Tuesday, January 14, 1997

Moments of Truth

Life is full of crossroads. Some are very personal,
others    of   a  public  nature.   Some  are  relatively
unimportant.   Yet   others,  may   have   far   reaching
implications and consequences.  Presently Israel is at  a
crossroads  that may determine our fate  -  the  fate  of
Hebron, of Jerusalem, of the State of Israel, and of  the
entire  Jewish People.  We have arrived at  a  moment  of
      Tonight,  a couple of hours from now, Netanyahu  is
due  to  again  meet  Arafat at the Eretz  Checkpoint  in
Gazza.   The  topics  under discussion  and  the  pending
accords remind me of scenes out of  A Tale of Two Cities,
especially  the last scene.  For those of you  who  don't
remember,  the  guillotine blade  falls....on  the  wrong
      Tonight  not only is Hebron on the chopping  block.
Tonight almost all of the land area of Judea, Samaria and
Gazza is up for grabs.  In addition to abandoning Hebron,
Netanyahu has agreed to part with close to 70%  of  Yesha
by  September  1, 1998.  Netanyahu is not only  beheading
The  Jewish  Community of Hebron.  He is  castrating  the
Land of Israel.
      If the accords are signed tonight or early tomorrow
morning  they  will be brought before the cabinet  almost
immediately.   On Thursday a special session  of  Knesset
can be expected, and then, on Friday, the withdrawal, the
abandonment is due to begin.
      I am constantly asked if Netanyahu has betrayed us.
The  answer is no - he didn't initiate Oslo.  But I  have
to add: in Judaism there is a term called `apikoris.'  An
apikoris  is  frequently defined  as  a  person  who  has
rejected    Divinity   and   rebelled    against    G-d's
commandments.  However, this definition is inaccurate. An
`apikoris' is not your everyday man on the street who  is
not  observant.  Most Jews have little knowledge of  what
religious  Judaism  demands of them.   A  person  who  is
ignorant is not an `apikoris.' An `apikoris' is a  person
who KNOWS, and in spite of his knowledge, in spite of his
education, rejects and rebels.
      As  far  as Rabin and Peres were concerned,  Jewish
heritage,   Jewish   history,  Jewish  identity,   Jewish
religion were synonymous with anachronism - pieces of the
past,  with  no  place in the present and future.   Peres
views  Sweden  and a role-model for a futuristic  Israeli
state.   So he told the King of Sweden upon reception  of
the  Nobel Peace Prize.  He sees Israel as a state  that,
coincidentally, is populated by Jews.  But, according  to
his philosophy, Israel is not a Jewish State.  It needn't
have a particular Jewish identity. Peres is an ignoramus.
      However, Netanyahu knows better.  He may not be  an
observant  religious  Jew,  but  he  has  a  much  deeper
understanding  of  Judaism,  of  Israel,  of  Hebron  and
Jerusalem.   Yet  he is rejecting - rebelling.  Netanyahu
KNOWS better, but is revolting.
      According to Jewish sources, a real `apikoris'  has
no place in the world-to-come.

So,  again,  we  have  reached  a  moment  of  truth,   a
crossroads  of  overwhelming  significance.   This   week
ministers  were  quoted  as saying  the  concept   `Eretz
Yisrael HaShlema' - the total complete Land of Israel  is
dead.   We are told that we must deal with a new reality,
the  division of Eretz Yisrael.  Very shortly we will  be
told  that  the same is true concerning Jerusalem  -  the
same  is  true  concerning a palestinian state.   Defense
Minister  Yitzhak  Mordechai was  quoted  in  yesterday's
Jerusalem  Post saying that Israel cannot  provide  total
security   for  Hebron's  Jews.   Yet  he  is  supporting
abandonment  of the city, and of the Jews therein.  Today
it  was  reported  that  the army  has  been  stockpiling
emergency  medical supplies at each of the  neighborhoods
in  Hebron,  including IVs, resuscitation apparatus,  and
battlefield  operating-room  equipment.   The  overriding
concern  is  that  a massive Arab attack  on  the  Jewish
neighborhoods  could leave an area cut off  and  isolated
from the other neighborhoods.  So, complying with the old
Boy  Scout  adage,  they  are fulfilling  "Be  Prepared."
Thanks loads.
      I  would like to reveal to you - devoted reader and
supporter of Hebron - what is really bothering me -  what
is,  as  far as I am concerned, the true moment of truth.
The  previous administration's decisions were, as far  as
we  were  concerned, illegitimate.  The Knesset  majority
rested on Arabs.  There was no Jewish majority.  However,
that  is  not so of this administration.  This government
was  elected  with an 11% Jewish majority.   There  is  a
Jewish  majority in the Knesset.  Do these people  really
represent  the  will  of  Am Yisrael  -  do  they  really
represent the Jewish people in Israel?  If they decide to
abandon  Hebron, do we have no choice but to  accept  the
decree  - to resign ourselves to an Israel without Judea,
Samaria, Gazza, without Hebron?
     The answer I think, is twofold.  On the one hand, as
private  individuals, or even as a community,  we  cannot
physically fight such a decision.  We will not go to war,
not  against the Israeli government or army, and not even
against  Arafat's  army.  We may use all  the  tools  and
methods  at our disposal to undo the process, if that  is
possible. We will continue to develop and grow,  as  much
as we can.
      But, we will not accept that this is truly `the way
is  should  be.'  That's why I have called  this  article
`Moments  of  Truth' and not "A Moment of Truth.'   True,
for  the foreseeable future we will have to live  with  a
reality  that is harsh, and not to our liking.  But  this
situation is temporary.  Be it temporary for a few weeks,
months,  or  even  years.   But Israel  will  not  remain
without Yesha, without Hebron, without Jerusalem forever.
The present moment of truth may determine our short-range
fate  -  it may determine whether their will be more,  or
less,   bloodshed.   It  may  determine  the  degree   of
complexity of our lives and the degree of suffering  that
we will have to undergo.  But it cannot determine truth.
     For abandonment of land in Israel is contrary to our
very  existence.  We came back to Eretz Yisrael to settle
the land, to live on the land - not to divide it and hand
it  over to our enemies, to terrorists. The direction  of
the  present `moment of truth' is clearly negative.   But
eventually,  this will change and the crossroads  we  are
turning down now will reach a dead-end, and we won't have
any  choice but to turn around, come back, and  turn  the
other  way.   Whatever the cost, we must know  this,  and
live accordingly.   The Jewish Community of Hebron has no
intentions of being another Masada.  But we know, without
any doubt, without any hesitation, that a Jewish presence
in  Hebron is part of the embodiment of truth, it is part
of  a  metaphysical reality.  It has nothing to  do  with
Rabin, Peres, or Netanyahu. On the day of the elections I
wrote  that Hebron existed before any of them,  and  will
continue  to exist after all of them. The Prime  Minister
may  decide to abandon Hebron, as may his cabinet and the
Knesset.   But  we will never abandon Hebron  -  we  will
never abandon Eretz Yisrael - we will never abandon  G-d.
And we know, He will never abandon us.

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