Friday, November 29, 2002

Daniel Gordis: Dispatches from an Anxious State

In New York last week, I had occasion to be interviewed on NPR. It still amazes me how many people listen to talk radio, and of those, how many find the time to search the web in order to write email comments on what they've heard. I was pretty flooded with responses to the interview (, and rather struck by one particular theme that appeared in many of the letters. The following is typical -- I use it as the example because it was somewhat less inflammatory than many of the others:

"Listening to you on the Leonard Lopate show, I couldn't but be amazed at your disregard for the lives of your children. When the neighborhood we were living in deteriorated to the point that it was no longer safe to walk the streets we moved. We could have stayed, worked with the neighborhood association, joined the block watchers, etc, but in the meanwhile we had images of our children coming home from school mugged, bloodied, or even killed. It wasn't worth it to be heroes. . . . How will you feel if one of those suicide bombers kills your child when you could have avoided it by moving back to the States? Israel does not need you, it has many, many people who will fight the good fight, and in any event the problems are caused by forces beyond your control. Doesn't your family come first? Richard"

Well, Richard, I didn't answer that e-mail until today, because I didn't really know where to begin. But today was the kind of day in Israel that clarifies everything -- why we're here, why this isn't anything like the neighborhood that you left, and why we're not killing our children, but giving them something to live for.

We were at a Bar Mitzvah at the Kotel (The Western Wall) this morning. After the service was over, I grabbed a cab to head back to the office for a meeting. The news was prattling about something that "even we were unprepared for."

Uh-oh. That was the first I'd heard about the attack in Mombassa. Details were sketchy, and the only way the news could get any information was to speak on cell phones to Israelis who were actually at the site. One woman, just shy of hysterical, told the story of the explosion, and recounted how it took just under two hours for the first Kenyan ambulances to arrive. (Tonight, Israelis still can't believe that. We get to these disaster sites in two to three minutes, though admittedly, we have a lot more practice.) When asked what she expected would happen next, she said, "I assume Israel will send doctors, medicine and soldiers, and then they'll bring us home." And she was right. The news immediately cut to an airfield, where five IAF planes were being loaded with the medical equipment and personnel that the Kenyans couldn't seem to amass, and shortly thereafter, the planes and their cargoes were on their way.

You see, Richard, this isn't some dumpy neighborhood somewhere in the States that makes no difference to anyone but those who can't get out of it. This is what we call home. Muslim extremist evil knows no borders. We've known that for a long time. Remember Munich? Remember New York? Muslim terrorism isn't about the settlements, or the "occupation" (which may or may not be a bad idea, depending on who you ask, but certainly isn't the root cause of all this terrorism), but about Israel herself and about Israelis and Jews wherever they may be. (Truthfully, it's about Western Civilization, which the Jews for some reason are seen to represent.) And when Jews end up butchered in Mombassa, they know one thing. Kenyan incompetence will not allow them to be stranded.

We'll get there. And we'll bring whatever's left of them home.

And then we heard about the two shoulder-mounted missiles fired at the Arkia jet carrying 271 people, and how they missed. And on tonight's news, even CNN showed a home video one of the passengers had taken as the plane prepared to land. Outside the window, IAF F-16's were flanking the jet, making sure that it hadn't been damaged and was safe to land. They were so close that from the cabin window, the passenger was able to film the pilot and navigator relatively clearly. And as the plane landed, the video caught the clapping and spontaneous singing of "Heveinu Shalom Aleichem" -- a kitchy old Israeli homecoming song that no one on that plane had sung for decades. But no matter. There was no reason to be embarrassed by the kitch. Six decades ago, when people fired at Jews across the world, there was no one willing to do anything.

The F-16's outside the window showed our children, Richard, that we're not disregarding them or their safety -- we've brought them to the only place on the planet where Jews can take care of themselves.

Of course, we're not always successful, Richard. You're right. Sometimes, they get us. In the past two years, there have been 14,500 terrorist attacks in Israel. No exaggeration. What's amazing is that relatively few have killed people. Still, when two terrorists shot up a Likud Party headquarters this afternoon killing six people (so far), it was the culmination (though the day's not over, so one hesitates to use that word definitively) of a rather horrible day. But no one's running away. The Likud party primary didn't get cancelled or delayed. The polls stayed open. The countries these terrorists "represent" don't have a single democracy to their credit (save Turkey, if you call that military-in-the-shadows-government-sham a democracy), but we do. They blow up a hotel, try to shoot down a jet, shoot up a bus station and we still vote. Quietly, peacefully, democratically. And in the midst of all the sadness and grief, many of us are proud of that. I think we have a right to be.

