Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Darchei Noam

Darchei Noam

Published: Wednesday, May 20, 2009 10:38 AM
A fitting award for Noam Arnon.

Many years ago an Arab called a friend of his: "They're after me, they want to kill me and my family. No one will help us. What can we do?"

His friend, realizing the seriousness of the situation, quickly answered: "Come to my house. I'll keep you here until it's safe for you elsewhere."

The Arab and his family lived with his friend for quite a while. He had cooperated with the Israeli security forces, feeding them information over an extended time. When he was 'discovered' they abandoned him. The 'friend' who refused to leave him to his fate, and instead saved his life, was Noam Arnon; and the place was Hevron.

Sitting in an office next to a person for almost 15 years, and living upstairs from him for almost 11 years, provides you with a perspective about him that other people don't normally view.

There are several traits that stand out when thinking about Noam. The first is a habit that most people (at least most that I know) don't have. He listens. He hears what other people have to say. And many times what he hears influences what he does, even if it means changing his mind.

Our sages teach that it is supremely important to have a lev tov, a "good heart". Noam Arnon certainly qualifies for this distinctly positive attribute. It is written that a lev tovencompasses several different qualities: A "good eye" - through which a person sees most everything through a positive looking-glass. This is vintage Noam. Despite his extremely high standards and ideals, he almost always observes events, including personal affronts, from an optimistic and constructive viewpoint.

This can be, for people like me working with him, very frustrating, as I do not always see people and events with that same 'good eye'.

The same above-mentioned teaching also speaks of being a "good friend and neighbor." I can attest to Noam's adherence to both of these attributes. There are few people I know who are as loyal as he is to his friends, sticking up for them whatever the situation may be. And as a neighbor, I think he would bend over backwards and give the shirt off his back, should the situation so demand.

The fourth trait mentioned is a person who knows how to "plan for the future," and understand "what's coming next." Advanced planning is always recommended, but not always easy to do. Planning ahead doesn't just mean setting up next week's schedule. Rather it entails vision; it necessitates thinking not only about tomorrow, but about next year, a decade from now, and even farther into the future.

Perhaps one of the best examples of Noam's vision was his founding of Midreshet Hevron. Initiated some 30 years ago, this organization has utilized tours and lectures to reach out to thousands and thousands of people, children and adults, teachers and tour guides, tourists and sabras, introducing them not only to Hevron, but to the wonders of the Judean Desert, the southern Hevron Hills, and many other sites. When the Midrasha was founded, it would have been impossible to foresee its influence on so many thousands of people. But it has left an indelible mark on all those it has educated.

Lastly, the teaching speaks of the most complementary trait, that of a "good heart". Probably the best example of Noam's "good heart" is related in the first paragraph of this article. Another instance I remember is when a group of Gentiles visited Ma'arat HaMachpela (the Cave of the Patriarchs). Some of the people already at the Ma'arabegan acting in a repulsive manner. Noam reacted quickly, rebuking them, asking, "Is it not written that Abraham is the father of many nations? Why shouldn't others have the privilege to visit here too?"

Noam Arnon is a man of many talents. He has toiled as a leader within Judea, Samaria and Gaza for decades. For many years, he was the official spokesperson for Gush Emunim and continued as spokesman for Hevron's Jewish community. He is a superb tour guide, whose tours of Hevron have international prominence. A more recent project has included hundreds of historical tours for Israelis serving in the IDF, from privates to fighter pilots to high-ranking officers. Many of the people in these groups had never before been to Hevron, and their opinion of the city was based only upon what they read and saw in the media. Following a tour of Hevron, a visit which includes absolutely no politics, rather history only, many of them begin to comprehend the significance of Hevron to the Jewish people. This is due to Noam's extraordinary efforts, showing them Hevron as the roots of the Jewish people.

On one hand, Noam has a poetic neshama (soul), and is the regular leader of the Shabbat Carlebach services every Friday night at Ma'arat HaMachpela. It is not an exaggeration to say that Noam is spiritually bonded to Judaism's second holiest site. Very rarely does he miss praying at the Ma'ara, three times a day, seven days a week.

On the other hand, Noam Arnon is an authentic intellectual, a man who continues his formal education through this very day, a man who is well read, and whose dream it is to write books. He has already authored a number of books and pamphlets about Hevron, including a short history of Hevron and Ma'arat HaMachpela, the relationship between Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak Kook and Hevron, and a compilation of Jewish sources dealing with Ma'arat HaMachpela. This is surely only the beginning. The future will definitely see major publications pumped out of his printer. Frequently he tells friends, "Let me just sit and write, that's all I really want to do."

