Monday, December 27, 2004

Please G-d, Stop the Missiles

Please G-d, Stop the Missiles
December 27, 2004

Where to start?
Yesterday afternoon I attended a demonstration in the heart of Tel Aviv, joining hundreds of others protesting the continued bombardment of Gush Katif. In truth, we weren't protesting the attacks – rather we were protesting the lack of reaction. The Israeli armed forces are doing nothing, absolutely nothing, to stop the Arab Kassam missile and mortar attacks on Gush Katif's 8,500 Jews.
According to Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg, not too long ago, Defense Minister Shaul Mufaz ordered Chief of Staff, General Moshe Ya'alon, "Don't hit back until after the palestinian elections (on Jan. 9th). In other words, the Israelis will just have to suffer for a while – this is the cost of peace.
At the demonstration I met Mrs. Debbie Rosen, ([] - 972-8-68408470) who is working with Eran and Dror Vanunu in the Gush Katif spokesperson's office. Interviewing her for today's show, I asked Debbie, a resident of Neve Dekalim, about the situation in Gush Katif. She told me that not too long ago, following another rocket attack against them, speaking with a senior officer in the area, she asked him why the army doesn't shoot back, in the same fashion that the Jews are attacked? "Just like they shoot mortars at us, let's shoot mortars back at them."
The officer looked at her, stunned, and replied, "What, shoot at them, just like that? It's not ethical to shoot mortars or missiles at innocent people."
Debbie's response: "What about us – aren't we innocent people too?"
The officer didn't answer – he just looked at her and walked away.
I also asked her to describe to our listeners what happens when a bomb falls on your house, or next to it. Debbie attempted, for a few minutes, to express in words the inexpressible. We parted ways, and a couple of hours I was back in Hebron.
I came into the office to pull down some the pictures from the event, when my cell phone rang. It was Debbie. In a voice choked with emotion, she related to me the following account: "You asked me to describe how it feels when a mortar or a Kassam rocket hits. Well, you just cannot imagine. Listen, tonight, while we were at the demonstration, there was a Bat-Mitzvah party for one of the girls here in Neve Dekalim. My daughter was there. The girls were outside in the yard when suddenly they saw an approaching missile. Running inside the house, well, they made it just in time. The missile exploded in the garden of that very same yard, where only seconds before, they had been playing." She added, "it's just like the boy who was playing basketball last week when a bomb exploded on the basketball court, very close to him."
I sat, listening, not being able to speak. What can you say? We decided that I'd call Debbie back in the morning and let her repeat the story again, so I could record it and play it on my weekly radio show, later today (
Late last week there was a general meeting of activists from around the country, in Jerusalem. Initiated by the Yesha council, the meeting introduced the organization's new campaign to prevent the abandonment of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. The basic element of the program is a huge sit-down strike next to the Knesset, commencing next Tuesday. People from around the country will be asked to participate, irregardless of the rain and cold, and hopefully, the crowds will grow and grow, eventually reaching tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people. The goal: to convince the Knesset that the Israeli public will not accept expulsion of people from their homes, that the Israeli public will not accept abandonment of Eretz Yisrael to our enemies, that they – our representatives in the Knesset, must vote against legislation called 'the pinui-pitzui (eviction-compensation) law" when it reaches the Knesset floor. MK Uri Ariel of the National Union party, speaking at the conference, claimed that the only way to stop the eviction is via the Knesset – convincing them to vote against the law, and if necessary, bringing the issue to the people, either in the form of a national referendum, or regular elections. According to Ariel, there is a very strong probability that Sharon will not receive his party's nomination for the premiership, and that the eviction plans will draw to a complete halt.
Other ideas are springing up. I receive an email from a reader in the United States, who (rightly) claimed that the 'Wallerstein proclamation' petition ( is not enough, that action must be taken. He suggested organizing a general strike throughout Israel, either in conjunction with the Yesha council campaign, or separately. Last night this person called me, and after some discussion, offered to try and organize such a strike.
My own idea, sort of hidden within the petition, is very simple. Certainly I hope that the eviction plan will be thwarted long before Sharon attempts its implementation. However, should it come down to it, we are going to need hordes of people to stop the horror. We need thousands and thousands of people to drop what they're doing, board the planes, come over here, and do what has to be done. It's as simple as that.
Simple, you ask? Simple? Work, family, etc etc – how can we leave all and just…come over?
So ask you . But I ask you – what about Eretz Yisrael – what comes first – Eretz Yisrael, or work, or… etc? Remember, we're not just talking about Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. We're talking about all of Judea and Samaria. We're talking about Hebron. We're talking about Jerusalem. We are talking about the fate of the Jewish people in Israel. So, what comes first? You tell me.
Basically, what it comes down to, is that we are going to have to close down the country. Not everybody is going to be able to get to Gush Katif, or even close to Gush Katif. However, Israel isn't a one-road country – I'm sure you understand what I mean.
There are those who might recoil at such a suggestion. And to an extent I agree – under normal circumstances. However, these are not normal circumstances. This government, led by Ariel Sharon, is intentionally abandoning thousands of citizens, Israelis who serve in the army, citizens who pay taxes, citizens who are people, just like you and me – to their fate, like sheep surrounded by wolves. Ariel Sharon, together with Mufaz and Ya'alon, have adopted a policy of 'live and let die' – leave the Arabs alone, even at the price of Israeli lives. There is a difference between Arab blood and Jewish blood – Arabs are, in the words of the above-mentioned officer, 'innocents.' The Israelis are 'settlers,' and we all know what that implies.
Last night, speaking at the protest, Bentzi Liberman, secretary-general of the Yesha council said, 'if three mortars hit Tel Aviv, the army would spare no efforts. But when it comes to Gush Katif, nothing is done – the people are abandoned.'
After I had, more or less, finished writing this article, I had the second above-mentioned conversation with Debbie from Gush Katif. As we were talking, I couldn't help but think: this morning the Israeli media is drenched with yesterday's disaster in India-Thailand. It really is an awful calamity, tens of thousands deadhundreds of Israelis traveling in that part of the world are still missing. We hope and pray that they are all safe and well.
But what I have trouble understanding is that daily, almost hourly, Israeli citizens here, in Israel, not in India, not in Thailand, but here, an hour from Tel Aviv, are facing enemy attacks, their lives are threatened and some lives are destroyed. Where is Israeli radio? – where is Israeli television? – where is public opinion? Fine, talk about India, but what about our back yard? Debbie Rosen also told me about a woman whose home has come under direct enemy fire nine times. Do you have any idea what that does to a person? It has left this woman in permanent shell shock.

