Thursday, July 28, 2005


July 28, 2005

I no longer know where I am. Yesterday really threw me for a loop. But I guess that's my fault. Nothing should surprise me anymore.
From David Wilder
I no longer know where I am. Yesterday really threw me for a loop. But I guess that's my fault. Nothing should surprise me anymore.

The two stories ? one: the welfare agency is planning on 'taking' children from their parents who are arrested resisting expulsion and placing them with foster families, barring grandparents, aunts or uncles who will voluntarily give them a place to live, until their criminal parents are released from jail; and two: the young teenage girls, fourteen and fifteen, who must either stay in jail or live on a kibbutz. They cannot be sent home to Daddy, because he opposes the expulsion, and they cannot be sent to Mommy, because she lives in Gush Katif, and they cannot be left under house arrest, because at home they will continue their disruptive activities against the expulsion, and will have a 'negative' influence on their friends.

It makes you want to cry. This is what we prayed for, for two thousand years?

But, yes, there are miracles. Still, appearing before our eyes. The first, and the most amazing, in my opinion, is that people are continuing to make Aliyah, continuing to come live in Israel. A few days ago, a plane-load of new French immigrants arrived. This summer, if I'm not mistaken, Nefesh B'Nefesh, one of the most important organizations in existence today, is bringing some four full planes of new Israelis from America to the 'promised land'. In a few weeks, our wonderful Hebron Fund associate director, Ziva Glanz, is making Aliyah with her husband Daniel and their infant. True, we lost a fabulous worker, but we're making that up with a new Israeli family. And as far as I'm concerned, the latter is much more important than the former.

When people I meet, on groups touring or via email, inform me that they're making Aliyah, well, it makes my day. There's nothing more important a Jew can do today than come live in Israel. But looking around at what's happening here in Israel, I ask myself, why would anyone in their right mind want to come live here? You've got to be crazy. And it's not a case of ignorance. Today, everything is available on the Internet, and just about everybody knows everything. So why are they coming? Israel, summer 2005, is probably the last place on earth anyone would want to be. Democracy is being overrun by tyranny, the police and judicial system are fully corrupt, and the Israeli army can no longer be accurately called the IDF ? the Israeli Defense Forces. Rather than defending its citizens, the army is being ordered to attack and expel Jews from their homes. Now it's the IEF ? the Israeli Expulsion Forces.

But the planes are still arriving with new batches of Israelis. Why?

This morning, I attended a special event at Ma'arat HaMachpela. Tamar and Koshet Menlon celebrated their son Aviel's Bar Mitzvah. The Menlon's arrived in Israel when Aviel was two, eleven years ago. At first, they lived five families together in one caravan-house in Kiryat Arba. Now, they have their own home. They made Aliyah from northeast India, a place between the former Burma and Bangladesh, and are known as B'nei Menashe ? long-lost Jews from the tribe of Menashe, who have been missing since the days of the First Temple Era, thousands of years ago. Koshet Menlon, back in the old country, was a high-level administrator in the government offices of his locality. Today, he works for a very low salary at a local carpentry business in Kiryat Arba. To try and make ends meet, Tamar cleans the neighborhood school every day, and sometimes, also people's homes. The Menlons, a family with five children, have little material property to speak of. A roof over their heads, clothing and food ? the very basic necessities of life.

But at Aviel's Bar Mitzvah, I didn't see any unhappy people. Together with their family and friends, the Menlon's celebrated, not in a lost, forsaken place in the middle of nowhere; rather, they celebrated at Ma'arat HaMachpelain Hebron. After thousands of years of being lost, these people have come home. Really home. To Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel. When you stop and think about it, it's mind boggling.

So, here we have it ? two very distant extremes, which can almost tear you apart. If not physically, than psychologically. The horrors of expulsion and abandonment, Israel, summer 2005, and the magnitude of Jews coming home, from America, from France, from India, from anywhere, you name it. It's a dichotomy that's difficult to fathom.

So, why? I can only suggest my answer.

If you listen to, or read, news concerning the present war for Gush Katif, you may have frequently heard the word "Kissufim" or "the Kissufim junction". When you drive the roads to most of the Gush Katif communities, N'vei Dekalim, Kfar Darom, etc, there is only one entrance, and that is via the Kissufim junction. It makes no difference if you arrive via Ashkelon or Be'er Sheva; you must arrive at the Kissufim junction. Driving straight for a few minutes, passing entrances to various small moshavim and other communities, you arrive at the Kissufim checkpoint, which presently seals off Gush Katif from the rest of the country, turning it into something of a ghetto. From the Kissufim checkpoint, you continue on a desolate road, lined with decrepit Arab shacks, called by some "houses", which the terrorists use to take cover in order to shoot at Israelis driving on the road. (The Supreme Court forbade the army from destroying these wretched hovels, resulting in continued attacks, bloodshed and murder.)

