One Year Later
March 10, 1996
This afternoon I stood, with about 150 other people, by
five graves. Opposite me, from left to right, were the graves
of Shalom Lapid, Mordechai Lapid, Rafael Yairi, Nachum Hoss, and Yehuda Partush, Z"l Hy"d. Five of over
160 'sacrifices for piece' - killed by Arab terrorists since the signing of
the Oslo Accords two years ago. Five of the many others that lived, worked
and died in the Hebron region. We gathered today to pay respect to Nahum Hoss
and Yehuda Partush who were killed on the 18th of Adar - three days after Purim
- last year.
I have visited the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron dozens of times, usually
showing tourists the different plots, some of which are over 500 years old. I
always stop near the graves of these five men and briefly tell their individual
stories. But today, and not just today, but anytime we
gather in the cemetery for a memorial service, the feeling, the sense of loss,
And as I stood, looking at the graves of my friends, asking myself what they
had died for, why did we have to be standing here,
....... suddenly my beeper started vibrating. I pulled it out, and read the message:
"A few minutes ago Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh received an administrative detention
order, arresting him for 60 days in the Sharon prison. The order was signed by
the minister of defense Shimon Peres. Rav Ginsburgh, dean of students at the Od
Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Shechem, and of the Menucha Rachel Kollel in Hebron, has
been under administrative order forbidding him from entering Yehuda and
Shomron for six months."
And I ask myself, after such horrific events as those that have plagued us for
the last few weeks, doesn't anyone pay any attention? In Judaism we are
required to perform a 'heshbon nefesh' - that is, an in-depth introspective contemplation,
searching for ways to improve ourselves, looking back at what we did - how could it
have been different - how could we have improved
our actions, our deeds. We do a `heshbon nefesh' especially
during times of crisis, both personal and national. How, in the name of the L-rd,
can a national leader, following the deaths of so many people by Arab
terrorists, after having released so many convicted terrorists from Israeli
prisons, possibly arrest a Torahscholar of the caliber of Rav Yitzhak Ginsburgh
on an administrative detention order?
Won't they ever learn?
This morning an appeals court in Tel-Aviv ordered
that Rav Ido Elba, be immediately released from prison.
Rav Elba, convicted for having supposedly authored a
theoretic halachic (Jewish legal) treatise concerning the
killing of non-Jewish enemies, was denied parole after
serving two-thirds of his two year sentence. The Israeli
intelligence services opposed his release on the grounds
that he is `spiritually dangerous.' Last week, Rav
Elba's father passed away after a long bout with cancer.
Rav Elba had originally been allowed to visit his ailing
father once every two weeks for two hours. The ruling
authorities loosen their grip after being approached by
several notable public servants, and allowed him to visit
his father once every ten days. After his father's
death, we wasn't granted a `vacation' as are most
prisoners under similar circumstances, rather he was
accompanied by prison guards, in handcuffs, to the
cemetery. Only after an hour and a half delay, during
which time a second permit had to be obtained, was he
allowed to attend the service at the funeral home in
Jerusalem. The next day, following pressure from over 20
MK's, was he allowed to go to his parent's home to sit
shiva. This morning the appeals court ordered his
immediate release from prison. The State attorneys
immediately announced that they were appealing the
One of those mourning the murder of Nahum Hoss was
Rav Moshe Levinger, serving a seven month prison sentence
for `pushing a soldier' five years ago on Yom Kippur,
when Arabs almost started a riot during prayers. Rav
Levinger, after intervention by various officials, was
allowed to attend today's memorial service at the
cemetery. Nahum Hoss was his right-hand man. They
worked together for years. Today Nahum Hoss lies dead in
Hebron's cemetery - Rav Levinger is in jail.
Can their be any greater absurdity? Shimon Peres,
Prime Minister of Israel, is involved in releasing
hundreds of Arab terrorists from jail, giving the Arabs
Eretz Yisrael, arresting Rabbis, and preparing `major
international conferences on combating terrorism.' And
we stand in front of the graves of the `sacrifices for
piece.' And I keep asking myself , what do we have to do
to make these people understand. And the truth is, I
don't have an answer.
"...I remember very well our last telephone
conversation. You called home and told me that you were
going to Jerusalem to buy a door knob for our front door.
As was your wont, you asked me,
`Avigail, is their anything else you need from
Jerusalem?' And you added, `Don't worry, by eight I'll
Yes Nahum, you arrived at your true home, you
reached the eternal home, and perhaps with the door-
handle, you opened the door to the Garden of Eden here in
Hebron, in the place where you said, "they'll never get
me out of Hebron, only in a casket!' And you were right
Nahum, no one will ever take you from here, here, under
the layers of dust, under the sacred earth of Hebron, you
are buried, side-by-side with the other holy ones, and
with those murdered in 1929.
You left us in shock, mute, in pain, and the heart
refuses to believe, to be comforted, for the enormous
loss, for I miss you so, we all do...
During your life you sanctified the name of G-d, and
with your death you made the supreme sacrifice to
sanctify the name of G-d, in the place you so loved ...."
Writing with tears in my eyes,
Your wife, Avigail
(From `Nachamu Ami - Nahum Hoss Hy"d, Ish Hevron'
Edited by Rav Mordechai Artzi
Available [in Hebrew] for $25. from:
The Jewish Community of Hebron
POB 105 Kiryat Arba, Israel 90010)