Anyone who knows Noam and his abilities is not about to allow him to 'just' sit back and write. His leadership, which has included participation on the Hevron Jewish community's local council for many years, is still vital. Perhaps when one day he retires, he'll be allowed the luxury to 'just sit and write.' But not yet.

It is quite fitting that Noam Arnon be awarded the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. The Moskowitzes, Dr. Irving and Cherna, are paradigm Zionists, who will be remembered in the annals of Jewish history as are the Rothschilds and Montefioris. There are many people in the world who are willing to express opinions and mouth support for the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael. There are very few who are willing and able to bestow the type of support the Moskowitzes have provided over the years.

The decision to award the Moskowitz Prize to Noam Arnon is doubly important. Of course, it recognizes his life's work for Am YisraelEretz Yisrael and Hevron, but it also recognizes the fundamental importance of Hevron to the Jewish people. Nothing could be more natural than Noam Arnon, Hevron and the Moskowitzes coming together as one, binding them as links in a chain, giving honor to all three - the bestower, the bestowed and our common roots: Hevron.
Many times I'm asked what Noam's like. My answer is very short and simple: Noam is as his name. In English, I guess the best translation of noam is "pleasant", conveying relaxation and quiet, or perhaps best put, "peace of mind". This best describes Noam. Personally, it is an honor to call him a friend and colleague. On behalf of the Hevron Jewish Community, it is a pleasure to wish him a hearty Mazal Tov on reception of this worthy distinction.

He should be privileged to continue working 'his way' - 'the way of Noam' or in Hebrew,Darchei Noam.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Bibi and the American Inquisition