Last night I came upon the Barat family from Kfar Darom. Hannah Barat was seriously injured during a terror attack and left paralyzed, living permanently in a wheelchair. Hannah is a very special person, and about a year ago gave birth to another child, a little boy, despite her disabilities. Her husband, Eliezer Barat, told me how, a few days ago, a rocket hit their home, destroying part of the roof. Thank G-d, no one was injured. But don't let anyone tell you that lightning doesn't strike twice.

One final story. Debbie told me how her youngest son, in kindergarten, hearing thunder outside, told her, "Mommy, ask G-d to stop the mortars and missiles ."
The present administration can only be labeled as a 'memshelet shmad' – a government of annihilation – a government willing to sacrifice its own people – and for what – for what?
For absolutely nothing.
Please G-d – stop the missiles.
With blessings from Hebron.

Monday, December 20, 2004

The Katif Wall?

The Katif Wall?
December 20, 2004

Last week, during Hanukkah, the kids were home on vacation. Here in Hebron we try to provide daily activities for the children, including parties, trips and the like. On Tuesday one of my friends approached me and asked if I’d be busy the next day. As all spokespeople are trained to do, I answered his question with another question – ‘why, what do you need?’
He proceeded to tell me that on Wednesday, he was to escort a busload of kids on their Hanukkah trip, but something came up. Could I replace him?
I didn’t have too much planned for the next day so, why not – it’s a day out of the office, without having to sit in front of the screen. So I asked, ‘where are they going?’ and he answered, “Gush Katif.” That clinched it.
I sort of felt like we were playing round robin. That very day a large group of childrenfrom Gush Katif came to visit in Hebron. They participated in all sorts of events, including skits, touring, and a big candle-lighting ceremony with Hebron children at Ma’arat HaMachpela at sundown. On Wednesday a group of Gush Katif women arrived for a day in Hebron, at the same time that our children made their way down south.
I’m sure many people will ask – this is the way to spend a vacation day? Gush Katif residents travel to Hebron and Hebron goes to Gush Katif? Couldn’t we each find more relaxing places to splurge a day away from home? I guess in some ways it’s hard to explain, but in other ways, maybe not. We spent a couple of summers vacationing in Gush Katif, at Kfar Darom. Two of my daughters did their national volunteer service there, and we developed friendships with people in the community. We’d borrow someone’s house for a few days, someone who was vacationing somewhere else, and spend a few days at the nearby beach, barbeque outside, and just enjoy the quiet, tranquil atmosphere, the beautiful scenery, which sort of reminded me of the Garden of Eden.
Believe me, it really is like that – perhaps it’s a little less quiet these days, with mortars and Kassam missiles exploding all over the place – but Gush Katif still has a beauty difficult to express in words.
I guess this is one of the reasons it was decided to send our kids there for a day during Hanukkah, to experience the character of this endangered part of Eretz Yisrael.
But of course, there’s more to it then just that. When we were under attack in Hebron, nothing was more heartening than people coming to visit – to walk the streets, to speak with us, to show support, just by being there. And I believe so it is today in Gush Katif. Over 5,000 mortars and missiles have been fired at Gush Katif residents over the past few years. Each one of those projectiles is targeted to kill – it is only due to Divine miracle that people aren’t injured or worse every single day. Only last week a Thai woman, working in a Gush Katif greenhouse, was killed by a mortar which exploded right next to her. On September 24, twenty-four year old Tiferet Tratner was murdered by one of these flying bombs.
I have a beeper which receives almost immediate news bulletins whenever ‘anything happens’ – including missile and mortar strikes in Gush Katif. There isn’t a day or night that goes by when I don’t get numerous reports of missiles and mortars, landing in Neve Dekalim, Netzarim , and other communities. Early this morning the beerer buzzed, announcing that four mortars hit Kfar Darom, damaging a whole row of homes. Thank G-d, no one was injured.