You weren't proud of that neighborhood you left. Probably because it didn't stand for anything too important. Because it reeked hopelessness. So you left, and rightly so. But this place does stand for something important. And even on dark days like today, in which everyone I know was sullen, recovering from one bit of news only to hear another, this place pulses with hope. Those doctors flying to Mombassa are what this place is all about. The F-16's shadowing the 757 making its way home are what this place is all about. And the quiet, orderly voting is what this place is all about. What kind of a person in their right mind would leave this, Richard? This isn't a neighborhood. It's home. And with all its faults, and there are many, it's a dream come true. Walk away from that? How would we get out of bed in the morning and look in the mirror?

The chit-chat over dinner tonight was fascinating. Micha, our youngest and nine years old, was trying to understand the difference between Sharon and Netanyahu. Apparently, today's Likud primary had been much discussed in his fourth grade class. His older siblings were trying to explain. When they told him that Sharon has said that he's willing, in principle, to see a Palestinian state, Micha asked incredulously, "given them LAND?" To which his brother and sister explained that "they" need someplace to live, too, which is why Sharon says that. But then, they continued, "the Arabs probably won't stop killing us for a long time, which is why maybe Netanyahu's right." Elisheva and I didn't say much, and just listened to this rather lengthy discussion.

They had most of it right, some of it wrong. But guess what, Richard? They were talking about the future, a future they believe in. In just a couple of years, our daughter will get to vote, too. (That, of course, would not be the case if she lived in the Palestinian Authority. Or Lebanon. Or Syria. Or Jordan. Or Saudi Arabia. Or Egypt.) And she'll vote about stuff that really matters. The direction her country takes will be her choice, too. You're right that we can't completely stop the terrorism, and you're right that there's some danger here. But here's what our kids have learned: Life isn't about staying alive. It's about believing in something that matters while you're alive. And at the dinner table tonight, watching our kids think out loud about how much you should trust people who've been doing this to you for two years, but what you'll have if you're not willing to risk anything, I realized that it works. They actually still believe in the future. There wasn't a grain of hopelessness in their conversation. I bet that wasn't true when people talked about your old neighborhood, was it? And that's what makes all the difference.

Yes, Richard, our family does come first. And that's why we're here. To raise our kids in a place that's all about them, about their history, their future, their sense of being at home. To live in a place that unlike that old neighborhood, matters very much. Not because we're heroes, for we're not. But because we know just a bit about Jewish history; and because we have no right to expect other Israelis to "fight the good fight" if we're not willing to.

On the news this afternoon, they interviewed some alleged aviation expert about the attempted attack on the Arkia 757. He explained how these missiles work, and gave a whole dissertation on the ease of operation of heat-seeking shoulder-launched missiles. When he was done, the interviewer asked him, "Then how did they miss? After all, a lumbering 757, barely off the ground? How do you explain this?"

His answer, I thought, was telling. He said, "I can't explain it. Either they fired without priming the heat-seeking element on the missiles, or they were faulty. But normally, there's no way to miss. It was a miracle."

He didn't mean anything theological by the comment, of course, but today's the day before Hanukkah. In your old neighborhood, and in your new one, too, it's Thanksgiving. I remember it well. College football during the day. Beer and pretzels, and chatting with friends. Turkey and stuffing at night. Not bad at all.

None of that here. Just a regular old dinner. But not so tomorrow night. Tomorrow night, when you look outside our living room window, in the windows of virtually every other apartment within sight, there are going to be Hanukkah candles flickering. Religious families, secular families. Left wing families, right wing families. Native families and immigrant families. American families and French families. Young families and old families. Sharon families and Netanyahu families. They'll all have candles in the window.

Because Richard, somehow, in spite of everything, we still believe in miracles. Some of them happened a long time ago. But others are still happening. We understand them in different ways, and we disagree passionately about how to keep them going. But after a day like today, somehow we find ourselves still believing in them.

It's a crazy, dangerous place, this neighborhood of ours, Richard. But it's home. And it's a miracle. It really is. And from that, you see, you just don't walk away.

Now do you get it?

Happy Hanukkah.

(c) 2002 Daniel Gordis The first four years of these dispatches, along with other brief essays on life in Israel, have now been published by Crown Publishers as "IF A PLACE CAN MAKE YOU CRY: DISPATCHES FROM AN ANXIOUS STATE."

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Thursday, November 28, 2002

Naomi Ragen: Giving thanks

It’s awfully late, past midnight, and I should be going to sleep instead of sitting here writing this. But somehow I can’t allow this day to end without talking about it to someone.

I am trying to find my feet. To know where it is I am now that the world as we know it doesn’t seem to exist anymore. The daily murder of Jewish children by armed, adult men wasn’t supposed to happen anymore. Not to my generation. The world had learned a lesson, cried a tear, placed a memorial wreath. It was horrified at the practical results of the ideology of antiSemitism. We Jews had forgiven, if not forgotten. Taken the reparations. Bought Volkswagen cars and DeDetrich dishwashers…. Now, it was supposed to be a land dispute with neighbors we were embroiled in..

