Monday, May 27, 2002

Living the Land

Living the Land
May 27, 2002

It was just a year ago that Arafatian terrorists shot to death Gilad Zar, the 41 year old father of eight, not far from his Shomron home. Gilad was the security officer for the Shomron municipal region, working day and night, providing protection for thousands of Jewish residents of the area. 

Zar?s murder wasn?t an accident. Several months prior to his killing, Zar was critically wounded when terrorists opened fire on him. Despite the seriousness of his injuries, Gilad Zar returned to work as soon as it was medically possible. The result of his dedication was a second attempt on his life, an attempt which, unfortunately, succeeded. However, Gilad Zar?s murder did not snuff out the life of the extended Zar family. Notwithstanding their grief, Gilad Zar?s parents, Moshe and Yael, refused to bow to the terrorist?s goals.

The Zars are no strangers to Eretz Yisrael. Moshe Zar fought with Arik Sharon in the famed hundred and first brigade, stamping out Arab terror in the 1950s. Later, the Zars were amongst the first Jewish residents of the Shomron. Moshe Zar purchased thousands of acres of land in the Shomron, land instrumental to further Jewish settlement in the region. In an attempt to stop his continued land purchases, Arab terrorists attacked Moshe Zar, almost killing him. That did not stop him. Since their son?s murder, the Zars have not sat quietly by. Together with their daughter-in-law Hagar, they initiated a new community called Ramat Gilad, in the Shomron. They have continued to further the cause they believe in more than all, settling the Land of Israel.

Last week two of Gilad Zar?s sisters gave birth within a few days of each other. Both of them, Anat Cohen and Shlomit Bar Cochva, live in Hebron. Both of them gave birth to sons. Both of them called their new child Gilad. Anat and Ronen Cohen named their son Gilad Yosef. Gilad was a man of the Shomron, whose capital is Shechem, site of the tomb of Joseph - Yosef. In Hebrew, the word Yosef means to add on or to continue. Their son, Gilad Yosef, is a continuation of his uncle, Gilad Zar. Gershon and Shlomit Bar Cochva named their son Gilad Chai, which literally means, Gilad lives. Need more be said?

Gilad Zar, as well as the entire Zar family, truly symbolize Eretz Yisrael, an authentic expression of the clich?d phrase, blood, sweat and tears. Yet they are more than that, for they exemplify an additional time-worn slogan, which says, ?We shall overcome.? That is the story of their lives. In fact, it is the story of the history of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael.

Our awareness of such people as Moshe and Yael Zar and their families must spur us on, make us do more for that in which we believe.

For example: Last week we were privy to a miracle, the likes of which we haven?t witnessed in quite some time. That was, of course, the failed terror attack at the Israeli gas storage area, called Pi Glilot. The bomb attached to a gas truck reaching the plant exploded, but did not detonate the gas. Had the gas detonated, over 150 million liters of gasoline and 2,000 tons of stored gas would have killed, without exaggeration, between twenty to twenty-five thousand people. All of Ramat HaSharon, Hertzelia and north Tel Aviv would have been wiped off the map. Somewhere in the vicinity of 100,000 people would have been critically burned. Another half a million people would have suffered burns, shock and other injuries. Compared to these results, September 11 would have been remembered as child?s play.

If any of you would like to look into the future, following (G-d Forbid) the establishment of a Palestinian state, you need not look too far. For you will see only more of the same, an attempt by our new neighbors to the east to incinerate the state of Israel. In a front page article published in the May 16th Jerusalem Post, acclaimed journalist Caroline Glick writes that the Palestinian Authority is already cooperating militarily with Egypt, Iran, Syria, Hizbullah, Iraq and Saudi Arabia. The US and the European Union are training PA forces. ?The Palestinians continue to arm themselves with everything they can get their hands on. They have schooled their children in the language of Jihad and produced another generation of terrorists.? So, I ask, if this is the result of creation of the Palestinian Authority, can you imagine the results of a Palestinian state? Only last week, another 16 year old suicide terrorist was apprehended by Israel.

There are those who favor a plan of unilateral separation, to be aided by a fence, or wall, separating Israel from ?Palestine.? About this, writes Caroline Glick, ?Israel also has a fence along its border with Lebanon. It has not prevented cross-border shootings, incursions and rocket attacks. A fence only keeps out those who don?t wish to enter in the first place, and the Palestinians wish to enter even more than the Hizbullah.?