So, in truth, you really can’t ask how we go to visit for a few hours. You really have to ask how people there are able to do it – how they can live with this day after day, night after night, literally year after year.
It’s difficult to speak for them, but I have a feeling that the answer is sitting there, on the tip of my tongue. First of all, and most importantly, the people in Gush Katif aren’t crazies – over 9,000 people with a death-wish. They are people just like you and me – but they have a tremendous amount of faith – faith in G-d, faith in what they are doing, faith and determination to live their beliefs, to live the land, to bring life to the desert, to settle Eretz Yisrael. They are merely braver than most other people.
It seems clear to me that they also know and realize, all too well, that we cannot and should not flee from terror. The only way to deal with terror is to stand up to it – to fight it, but never to acquiesce to it. This is why they are so determined to stay where they are, despite the dangers and difficulties, because they know all too well: if Gush Katif falls and is abandoned to our enemies, the next front will not be Kfar Darom. The front will move up, past Sderot, (which is still under continued missile attack) to Ashkelon and Ashdod.
The heroism of Gush Katif’s residents cannot be explained as a personal interest to maintain their own homes: rather it is true patriotism – doing what is best for their people and their country – putting their lives on the line to protect others, only slightly further north. Having experienced the horrors of bombs falling out of the air at all hours of the day and night for years, they know what’s in store for their fellow countrymen, should the Arabs have the chance to hit them. And truthfully, I’m doubtful if those city residents would have the stamina or faith to endure such constant attacks, such as we’ve witnessed in Gush Katif for the past four year years.
That’s why we go there – that’s why we took the kids there – first, by our physical presence to show our support – to let them know that they are not struggling alone. But also to let our kids breaththe great courage of others – to show them that Gush Katif residents are the bravest people alive in Israel today.
It really was a beautiful day. Not in the classic sense. The weather was rather miserable. But that doesn’t stop Hebron’s children from having a good time. We had lunch on the beach, at the ‘Pagoda,’ once a stylish restaurant, perched on the Mediterranean Sea. The hotels closed, the tourism dried up, and the restaurant’s clientele became non-existent. But the owner, a pleasant fellow named Menachem who could not abandon his dream, still lives there, and opens the building to wayward wanderers like us, who need a few tables and chairs for a lunch break. The wind was chilling, and he was gracious enough to make me a cup of coffee, a lifesaver on a cold day next to the water. We talked for a while, and I could see the sea in his eyes, the idealism of a true Israeli pioneer, who could never, everabandon his homestead.
After lunch we drove down the road a ways, to a small community called ‘Shirat HaYam.’ Today inhabited by 17 young families who literally live on the beach, this community was initiated by a few single girls, a few years back, who fell in love with the site. They married and established their homes there – small, simple caravans, - with the sea as their back yard. It’s an amazing place populated by amazing people.
Our last stop was the Neve Dekelim Yeshiva. It was during our brief stay here that the kids really got excited. They heard booms in the background, booms of mortars falling, not too far away.
But that wasn’t what struck me at this yeshiva, which was originally established in the Sinai community of Yamit, which was deleted from the face of the earth following Menachem Begin’s abandonment of the Sinai to Egypt, almost twenty-five years ago.
Inside the yeshiva building, just as you walk in, is a memorial to the Yamit community – called the ‘Yamit wall.’ A Neve Dekalim resident who happened to be there explained the significance of the wall to the children – telling them about Yamit, explaining how it was destroyed, and how the wall remained as a memorial to the fallen community.
Watching the children, and listening to the explanation, I had a hard time keeping my composure. I kept asking myself: Twenty five years from now, will one of these kids be standing in front of a group of children, explaining to them the significance of the ‘Katif wall?’
I sure hope not.
With blessings from Hebron.

