Heshbon Nefesh

 Heshbon Nefesh
Erev Yom Kippur 5757
September 22, 1996

Heshbon Nefesh, in Hebrew, means, a personal reflection,
an accounting - a kind of `soul-searching.' In theory, a
person should do a `heshbon nefesh' daily, but more than
ever before Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

A heshbon nefesh, however, is not only a personal
affair. It must also be a national undertaking. The
past year has been traumatic - climaxing the ordeals of
the last four years. The murder of Yitzhak Rabin
depicted perhaps, in the most cruel of ways, the division
between two segments of the country. True, Yigal Amir
represented only himself - he pulled the trigger, and
that may never be condoned, but he was proven to be sane
in a court of law. One has to reach deep down inside to
probe, what could possibly bring a sane, intelligent Jew
to perpetrate such an act. That is a question that our
national conscience must ask, must scrutinize, in order
to see to it that such a deed never again stains Israel.

Today memorial services are being held around the
country, mourning the dead, killed 23 years ago with the
outbreak of a surprise-attack war by Syria and Egypt on
Yom Kippur. With the present tension on the northern
border, the analogy is too strong to be ignored. In one
sense, we were caught with our pants down - but in
reality, the Golda Meir government knew that war was
going to break out hours before the first attack. They
had enough time to begin mobilizing the troops - they
could also have called for a preemptive strike. Such
action would have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of
lives. Yet, they did nothing, and the results were
nearly catastrophic. Only the ferocity and determination
of our soldiers, including Raphael Eitan and Avigdor
Kahalani in the north, and Arik Sharon in the south,
along with a tremendous dose of G-d given miracle,
prevented, what Moshe Dayan called, the fall of the Third
Temple. The situation during the first few days of the
war was very very serious.

Yet, the writing was on the wall - and nobody paid
attention. Were they all really that blind? I don't know
that anyone has the answer, but my question is, how can
we use the lessons that we learned then, today. This
morning, on the 7:00 news, there were two stories, one
following the other. The first spoke of plans by Hamas
and the Islamic Jihad to renew suicide terrorist attacks
within Israel. According to the report, these groups
have reached a decision to once again wreak havoc inside
Israel, AFTER THE REDEPLOYMENT IN HEBRON. They are
waiting until after redeployment so as not to jeopardize
Israeli abandonment of the city. Of course, it goes
without saying, that the terrorist attacks will be much
easier to plan and carry out after Israel abandons 90% of
the city to Arafat.

The second report dealt with Egyptian president
Husni Mubarach's declaration that "if Israel insists on
continuing a policy of resettlement in Judea and Samaria,
the intifada will be renewed. And this time, IT WILL NOT
BE LIMITED TO THROWING STONES."

One of the most traveled routes in Hebron over the
past few weeks is that to Abu-Snenah. Abu-Snenah is the
name of a hill overlooking downtown Hebron. From this
hilltop the entrance to Ma'arat is clearly visible, as is
the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and the road linking
Kiryat Arba to Hebron. From the hills opposite Abu-
Snenah, called in Arabic Harat el-Sheich, or in Hebrew,
Givat Mamre , Beit Hadassah, Beit Shneerson, Beit Hason
and Beit Kastel are within touching distance. These two
hills, along with a main road running above the Jewish
cemetery, only meters from Tel Rumedia, are due to be
abandoned to Arafat in the near future, if the present
government should implement the Peres-Arafat Accords.
This land will be off-limits to the Israel Defense
Forces. In addition, all civilian authority, including
building permits, property transfer licenses, water
supply and electricity WITHIN THE JEWISH NEIGHBORHOODS,
will be in the hands of Hebron's Arab mayor Mustepha
Natche and the Hebron municipality.

IN OTHER WORDS, PLAIN AND SIMPLY, THE JEWISH
COMMUNITY OF HEBRON WILL BE A CAPTIVE IN THE HANDS OF
ARAFAT. SURROUNDED ON ALL SIDES BY HOSTILE ARABS,
RESTRICTED FROM WITHIN BY ENEMIES, THE JEWS OF HEBRON
WILL BE DEPENDENT ON ARAFAT'S `GOOD WILL' FOR SURVIVAL.
AND THAT WITHOUT TAKING INTO ACCOUNT THE OVERWHELMING
HAMAS MAJORITY IN HEBRON, WHICH DOES NOT TAKE ORDERS FROM
ARAFAT.

A few weeks ago I published a short account of a
conversation that I had with Abed, an Arab in Hebron. On
Friday the following account was printed in the Israeli
press:

*** HEBRON CLAN OPPOSES IDF REDEPLOYMENT - Palestinian
intellectuals in Hebron joined in signing a declaration
organized by one of the large clans in Hebron which was
presented to the Israeli Military Government, opposing
the withdrawal of IDF forces from their neighborhood as
part of the redeployment in Hebron. ("Yediot Ahronot" 20
September, 1996- reprinted from IMRA).

MR. PRIME MINISTER - BENYAMIN NETANYAHU, NEED MORE BE
SAID? CAN'T YOU READ THE HANDWRITING ON THE WALL? WHAT
MORE WILL IT TAKE FOR YOU TO UNDERSTAND THAT "OSLO" IS A
CURSE - A SUICIDE-PACT, TO BE IMPLEMENTED BY ONLY ONE
SIDE?

MR. PRIME MINISTER, ON THIS DAY OF AWE, ON THIS DAY OF
ATONEMENT, PLEASE, WHEN YOU REFLECT, WHEN YOU DO YOUR OWN
HESHBON NEFESH, REMEMBER THAT THE STATE OF ISRAEL, THE
PEOPLE OF ISRAEL, THE LAND OF ISRAEL ARE WEIGHTED ON YOUR
SHOULDERS. YOUR DECISIONS WILL DETERMINE WHETHER THE
EVENTS OF 23 YEARS AGO WILL RETURN ON THEMSELVES OR NOT.

MR PRIME MINISTER, WE KNOW THAT YOU BELIEVE IN THE RIGHTS
OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE TO LIVE ANYWHERE IN ERETZ YISRAEL.
YOU UNDERSTAND THE HERITAGE OF HEBRON, THE ROOTS OF THE
JEWISH PEOPLE. DO NOT ABANDON US, THE JEWS OF HEBRON!
DO NOT ABANDON ERETZ YISRAEL! THERE IS NO SIGNED DOCUMENT
IN THE WORLD WHICH CAN ABROGATE JEWISH-ISRAELI RIGHTS TO
THE CITY OF THE PATRIARCHS, TO THE LAND OF ISRAEL. DO
NOT LET US, THE ISRAELI PEOPLE, WHO ELECTED YOU, DO NOT
LET US DOWN.

WITH G-D'S HELP, YOU WILL SUCCEED. GMAR HATIMA TOVA.


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