Monday, February 18, 2002

Ben Yair

Ben Yair
Feb. 18, 2002


Years ago, during the Rabin-Peres debacle, then Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin appointed a distant relative of his, Michael Ben-Yair, to the post of Attorney General of the state of Israel. The Israeli Attorney General is one of the most powerful people in Israel, having the ability to decide who will be indicted, and for what crime. For instance, Michael Ben-Yair, during the early days of the Netanyahu administration, decided to press charges against Raphael Eitan, then candidate for the ministerial post of Internal Security, with responsibility for the entire Israeli police force. Ben-Yair’s indictment of Eitan, and the subsequent trial forced Netanyahu to withdraw Raful’s candidacy. Of course, the suspect was totally acquitted of the charges against him, but was unable to return to the post originally slated for him.

Ditto, attorney Ya’akov Neeman, who was selected to be Netanyahu’s Justice Minister. He too was indicted and acquitted, but as a result of the indictment, lost the Justice ministry.

The Attorney General of Israel can make, or break, governments.

Michael Ben-Yair, as attorney general, labeled the Yesha council, known in Hebrew as Moetzet Yesha, “a rebellious body.”   He also authored the infamous “special rules” used by police and prosecutors to persecute Hebron’s Jewish Community.  And he might well be best remembered for indicting Moshe Feiglin and Shmuel Sackett on charges of “incitement to revolt,” for which they were later convicted. The motive for the charges: Feiglin and Sackett were the masterminds behind the “Zu Artzenu” movement, translated as “Our Land Movement,” which attempted to protest, originally, the Rabin-Peres policy stopping all building in Judea, Samaria, and Gazza, and later, the Oslo curse.

Feiglin and Sackett utilized an age-old system of protest, known as civil disobedience. They organized an operation called Mivtza Machpil, whose goal was to increase the land area of already existing communities in Yesha. They later planned massive demonstrations throughout central intersections all over Israel, tying up traffic, in an effort to make their voices heard.

For these activities, for calling on the masses to express their opinions via civil disobedience, Feiglin and Sackett were indicted for incitement to revolt by Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair.

Now, let’s play a little guessing game. I’m going to read you a quote from Daliya Yairi’s morning show on Reshet Bet Israel radio from yesterday, February 17, 2002. The subject of the discussion is support for a  petition letter signed by some 200 plus soldiers and officers, refusing to serve in Yesha.

Now I quote: “A democratic society consists not only of majority rule, but rather of other very important values which are the foundation of the society. And among these values is recognized the value of civil disobedience against the law. As an example, Martin Luther King, in the 1960s in the United States, etc.”

OK, now it’s your turn. Guess who said it. That’s right, our old friend, now the former Attorney General, Michael Ben-Yair.

Later in the interview Ben-Yair added, “It is incorrect to show these who refuse to serve in Yesha as if they were doing something undemocratic, this is absolutely wrong. It is permissible in a democratic state of law.  …An enlightened state, in my opinion, an enlightened army, in my opinion, must react with moderation…they should not be put on trial and their actions should not be examined, we shouldn’t attack them, because their movement, in my estimation, is going to increase…” etc.

So says the former Attorney General who prosecuted Feiglin and Sackett, defining civil disobedience as incitement to revolt.

In response, Hebron’s Jewish Community yesterday faxed the following letter to the present Attorney General, Eliyakim Rubenstein:

The Attorney General
Prof. Eliakim Rubenstein

We are honored to present you with a complaint against Mr. Michael Ben-Yair for incitement to rebel.

