world of good.
 But Mr. Prime Minister, from where we are, my mother and I, we could see back 
into your world.  We saw so many people standing around our car, full of 
bullet holes.  I saw people that I knew cradling me in their arms and crying. I 
saw soldiers, and doctors, and I could even see my father and sisters, in the 
hospital.  They all looked so scared and so sad.  And I felt so bad for them. 
 But you know, from where I am now, I can see so much, and it is all so clear. 
I see what looks like a huge cloud hanging over the world.  It is black, 
oblique, frightening.  But all the way below the cloud I can see a spark of 
light - it is a small light, but it is so bright - it is so visible through the 
cloud - it is so brilliant that it illuminates everything.  But it is so small - 
only a spark. 
 And when I looked very closely, I could see that that spark is Israel - it is 
us - Am Yisrael.  Such a small spark, giving off such a great 
light.  And when I looked even more closely, I could see that the spark 
emanates from Eretz Yisrael and, yes, I could even see the different places in 
Eretz Yisrael.  And they were all aglow. You know, I thought how strange it 
was, the spark seemed to be one, yet it also, at the same time, seemed to be 
divided into seven parts.  Maybe because tonight is the seventh night of 
Hanukka? But, when I looked even closer, I could see that where I lived, in 
Beit El, the spark seemed to be ebbing - just a little - it wasn't quite as 
strong a light as in the other places - like a little bit was missing from it. 
 Mr. Prime Minister, looking at you from where I am, - yes, I can see you - but 
not just your body - I can see into your soul - and it is so big - I can see 
your potential- I can see what you want and what you think.  And it is all so 
good, so positive, so impressive.  But I also see a shadow, fighting you, 
fighting your soul, trying to pull at it, trying to replace it.  Yes, the 
shadow wants to replace the light of your soul.
 Mr. Prime Minister, you must not let this happen - you have no idea what can be 
- or what will be - but, but, I can't talk about that - they won't let me, it 
is forbidden - but, listen to me please,
 Am Yisrael is so full of light, so full of energy, so full of goodness - you 
must not let the shadow be victorious - and believe me, you have the power to 
stop it - you must be yourself and do as you know you should - and I can see 
that you know what you must do.  Do it!
 Mr. Prime Minister, in this world there is no sadness, no sorrow, no tears. 
It is a world only of light - of good, of happiness.  But I can see, in your 
world, there is so much sadness, so much despair, so much turmoil.  You can do 
something about it, if you want.  You can make it better, if you want. 
 I don't want anyone to be sad because of me, or because of my mother. We did 
what we had to do.  But now it is your turn - you must do what you have to do. 
 Mr. Prime Minister, if you want to, you, leading Israel, can change that spark 
into a flame and really illuminate the entire world.  You can disperse the cloud.
 Please, Mr. Prime Minister - don't try to comfort my father or my family with 
words - for words won't help them.  But if you comfort them with deeds, I know, 
because I can see it from here, I know, that that really will comfort them, and 
with them, all the others who tonight are so sad. 
 Mr. Prime Minister, I didn't light Hanukka candles tonight.  I am asking you 
to do it for me - tomorrow you must light the eighth candle for me and for my mother, 
and for all the people of Israel - the candle of the miracle - the light which 
must never be extinguished - the light of Israel - the light of our G-d.

Mr. Prime Minister, Happy Hanukka.

Sincerely yours,

Epraim Tzu
Age 12
Formerly of Beit El, Israel