Monday, December 13, 2004

A Little Light Goes a Long Way

December 13, 2004

We are in the midst of Hanukkah – the holiday of lights. Today is also the first day of the new month of Tevet – as we say in Hebrew – Rosh Hodesh. Hanukkah is generally a happy holiday – eight days when we light the menorah, commemorating the miracle of the Maccabees, a minority which overcame a majority of their fellow countrymen and brought about the defeat of the Greeks, the USA of their day. We celebrate the discovery of a small tin of pure olive oil, enough for lighting the Menorah in the Temple for one day, but miraculously lasting for eight days. We observe the victory of true Jewish spirit and culture over that of the Greek empire, a civilization which brought foreign traditions and assimilation to Eretz Yisrael, leading to massive Hellenization of the Jewish people in Israel.
In keeping with the spirit of the holiday, this commentary should be full of shining light, radiating with optimism and hope. Unfortunately, this is not the case. The events I am obligated to speak about today are quite the opposite.
Let's begin with several events which occurred towards the end of last week. Our illustrious armed forces decided that Hebron's Jews had crossed the line of no return and decided to take action.
Last summer, Hebron's children took upon themselves construction of, what we call in Hebrew, a 'pinat chai,' which in English, is roughly translated as a 'petting zoo.' The children, using their own money and their own two hands, constructed wire cages and purchased a variety of animals, including ducks, chickens, rabbits and the like. At one point they even bought a donkey.
This project occupied them for days and weeks, and the site became a favorite of many mothers in Hebron, whose young children had much fun clucking together with the birds.
Being that space is quite limited within the Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron, the children built their little zoo in an abandoned gas station, bordering the Beit Hadassah neighborhood. This gas station has been closed for somewhere in the vicinity of seven years, and very little of it remains. It was a perfect outdoors area for ducks, chickens and rabbits to roam around in. At least, so we thought.
Unfortunately, Hebron's new military commander, Col. Moti Baruch, thought otherwise. Last week, after having been honored to light the first Hanukkah candle at Ma'arat HaMachpela, Col. Baruch, in the middle of the night, led his forces to the 'pinat chai' and ordered its destruction. The gates to the cages were opened and their occupants expelled. Then the troops went to work. It didn't take long to finish the job. Soon, the only remnants of the zoo were a few poor ducks, quacking away their frustrations.
Why did Col. Baruch order the zoo's obliteration? Simply, because it was labeled 'illegal construction' in Hebron.
A short time earlier the same force of destruction did their dirty work on a shack in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood parking lot. A Succah, built by one of the families during the Succot holiday, had been left standing and was used for storage purposes. The family, with three children, lives in a 35 sq. meter apartment, and needed a little extra room. However, Col. Baruch doesn't really care about families living in ridiculously cramped conditions. The wood Succah-shack was declared 'illegal building' and demolished.
It should be noted that the demolition squad was accompanied by massive police and riot squad units, offering protection from the dangerous residents of Hebron – no, not the Arabs, rather the Jews.
Now, a word about illegal building in Hebron. For months on end, even before Col. Moti Baruch appeared on the scene, Hebron's leadership has been attempting to halt massive Arab illegal construction in the area surrounding Hebron's Jewish neighborhoods. The previous military commander understood the problem and attempted to help us find solutions. However, Col. Baruch is of a different opinion. He doesn't see any problem with a massive influx of Arabs into the 'Jewish-controlled' section of Hebron, despite the obvious security dangers. For months Arabs have been illegally building and renovating abandoned property, yet the Jewish demolition squad is nowhere to be seen. In particular, the Arabs are building a 'mosque' on the main road between Hebron and Kiryat Arba, at a location crucially important to Hebron. This building has been officially recognized as 'illegal construction' but Col. Baruch doesn't have the necessary forces available to halt continued Arab work at the site. It seems that the only forces he has available are those who destroy Jewish zoos and shacks.
These problems come on top of deteriorating security in the Hebron region. Last week a 16 year old Arab tried to kill Jews in Hebron by throwing a home-made bomb at a car in the city. Fortunately the bomb exploded in his hand, before he could hurl it. Several times over the past week Arabs have tried to stab Israeli security forces near Ma'arat HaMachpela. Thank G-d , these attempts have failed. However, the pattern is crystal clear, and we are certainly not happy about it.
On a broader scale, we were hoping that Hanukkah would usher in another miracle which would witness the end of the Sharon fiasco. This too, didn't happen. To the contrary, it looks like Sharon will come out of the latest government crisis stronger than he was before, forming a new coalition with Labor, and probably Shas and Agudat Yisrael.
In the meantime, the situation in Gaza isn't getting any better. Last night we lost five soldiers in an explosion of a tunnel underneath their outpost. This morning an Israeli engineer offered a unique solution to the problem of underground tunnels. He said that, just as walls can be constructed above ground to keep 'the bad guys' out, so too, walls can be built in the other direction, going down underground, offering protection from terror tunnels.
In other words, the suggested new Israeli ghetto is bi-directional, with walls surrounding us from above and from below. Truthfully, while listening to this interview I almost decided to visit my local ear doctor, requesting urgent aid. Or perhaps I needed a good psychologist – I had to have been hearing things – voices out of the air, imaginary conversations. I just could not believe my ears.
So, with all of this gloomy news, you ask, what's next. And the truth is, I really don't know. It might get worse before it gets better. At the moment, despite the holiday, there seems to be much more darkness than light. But, then again, that's what Hanukkah comes to teach us, that a very little bit of light can expel a tremendous amount of darkness. Try it. Put yourself in a totally dark room, without any windows or lights. Opening your eyes wide won't help. You can't see anything. Then, light a match – the darkness suddenly disappears. Much of what was invisible is quickly visible. It doesn't take much light – just a very little bit. I guess that's today's lesson – to ignite a small flame and watch it start to burn away the darkness, first slowly, but then blazing – just as we begin the first night with one candle, but reach the eighth night with eight candles.
Remember – a little bit of light goes a long long way.
Happy Hanukkah.
With blessings from Hebron.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Expect the Unexpected

November 29, 2004

In Israel, today is known as "kaf-tet b'November. 'Kaf-tet', two letters of the Hebrew alphabet represent, in Hebrew, the number 29. In other words, the 29th of November. That's today's date, so what's so special about it? As far as I know, there aren't any other days in the Gregorian calendar, known by their Hebrew equivalent. Gregorian dates are known numerically – the first of December, or April 15th. Dates on the Hebrew calendar are recognized Hebraically, 'kaf-tet Kislev – i.e., the 29th of the Hebrew month of Kislev. However, today's date is a mixture of the two – 'kaf-tev' of November.
Why? Exactly fifty-seven years ago today, one of the most unusual events in world history occurred. The United Nations voted to partition Eretz Yisrael, thereby granting the Jewish people an opportunity to declare a Jewish state, the first sovereign Jewish state in two thousand years. This, coming only two and a half years after the conclusion of the Holocaust. Today is almost a mini-independence day – recognition by the international community of a Jewish right to its homeland.
This wasn't the first time such acknowledgement was forthcoming. Almost exactly thirty years earlier, on November 2, 1917, Arthur James Balfour, then the British Foreign Secretary, issued the famous 'Balfour Declaration, a letter to Lord Rothschild, which said, "I have much pleasure in conveying to you. on behalf of His Majesty's
Government, the following declaration of sympathy with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet:

His Majesty's Government view with favor the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country."
The major difference of course, between the 1947 partition plan and the 1917 Balfour Declaration is that the later was strictly British; the former construed international recognition.
The 1947 UN decision precipitated the declaration of Israeli statehood, in May, 1948.
Looking back at these historic decisions, different questions can be posed. For example, how would the UN vote today? Would they readily accept creation of a Jewish State? Should the Jews then have accepted partition of the Land of Israel? What would have happened had the Arabs accepted the partition plan? While Jewish leaders in Israel reluctantly accepted the arrangement, the Arabs rejected it out of hand and their reaction was an immediate declaration of war.
However, in my opinion, perhaps the most significant question to be broached is: Was it worth it? Did we do the right thing? In other words, should a Jewish state have been created and recognized?
Why do I ask this question? There are those in Israel today, both on the right and on the left, secular and religious, who doubt the wisdom of the leaders of yesteryear. Looking at the state of Israel from different angles, there are those who arrive at the same conclusion: the State of Israel was a mistake. It should be dismantled, allowing others to start again. Those on the left view supposed Israeli 'apartheid,' or treatment of Arabs as an excuse to do away with the state. So I was told by Israeli 'historian' Teddy Katz, back in September. “If I had a choice between this (i.e. – removing Arabs from their homes and villages), or giving up, I would give up”, i.e. relent on the idea . of a Jewish state.” 2) Israel is the second largest ethnic-cleansing country in the history of the world, second only to Nazi Germany. (See: A Glorious Past, Present and Future - TTTT (According to media reports, Katz attended Arafat's funeral in Ramallah.)
Those on the far left aren't the only ones who have despaired. There are people on my side of the coin have also given up on the current State of Israel. Some advocate creation of a new state, calling it 'The State of Judea,' while others believe that the original state of Israel is totally 'impure,' due to the fact that the primary movers in the 1940s were secular, thereby bringing about creation of a secular state.
In truth, it's not difficult to comprehend the lost hope. Israel's current situation is far from rosy. The latest escapades of our Prime Minister, who has single-handedly annihilated the Israeli right, betraying his own philosophies and moving over to 'the other side' is deplorable. Perhaps Israel's greatest error is the continued revival of ninty-nine percent dead terror organizations.
By the time Yitzhak Rabin was elected Prime Minister in 1992, the PLO was a virtually impotent organization. Israel defeated the 'first' intifada, and Arafat was both broke and broken. Rabin, Peres, and Co. brought him back to life with the infamous and cursed Oslo Accords.
Again, we have seen history repeat itself. The second Arafat war was also lost. Following massive Arab terror, leaving over 1,500 Jews dead and thousands wounded, Israel pinpointed the multiple heads of the snake and one by one, destroyed them. For all intensive purposes, the Palestinian authority ceased to exist. Arafat was internationally recognized as a murderous thug, and his organization corrupt, unstable and totally irresponsible. The state of Israel could basically follow any path it so desired.
Ariel Sharon, rather than officially declaring Oslo a failure and decrying the creation of a poisonous palestinian state, accepted and followed the path of the 'roadmap,' much the surprise of its initiator, George W. Bush. Sharon's willingness to accept a Palestinian state, followed by the expulsion plan from Gaza is nothing less than true 'revival of the dead.' So it's not surprising that despair has reached new heights, despair leading to gloom and anguish. And a willingness to watch the state crumble to pieces.
I fully agree – the situation is not good. We are facing different types of terror, from without and from within. But our state of affairs is certainly not as serious as it was in November, 1947. How many hundreds of millions of Arabs, surrounding the not-yet created fledgling state announced their intentions to 'throw the Jews into the sea?" There weren't even a million Jews in Israel at the time. Much of the international community didn't care whether Israeli 'lived' or 'died.' And those that did care, well, most of them weren't on our side. The chances of survival weren't very good. But here we are today – still here.
The November 29th UN decision was nothing less than miraculous – so too was the Israeli military victory during the War of Independence. Today too, we are fighting a war – this time on many fronts, some of which definitely shouldn't exist. But we cannot live in a dream world of 'what should be.' This is the way it is, for whatever reason, and we have no choice but to deal with it. I won't try to relate to the despair of the far left – but I can give a word of advice to those closer to me. Should you manage to take apart the current state of Israel and start again, what will you do with all the Jews who don't agree with you – send them back to Europe, or put them in camps, or send them out to the sea? Of course not! So you will still be here, and they will still be here, and then what? If they don't like what you do, they will have learned from your precedent – they will have a good reason to attempt to destroy whatever you manage to create, just like you did.
In other words, the problems within will still exist, as will the problems from outside – you will not have solved anything.
So, what can we do? I can't speak for everyone – but I know what I have been taught and what I believe. Our job is to try as hard as we can for that which is right and just, without attempting to destroy the framework which already exists. We cannot be held responsible for failure, because much of the results are not dependant on our actions – there are many other factors involved. We can only be held responsible for trying – as hard as we can. The final result isn't in our hands.
Those listening to the vote in the UN, on November 29th, 57 years ago, could barely have expected victory – who would have thought that Russia would vote in favor of the partition plan. They could easily have delayed the vote, or cancelled it altogether. The chances of victory were virtually nil. Yet the unexpected became reality and again, after 2,000 years, the Jews held their fate in their own hands. That day – today, should be a lesson to us all – to expect the unexpected, never to despair – to keep the faith.
With blessings from Hebron.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Colin Cancer

Colin Cancer
November 22, 2004


I have to begin this week with a response I received to last week's column, as it appeared on the web site.

"Dear Mr. Wilder
Thanks so much for your great article "once a terrorist always a terrorist".
It is really great and is just very true.  I am an Arab, Egyptian, with a Muslim background.

At some stage of my life (23 years ago) I was in the Islamic Groups of Egypt with Dr. Al-zawaherii (who became the second in command of AlQueda later on)...I rejected their evil teaching and started a peaceful version of Islam.

I was a speaker in many mosques against Islamic Fundamentalism (this was 21 years ago!) and sadly my life was threatened by the fundamentalists so I emigrated to a western country.

All what you said is true about these barbarians.

I have a book called "The Real Roots of Islamic Violence" that explains clearly why these people are violent.  I also have a web site called:
Unlike the book, this web site tried to present a peaceful view for Islam to help get them out of their darkness but ,as expected, Muslims do not like peaceful views!
With much love and respect
Dr. Hamid"

I did a little research to validate Dr. Hamid's identity, and he truly is a serious personality. The above-mentioned website is very interesting and highly recommended. I've printed out a number of Dr. Hamid's articles, which, at first glance, look like important reading material.  

In the introduction to the above-mentioned book, Dr. Hamid writes, " Throughout history many countries have experienced terror attacks. In most of these attacks, the reason was a political conflict aimed at gaining land or independence.  Unfortunately the type of terrorism that threatens the world nowadays (Islamic terrorism) is a different form of terrorism that stems from a very aggressive and non-tolerant ideology… The forgiving nature of the current civilized Western world made it try to find a cause within itself that made Muslims hate it to this degree.  Unfortunately, the sad reality of Islam is that such hatred of non-Muslims is generated by the Islamic religion itself against those who do not follow it, irrespective of their deeds.

The trick of Islamists is that they use any reason at all to justify their evil actions against the West (e.g., the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, the attack of the USA on Iraq, the improper dealing with the Iraqi prisoners) so that the Westerners think that the cause of terrorism is this reason and thus get blinded about the real cause of terrorism which is deeply imbedded in the Islamic religion itself.

I have concluded from my personal experience with Islam that the violent behavior of Islamists against the West is aimed at ending Westerners’ freedom and making them subdued to Islam. Quite simply, Muslims hate Westerners because they are not subdued to Islam, they drink alcohol, and they have freedom for women.  They invent other supposed causes for their hatred in order to gain support from innocent Westerners for their Islamic cause.

Unfortunately, the ONLY way to make Muslims satisfied with the West is for Westerners to submit to an Islamic or Taliban-like system, stop their freedom, and suppress women.

Any attempt to correlate violence among Muslims to other reasons than the religious teaching itself will end in catastrophe for human civilization as it will totally miss the real cause, and thus the decision makers will postulate totally wrong solutions."

Last week I also quoted Leif Wellerop, director of the Norwegian chapter of the International Christian Embassy, who, speaking about the rise of Islam in Europe, said that the third world war has started.

A few days ago I interviewed another Christian visitor to Hebron, a Baptist clergyman, Pastor Jim Vineland, from Oklahoma. He also talked about the influence of Islam in the United States.  He said to me, "It's World War Three."

Two different people, from different sides of the globe, saying the exact same words.  I wonder if Bush and Rice would say the same thing, in a private conversation? Chances aren't good. But I wonder what they really think? More importantly, if they do realize the inherent dangers in modern Islam, will they act accordingly, when that action is unavoidably, and inevitably, necessary?

On the heels of the reelected President's declarations about an impending 'palestinian state,' the almost former U.S. Secretary of State arrived in Israel for a 'friendly visit'. According to media reports he is going to request, at a minimum, that Israel remove all security forces  and security barriers from so-called 'palestinian citys,' in preparation for the upcoming three-ring circus, otherwise known as 'palestinian elections.' Such agreement on Israel's part can only endanger Israeli lives. There are rumors that Powell will also suggest that Israel release convicted murdered Marwan Barghouti, who might not only be a candidate to replace the deceased, great Arab murderer; he might actually win.  The Abu'sy twins, Mazen and Ala, are demanding that the leader of the Islamic Jihad, responsible for assassinating Rehavam Ze'evi -Gandhi, incarcerated in Jericho, also be released.

It really is not clear why Powell is visiting the Middle East. If only to say goodbye, then good riddance. His successor has already been chosen. Powell's record in this part of the world is dismal. He certainly is no friend of Israel, and any requests, demands, or the like should be dismissed out of hand. Hopefully Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will not take the traditional pro-Arab, anti-Israel State Department positions, so personified by her predecessor. At this point, he shouldn't be here and definitely shouldn't have anything to say about anything.

Unfortunately, Powell's four years of influence, representing decades-old overt State Department biases, are similar to malignant cancer, which tends to spread rapidly and is very difficult to get rid of.  Some of this illness may have rubbed off on his boss. Such disease must be eradicated quickly and radically, before it causes more damage, death and destruction.

Returning to our Christian friends, spoken of earlier. It is clear that the only reason Bush will again be inaugurated on January twentieth is due to the fundamentalist Christian vote. Without them, John K. would be president-elect. The reelected Bush because they know that he is 'one of them.' He represents them and their ideologies. And they are very very pro-Israel, true Israel lovers. And they comprehend the international dangers of fundamental Islam.

George W. is in their debt. And as any good politician knows, debts have to be paid off. The overhauled Bush-Cheney-Rice administration has an historic opportunity to rid the State Department of assorted strains of Colin Cancer. Should they practice what they really and truly believe, we will witness major changes in both State Department policy and United States diplomacy, undoubtedly having a major positive impact on the Israeli scene. The time has come.

With blessings from Hebron.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Once an Arab, Always an Arab

November 15, 2004

Now I can breathe a sigh of relief.
A couple of days ago I met with journalists who came to interview one of the 'fanatic extremists' whose views and opinions are on the very fringe of Israeli society. Of course, many of their questions focused on 'what's next,' following the demise of 'terrorist number one.'
"He's dead, so what will be now?"
My first response was that I am truly sorry – I'm sorry that he didn't die at least thirty five years ago – so many lives would have been saved. I added, 'not only Jewish lives, but Arab lives too' but I'm sure my interviewers didn't take me seriously.
As to 'what's next,' I answered without hesitation. "There is going to be a blood bath. The Arabs don't know any other way. They live lives of violence, that's the way they make decisions, and that's not about to change now. They will inevitably start killing each other as part of a war of inheritance. There's much to gain: power, prestige, and money – lots and lots of money. Maybe a free trip to Washington, a picture with George W., with luck a ceremony on the White House lawn, and if history should replay itself, a Nobel Peace Prize and a big slot in the history books. So, what's a few dead people on the road to such goodies? "
The interviewers looked skeptical. So I continued. "Look, they have absolutely no respect for human life. Look how many of their own they've sacrificed over the years. A couple of weeks ago a 16-year old genocide bomber blew himself up, killing some more Israeli Jews. Fifteen year olds have been apprehended on their way to perpetrate such horrible crimes. Any leadership that sees 15 and 16 year olds as expendables, clearly don't care about life. As far as they are concerned, life is a means to an end, and if it helps them meet their goals, is worthless."
"But," they continued to ask, "maybe something has changed – new leadership, free elections, etc.?"
"Do me a favor," I responded. "There are twenty two Arab states in the Middle East. Find me one democracy. Show me one Arab state which has 'free elections.' Of course, some states, like Egypt, do conduct elections every so often, but there is only one candidate. In other countries, if you vote for the wrong person or party, you simply disappear. And many others, don't even attempt to play the game. The leadership is sold, inherited, or taken by force. That's simply the way it is."
"Now, please explain to me why the so-called 'palestinians' should be any different. These people live by the sword and the gun. This is the way they've lived for centuries. How can anyone expect them to suddenly put down their weapons and start living like Americans in the United States. Their culture does not understand the meaning of 'free democratic elections.'"
"Remember," I told them, "the Islamic fundamentalist culture that they espouse is diametrically opposed to the western culture you are trying to force down their throats. Not only don't they believe in it, they vehemently reject it. The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, the terror in Spain, there is no end to it. Years ago, in July of 1997, I wrote an article called "Uncle Muhammad" [], warning of impending fundamental Islamic terror against the United States and the entire Western world."
"A few months ago I interviewed the director of the Norwegian chapter of the International Christian Embassy, Leif Wellerop, while he was visiting Hebron, and asked him his thoughts about the huge influx of Islam into Europe. His response was instant and still resounds in my ears. 'World War Three has already started,!' he exclaimed. The Muslims are attacking western, Christian values, traditions and culture, and their way is, of course, the way of the sword."
Imagination. I don't think so. Our Islamic friends have long memories that are saturated with revenge. The Spanish al-Qaeda attacks are a perfect example. The Middle East Info web site reports the following:
In the debris, police found a damaged videotape they said was likely recorded on March 27. Investigators salvaged images from the tape that they said showed militants, their faces covered and brandishing an assault weapon, warning of more attacks unless Spain pulled its troops out of "the land of the Muslims," an apparent reference to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Evoking the history of Christian wars that drove Muslims from Europe, the speaker on the video said, "We all know about the Spanish crusades against the Muslims, the expulsions from Al Andalus and the tribunals of the inquisition," according to a transcript of the recording released by authorities.