To those who claim that statehood will appease Palestinian terror, Glick adds, ?Why then has Arafat used the territories already granted him as a launch pad for attacks? And why has he stated repeatedly that he will use any further territory granted for the same purpose??

In other words, the solution to Arab terror is not the creation of a Palestinian State, it is not unilateral separation, it is not construction of fences and walls. The solution to Arafat-Arab terror is not appeasement. That is the way of the weak, the way of the unconvinced. It is the way of failure and the road to failure. The only solution is that exemplified by the Zars and by so many others who, faced with calamity, have conquered fear and triumphed. Not leaving the land, rather, living the land. Not fleeing the enemy, rather fighting the enemy. Not pacifying, rather prevailing.

With blessings from Hebron.

Friday, May 24, 2002

Back to the USSR

Back to the USSR
May 24, 2002 

On Sunday it will be four weeks since several men were arrested for belonging to the new “Jewish Oslo Terrorist Underground.” So far, no charges have been pressed. Some of the men are from the Bat-Ayin community just south of Jerusalem. One man is from Hebron and another from the Maon farm, just south of Hebron.

As of this writing it is very unclear, what exactly, if anything, these men perpetrated. A number of question marks have been raised, including a most vital issue: are any of these men actually guilty of planning terror attacks against Arabs, or, are they the victims of another Avishai Raviv type plot, with Israeli intelligence baiting innocent citizens in order to begin a smear campaign against the Israeli right.

The latter may sound, to the unaccustomed ear, a bit exaggerated. After all, Ariel Sharon, not Yitzhak Rabin or Shimon Peres is Prime Minister. Sharon would never allow such a disgrace to stain his office. Or would he?

The following account is true. Please keep that in mind.

One of the men arrested is Shlomi Dvir, aged 27 from Bat Ayin, father of three small children, husband of 26 year old Etti. Since his arrest, almost four weeks ago, Shlomi Dvir has been interrogated twice for periods of 60 – yes – SIXTY hours, straight, without a break, with food, without anything. He has been held in solitary confinement, in a cell containing a hole in the floor for sanitary needs. It is in this disgustingly filthy, smelly cell, that Shlomi must pray.

For some time following his arrest, Shlomi was not allowed to meet anyone, including his lawyer. Finally, he was allowed to meet his attorney. However, he is forbidden from seeing his wife or children, at least in person. More in a minute.

Yesterday, at 2:30 in the afternoon, police cars arrived outside the Dvir home in Bat Ayin and in marched the forces. Etti Dvir, Shlomi’s wife, was home alone with her three small children, the oldest of whom is three and a half . Suddenly, she found herself under arrest, being dragged from her house into an awaiting police vehicle. She was allowed to take her baby, Tamah, aged 8 months, but the other two children were left alone, witness to their mother being taken away.

Etti and Tamah were taken to the Israeli intelligence compound in Jerusalem, next to the jail where Shlomi is being held. There, Tamah was forcibly taken from Etti and held in a room next door, screaming uncontrollably for two hours, until she was finally returned to her mother.

Once alone in the room, Etti was handcuffed to a chair and her interrogation began. Do you know … this person, that person, etc. etc. Etti, from the beginning, told the investigators, “I don’t know anything and reserve my right to silence.”
Two of the questioners, a woman named Erika and a man named Shmulik, began hitting her. Erika slapped Etti in the face a number of times and both pushed her. Then the threats began. “If you refuse to speak, you’ll spend a week in the Neve Tirza woman’s prison. Your baby will be taken to the Welfare office.”  This, despite the fact that Etti breast-feeds Tamah, who drinks no other milk.

This nightmare continued until 9:00 at night. Finally, the baby in her arms, Etti was told, “now you are going to jail.” She was taken out of her interrogation room, led outside, and suddenly, the investigators disappeared. Without a word, with a hint, she was released.

This morning, after Shlomi’s attorney met with him, he called Etti and told her, “yesterday, intelligence investigators brought pictures of you and Tamah to your husband, being held and interrogated.” In other words, the entire episode was used by the intelligence forces as a way to pressure Shomi into speaking and answering the interrogators questions.

Back in the USSR.