The hotel blown up in Nairobi reminded me of the Park Hotel in Netanya, blown up on Seder eve. I was there. I knew exactly how those people in the lobby felt, and the ones in their rooms who spoke about the shattering of glass, the slivers that flew past their faces. The holiday turned nightmare. The family get together that will scar and sear the family’s memory for as long as they live, even if they walked away without a scratch. I cannot even begin to imagine how an injury or death would affect the family.

I sat all day thinking: the world as I know it has disappeared. Well, not all day. Because for us Israeli-Americans today was also Thanksgiving. It’s a day we’ve been spending together, eating turkey, here in the Middle East, for thirty years. My Israeli-born children insist on it. So, the raw turkey was sitting on the counter, and the green apples in the bowl waiting to be peeled for the pie. The sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn muffins were all still raw ingredients.

I wondered: How can I go on? Is it right for me to go on, prepare a family dinner, an evening of laughter with sons, daughters, grandchildren, greatgrandparents? I thought of calling everyone up and cancelling. But then, what to do with all this food? Reluctantly, I set about making Thanksgiving dinner.

And when the turkey was crisp and brown, the pie bubbling with fragrant juice, the potatoes mashed, the sweet potatoes baked…I heard the news on the radio suddenly switch from talking about Mombasa, to talking about Beit Shean.

Armed men with submachine guns opening fire on people standing on line to vote. Men with grenades. Six dead, twenty injured. In a sleepy little town. People there were being asked not to go out of their homes, because a gunmen might still be on the loose.

A sense of panic went through me. Was this, then, war? Would they be blowing up cars on the highway? Attacking the trains? Could we really get into the car and make the hour and a half ride to Netanya to bring our holiday meal and cheer to Mom and Dad, who can’t get around anymore? Mom – who lived through Auschwitz. And Dad, who just had his ninetieth birthday, who lost his first wife and two small children to the gas chambers? Should we cancel on them, stay home, lock the doors, draw the curtains, shut off the lights?

My daughter told me she was taking her three children to Mom and Dad, whatever I decided to do. So did my son and his wife, who were both at the Passover Massacre just a few months back. My children weren’t afraid. Weren’t about to give up or give in, or stop living, or stop feeling joy, stop celebrating being alive and having a family and living in the Jewish State. Just yesterday, this same daughter spent the evening with her sister in law, whose young husband is dying of cancer. A handsome father of four. Thirty-eight years old. His little girl crawled into bed beside her father, who can no longer see, and asked: “Do you know who this is?” And he answered: “Of course. You have your own scent. Like a flower. Do you know,” he asked her, “how much I love you?”

My daughter wanted our family to be together this Thanksgiving. And so I, reluctantly, full of fears, loaded my car with a box full of a Thanksgiving feast. In the beginning of the journey, I watched every car on the highway nervously. We said the travel prayer, asking God to let us come and go safely, a prayer we have been saying for forty years, long before the Intifada, or Oslo made it necessary. I felt better after that. I tried not to think about the elections which will decide the course of Israeli history.

And you know what? When we arrived, safely, unpacked the food, set the table, we did forget, for a little while. Surrounded by all the people I love, passing the warm, good food around the table, giving some comfort to Mom and Dad, seeing some smiles on their faces as we invaded their small, quiet world with our talk and laughter, and small children that made a mess, spinning Chanukah dreidels, eating gold foil wrapped chocolate money, setting up plastic bowling pins on the living room carpet, and spreading playing cards over the couch. I had somehow entered the old world again, the good world, the world I grew up in, the world in which I raised my own four children.

It was, for an hour or two at least, a reminder of all those things we are fighting so hard for, we Israeli Jews. All the things we so deserve after all that has happened to us.

I knew the feeling would not last, because there were fellow Jews to mourn over, and that couldn’t, shouldn’t be forgotten. We needed to bring that into the world we are creating, day by day. But for those few hours, I felt great thanks for the things that God in His goodness, has granted me to rejoice in.

I’m going to sleep now. I don’t know how I’ll feel in the morning. But I’m hoping some of that good, old world I love will force its shape, insist on its place in the world I inhabit, even as corrupt men full of sickening evil insist on reshaping it in their own image. But I have learned something: I will see many more days of thanksgiving, if only I have the courage to insist upon them.

God bless you all. Have a Happy Chanukah. Insist on it.

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WIG: Is Sharon creating a monster?

Ruth Matar, Women in Green Radio Program Arutz Sheva, November 27, 2002
Last night I returned to Israel after a ten-day stay in the United States. I had gone to the States to attend America-Israel fairs in Chicago, Illinois and Houston, Texas. These fairs are organized all over the United States by friends of Israel to give a boost to the Israeli economy, since very few tourists come here because of the Palestinian suicide bombers. On this occasion, therefore, I went to the States, not just as Ruth Matar, Co-leader of Women in Green, but also as Ruth Matar, Jewelry and Judaica Designer and Craftsman. To all the organizers and friends who I met at these fairs: You are wonderful, and your standing with Israel gives us renewed courage in these very difficult times.