Iyar 19, 5769, 5/13/2009

Bibi and the American Inquisition

Last week PM Netanyahu told his cabinet, "I think we must make great efforts to ease life for the Palestinians while keeping security constraints in mind."
Israel has much experience 'easing life' for Arabs living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Following signing of the Oslo Accords, Israel moved out of all of the major Arab-populated cities in Judea and Samaria. The results were phenomenal. The Arabs had it great, sort of like when kids get to school and find that the teacher's not there, and there's no substitute. The kids then have a free-for-all day, no holds barred.
That's what happened when Israel retreated from Shechem, Jenin, Tul-Karem etc. A huge vacuum was created, leading to anarchy-plus, resulting in massive terror throughout Israel.
In January, 1997 Bibi signed and implemented the Hebron Accords, which transferred over 80% of Hebron to Arafat and the PA. Finally an overwhelming majority of Hebron Arabs were freed from the yoke of the Zionist occupier. No more Israeli soldiers patrolled some 80% of the city, looking for 'freedom fighters' aka terrorists. This led, three and a half years later, to the beginning of shooting attacks from the Abu Sneneh and Harat a-Shech, hills overlooking Hebron's Jewish community, which continued for almost two and a half years. They lived the good life; Hebron's Jews lived with constant terror.
The cherry on the icing was, of course, the greatest 'easing of Palestinian life' almost four years ago, when for the sake of peace and a healthy Arab state of mind, Israel expelled almost 10,000 Jews from Gush Katif and abandoned their land to the PA. "Finally," they exclaimed, "alone at last." Well, almost but not quite. There were still a few things that bothered them, like Jews living in Sderot. According to Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook, "Sderot, which may be known to some as an Israeli town, lies on the ruins of Najd, a Palestinian village ransacked in May 1948 by Zionist terrorist gangs."
Shekh Achmad Yassin told Amira Hass in Ha'aretz, 'what is important is that the holder of the right remain fixed in his resolve to restore his rights. In other words, in 1948 I lived in Ashkelon. Will I, who hold the right [to live in Ashkelon] go to make the case that it is mine?
(Not so coincidentally, I have on my wall a 'tourist map' published by the "Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism, which lists three coastal cities (from south to north) Ashdot, Askelon, and (Tel Ar Rabee) Tel Aviv).
Of course, the great easing of 'palestinian life' in Gaza, following Israel's abandonment there, led to thousands of rockets being shot from that very land into these Israeli coastal cities. The goal of these attacks is undoubtedly to liberate Sderot from oppressive Israeli rule, thereby giving Palestinians more breathing room, while at the same time making it easier for them to attack and liberate Tel Ar Rabee.
The latest phase in life-easing situations is Hebron. Hebron leaders were notified by high ranking officers in the IDF that it is necessary to improve Palestinian living conditions. Therefore they are not opposing the opening of Tzir Tzion – the Tzion road, from north of Kiryat Arba, running past Kiryat Arba and Beit HaShalom, into Hebron. Interestingly enough, two of these generals, who have a great deal to say about what happens in Hebron are former commanders of the Judean Brigade and Hebron: Central Region Commander, General Gadi Shamni, and Commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, General Noam Tibon. Shamni was in charge in Hebron when the Hebron Accords were implemented. He didn't think they would be so bad.
Tibon was in Hebron when the Oslo War started (the 2nd Intifada). He closed the transJudea road (Rt.35) leading to Beit Shemsh and Kiryat Gat, claiming he couldn't give it full protection. His successor, Col. Dror Weinberg hy"d opened it almost immediately upon taking command in Hebron. Tibon also has a thing about destroying homes in the Hebron area; he commanded the force that destroyed the home of Livnat Uzeri, whose husband Nati was killed in that home by terrorists. He also commanded over the forces that destroyed the Federman farm in Kiryat Arba and Yad Yair, near Dolev in the Shomron.
The present situation is a no-brainer. Palestinian living conditions are more important than Israeli lives.
I count 7 people having been killed on the soon to be reopened road,: Mordechai and Shalom Lapid, Sarit Prigal, David Cohen, Hezi Mualem, Kerin Ya'akobi and Meir Kalfon. Yet now, it's going to be safe. Just to make sure, the IDF is bringing in a full squadron of some 100 soldiers, just to make sure. In order to ensure a good view of the area they'll be using the roof of Beit HaShalom.
Early this morning Hebron residents staged a small protest march between Hebron and Kiryat Arba, on the Tzion Road. A few dozen children, along with a group of adults, marched with flags and whistles up the hill to school in Kiryat Arba. Usually the kids have a ride; today they walked. (See below movie or photos at:
No one paid too much attention.
Tomorrow a larger group, including residents of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, along with others, will again stage another protest march, this time leaving Kiryat Arba at about 1:30 in the afternoon. Again, we don't expect Shamni or Tibon or Barak or Netanyahu to care. We don't live under any illusions. Barring unpredictable events, they will open the road sometime in the near future, despite our protest marches. This will certainly 'ease' the lives of some Arabs living in the vicinity.
The question is what answer these 'leaders' will offer when a 'majnun' (crazy person) tries to run over some Jews on the road, or attempts to push an Israeli vehicle (like a bus or van, G-d forbid, tractor-style) into the valley below, from this road.
Arabs have yet to prove that they can be trusted in any way shape or form. They have never lived up to any so-called agreements; to the contrary, they violate them, as if it's their right to do so. In this case, they are not giving anything; not even any promises. They're getting a gift, which endangers Israeli lives, for free.

And most unfortunately, this is just the beginning. More is soon to come. Watch for chapter two following the conclusion of Obama's version of an American Inquisition, next week in Washington. The big question is whether Bibi, as they are tying him to the stake, will be willing to say loud and clear -  Shema Yisrael – Israel belongs to the Jews, or whether he will, at the last moment, give in, acquiesce and agree to sacrifice more Jewish lives for the Obama republic. Let's hope for the best.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


Iyar 11, 5769, 5/5/2009


This is not the first time Jews have connived with the enemy
The Obama pressure cooker is gearing up to full capacity. One of the first acts of the Obama regime has been formation of a broad coalition of forces, including American Jewish leaders, to pressure the State of Israel into abandoning and relinquishing land to the Arabs.
 Obama's early success can be exemplified by a headline in the daily Israeli newspaper, The Jerusalem Post, from May 4, 2009: AIPAC delegates to lobby for two-state solution. The article explains: "participants at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee Policy Conference will this week be urging their elected representatives to press President Barack Obama for precisely that. (a Palestinian state)… AIPAC thousands will be asking their congressmen to sign on to a letter addressed to Obama that explicitly posits the need for a "viable Palestinian state."

Obama also successfully manipulated other Jews and even Israelis to participate in his anti-Israel coalition. Speaking at the same 2009 convention, former Israeli Foreign minister Tzippi Livni stated: " we need to maintain a Jewish majority in Israel. This is not a technical matter, it is a matter of our survival. And in the choice between giving up our values, the raison d'etre of Israel, and giving up part of the land - I choose the land. It is for this reason that I believe that embracing the vision of two states for two peoples - a vision that was recognized by the UN in 1947, and embraced by the United States - is not an Israeli concession but an Israeli interest. This is the only way to end the conflict."