1.     Enclosed please find a transcript of former Attorney General Michael Ben-Yair’s interview on Reshet Bet radio. Also please find an item from the Yediot Achronot newspaper, according to which Ben-Yair included his signature on the petition calling on soldiers to refuse to serve in Yesha.
2.     In the interview, Ben-Yair calls for mass refusal by Israeli soldiers to serve in Yesha. He defines such refusal as “civil disobedience,” and brings, as an example, Martin Luther King, who formed a mass movement of civil disobedience, leading to major changes in American law.
3.     With this statement, Mr. Ben-Yair contravened the law of inciting to revolt, as defined by the legal code (section 136).
4.     We request to commence with legal proceedings against Michael Ben-Yair.
5.     We request that the legal proceedings, from commencement until their conclusion be conducted in the framework of “the combined committee dealing with incitement and rebellion,” according to the rules established with formation of the committee by government decision 6317, including:
a.      to ensure that the police are aware of the offense, and commence with an investigation, gathering evidence, and weighing the necessity to indict and bring to trial.
b.     To ensure that there is no delay in proceedings and in transfer of the investigation to criminal prosecutors.
c.     To ensure that there is no delay in a decision by the prosecution.
d.     To ensure that an indictment is forthcoming and to weigh the possibility of requesting incarceration until the conclusion of proceedings.
e.      To ensure, should the need arise, to request to hasten hearings, due to public interest.
f.       To ensure full law enforcement against the suspect (Mr. Ben-Yair).
g.     To weigh the possibility of issuance of an administrative order, (including a restriction order) against the suspect.
h.     To update “at least once a month” those responsible for issues dealing with the subject.”

(Note: The quotes are taken from the instructions in “A combined committee to deal with incitement and rebellion” as were authored by Michael Ben-Yair in November 1995, and were confirmed by government decision 6317.)

6.     “The Combined Committee to Deal with Incitement and Rebellion” under the authority of attorney Taliya Sasson, has dealt for years with the ‘settlement’ population and right-wing activists, always emphasizing these rules, and others, with a severe, and even ruthless attitude towards right-wingers under her jurisdiction.
7.     The foundation of the rule of law is equality under the law, and we can only be thankful that this special opportunity has presented itself to us:

Together we will examine how Ms. Taliya Sasson deals with this case, and together, with a new suspect, who is none other than the same person who authored these rules, which have, for years, been the source of constant persecution against ‘settlers,’ and right-wing activists.

We suggest that this test be called: “The ben-Yair-Feiglin Examination.”

8.     We request return receipt of this letter and complaint.
9.     We request to receive updates concerning this criminal investigation.


Noam Arnon    Orit Struk
The Hebron Jewish Community Council

With blessings from Hebron.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Will the Real Zionism Please Stand UP

Feb. 11, 2002

Opening Friday’s newspaper, I found an interesting article in the Ha’Aretz magazine, authored by noted left-wing Israeli author A. B Yehoshua. The article, called “Eleven degrees of separation” deals with the issue of unilateral separation, the new-old idea now being espoused by the left as an “alternative” to Oslo.

Unilateral separation is, in simple terms, full, or almost full Israeli withdrawal from all land liberated by Israel in 1967 during the Six day war, uprooting of almost all communities established by Israel throughout Judea, Samaria and Gazza, and construction of a fence to divide between Israel and the Arabs.

Without any doubt, unilateral separation on the part of Israel would lead to the creation of a Palestinian State. The main difference between this program and Oslo is that Israel withdraws without negotiation. We get up and leave Yesha to Arafat to do whatever he wants. Theoretically, following such a travesty, future negotiations could lead to establishment of “permanent borders” i.e., additional Israeli concessions, both in areas not yet abandoned by Israel and in Jerusalem.

Yet the real problem with A. B. Yehoshua’s article is not his plan to abandon Yesha. The real problem is revealed before he gets to his actual proposal.

He lists several a priori assumptions, the first of which says, in brief:
“The Zionist phenomenon generated, and continues to generate, a trauma in the local residents…and was a powerful and complex shock to the Palestinians.”

A few paragraphs later Yehoshua defines Zionism: “ If I had to define Zionism in just one word, I would choose the word ‘borders.’”

I find it amazing how ignorant a supposedly intelligent person can be.

As to the first assumption, Joan Peters, in her monumental work “From Time Immemorial” writes in her concluding chapter, called ‘The Flight from Fact:”
Myth: “The “Palestinian people’ have had an identity with the land.”
Myth: “the ‘alien’ Jews returned after 2,000 years in 1948 to displace the ‘Palestinian Arabs’ in the new Jewish state”
Myth: “The Arabs were there first – it was Arab land.”
Myth: The Jews stole the Arabs’ land.”