I returned to a country in political and economic turmoil. Many of the people who have been some of Sharon’s staunch supporters feel they are about to be outmaneuvered and betrayed by their erstwhile hero. Sharon has always been admired for his surprise military tactics to get the best of his enemies. For example, in the Yom Kippur War of 1973, when things looked very bleak for Israel, Sharon, in a surprise move, encircled the Egyptian army and would have been able to march on to Cairo if not for American intervention. Since Sharon was elected with a landslide majority in February of the year 2000, he has used such surprise tactics on the very people who brought him to power.

Over the span of his public career Ariel Sharon has taken very firm positions on issues concerning Israel as the Jewish homeland, Jerusalem, the Temple Mount and the Oslo Accords. The man whom we admired and believed in, the man who expressed our deepest feelings, the man whom we trusted with Israel’s future, our national security and defense has shocked us to the core. He has done--as it is said in the military--“about face!” contradicting the positions which he took prior to his winning the election as Prime Minister. I’m going to quote from some articles which were published in the Jerusalem Post and written by Ariel Sharon under his own byline prior to his election.

“By recognizing this murderer’s organization, the PLO, the government has committed an act of madness. By reviving Israel’s greatest enemy on the eve of its disintegration and turning it into Israel’s shield against Hamas, the government has added crime to folly….There can be no reconciliation, historic or otherwise, with the man who ordered the murders of school children in Avivim, Maalot and Antwerp, and of eleven Jewish athletes in Munich…”

“For the first time, a Jewish government has formerly recognized Jordan’s standing vis-a-vis holy Islamic sites in Jerusalem. All this without a referendum, without elections, a Knesset or cabinet decision. It is as though it was a private matter. No, they would probably have taken more care over a private matter. Jordan isn’t the only country with standing on the Temple Mount. The King of Morocco is angling for influence, and the Monarch of Saudi Arabia is lusting for a share. And what about Yasser Arafat? A vigorous argument is raging over who has more right. Yet, the only element not cited by the government of Israel is the Jewish People. Some clarification is in order: only one people--the Jewish People--exercises sovereignty over Jerusalem in all its parts--especially our Holy sites, and primarily the Temple Mount. We cannot accept any foreign sovereignty over Jerusalem. Full rights of religious worship, yes; sovereign status--never.”

August 14, 1994, A LACK OF SELF-RESPECT
“Jerusalem is our capital only because of the Temple Mount. It is because of the Temple Mount that we say on Seder night, ‘Next year in rebuilt Jerusalem.’ It is because of the Temple Mount that we have settled in the Land of Israel and not in Argentina or Uganda; it is ‘the land of Zion and Jerusalem’, as our national anthem has it.

When Jews pray, wherever they may be in the world, they face the Temple Mount. When Moslems pray, even if they are on the Temple Mount, they face Mecca.

Whoever is willing to relinquish full control over the Temple Mount is actually ready, now emotionally, tomorrow in practice, to forfeit everything.

Before 1967 we didn’t possess the Temple Mount, but we never stopped, even for one second, striving to return to it. I used to say to my late son Gur when he was a child and we would ascend Mount Zion to view the Temple Mount. The Temple Mount is ours but it is not yet in our hands.

That is why the most important result of the Six Day War was not the winning of the Sinai or the Golan, but our return to our holy place, the Temple Mount.”

November 2, 1994, THINGS THAT ARE SACRED “I didn’t vote for the peace agreement with Jordan, even though I really wanted to. I am in favor of peace agreements with all the Arab countries, particularly Jordan. Jordan is the existing Palestinian state and there mustn’t be another. One thing is totally unacceptable: granting the Kingdom of Jordan a formal role vis-a-vis the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site in a political agreement. No nation in the world would have done such a thing. No sane government would have dared contemplate such a step. Only those who hold nothing sacred could behave this way. And if nothing is sacred, we shall not go on existing here. Our generation has no right and what, after all is the span of a single generation--to deprive future generations of the Jewish People’s holiest site? Conceding rule over the Temple Mount is the beginning of conceding rule over Jerusalem.”

It is hard to believe that the man who wrote these stirring words is the man who after his election formed a unity government with the architect of Oslo, Shimon Peres.

It is hard to believe that this is the same man who now professes that if elected he will once again form a unity government with the Labor Party. The Labor Party has just elected as its standard-bearer the ultra-leftist Amram Mitzna, who is offering the Palestinians not only negotiations under fire, but Israeli withdrawal under fire.

