Friday, October 25, 1996

Sitting Ducks

Sitting Ducks
October 25, 1996

     A couple of days ago an Arab, identified as a
"palestinian from Hebron" was interviewed on Kol Yisrael
radio.  He told Yoni ben Menachem that Hebron's Arabs are
hoarding weapons and are `preparing a surprise' for
Hebron's Jewish population.   The interview was
publicized in the Israeli press, including an article in
the Jerusalem Post.   Reaction to this explicit threat to
kill Jews in Hebron was negligible.
     I wonder what would happen if a Jew, identified as
an `extremist from Hebron,' interviewed on Israeli radio,
announced intentions to `surprise Hebron Arabs,' using
illegal weapons, cached for just this  purpose.  The
truth is I know exactly what would happen. As does
everyone else.  A massive witch hunt, led by the Israeli
left, with assistance from softhearts stationed somewhere
near the political center, would demand immediate
confiscation of all weapons held by all Jews in Hebron,
Kiryat Arba, and elsewhere throughout Yesha.  The Israeli
media would spend days on all the radio and TV talkshows
analyzing the renewal of violence as a tool by `Israeli
right-wing fanatics' to further their `cause,' against
the will of a majority of the Israeli public.
     However, when an Arab says the same thing, everyone
sits back and shuts up.
     Kiryat Arba Mayor Tzvi Katzover expressed the
thoughts and feelings of many of us when he declared that
we will not sit back and allow ourselves to be sitting
ducks, waiting to be picked off by the same snipers, and
others like them, who shot and killed Israel soldiers a
few weeks ago.  Is that an implied threat?  No - it is
not a threat - it is a promise.  We will not initiate
armed violence against Hebron's Arab population, or any
other population, for that matter.  But WE WILL NOT BE
SITTING DUCKS.  We will not relive the 1929 bloodbath
that left 67 Jews dead in Hebron, with the rest of the
community forcibly exiled from the City of the
Patriarchs.  If we are endangered, if we are attacked, we
expect the Israel Defense Forces to act as they act
anywhere and everywhere else in Israel.  If anyone, Arab
or otherwise, thinks that we will cluster together and
allow ourselves to br slaughtered, they are wrong.  If we
are attacked, we will not stand idly by.  The Jews in
1929 had little choice - they had no defense.  As a
matter of fact, they refused to heed warnings from
Jerusalem and rejected offers of taking arms to protect
themselves.  They believed that Hebron's Arabs were truly
their friends, good next-door neighbors.  They erred, and
the mistake was deadly.  We will not make that mistake
     It should also be clear that, as far as we are
concerned, there are no borders in Hebron.  Regardless of
any proposed division of territory between Arabs and Jews
in Hebron, should a terrorist propose to escape the long
reach of Israeli justice by taking refuge in an
`autonomous region' he will not escape unpunished.

I am presently located in New York, working on Hebron
awareness, as well as the Hebron Solidarity Concert to be
held next Sunday, November 3, at Town Hall in NYC.  The
Hebron Community sent me to the US as an official
representative of the community at this crucial time.  In
spite of the need to continue working around the clock in
Hebron, a decision was reached to present the truth here
in the US - a truth which is usually ignored or perverted
by international media.  I've spoken at a number of
forums and speaking engagements, and usually the reaction
is mixed.  Some people, when they hear and understand
what is really happening in Hebron are shocked.  Others,
having had some previous idea of the situation, ask
immediately what they can do to help.  And very honestly,
I have been, together with Judy Tisser Grossman, Director
of Public Relations for the Jewish Community of Hebron,
extremely disappointed by New York-New Jersey `real'
reaction to the current state of affairs in Hebron.
     We have been told, in no uncertain terms, that the
abandonment of Hebron is to be reality in a very short
period of time.  All municipal authority is to be
controlled by Yassir Arafat.  Armed Arabs are to be
stationed in the hills overlooking the Jewish Community
of Hebron.  The future of Ma'arat HaMachpela is to be
negotiated three months after implementation of the
withdrawal-surrender of Israel to Arafat's whims.
     How do we expect people to react?  We have made
several requests.  People can fax PM Netanyahu, reminding
him of his past promises concerning Hebron, and
beseeching him to stand strong against demands made by
terrorists who continue to kill Jews in Eretz Yisrael.
Bibi Netanyahu's heart is in the right place.  We just
have to make sure he doesn't cave in to external
     The other request we have had, is that people show
active support for continued presence in Hebron by
attending and assisting our Solidarity concert.  The idea
of a concert is to allow people to help Hebron
financially, but at the same time, giving them something
special in return.  Our goal was to return to Hebron with
enough money to allow us to begin construction of the new
apartment building, Beit Nahum b'Yehuda, in the Avraham
Avinu neighborhood.  Unfortunately, response has been
ghastly. Some `friends' of Hebron have spread rumors that
the concert was sold out.  This is not true.  Others said
that it was canceled.  This is also a lie.  But, people
are telling us that the tickets are `too expensive.'  It
seems that the real point of helping Hebron today, when
that help is so desperately needed, has been lost.  The
apathy and uncaring is unbelievable.  I receive many
`congratulations' after speaking, but very little more
than that.  Judy and I are facing a situation where we
may have to go back to Hebron and inform our friends that
in New York, we couldn't find 1,500 people to fill up an
auditorium to support Hebron.  I will feel quite ashamed
should I have to actually do this.
     Anyone who wants to help Hebron, for real, can do so
by calling 718-575-0056. Order tickets to the Hebron
concert.  If you don't want the tickets, we will see to
it that someone else receives them. If no one answers the
phone, leave a message and we will get back to you.  Now
is the time to help Hebron.

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