March 8, 1996
Yesterday morning I had a telephone conversation with, unfortunately, a very ill person. His disease in not physical, rather mental. And probably the most dangerous aspect of his condition is that he is unaware of his problem.
The man (Ill call him Dan for the purposes of this article) is a young (late 30s), religious, Jerusalemite. He is bright (works with computers) in a major Jerusalem institution and in the past we worked together. During our conversation I asked him when he was last in Hebron, to which he responded when he was about ten years old. I invited him to come visit during Pesach when all the halls of Maarat HaMachpela will be open, including Ohel Yitzhak.
His answer floored me. He said, “Why should I endanger myself or my family? What good will it do anyone if I am stabbed or one of my children is injured?”
The conversation continued for quite a while, when he began accusing us (Hebron) of various crimes. “You danced in the streets when Rabin was killed.” “You are all extremists.” “You created the atmosphere that was responsible for Rabins murder”. “We all saw tens of Kiryat Arba citizens jumping for joy when Rabin was killed.”
I did my best to attempt to disprove the accusations but was not very successful. He continued:
“Yigal Amir was in Hebron.” “We have a government. We must give them a chance.”
I asked him if perhaps Yigal Amir once visited the institution which employs him, perhaps the institution should be closed? I also asked him if he does reserve duty in the army, or if he doesnt endanger himself when he rides on a bus? He said, “I dont ride on buses and I dont go to the Kotel (Western Wall). I go to army service, but if the danger was too great, that the State was statistically unable to survive, we should leave.”
Why did I begin this by saying that Dan is ill? Why does he feel the way he does? Dan is ill, not because his opinions are different from mine – that is legitimate – but rather because of the source of his opinons, that being the Israeli media. His total lack of faith, and his total blind acceptance of everything he hears and sees on Israel radio, television and newspapers has led to an overwhelming rejection of Hebrons Jewish citizens as legitimate people. He has been totally cut off from his Jewish roots in spite of the fact that he has a kippa on his head and (probably) prays three times a day.
The media has begun again. They realize that Shimon Peres and the piece plan is in danger. So……The latest scandel in Israel is the PULSA DNURA – a curse supposedly used against Yitzhak Rabin. Two men were arrested this week for supposedly planning to curse Shimon Peres. Kol Yisrael today suggested that the curse against Rabin was performed in Hebron, or perhaps, he added in Jerusalem . Later in the program they broadcast a reaction from Hebron, that the curse was performed in Jerusalem, in front of Rabins house.
All day Israel radio spoke of the demonstations in favor of the piece plan in Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem, while almost totally ignoring the demostations at 70 different location throughout the country, initiated by the Yesha council, supporting the machane ha-leumi (Israeli right).
In short, the Israeli media is out to save Peres and all his cronies and they will do anything and everything to accomplish this.
On a brighter note visitors continue coming to Hebron. Last week three buses of Christians participating in the Christian Zionist Congress in Jerusalem came into Hebron and Kiryat Arba. Some of them, led by Ted Beckett and Bette Laugrun of the Christian Friends of ICDF (Israel Community Development Foundation) toured the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Their excitement was tangible. Jews and gentiles visit us daily, expressing support for Hebron and the Hebron Jewish Community.
Peres declaration that Hebron will not be abandoned as long as the palestinian covenant is not changed basically means that until the elections the IDF will not leave the city. The price we have had to pay for this declaration is unbelievably high -words cannot express the pain felt by all Israelis at the unnecessary loss of life – the unnecessary murders in Tel-Aviv, Jerusalem and Ashkelon. But eventually this will end, and we will be able to live securely in all of Eretz Yisrael – all of us – together.