Friday, November 3, 2000

The Dark Before the Light

The Dark Before the Light
Nov. 3, 2000

Frequently I'm asked, "it looks to be so dangerous in Hebron - why don't you move somewhere else?"

A few days ago I answered that we had considered just that, perhaps moving to Gilo in Jerusalem. The journalist looked at me, and hearing my tone of voice said, "OK, I understand."

There are those who perhaps don't yet understand.

Yesterday is a classic example. Twenty-eight year old Ayelet HaShachar Levy, mother of a 3-year old, was moving from a small (150 families) Binyamin community, northeast of Jerusalem, between Jerusalem and Beit-El. Her destination: downtown Jerusalem. Shacher, as she was known, was getting out of her car to show the moving men where to take her furniture when the car bomb exploded. She was killed instantly.

Shachar's father, Rabbi Yitzhak Levy, chairman of the National Religious Party and former minister of Education, Transportation, and Building, was touring in Gush Katif at the time of the explosion.  Upon hearing reports of the terror attack he became immediately concerned. The attack occurred on the exact road where his daughter was supposed to be moving to, that very day. When he learned that a big truck had been blocking the way of the car-bomb, his fears heightened. On his way back to Jerusalem the Jerusalem District Police Commander called Rabbi Levy on his cell phone, requesting an urgent meeting with him. Rabbi Levy's response: "You don't have to tell me why. I already know."

And then there is the Or family. The Ors live in another Jerusalem neighborhood, called Gilo, on the southern border of the city. Gilo has been under terrorist gunfire attack for the last month. The Ors decided to get away from the action for a little while and made their way to the center of the city to have lunch with the grandparents, who live in the Machane Yehuda part of the city.  Five of the family were injured when the car blew up.

So the next time a journalist asks why we don't move, I'll have a couple of more examples  - trying to express a very simple point: There is no where to run to. Wherever we go, we are marked. It makes no difference if its Hebron, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa or anywhere else. Arafat's henchmen don't care where it is; what's important is - who it is - Jews, living in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel.  Running away just convinces them that they are on the right track - "a little more blood, a little more killing, and for sure, they will abandon the Land of Israel for somewhere else, leaving Palestine to us."

The problem we are facing today is very simple: A war is being fought against us, but we are not treating it like a war. When you are attacked, you must fight back, not run away. Israel's leaders are doing just that, the equivalent of  fleeing. Rather that deal with those attacking us as an enemy, we are dealing with them as "partners" for peace. Clearly, if you don't treat your enemy as an enemy, you cannot defeat him. Clearly, when war is declared against you and, when you are attacked, day after day, night after night, you must act accordingly. That means, not only reacting, but also initiating.

Not only aren't Israel's 'leaders' initiating, they are barely reacting. When three soldiers were killed, two during a fierce battle outside Jerusalem and another by sniper gunfire, Israel's reaction was to send Shimon Peres to beg Arafat for a few days of quiet. According to rumors running around, Peres requested a cease-fire until Sunday, thereby allowing the Saturday night Rabin memorial in Tel-Aviv to take place.  Israel radio reported this morning that Peres literally pleaded with Arafat for 'a week of quiet.'

Is this how you fight a war?

Israeli military commanders are forced to meet with their "parallels" from the other side, to try and reach agreements on 'how to restore the peace.' These Arab terrorist commanders, known a 'policemen,' are the same people initiating and participating in attacks against Jews, both civilians and soldiers. Yet, our officers are forced to sit with them, shake their hands, and act as though nothing happened.

Is this the way to fight a war?

In Hebron, following five weeks of nightly shooting, all is heading back to normal. The curfew is lifted, the shuk is opened, and so what if there is a gunshot here and there - it takes time for Arafat's orders to be implemented, it takes time to calm everyone down.

Is this the way to fight a war?

There is a story told in Jewish sources about two Rabbis walking in a valley when they viewed "Ayelet HaShacher," rays of light breaking through the darkness, moments before dawn. One Rabbi said to the other, "this is the way of Israel's redemption. In the beginning, slowly, slowly. As it proceeds, it gets lighter and lighter." For what reason? "When I sit in the dark, G-d lights  my way."

It may have been decreed that before the light, we must first experience darkness. At present we are still somewhere in between dark and light. They reverberate, back and forth. The light radiated by Rabbi Yitzhak Levy's daughter, Ayelet HaShacher, was extinguished by a terrorist bomb, yet a small ray of light, her three year old daughter, still shines on, albeit much weakened.  The light is starting to break through, but we are still sitting in the dark. Let us hope that soon we will all wake ourselves up, and let the light break through in all its glory. 

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