Eventually ,you cross over a bridge, taking you into Gush Katif proper.

The Kissufim junction is currently a flashpoint - 'the place' to get to, or better put, to get through. It was the original target of last week's Judea, Samaria and Gaza Council march. However, despite what you read in the press, people are still getting through. And you'll forgive me if I don't reveal how. At least, not yet. The day will come....

In any case, Kissufim has, in the current lexicon, a special significance. But not too many people pay attention to Kissufim's real meaning. The definition of "kissufim" in a Hebrew-English dictionary will likely be "yearning" or "craving". Kissufim really is a major junction, a crossroads, not only connecting Gush Katif to the rest of Israel, but also linking Am Yisrael, the Jewish people, to Eretz Yisrael, to our homeland. For thousands of years, the uttering of "Next Year in Jerusalem," a spiritual clinging to Hebron, to Bethlehem, to Jerusalem, a soul-hunger so strong, so deep, so transcendental that it outlasted the most rampant, virulent anti-Semitic hate for Jews - thesekissufim, these desires, they kept the Jewish people alive. Pogroms could kill the body, but they could not destroy the spirit. The spark of Eretz Yisrael, one of the essential ingredients in a Jewish soul, could not be doused. The kissufim, the yearning for our land, for our cities, for our very soul, was stronger than the knives, axes and guns.

So too today. The Kissufim junction joins so very much: it links the north and the south, Gush Katif to the rest of Israel. But even more, it signifies the dreams of Am Yisrael from time immemorial, the dream of coming home, of settling the land, of living the way a Jew is supposed to live, the way a Jew was created to live.

And that is why today's events are so heart-wrenching, because they negate the very ideals that kept us going for over two millennia. Now, after having fulfilled the dream, we're going backwards, and it doesn't make any sense.

But the Jewish people do not give up. The kissufim of our fundamental nature are much stronger than dictators, generals and plainly stupid people. We've gone through it before and been victorious. That's why Ziva and Daniel Glanz, together with thousands of others, will make Aliyah this summer, the summer of horrors, 2005, and why families like the Menlons can live they way the do here, in Eretz Yisrael, as opposed to 'the good life' back there in the long-lost Shangri-La of northeast India. Because our kissufim, our longing, our desire, our yearning to live what we really are - these kissufim overcome all else that may seem to stand in the way.

And that is why we will not give up ? not now, not ever. That is why next week, tens of thousands, and in the end, I expect, hundreds of thousands, will take to the streets, marching in one direction ? from all directions, but marching in one direction, marching towards our kissufim, the kissufim that kept us alive through the generations, towards the Kissufim that will continue to bind us to our land ? from Morag to Homesh, from Kfar Darom to Sa-Nur, from Eilat to Kiryat Shemona, the kissufim that unite Am Yisrael with Eretz Yisrael, forever.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Scaring Away Wild Dogs

Scaring Away Wild Dogs
July 5, 2005


Sharon is running scared. D-Day is getting closer and closer and Ariel Sharon is starting to panic. The signs aren't hard to read.

Following last week's attacks in London, Sharon immediately issued orders to his underlings, otherwise known as ministers of the Israeli government. The command: Don't discuss the London terror attacks and don't compare them with terror plaguing Israel.

Why? Quite simply. Should the Al-Qaeda be linked in any way, shape or form, actually or even tacitly, to our 'good, peace-loving neighbors,' the entire Gush Katif abandonment plan would evaporate, instantaneously. G-d forbid that such an idea should enter normal people's heads. After all, can you imagine making a deal with creatures who kill, wound and maim innocent civilians, on buses or trains. Israel would never be able to consider such policies. So, the solution is easy: stick your head in the sand, way down deep, so you cannot see, hear, or even possibly image what might be happening up out there in the real world.

Another indication  of Sharon's galloping dread: Last night the state attorney general, Manny Mazuz, conducted a meeting with a group of seven 'religious-zionist' Rabbis, hoping to persuade them to end all opposition to the expulsion plan. He accused the Rabbis of leading opposition to the plan and not doing enough to prevent violence by 'extremists.' According to the INN report, one 'moderate' Rabbi responded, "The idea that we will stand silent is a mistake. Our children and our grandchildren feel that have been trampled. The limits initially were broken by the government and the Knesset and afterwards by the judicial system. If we are speaking about a rebellion..., the government has rebelled against itself and against the country."
The meeting took place as part of  'discussions' between the 'two sides,' aimed at defusing tensions and possible mass violence. It is very important to note the tone of such coordinated discussions. It goes something like this: "Either you stop everything you're doing, no more protests, no more opposition, or we will come after you, beat you, arrest you, and put you away for a long time.'  This is the true face of Israeli justice: the attorney general's office, the prosecution, and the courts.