Fact: “The land of ‘Palestine proper’ had been laid to waste, causing peasants to flee.”
Fact: “Jews and Zionism had never left the Holy Land, even after the Roman Conquest in 70 CE
Fact: The Arabic-speaking “masses” – what few there were, thought of themselves as Ottomans or Turks, … or as Arab people, but never as Palestinians.”
Fact: The bulk of of all “Arab” peasanty in the area…were rendered “landless” by feudal-like societal structures, natural disasters, extortionate taxation and corrupt loan sharks…yet the Jews were cynically charged with creating “landless Arabs in Palestine.

In other words, A. B. Yehoshua’s assumption that Jewish return to Israel was a trauma to the Palestinians, is undeniably wrong, for there were no “palestinians’ to be traumatized.

His definition of Zionism is remarkable, defining it as “borders”.

Many years ago, following the UN resolution equating Zionism with racism, I defined Zionism as Jewish nationalism.  But, if need be, according to Yehoshua’s rules, I can use only one word, than Zionism is, very simply, Israel, the land of Israel, living in the land of Israel.
Professor Binyamin Neuberger, in an article on Zionism called “A modern rendition of an ancient motif,” says: “The origin of "Zionism" is the biblical word "Zion", often used as a synonym for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael). Zionism is an ideology which expresses the yearning of Jews the world over for their historical homeland - Zion, the Land of Israel.
A. B. Yehoshua’s conceptualization of Zionism as “borders” to fit his political outlook, in not only a distortion of our Jewish heritage, rather, it is an attempt to rewrite history, to preempt Jewish yearning for its homeland in favor of “palestinian trauma.”  According to A. B. Yehoshua, the real Zionists are not Jewish, rather they are Arab.

This leads to the logical justification by which Israel returns to them what rightfully belongs to them. For in Yehoshua’s eyes, as he writes, “the major obstacle is the settlement enterprise…is it conscionable that nine million people should be blood hostages in the hands of 50,000 settlers?…”

In other words, a present day Jewish Zionist, if such a term exists, can be defined as someone who wishes to abandon Eretz Yisrael, not live in Eretz Yisrael.

As such, the term Zionism contradicts itself.

So much for intelligent Israeli authors.

Yet the contradictions don’t stop in writing. Recently I was asked to speak to a group of young Jews who had just arrived in Israel from Australia.

Having traveled into Jerusalem to meet some of these people, I discovered a small group of people imprisoned on a Jewish agency site in south Jerusalem. These teenagers, eighteen years old and up, are forbidden to leave their campus. They are literally locked in and cannot leave. Security guards at the entrance to the facility will not let them out.

Why? We all know the answer: Security, of course. Come to Jerusalem but don’t go outside.  Zionism in action.

I was told that, despite their political affiliation with the international Betar movement, a right-wing Jewish organization associated with Ze’ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin, most of their classes for the next four months will be conducted by so-called educators of the opposite political persuasion.

These are the people who will, upon their return to Australia, be leaders and educators in and amongst their Jewish communities.

Friends, the name of the game is education. Not myths, but facts, not a superficial brainwashing, but a solid grasp of reality. As long as philosophies such as A. B. Yehoshua’s, which is actually cheap Arab propaganda, are allowed to run rampant in the guise of historical fact, being fed to Jewish youth, whether in Israel or around the world, we are in trouble. Only when all Jews come to a realization that Jewish living in all Eretz Yisrael, including Yesha, is the Zionist standard, and that Eretz Yisrael belongs to Am Yisrael, as it always has and always will, will we be able to proceed forward.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

Monday, February 4, 2002

Our fate is sealed

Our fate is sealed
February 4, 2002

This is a Voice from Israel from somewhere in the Mediterranean

Here is the news.

We are ecstatic to announce that the walls have been completed.
Again, we repeat, the walls of Israel have been completed, covering seven thousand nine hundred and ninety two square miles, not including, of course East Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and Gazza.

This afternoon, shortly before this broadcast, the last hole in the huge ceiling was covered with concrete.

We now switch live to the Prime Minister, broadcasting from somewhere else in the world:

Fellow citizens, this is a day, which will live forever in history. Our security, and the security of our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren are assured. Suicide bombers, missile attacks, and all terrorism are events of the past. No person, no enemy, no state, can threaten Israel’s security. My fellow citizens, we are now safe.

