Heads or TailsOctober 2, 1998
Yesterday evening four members of Hebron’s leadership met with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for an hour at his office inJerusalem.
Early in the morning several Hebron leaders met with Central Command General Moshe (Bugi) Ya’alon. Ya’alon, an intelligent man, a former commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, was honest. The meeting with him can be summarized in a few short sentences: The Oslo Accords caused a serious security situation. The IDF is dependant on Arafat and the Palestinian Authority in order to provide full security. We have a real problem, because Arafat is not cooperating.
On this note, Hebron met with Netanyahu. The atmosphere in the room was strained. It could even be described as tense. Sitting with the PM was his chief of staff, former Yesha leader Uri Elitzur. The meeting began: “The Oslo Accords have proven to be a total failure. The entire process has collapsed. You are continuing as if nothing has happened, and are jeopardized our lives, as a result.”
Netanyahu was pounced upon. A finger pointed at him he was asked, “Do you know who is responsible for the terrorist attack here in Hebron on Yom Kippur? Where were you on Monday morning?” The PM answered briefly, “In New York.”
The questions continued. “What did you do three hours after a woman was shot at and hit in Hebron, by an Arab terrorist? You went to Washington and shook that murderer’s hand. With that handshake you broadcast to all of Hebron’s terrorists that all is OK, all is continuing as normal, You can do whatever you want to Hebron’s Jews, but the ‘piece process’ will go on.”
“And what are you going to do now? Put Beit El, Ofrah and other communities in the same situation Hebron is in today. And when they ask you about security, what will you respond: smirking, you’ll retort, “don’t worry, we’ll provide you will full security – if we have to, we’ll bring in tanks?!”
“Where are the tanks, Mr. Prime Minister?”
Netanyahu was clearly uncomfortable, but didn’t yet answer.
Rabbi Hillel Horowitz related the personal anxiety his wife has suffered over the past month. He told the PM how his wife heard the horrible screams originating from the Ra’anan home, when Rabbi Shlomo Ra’anan was stabbed and killed by a terrorist. The Horowitz’s caravan home is right next to the Ra’anan home. Last Monday his wife heard the gunshots fired at the Bar Mitzvah party walking down the road from Tel Rumeida. And then, on Yom Kippur, Naomi Horowitz was only meters from the hand grenade that exploded, blowing up a car on the side of the road. As she described it, “After the explosion I saw a ball of flame and shots rang out all around me. I thought I was in a war zone.”
Netanyahu did reply, but it isn’t quite clear exactly what he said. He promised building in Hebron and told the leaders that early next week he has called for a special meeting with some of the ministers to try to speed up the process. But what about security?
Netanyahu reiterated that Israel is obligated to continue the Oslo piece process. He again recited the famous ‘reciprocity’ formula, saying that if Arafat does not promise to fulfill his commitments, he won’t get any more land. But he refused to relate to specific security problems in Hebron.
“Mr. Prime Minister – we have been attacked four times in the last five weeks. A murder, a shooting, hand grenades, rocks, – what are you going to do about it?”
Netanyahu talked for fifteen minutes, but didn’t answer the question.
“Mr. Prime Minister, all well and good, but you didn’t answer the question. What about our security in Hebron? How are you going to protect us?”
Netanyahu talked some more.
“But Mr. Prime Minister, you still didn’t answer the question…..”
Did the meeting have any real results? Concrete results, no. Netanyahu didn’t offer any viable solution to the mess he created when he signed and implemented the Hebron Accords. However, the PM did hear, straight from those whose lives are on the line, day and night, seven days a week, exactly what is going on in Hebron. If he could claim that didn’t know before, Netanyahu now knows that he created a hell-zone, in which Israel is dependant on Arafat and his terrorist thugs to protect its own citizens. He also knows what is in store for tens of thousands of Israelis should he continue with the sham called Oslo. He will never be able to say, “I didn’t know.” He will never be able to hide behind beloved blind ignorance.
Almost two weeks ago we all sat around our dining room tables and welcomed in the New Year. Following Kiddush and washing of our hands, a number of special blessing were recited, sort of as a sign for the New Year. One of those blessings we say is, “May it be Thy will, L-rd our G-d, that we will be like a head, and not like a tail.”
Mr. Prime Minister – you cannot tell us any more tales. Everything is up front, all the cards are on the table. It is not just your office that is on the line, and it is not only our lives, the lives of 550 men, women and children, in Hebron, whose lives are on the line. Mr. Prime Minister, we are talking about the State of Israel. The State of Israel is on the line. Our heritage, beginning almost 4,000 years ago here in Hebron, is on the line. Jerusalem, our eternal capital, site of the first and second Temple, site of King David’s palace, is on the line. Yes, Mr. Prime Minister, even Tel Aviv is on the line.
Mr. Prime Minister, enough stories, enough tales, – you must now make a choice. Are you, Binyamin Netanyahu, representing all ofIsrael, are you a Rosh Memshala (a head of the government) or a Zanav Memshala (a tail of the government? The choice is yours.