Mitzna explicitly promised that his first move as Prime Minister, should he ever reach this post, would be to evacuate all the Gazan settlements. He also promised to immediately resume negotiations with Yasser Arafat--disregarding Arafat’s failure to honor every previous agreement with Israel and without even demanding that the Palestinians stop the violence in the interim--and to evacuate most West Bank settlements within a year of taking office, with or without an agreement.

In other words, what Israel had previously offered in exchange for an end to the conflict Labor is now offering free of charge--with not even a temporary halt to the violence required in exchange. It is hard to imagine a more ringing endorsement of terror’s efficacy. In fact, the Palestinian Authority continues to heap praise on Labor Party Chairman Amram Mitzna and called on Israelis to vote for him in the January 2003 election if they want peace and security--the first time that Palestinian Authority officials have openly endorsed a candidate.

What has happened to Ariel Sharon? The man who called the Palestinian entity a terrorist entity now supports the creation of a Palestinian state. Is his motive to attract votes from the left? Or is his motive to remain in the good graces of George W. Bush and the US State Department?

To discuss this important question, we have with us tonight Yossi Ben-Aharon, former Director-General of the Primer Minister’s office.

But first, my Co-leader Nadia Matar will discuss how the Government and the Media refuse to acknowledge the will of the majority.

(A recording of this entire program, including the interviews, is available on Click on "On Demand Audio" on the blue bar.)

Even if Mr. Sharon, in his heart, is totally opposed to the establishment of a Palestinian state and does not believe it will materialize, his words are raising expectations in every capital in the world, and carry the risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The Palestinian terror war is a key link in the worldwide chain of Islamic terrorism. There is no distinction between Saddam Hussein’s use of poison gas against the Kurds and Shiites, Osama bin Laden’s incineration of 3,000 Americans in New York and Washington, and the murder of over 700 Israelis by Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Yasser Arafat’s own Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade since Sharon became Prime Minister. They are one and the same menace.

President George W. Bush and the State Department continue to pressure Israel to establish a Palestinian state. In fact, the United States is planning to submit the final draft of the Road Map Plan to the Quartet on December 20. The Americans are pushing the Plan so that a Palestinian state be established as soon as possible. One of the plan’s first demands is a total freeze on Jewish construction in Yesha, Judea, Samaria and Gaza though Arabs will be permitted to continue building freely.

I firmly believe what Knesset Member Rabbi Benny Elon is alleged to have said at the Christian Solidarity Rally on May 11 in Washington D.C. “I believe that the United States Christians are the only ones who can stop the danger of a Palestinian state.” I would like to add, however, that I think that Jews are just as important in this endeavor to convince President George W. Bush to stop pressuring Israel. Establishing a Palestinian state in the Holy Land is directly against what is written in the Tenach (the Bible).

The following is a copy of an email sent by Judy Stone of Grapevine, Texas to President Bush and other government officials.

Dear Mr. President:

If the blowing up of Bus #20 in a west Jerusalem neighborhood during rush hour this morning does not BLOW UP the ROAD MAP to a Palestinian state, what will it take? I am a Christian who has often ridden Bus #20 when I have visited Jerusalem. I am vividly picturing the absolute horror in my own mind. Can you not see it?

At least 11 have died, INNOCENT, UNARMED young people and adults. How many arms, legs, heads, guts strewn over the street and hanging from the trees and buildings will it take? How much human blood? Yes, it IS human blood, not the blood of monkeys and pigs, as the Muslim religion teaches its adherents in the Middle East and even in its Islamic schools IN THE UNITED STATES!

How much HORROR are the Israelis expected to absorb?

Michael Freund just wrote an article in the Jerusalem Post enumerating 15,298 terror attacks in Israel since the “new intifada began over 2 years ago. Now the number is 15,299. How many more?

No more pressure on Israel to facilitate the establishment of a Palestinian state! PLEASE! It is absolutely insane!

Signed: Judy Stone

It is tremendously important that you email or fax President Bush to stop pressuring Israel with the Road Map to a Palestinian state. Unfortunately, the establishment of a Palestinian state “means the end of the State of Israel”.

Fax President George W. Bush at 1-202-456-2461, or email him at

Your letter may be the one which will convince President Bush that his constituency is passionate about the survival of the Jewish State of Israel!

Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380
To contribute:

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Killings of Israelis over past two days

Headlines from DEBKAfile:

Five Israelis killed, 40 injured - 7 seriously, one critically - in Palestinian shooting-grenade rampage at Beit Shean central bus station, post office and crowded Likud voting booth, Thursday afternoon. Soldiers shoot two dead. Suspected booby-trapped car found nearby. Among wounded are three sons of veteran Israeli politician David Levy

Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, arm of Arafat’s Fatah, claims Beit Shean killings

PM puts Mossad Director Dagan in charge of security crisis created by two major terrorist attacks, believed by al Qaeda, on Israeli targets in Mombasa, Kenya early Thursday. Unknown group called “Palestinian Army” claims Mombasa attacks mark anniversary of UN resolution creating Jewish state in broadcast over Hizballah TV Al Manar

Ten killed, including 3 Israelis - two of them children, more than 80 wounded - of which 13 Israelis - in suicide car bomb blast at Israeli-owned Mombasa Paradise Hotel as 146 Israeli tourists checked in. Two Israelis in critical condition. IDF sends two Hercules transports with medical staff to aid and evacuate casualties

Two heat-seeking missiles fired at same time from white minivan misses Arkia Boeing 757 taking off from Mombasa airport. Plane with 260 unhurt passengers and crew has landed at Ben Gurion. Kenya police announce two arrests, report attacks carried out by two teams of three men each of Arab appearance

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

Powell on the moon

DEBKAfile headline: "Powell Wednesday: Palestinian Intifada was clearly a mistake. It hasn’t brought the Palestinian people closer to a state or to peace."

Why does he think a state or peace were the goal?

Why doesn't he know that the goals were simply to kill more Jews?

Monday, November 25, 2002

Media blackout on Women-in-Green demonstration outside PM's office

The Government and the Media Refuse to Acknowledge the Will of the Majority!

We purportedly live in a democracy where there is a free press and where our government is responsive to the will of the People. Not so! You would think that a demonstration held outside of the Prime Minister's Office yesterday morning in which citizens raised their voices in protest against the creation of a Palestinian State would at least be reported in the Media that day or the following morning. It was not.

WOMEN IN GREEN have amassed over 350,000 signatures to date to a Petition addressed to Prime Minister Sharon, voicing rigorous opposition to another Arab State east of the Jordan River. Each day new signatures are faxed to the Prime Minister - which he apparently ignores. These signatures represent the will of the overwhelming majority of the Jewish People here in Israel, as well as the position of masses of people abroad.

Unfortunately, the media has a silent pact amongst themselves not to report any events of a Jewish nationalistic nature. It is a deplorable censorship within this so-called democracy. A very large majority of the Jewish People have national feelings. Judaism and the Torah, in fact, encourage such feelings.

Member of the Knesset Yuri Shtern, former MK Elyakim Haetzni and Jan Willem Vander Hoeven, President of Christian Zionist for Israel, and Nadia Matar, co-chair of Women In Green, spoke at this important occasion and on this important topic. Despite our Media Release, no TV, no radio, no reporters were present, only an abundance of photographers. Nothing appeared in any of the newspapers, nor on television, nor on radio, that day or the following day! The editors of these papers, in consonance with their conspiracy to suppress national feelings, saw to it. In stark contrast, even the smallest innocuous demonstration of Meretz or Labor receives widespread coverage in our media.

Moreover, the media both here in Israel and abroad, do everything in their power to prevent the people from realizing that the Jewish populace shares a common opposition to another Arab State within the Biblical Land of Israel. That opposition is not surprising. The hatred of Jews taught in the Arab school system, and expressed in their propaganda, is an established fact. Moreover the murders and immoral terrorist behavior of the Arabs over the past two years, daily reminds us all of the terrible consequences which would follow the establishment of an Arab State within our midst.

Prime Minister Sharon has done nothing during his term in office to rectify the deplorable present state of affairs in the way the public receives its news and information. Our Courts, moreover, have lent a helping hand to suppress the will of the Knesset which had passed a law over two years ago, legitimizing Arutz 7, a small radio station which strives to report the news objectively. The courts have thus given its silent approval that the left remain in control of our present media.

We need a citizen uprising and protest against this intolerable situation. Until that occurs, the Jewish People will not fully recognize that the position they hold against the establishment of a Palestinian State is one shared by an overwhelming majority. Both the Government of Sharon and the media should be made to listen to the will of that majority! People power could bring about the necessary changes to make Israel a vibrant democracy.

Women For Israel's Tomorrow (Women in Green)
POB 7352, Jerusalem 91072, Israel
Tel: 972-2-624-9887 Fax: 972-2-624-5380
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Sunday, November 24, 2002

Words spoken by widows Rivka Buanish and Rivka Duchan at memorial rally last night in Hevron

Saturday night thousands attended a memorial rally near the site of last week's murderous terror attack. The rally was held in the new "Giborie Hebron" - "Heroes of Hebron" neighborhood, which will connect Hebron to Kiryat Arba.

Among those speaking were Rabbis Moshe Levinger, Dov Lior, Moshe Bleicher and Eliezer Waldman, as well as Kiryat Arba Mayor Tzvi Katzover and MK Yuri Stern.

********** Pictures at: ***********

Two of last Friday's widows also spoke. Mrs. Rivka Duchan, wife of Alex Duchan, who was killed during the battle, wrote a letter which was read during the memorial. Alex Duchan was a member of the Kiryat Arba emergency security squad and father of four.

Mrs. Rivka Buanish, wife of Ya'akov Buanish, chief security officer for Kiryat Arba, father of seven, also spoke.