I know there are those who objected, but a short glance back will prove our point.

The policy of fences and walls began as a post-Oslo procedure, intending to guarantee the lives of our brethren in Yesha. True, we signed a peace treaty with our neighbors, but there were isolated masses of terrorists who refused to accept the new era of mutual coexistence. Their tiny but massive opposition to reach a negotiated agreement left us no choice but to find a way to protect ourselves. The best way was to keep the terrorists out. In Yesha we attempted to accomplish this by walling in the various communities. This was fine until the Israelis took to the streets, I mean, traveled from place to place. The streets too were vulnerable so we built them bypass roads. When that didn’t work we built them tunnels.

However, our other cities, including Jerusalem were still under attack by the miniscule massive Arab minority opposing our good-will gestures towards a comprehensive settlement. So we had no choice but to first, fence in, and then wall in our capital, protecting it from unthinkable acts of barbarism. Unfortunately that attempt too was unsuccessful with the unimaginable occurring. Arabs holding Israeli citizenship, having been brainwashed by those few PA warmongers began participating in brutal attacks against our citizens, leaving us no choice but to close down the center of the city. The national debate concerning the exact borders of the Jerusalem city center reached such proportions that for an extended period of time the entire city was declared to be totally off-limits to all Israelis and tourists. As a good will gesture, we decided to leave the city open to Arabs who agreed to sign a peace pact with Israel.

The walling of Petach Tikva, Kfar Saba, and Haifa, led to major catastrophes in Tel Aviv. Then the infamous children’s rebellion broke out, when bicycle-riding throughout the country was outlawed, due to suicide bicycle attacks in major population centers. The regrettable results of that that revolt caused Israeli leaders to think long and hard about a permanent solution, leading to the decision to wall in Israel.

Such a decision was not easy to make, but was facilitated by allowing active population participation. The national contest, “Name the Wall,” broadcast daily and nightly on Israel radio, won international acclaim. It was too bad that our popular radio announcers fought each other tooth and nail to broadcast the show. In the end, as you all know, the show was aired from the Knesset with the Knesset speaker hosting the program, refusing to relinquish his chair until a suitable name was declared the winner.

When it came down to the nitty-gritty, and two names were left on the ballot, the Knesset almost exploded, but finally it was decided to let the people choose. In a national referendum the name, “Back to the Ghetto” won overwhelmingly over the other choice, “Continue the Hope.”

So, Back to the Ghetto it was.

Construction of such a wall, excuse me, ghetto, no, don’t get me wrong, the ghetto wall, around an entire state, is a humongous job. The first major task was to determine the borders of the back to the ghetto wall. It was immediately decided not to include Judea, Samaria and Gazza, so as to keep the anim.. terrorists out. But then our neighbors demanded borders acceptable to UN resolution 181, leaving Beer-Sheva outside the wall. Finally, in a dramatic compromise it was decided to split Beer Sheva in half, thereby preventing another bloody conflict.

The last, and most important factor, was the western border. Some believed that the back to the ghetto wall should be built on the beach. Our neighbors asked that the beach be left for them. And yet others insisted that we should use our legitimate international rights, building the wall 20 miles out into the sea.

Unable to make a decision acceptable to everyone, Israel agreed to international arbitration, which determined that the real border was at least 20 miles inland, to which Israel was amenable.

The actual building was a tremendous undertaking. All citizens were drafted, from five years of age and up. Block upon block, stone upon stone, day after day, week after week, month following month, and at long last, the back to ghetto wall was concluded. The laying of the ceiling was an engineering feat of genius. Thousands of huge pillars were erected around Israel in order to hold up the roof.

Of course a major crisis erupted when the plans showed a pillar to be constructed above the former Temple Mount, but Israel conceded without a fight.

And now, at long last, the one and only entrance is about to be closed. No longer will terrorists find a way to harm us.  Some of our brothers and sisters, trying to take the easy way out, have jumped ship and are taking refuge in the sea, (of course, outside the 20 mile limits.) I myself have decided to take up temporary residence in Micronesia, whose people have so generously agreed to rename their capital, previously known as Palikir, to Jerusalem. I vow stay here only until we can again break down the back to the ghetto walls.

Until then, our fate is sealed.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder