Hebron Tomorrow: After the Flood
Erev Rosh HaShana 5757
September 8, 1996
Mission Impossible made possible - against all odds,
reason and seeming logic - the impossible became reality.
The "Mahapach" - the toppling of a government espousing
abandonment, seeking a "piece plan," the Mahapach became
reality with the rise of Benyamin Netanyahu to the
office of Prime Minister and the Israeli `nationalistic'
parties as a majority in the Knesset.
The Mahapach of 1996 was a true G-d-given miracle.
And a major element of this miracle was, and still is,
Hebron. According to Oslo B - the Peres-Arafat Accords,
90% of Hebron was to be abandoned to Arafat and the Hamas
terrorists on March 29. All the other major cities in
Yesha - Shechem, Tulkarem, Jenin, Ramallah, and finally,
Beit Lechem, were evacuated `on time' - Israel left and
Arafat reigned, just as signed. The only city left was
Hebron, and the clock was running down. But, wonder of
wonders, miracle of miracles, it stopped. The price paid
was unbelievably high - bloodshed in Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv,
and Ashkelon - but Peres had no choice but to face up to
the inevitable - Hebron cannot be abandoned. And so it
was. Election Day - May 29th - the 11th of Iyar, will
remain an indelible mark in our memories - a holiday
Where do we stand today? It is clear that the
honeymoon is over and the time has come to get down to
the nitty-gritty. For a couple of months Netanyahu was
able to buy time easily. He said much and did little.
But that time has passed. International pressure,
spearheaded by the United States, and supplemented by the
Israeli left led to the deplorable meeting with terrorist
Arafat. Egypt and Syria threatening from one side, with
Clinton on the other side. And all eyes are on Hebron.
What should Bibi do?
There have been many different philosophies - a
variety of game plans. Bibi himself, speaking before a
joint session of Congress declared that the principal of
reciprocity is nothing less than sacrosanct. In other
words, he said, if Arafat wants something from us, he
must also supply the goods. If he isn't capable of
keeping his side of the agreement, why should we continue
to keep our side of the agreement?
Politically, this seems to be a safe position
because it is doubtful whether Arafat desires to, or is
capable of fulfilling his obligations. However, this
cannot be guaranteed. As untenable as it sounds
politically, Bibi must continue to espouse the same
themes repeated so frequently, while he was opposition
leader: Hebron, the first capital of Israel during the
early reign of King David, is an eternal element of
"We dwell in Hebron not out of benevolence but as a
right. Hebron belongs to the Jewish people eternally as
a result of our right and as a result of our strength,
our strength of faith, our strength to stand up for what
is legitimately ours...We must protect the foundation
of Eternal Israel. Hebron is ours, Jerusalem is ours,
the entire Eretz Yisrael is ours." Benyamin Netanyahu -
Jerusalem, December 7, 1994.
This is a language universally understood, and
inevitably, universally accepted. When you speak the
truth, not only your truth, but a Divine truth, your
message is eventually acknowledged. Our lives in Hebron
are focused around the most elementary truth in existence
- our right to live in our eternal homeland.
Netanyahu must drop Hebron from the present
negotiating agenda. Just as Jerusalem is `not for sale,'
so is should be with Hebron. The City of the Patriarchs
is no less important than Jerusalem. Both are `off-
limits.' The `final status' of both must be assured.
Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu must begin to
replace words with actions. In Megilat Esther,
Mordechai sends a message to Esther after having learned
of the decree calling for the annihilation of all Jews.
He tells her, "IF YOU REMAIN SILENT AT THIS TIME,
SALVATION WILL BE GRANTED TO THE JEWS FROM SOME OTHER
SOURCE , YOU AND YOUR FATHER'S HOUSE WILL BE DOOMED -
WHO KNOWS IF THIS WAS NOT THE REASON YOU WERE CROWNED?!
Prime Minister Netanyahu - this IS why you were
crowned - this is why we elected you to the Premiership -
now is the time TO DO - as you have previously, so
eloquently, enunciated. The Jewish Community of Hebron
plans on doubling its present fifty two families over the
next twelve months. Construction at Yeshivat Shavei
Hebron continues. When completed, there will be room for
500 yeshiva students. Presently there are two hundred.
And this is only the beginning. Jewish Hebron will
undoubtedly flourish. Tourists continue to pour into the
city, visiting the holy sites and Jewish neighborhoods,
and praying at Ma'arat HaMachpela. Requests to live in
Hebron arrive by mail and telephone. In spite of what
others might intend, the future of Hebron, Jewish Hebron,
the City of the Patriarchs, is assured.
Mr. Netanyahu, we are waiting for your long-promised
assistance. But you should know, that with or without it
- we are in a new era, after the flood. And as we were
promised, there will never again be another flood. With
or without you, Hebron will remain Jewish forever.
Happy New Year.