Still, Sharon is petrified: he's terrified of the Rabbi's, he's frightened of the masses, he shakes thinking about massive refusal by military forces, soldiers and officers alike. He knows that blanket dismissal of hundreds or more officers will disintegrate the IDF. And most of all, he cannot sleep at night knowing that, with all this, if he doesn't continue taking apart Judea and Samaria, an indictment is still waiting for him and his thug-sons, right around the corner.

Another sign of Sharon's worries can be easily identified following Tony Blair's comments, after the London attacks.  
I think this type of terrorism has very deep roots," Blair said. "As well as dealing with the consequences of this — trying to protect ourselves as much as any civil society can — you have to try to pull it up by its roots," he said.  That meant boosting understanding between people of difference religions, helping people in the Middle East see a path to democracy and easing the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians, he said." [,7340,L-3110189,00.html].
In layman's terms, Israel is to blame. If we gave the Arabs what they want, (all of Eretz Yisrael), England, Europe and the free world would be safe and immune from continued Arab terror.

This doesn't ease Sharon's plight, because it is almost certain that he has plans to annihilate the Iranian nuclear reactor following the summer debacle. Blair's statement, which is representative of the entire European Union, at the very least, is only a forerunner of the fire they will breath following an Israeli preemptive strike on the greatest present threat to world peace – nuclear weapons in the hands of the Arabs. Sharon knows that he will have to find a way to appease them, and quickly. The only way to do that is an accelerated 'road-map,' i.e., the expulsion of tens of thousands of Jews from their homes throughout Israel, and, for desert, division of Jerusalem.

These words are not totally figments of my imagination. In an article published late last week in the Israel press, a senior (unnamed) military figure was quoted as saying, "Israel has plans to continue unilateral concessions through 2008." In other words, the fun is just beginning.

Maybe. Maybe not. If Bulldozer Sharon is scared, he has a good reason to be scared, as enumerated above. When a wild dog runs scared, sometimes it bites. But sometimes, if you pick up a rock and make believe you're about to throw it, the scared dog takes off in the opposite direction.

Sharon's tried biting. He's given it all he's got. But it still hasn't worked. Almost all of Gush Katif's 9,000 residents are still there. Very very few have signed compensation agreements. Thousands of people are arriving in Gush Katif, living in makeshift caravans or tents. And the battle is far from over. Next week, a national march, with people from all over the country, leading to Gush Katif, will begin. IDF officials have already proclaimed that they don't have solutions to tens of thousands of people.

We can still stop the madness.

Aviel Tucker, from Netzer Hazani in Gush Katif, posted an open letter "To the People of Israel, to every Jew wherever he may be."

…In another five weeks, they will knock on our doors ­ but we know now very
clearly that the "evacuation" will not be done gently. We will be beaten
until we bleed, and then dragged cruelly from our homes.

Here in the Gush, we're still anticipating a miracle, we're still praying
for salvation. But you, dear brothers, must be ready to move! We have
carried out our part; we have remained strong, and we will continue to do
so until the end.

But now, we need you. On the day that Gush Katif is closed, I ask you,
please, please, don't sit at home! Get up and start walking! Don't say it's
too late or there's no chance; if everyone gets up and comes, perhaps,
perhaps we will succeed! Maybe the Master of the Universe will hear and
will save us. Each and every person must feel that in the merit of his own
actions, Gush Katif will be saved.

Those of you who might prefer to sit on a comfortable sofa in your living
room and watch us on television being cruelly beaten and our beloved Land
sold away to murderers ­ will have to live with this his whole life. He
will have to explain to his grandchildren, who will ask him again and
again, "What did you do to save the Land of Israel? What did you do on
behalf of your brothers in Gush Kati?"

We have not lost our faith, and even when and if the situation gets even
worse, we will continue to believe ­ for the Master of the Universe does
only good for His children. But the moments of truth have arrived ­ and
soon it will be too late."

Our fate is in our hands – it is up to us, all of us, to scare away the wild dog, running with his tail between his legs. 

Monday, July 4, 2005

Entebbe forgotten

Entebbe forgotten
by David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron
July 4, 2005


Last week Mort Klein did it again. The President of the Zionist Organization of America released a nationwide US poll concerning the Gush Katif abandonment plan and other topics related to the Israel-Arab conflict. The results are amazing.

Some of the poll's findings:
Sixty-three percent of the population opposes Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from a section of Gaza and Northern Samaria” and “forcing 10,000 Israeli Jews from their homes and businesses.” Only sixteen percent were in favor.
Eighty percent oppose a continuation of three hundred and fifty million dollars of US aid to the 'palestinians.' Fifty eight and fifty three percent respectively believe that a 'palestinian state's' goal is to destroy Israel, and that it would be a 'terrorist state, not a democracy.
Sixty three percent, as opposed to five percent, believe that Jerusalem should remain under Israeli sovereignty, and not 'palestinian' sovereignty.