Even recently elected Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, while publicly opposing a 'palestinian state' joined forces with Obama by appointing Prof. Michael Oren as the Israeli ambassador to the United States. Oren was quoted in HaAretz newspaper as having said: "The only alternative for Israel to save itself as a Jewish state is by unilaterally withdrawing from the West Bank and evacuating most of the settlements."

Oren also stated that the eviction of thousands of Jews from Gush Katif was not a mistake, despite the attacks on Israeli cities from the abandoned communities: "The mistake was Israel's failure to react to the Qassam fire, which sent a message of weakness to the entire Middle East."

Another Jew in a major leadership position, Obama's Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel, linked American efforts preventing Iran from fully developing nuclear weapons with Israeli concessions. "the ability to confront Iran will depend on the ability to make progress on the Palestinian front. Solving the conflict will make it possible to advance the handling of the main threat posed by Iran.",7340,L-3710297,00.html
Obama's national security advisor, Gen. James Jones, told a high ranking European diplomat that Obama will be "forceful" with Israel.
Undoubtedly, the most damaging American special interest lobby dealing with Israel is AIPAC.  Steve Grossman, AIPAC president in the early-middle 1990s, was quoted as saying "There were people in AIPAC who felt Oslo was a bad idea, but I'm still proud of the fact that the first American Jewish organization to support Rabin and Peres and the Oslo accords was AIPAC."

In an article called "AIPAC Lobbying," AFSI president Herb Zweiban writes, "AIPAC President Steve Grossman has declared that he supports sending $500- million in U.S. aid to the PLO, despite the PLO’s massive violations of the Oslo Accords. (JTA, Dec. 5, 1994) While other pro-Israel groups endorsed legislation to pressure the PLO (e.g. the Specter-Shelby Amendment), AIPAC worked behind the scenes to “discourage congressional measures aimed at supervising administration grants to the PLO.” (Jerusalem Post, Nov. 10, 1994)"

A JTA article headlined, " AIPAC offers strong backing for withdrawal plan" says, "Sharon already has won the endorsement of an array of national Jewish groups...but AIPAC's endorsement is the plum." And further on, "We're very pleased that AIPAC has given its formal endorsement to the U.S. government's support for the disengagement initiative," said Debra DeLee, American for Peace Now's president."

In an article by Uriel Heilman, he writes, "AIPAC has been lobbying for strong US support for Israel's disengagement plan...." 

AIPAC initiated a letter, signed by US Congressman, showing support for the abandonment of Gush Katif. The AIPAC web site declares, "the letter recognizes the historic opportunity presented by Israeli disengagement from 25 settlements in Gaza, and advises President George W. Bush to press Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for reciprocal peace efforts and democratic reforms inside the Palestinian Authority.

In an article by Beth Goodtree called AIPAC of lies, she writes that " Natan Sharansky begged to speak at the 2004 conference and was unceremoniously turned down because he wanted to warn that giving up Jewish land to a group of terrorists who had no intention of having a true democracy was a roadmap to disaster for Israel. "

In the past AIPAC's 'official policy' was to toe the state line – whatever the Israeli government favored was good enough for them. Those policies, such as Oslo and the expulsion from Gush Katif, have cost thousands of Israeli lives. However presently, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is on record as opposing a 'two-state solution.' During his satellite-broadcast speech to the AIPAC convention yesterday, he did not mention the term 'palestinian state," rather he demanded that any negotiations be preceded by an official PA recognition that Israel is a 'Jewish State.' Yet AIPAC is actively lobbying in Congress, pressuring American representatives to support establishment of a palestinian state.
In other words, AIPAC has began a new phase in its infamous dealings with Israel; rather than just backing State policy, they are now attempting to determine that policy and force it down Israel's throat. Anyone calling the AIPAC offices and asking whether AIPAC representatives are pushing Congress to support a 'palestinian state' are answered affirmatively.
Clearly, AIPAC is fostering policies which are labeled in Hebrew, 'Mashtap' – an abbreviation for 'mishatef peula', which means, in English, collaborating with the enemy. AIPAC is  a large group of Jews, whose collective effort is focused on initiating and supporting policies which could lead to the destruction of the State of Israel. A Palestinian state is nothing less than a death trap, waiting to be sprung at a fateful moment in the future.
However, this should not surprise us. This is not the first time Jews have connived with the enemy.
The initials may remain the same, but the words have changed:
Americans Inciting for the Palestinian Authority Committee (AIPAC) aka the AJC (theAmerican Judenrat Committee).