The following are translations of their remarks. (The original Hebrew can be seen at: and

Rivka Buanish – Sat night, Nov. 23, 2002

Yitzhak, Dror, Alex Yonaton, and Alex Tzvitman,

You did not choose to be heroes. First of all you were good husbands, fathers to your families, sons, brothers.

You did not choose to be heroes, but you knew that this was the order of the day.

Yitzhak, when you entered the alleyway, you knew that you were going to correct what had happened at Kever Yosef, at Joseph’s tomb, which so pained you. “How is it possible that soldiers are wounded and killed and it is impossible to evacuate them. It’s not possible!” And that’s what you did. When all the army couldn’t do it, you took your soldiers with you, together with Israeli soldiers who were able to do it, and you did it, you avenged the sin of Kever Yosef.

Here in Hebron, we avenged Kever Yosef.

You didn’t choose to be heroes, but you did it. You left us a legacy, and we will follow it, with pain, but with strength. This too, we did not choose, but we will do it.

You told me two weeks ago, when we returned from Ma’arat HaMachpela, “This is where the troubles will start,” because you always knew, you so felt here what was going to occur, everything so strongly throbbed in your heart, you were able to know when and what would happen.

You planned, here with Dror, a promenade. We will fulfill your legacy, and we will establish here, not only a promenade, but also a large neighborhood, a neighborhood connecting Kiryat Arba and Hebron, for from Hebron the truth will emerge, from Hebron the salvation to all of Am Yisrael.

Twelve were killed here, 12 Shivtei Yisrael – the 12 tribes of Israel, for all of Am Yisrael. You fought, not only for Kiryat Arba and Hebron, but for all of Am Yisrael.

We will be strong, and we will build here, together with everyone, all of us will unite together, Hebron comes from the word to join together, we will all join, the government, the army, the residents here, all of us brothers, and all of us together will do it.

May we be comforted in the building of Hebron.

Rivka Duchan – Sat night, Nov. 23, 2002

Alexander Yonaton, my dear husband,

I want to tell you that I draw my strength from you, from our dear children, and from all that we learned together all the good years I was privileged to be your wife.

Alexander Yonaton, you fell for the defense of your country, but I did not fall – I am here, very strong, marching forward with our children, and as I believe, “in the beginning G-d created that heavens and the earth,” I fully believe in the coming of Mashiach and in revival of the dead.

Alexander Yonaton, what can I tell you? “HAPPY IS the man that hath not walked in the counsel of the wicked, nor stood in the way of sinners, nor sat in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the L-RD; and in His law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by streams of water, that bringeth forth its fruit in its season, and whose leaf doth not wither; and in whatsoever he doeth he shall prosper.”

Alexander Yonaton, a soldier in the army of the L-rd, a Jew of Israel.

Alexander Yonaton, my husband, and father of my children, so loving, and so loved.

And now, that you are beneath the holy throne, tell the Creator of the world to hear our cry, and to redeem us with a strong and steady arm.

Am Yisrael, I love you so much, and Alexander Yonaton loved you so much, whether you are in Eretz Yisrael or outside of Eretz Yisrael.

I want to tell my people, Am Yisrael, “Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokenu, HaShem Echad.” “Hear oh Israel, the L-rd our G-d, the L-rd is One.”

Stand and cry out to our Father in heaven.

May it be Thy will, G-d our Father and G-d of our fathers, that you will have mercy on us, on our children, and our infants, on the people in Zion and the holy land, on the sanctity of Am Yisrael, on the sanctity of the land, and the entirety and security of the people and the land, especially during this time of great danger facing us in the holy land.

Master of the Universe, do for Your sake, not for our sake, for Your Great and Awesome Name, that should not be desecrated by the nations of the world, and save us.

And all those who think evil about your people Israel, breach their counsel and spoil their thoughts.

And the verse should be fulfilled, “Terror and dread falleth upon them; by the greatness of Thine arm they are as still as a stone;”

And fulfill the verse, “Thou shalt fan them, and the wind shall carry them away, and the whirlwind shall scatter them; and thou shalt rejoice in the L-RD, thou shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel”.

And we shall lift up our eyes in your return to Zion with mercy,

Amen, may it be Thy will.


As of November 20, 2002, there had been a total of 15,298 Palestinian terror attacks against Israel since the start of the "intifada" in September 2000. The number increased by one a day later, on November 21, when a Palestinian bomber blew up a bus filled with elderly women and young children in Jerusalem. Not surprisingly, the world has likely taken more angry notice of Israel's defensive actions to prevent further terror than of the grotesque cowardice of Palestinian terrorism. Murdered Jews, after all, are an old story.

