Our nation is now embroiled in a fierce and passionate debate about whether or not to unilaterally leave the Security Zone on the Lebanese Border. The issue has of course, taken on greater urgency, as a result of the most recent tragic helicopter crash that occurred on a day of the heavist Arab terrorist bombardment on our northern border. Seventy three of our sons lost their lives on their way to a “mission” in Lebanon. Even the citizens living on the Lebanese border have expressed views stating that this was too dear a price to pay for their security. Are we willing to sacrifice the lives of 18,19, and 20 year olds for the sake of other lives?
There is no clear-cut answer, and our nation is tormented. Does the Security Zone protect the North? Do Judea and Samaria protect Tel Aviv and Jerusalem? Did Sinai protect the Negev? These are not questions of sentiments and ideology concerning the Promised Land, but of pragmatism and security. We now have a Palestinian entity in the heart of Israel. Is this a good neighbor or an enemy? We are in the midst of a peace process, a process begun by P.M. Rabin, and continued by P.M. Binyamin Netanyahu. But P.M. Netanyahu was selected on a platform of “peace with security”. This promise of “reciprocity” was a key element in his victory.
Meanwhile what are the facts? To speak from a personal perspective of reciprocity, the mastermind of my son Nachshon’s October 1994 abduction and murder, Muhammad Deif still runs free, and our government is not actively requesting his capture, arrest or extradition. When I met with President Clinton last February at the site of my son’s grave on Mount Herzl, he assured me, as the guarantors of the Oslo Accords, that Deif’s capture was a top American priority. He went even further, at that time, and stated that the continuation of the peace process, specifically the redeployment in Hebron was contingent on Deif’s arrest. The former P.M. Shimon Peres, was present and witness to that promise.
Subsequently, many more cold-blooded murders of Jews have occurred, and the perpetuators received sanctuary and a hero’s welcome within the areas of the Palestinian Authority. The most recent of these, was the murder of a Jerusalem contractor, Yaakov Yemin, whose killer calmly hailed a cab to Bethlehem, where he was given sanctuary, and no one is demanding justice. Even when killers are caught – as was the case in several abominable acts of terror, they are given quick trials and sentences, so as not to be handed over to Israel, and according to Amnesty and the US State Department annual human rights report, they are released shortly afterwards and swallowed up in the Palestinian controlled towns. Many of these terrorists are then recruited to the Palestinian Police Force, another travesty of morality and justice.
My son’s kidnappers – the two who were not blown up in the IDF military action – were tried by an Israeli military court, and neither one was given the maximum penalty, which in Israel is not the death sentence, but life imprisonment. Who is to say that in some future “deal” as a concession to the peace process they too will not be released? Last week the body of Nachshon’s murderer was returned to his family in Gaza. According to Moslem law, without a proper religious Moslem burial, this murderer could not attain the status of a “shihad” or holy martyr. The Israeli-government, of its own free will, granted him this status.
Our family was neither notified, nor briefed in advance of the Israel’ government’s shortsighted intention of returning that body. We got the news from the media, who called and asked for our reaction to that heinous act, which ironically occurred on the very day that the Israeli Knesset committee on Internal Affairs met to deal with the phenomenon of the “cold-blooded killer”, Baruch Goldstein’s grave becoming a Mecca for some Jews who go there to pray, and the monument erected on that site was declared by the Knesset that day to be an obscene shame to our country. The hypocrisy of denouncing Goldstein’s acquiring holiness, while at the same time creating a Palestinian holy martyr, creates a double standard, offends all logic. 192.168.o.1
The family of a “cold-blooded Palestinian murderer” must know that they will never bury their son, and he will never achieve holiness. By returning my son’s killer’s body, the Israeli government unwittingly encourages more acts of terror, by creating more heroes who died for the Palestinian cause.
During World War II, when the US faced Moslem “jihad” terror in the Philippines, they smeared the bodies with pig fat, thus nullifying their sanctity, and the terror subsided. Our government’s insensitivity was a slap in the face to our family, and a degradation of Jewish life, by rewarding terror and murder.
And now – the latest “concession”. For as long as I can remember, every government in Israel while releasing terrorists, firmly asserted that those with “blood on their hands” would never be released. Today’s news tells us that we are about to release female terrorists “with blood on their hands”. The message – crime does pay, and terror pays even more. Every potential killer for “nationalistic” ideals now knows that with enough pressure, he will eventually go free, even from Israeli prisons. Jewish blood has become cheap in the Jewish Homeland, and I can only say, “The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to me from the earth”, and there is no forgiveness for those who murdered Jews – each one an entire world onto himself. Our sages tell us that each individual in an entire world, and he who murdered him also murdered all his potential descendants. Nachshon and all the other victims of terror will never build families to carry on their names, and their killers rejoice, while their parents mourn. I am not against peace. On the contrary, I pray for peace three times a day every day of my life. But it must be a just and lasting peace, with a partner smartphones under 5000 who yearns for peace. I have heard Chairman Arafat speak of peace on the White House lawn, in Oslo, as the recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize, and on many other occasions. Yet I also hear him speak to his own people of Jihad, a holy war, of an armed struggle, of the Zionist enemy. I have heard preachers in the mosques throughout the land speak words of incitement and hate.
Most disturbingly, I hear Arafat revere and honor those “freedom fighters” whose lives were dedicated to terror and bloodshed, and call them heroes of Palestine. These are not the words or acts of a peace-loving leader. While the Israeli Board of Education has formulated endless programs and study hours to preparing our people – especially the next generation – for peaceful co-existence with our neighbors, no such similar educational programs have been implemented by our partners in peace. On the contrary. Palestinian children are being indoctrinated by the new Palestine Aurhority with hate, revenge, and enmity. How can we blindly go on with a one-sided race towards peace? The question that our prime minister must ask at this point will be: Where is the reciprocity?
Finally, returning to my opening comments, I feel that it is essential to emphasize pragmatism and security, rather than sentimentality regarding the Jewish Homeland. In view of the endless debate here in Israel regarding lack of motivation of our youth to serve in combat units of the IDF, to be willing to defend their homeland; in an atmosphere of Post-Zionism, and personal fulfillment, rather than feelings of patriotism or idealism; at a time when love of our land has become an outdated cliche, may I comment that there are still great numbers of Israeli families educating their children, as I was educated, on the principles of “Am Yisrael, Eretz Yisrael, Al Pi Torat Yisrael” – translated as love of our people in our land, according to our Torah. Without remembering our roots, our heritage, our history, and our collective Jewish destiny, what indeed are we doing here?
Israel is the only country we have, and we are all links in the chain of Jewish identity. Our fate and destiny as a people remain intertwined with our tradition and our land, and let us never forget that. “For from Zion, shall the Tora go out, and the word of G-d from Jerusalem.” May G-d have mercy on His people and guide the leaders of Zion in the path of wisdom and strength.