However, in my opinion, the most important statistic deals with the question of acquiescence. Fifty percent against twenty eight percent believe that 'the Gaza plan sends a message that Arab terrorism is being rewarded.'  []

These numbers speak for themselves. But it is imperative to understand what they say.
I quote from the beginning and conclusion of Mort Klein's statement concerning the poll results:
“This national poll exposes the myth that Americans support the Gaza/Northern Samaria Withdrawal/Expulsion Plan.  Americans realize that it’s a bad deal for Israel to make these major concessions without getting anything in return.  They also understand that this rewards the Hamas and Fatah suicide bombing terrorists whose counterparts are killing Americans every day in Iraq.  This Plan harms the US war against radical Islamic terrorism by sending a message that terrorism pays and pays well…The responses make it crystal clear that Americans are fervent supporters of the people of Israel, understand the terrorist nature of Abbas’ Palestinian Arab regime…" 

If I were your run-of-the-mill American, Jewish or not, living in New York or L.A., I think I'd be having a fit, reading press reports of the upcoming Israeli expulsion plan. Perhaps not so much because I would care about people losing their homes, that might not be my business. But knowing that the only so-called democracy in the Middle East is acquiescing to Islamic Arab terror; and knowing simple arithmetic, two plus two equals four, realizing that terror is not an Israeli problem, rather it's an international problem, a problem which struck at the very heart of the United States on 9/11; and knowing that the terrorists haven't changed their plans, and might very well attack again, especially in light of Israeli's surrender to terrorist demands; I think I would do everything in my power to convince the American government to prevent the capitulation, or, at the very least, not to support and encourage it. Not because of Israeli interests, rather because of American and international interests. It's simple reasoning and logic: Lighting can, and does, strike twice.

Mort Klein and the ZOA are to be highly commended. It's only a pity that other major American Jewish organizations do not jump off the Bush-Sharon bandwagon, open their eyes to reality, and join the forces of sanity.
Exactly twenty nine years ago today I was on a plane, heading to Israel. At twenty two, I had just graduated from university, and wanted, more than anything else, to come back to Israel, where I'd spent my junior year of college. That day, July 4, 1976, was the 200th birthday of the United States, and expecting a lot of traffic into NYC, I parted from my family the night before and slept over at an airport hotel, next to JFK. Being very excited about coming back to Israel I had trouble sleeping, and at about two in the morning turned on the radio next to my bed.  What I heard was unbelievable. A 'news flash' broadcast that Israeli commandos had just rescued hostages from the hijacked Air France flight in Uganda.  I couldn't believe my ears.

Flying into Israel the next day was like arriving in Wonderland. Their was a magnetic atmosphere that permeated every walk of life. Israelis walked around as if in a dream. The Israeli Defense Forces had managed, somehow, miraculously, to fly a Hercules jet to Africa, land, rescue the hostages and kill the hijackers, and get back to Israel in one piece. Only one commando was killed – Lt. Col. Yoni Netanyahu. There are almost no words to describe the euphoria that saturated Israeli society. Perhaps it was somewhat similar to the emotions following the Six-Day war victory in 1967.
What was the reaction to Entebbe? "Israel was seen by world opinion as having triumphed over international terrorism. The morale of the Israeli people was lifted. The Israeli army regained its reputation earned in the stunning victories of the Six Day War and its self-confidence was restored.  The PLO and other terrorist groups would start a long decline in the aftermath of Entebbe…" (LESSONS TO LEARN FROM ENTEBBE by Arno Weinstein [])
Israel proved again, to itself, and to the world, we will not give in to terrorism, at any cost!
Much has been written about the Entebbe operation. What seems very clear is that the person behind the entire episode was then Defense Minister Shimon Peres, who initiated, put together and then convinced Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to accept implementation of the rescue mission. How times have changed. We can only ask ourselves, what would happen during an Entebbe, version 2005? Not with Yitzhak and Shimon, but with a slightly different cast of characters – Arik and Shimon. What would Israel agree to concede, in return for the lives of one hundred and five hostages? Undoubtedly, the current 'leadership' would prefer a 'negotiated solution' with the welcomed intervention of our good friends, Abus Mazen and Ala. Why risk the 'peace process' for a hundred people. After all, what would the rest of the world say?

Israel has a case of massive amnesia. We don't remember our national pride, we don't remember our national essence, we don't remember our responsibility, to ourselves, to our heritage, to our land, to the rest of the world. It's preferable to throw in the towel rather than fight for what is right.

We are living in the age of Entebbe, forgotten. I wonder what it will take to eventually wake us up?

With blessings from Hebron.