Israelis have endured nearly one terror attack every hour of every day for twenty-five consecutive months. These attacks have had nothing to do with self-determination or freedom-fighting. Rather, they have targeted, almost exclusively, the most vulnerable and defenseless civilians. And while Palestinian propaganda, funded heavily from Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, always seeks to suggest equivalence between Arab terror and Israeli counterterror, there is a longstanding and meaningful difference between premeditated murder and unintentional casualties of essential self-defense against murder.

Nonetheless, the world chooses not to notice. At best, public opinion refuses to blame the Palestinians or supporters of Arab/Islamic terror in other countries. At worst, public opinion openly supports such terror as "national liberation."

Universities, at best, are unmindful. The scholars are busy with more weighty matters, especially those that do not pertain to real life in any way. In academe the truly fashionable concern is now for "diversity," "strategic planning" and "multiculturism." Understandably, there is no time for Jewish agony, anguish and suffering.

Who is to blame for cowardly forms of terror? If the Palestinians are to be blamed at all, we hear from almost all educated quarters, responsibility belongs only to Hamas, or to Islamic Jihad, or perhaps to Nobel laureate Arafat's Fatah. But surely it does not belong to the broader Palestinian community. Surely only the Arab "extremists" are blameworthy.

Yet, as we learn from all reliable survey research, an enormously disproportionate share of Palestinians fully supports the bus bombings, the burnings, the lynchings, and the shootings of Jewish noncombatants. Enjoying the now open support of Al Qaeda - support which is often accepted gratefully and without embarrassment - Palestinians in Israel as well as in Judea, Samaria and Gaza revel proudly in shedding the blood of Jewish children. And why not? Most of the "civilized world" argues that they may wage their particular armed struggle "by any means necessary." And the killing of Jews always buys them and their families a secure place in Paradise.

What could be easier to understand? Of course they could earn such a piece of immortality just as confidently by targeting Israeli military personnel, but they avoid such an option wherever possible. That course, after all, would require courage.

The cowardice of the Palestinian terrorist is unparalleled in the history of insurgent warfare. Although there is no shortage of examples of revolutionary fighters who disregard humanitarian boundaries in battle, the record of fighters who purposely and consistently seek utterly innocent and defenseless targets is actually very small. Several weeks ago, when a Palestinian terrorist machine gunned two Jewish infants still sucking on pacifiers (after stabbing the mother), the image of the murdered children was a source of feverish exaltation throughout the Palestinian communities in Jenin, Ramallah and Gaza. When, a year earlier, a newborn Jewish child was shot deliberately by a sniper, Palestinian celebrants hailed the murder as "yet another military victory against the Zionist occupation." When, several years ago, two Russian-Jewish Israelis who had not yet learned to speak Hebrew took a wrong turn into Ramallah, they were torn apart - literally - by howling mobs of frenzied Palestinians. When, after blinding and disemboweling the two Israelis, several young men in a Palestinian "police station" held up the still-dripping eyes and internal organs for all to see, THOUSANDS of ordinary Palestinians began to dance and chant wildly. And when, so very recently, a terrorist from Bethlehem entered the Jerusalem bus on November 21, he waited, patiently, until it was fully loaded with schoolchildren. Only then, only then - did he turn his wretchedly defiled body into a bomb.

What kind of people are these? What boundless levels of cowardice are they willing to undertake and sustain? What manner of fear can occasion such an utter lack of human regard for life? What vision of "Jihad" can transform schools, nurseries and buses into exploding altars of human sacrifice? Are there no limits, no limits at all, to Palestinian terrorism?

I don't know the complete answers to these questions. I do know, however, that it is not despair. There are many, many other peoples on this planet whose conditions of daily life are much, much worse - indescribably worse - and these people never resort to pure barbarism. I know, also, that Palestinian schools and mosques systematically demonize "The Jew" and emphasize his or her alleged subhumanity. It is far easier to kill "the sons of pigs and monkeys" than it is to kill a fellow human being.

But this still does not explain the incomparable cowardice of the Palestinian terrorist. I suspect the truest answer has something to do with this murderer's overwhelming fears of death. Let us not forget that the suicide/homicide bomber does not really feel he is giving up his own life in his terrible deed. Rather, he murders Jews to ensure his absolute freedom from death - and also, according to the latest authoritative rulings of Arab clerics, the immortality of his closest relatives - by "dying" for the sake of Allah. "Do not consider those who are slain in the cause of Allah as dead," says the Koran. "They are living by their Lord."


LOUIS RENE BERES was educated at Princeton (Ph.D., 1971) and is the author of this article.

Louis Rene Beres
Professor of International Law
Department of Political Science
Purdue University
West Lafayette IN 47907

TEL 765/494-4189
FAX 765/494-0833

Many thanks to Naomi Ragen for sending this.

Ha'aretz: Secret paper shows PA running explosives plant

Ze'ev Schiff writes about the discovery of paperwork confirming the role of the PA in ALL the bombings. My guess is this will not affact liberals in Israel or elsewhere.