The statement echoed aspirations of other Islamic militants, including al Qaeda's leader, Osama bin Laden, who in a taped message evoked "Al Andalus," the ancient name for the area. In 1492, the Spanish monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella ended eight centuries of Muslim rule after a long siege of the city of Granada. []
And in Time magazine:
"For Spanish investigators, it was a chilling message from beyond. As they searched a bombed-out apartment building in the Madrid suburb of Leganés last week — trying to determine from the body parts exactly how many members of the March 11 train-bombing cell had made their last stand there — the investigators found a videotape in the rubble. On it, an intense man, flanked by two others brandishing Sterling submachine guns, warned of massacres to come. "The Brigades of al-Mufti and Ansar al-Qaeda" — or supporters of al-Qaeda — were in Spain, said Sarhane Ben Abdelmajid Fakhet, 35, to demand that "its troops pull out immediately from the land of the Muslims." Linking Iraq and Afghanistan to the 15th century expulsion of Muslims from Spain and the Inquisition, he demanded "blood for blood!" and "destruction for destruction!" [,13005,901040419-610023,00.html]
In other words, Islamic warriors are presently avenging the deaths of their comrades, almost 600 years ago.
These are the people that the State of Israel are expected to 'make peace' with. These are our 'partners.' The departure of the 20th century's second-ranking terrorist is, according to western leaders, media, and everyone else, an historic changing of the guard, the opening of a 'new chapter,' a 'fresh chance' for peace.
Right, tell me all about it.
So, why do I now sigh a breath of relief?
Yesterday I heard that the 'great Palestinian hope,' Abu Mazen, had been chosen by the Fatah terror organization in Ramallah, to replace Hitler's successor. He was then, according to news accounts, to visit the 'mourner's tent' in Gaza. "Aha," I said to myself, "if he is now an official candidate, undoubtedly someone will try to kill him." And you know what – so it was. As soon as Abu Mazen arrived at the appointed place, gunmen invaded the 'tent' and started shooting. Abu Mazen wasn't hurt, and today is trying to downplay the attack, claiming that it was not an assassination attempt.
He is, of course, playing on Arab intelligence to believe him. Forget the fact that two of his bodyguards were killed. Of course it wasn't an attempt to kill him. They just 'lost control of themselves, and Abu Mazen, by chance, happened to be in the way.
That's the way they live, and that's the way they're going to continue to live – whether we like it or not. Forget about western democracy, forget about free elections. The name of the game is violence, money and corruption. And, of course, the primary element: the desire to wipe the State of Israel, and all it's Jewish inhabitants, off the map. As a first course. This was exactly what I told the journalists, just a few days ago, and it already came true. Not because I'm a prophet, rather because when you know who you're dealing with, it's just common sense.
You remember the story about the guy who said he could train a cat to be just like a human waiter. He found a tame cat, and for an entire year worked very hard, teaching the cat how to walk on two legs, how to carry a tray, how to bow, how to act with proper manners in front of important people.
Finally the day came. The cat entered the hall, wearing a tux and bow tie, spruced-up, looking great. In his 'hands' the cat held a tray filled with exotic delicacies. He started serving table by table, and all the participants laughed with delight. Tray after tray, until finally, he appeared with glasses filled to the brim with an exquisite brew.
As the cat approached the main table, a little boy ran into the room, pulled a mouse from his pocket, and threw it in front of the cat. The tray suddenly crashed on the floor, the drink drenching the important guests. The cat tore off, chasing the mouse, forgetting his manners, forgetting his tuxedo, forgetting his 'human' attributes.
Once a cat, always a cat. Learn how to deal with them, as they are, like it or not.
Once an Arab, always an Arab. Learn what they are, learn how to deal with them, as they are – like it or not.
Because the alternative isn't a tray full of drink crashing to the floor. The alternative is a replay of September 11th, again and again and again. G-d forbid.
With blessings from Hebron.