Saturday, March 15, 2003


The Coming Storm
By Solly Ganor

One doesn’t have to be a great strategist to see the storm approaching our shores, and I am not referring to the weather. While President Bush in his speech today left enough space for us to breath in, Tony Blair held a press conference that was only dedicated to the Palestinian Israeli conflict. “Wait and see, the Palestinian State is under way, and no one is going to stop us from establishing it, and Israel better get used to the idea.” That is my summary of what he said. In other words, the usual Jewish scapegoat comes in handy once more, to pacify the Arabs. It is interesting that Tony Blair is the prime ministeer of the same government, that after World War One sold two-thirds of Palestine to prince Abdulla for five thousand pounds sterling, while at the same time declaring in their famous Balfour declaration, Palestine as the home for the Jewish poeple.

On the way from Los Angeles to Israel I picked up from the rack a British magazine, 'The Economist'. I think it was a September issue. I found there a two-page article about Palestine and Israel. The writer describes nonchalantly how the British, after capturing the area from the Turks, decided to carve up the land. Given the authority by the Versailles treaty, they simple took two thirds of Eastern Palestine, and gave it to the deserving Sharif of Meca's family. It was Churchill himself who gave it its name. "Let's call it Jordan", he declared. Just like that! G-d was an Englishman and divided the land of Israel as per his whim. Except, he didn’t quite give it away, he sold the land for 5,000 pounds sterling to prince Abdulla!

Tom Segev, in his book, 'One Palestine Complete', writes on page 158, as a footnote: "The Versailles peace conference had decided to carve a state, Transjordan, out of the Ottoman territory-and include a large area of Eastern Palestine-to give to the Sharif of Mecca's family in an effort to satisfy its territorial claims. Prince Abdullah, brother of Faisal and son of the Sharif, had agreed to the arrangement in exchange for five thousand pounds. Thus the Arabs received independence, the French received Syria, and the Jews received Palestine. But no one in Palestine was happy; the Arabs felt that the country was torn away from Syria. The Zionist were bitter because Transjordan had been torn away from Palestine."

You don't have to be an extremist to realise what an enormous 'hutzpa' they had to do so. None of the Arab nations had any objections, including the Arabs living here. The world thinks it is all right for the British to give away two-thirds of Palestine to one ruling family from Mecca! Imagine, one family was given two-thirds of Palestine, a family that had nothing to do with this part of the world. Speaking of justice and what belongs to whom in this region!!

If Jordan is part of Eastern Palestine, and 70% of its population are Palestinians, then it should be declared as the Palestinian state. Like the British who relinquished the mandate in 1948, so the Hashemites should relinquish their rule.

The British should give back the five thousand pounds sterling they received from prince Abdulla plus interest, and this should be the future Palestinian state. There is lots of uninhabited land in Jordan and if the international community wishes to solve the Middle East conflict, they should help in reshaping and resettling the refugees who are one of the main obstacles for a peace settlement. The kingdom of Jordan is not a holy cow that can not be touched. It should be obvious that Israel will never accept the millions of self-described 'refugees' dreaming to come back here.

Anyone who listened to the recent speech by Arafat, echoed by Mobarak, probably noted that they both said something which we should pay close attention to. They both said that Israel should leave Arab land. They didn’t say Palestinian, they said Arab! One wonders why they said that. What actually is Arab land? Surely Arab land is the major part of the Middle East.. They effectively are telling us, that actually it isn’t Palestine they want us to get out of, but from Arab land. Curiously, the student that I met at Sidni Ally, expressed the same political ideas. He too spoke of 300 million Arab facing us. The truth of the matter, is that they are all Arabs. When it suits them, they are Arabs, part of the greater Arab nations, when it suits them otherwise, they become Palestinians.

The only possible solution to the problem is making the Kingdom of Jordan part of the solution. We accepted a million Jewish refugees from the Arab countries, who had to flee for their lives, leaving everything behind. There is no earthly reason why the Arabs can’t reciprocate in order to solve the problem.


March 13, 2003

If you wish confirmation on the above subject, it comes from the grandson of Sir Winston Churchill himself.
The Wall Street Journal


'My Grandfather Invented Iraq'


HOUSTON -- As thunderclouds gather over the Middle East, America and Britain stand once again shoulder to shoulder preparing to draw the sword in defense of freedom, democracy and human rights. A line has been drawn in the sands of the Arabian desert. By this week, we will have deployed some 200,000 American troops, together with more than 40,000 British, who will shortly be committed to battle.

Meanwhile, I have a confession to make: It was my grandfather, Winston Churchill, who invented Iraq and laid the foundation for much of the modern Middle East. In 1921, as British colonial secretary, Churchill was responsible for creating Jordan and Iraq and for placing the Hashemite rulers, Abdullah and Feisal, on their respective thrones in Amman and Baghdad. Furthermore, he delineated for the first time the political boundaries of Biblical Palestine. Eighty years later, it falls to us to liberate Iraq from the scourge of one of the most ruthless dictators in history. As we stand poised on the brink of war, my grandfather's experience has lessons for us.


By Solly Ganor

They arrived from Auschwitz in several groups. Each group counted about twenty people. Of course, they didn’t look like people. They looked more like walking skeletons. They had triangular faces with pointed chins, and sunken cheeks. Even the lips had shrunken to thin blue lines. The only prominent feature were their eyes; they were unusually large and with a strange sheen, almost luminous. They were known in concentration camp slang, as ‘Muselman’. That was usually the last stage before death. They spoke Yiddish with an accent, which to us Lithuanian Jews, sounded strange.

They told us that they came from the ghetto of Lodz through Auschwitz, before they were sent to our camp. Our camp was known as the ‘Outer camp of Dachau, number 10’ and it was situated near the picturesque town of Utting, by lake Amersee. Our camp was sitting in the middle of a small forest with surrounding green meadows and beautiful landscapes. I remember the day when we were brought there, I thought to myself, ‘How can anything bad happen to us among all this beauty?’

I soon found out that the beauty was in the landscape only. the Germans in charge of us were sadists and murderers. The Lodz people fell into the same deceptive trap. They thought that after Auschwitz, our camp looked like paradise. Most of them died soon after their arrival, from hard labour, beatings and starvation, still they preferred to die here than in the gas chambers of Auschwitz. It was from them that we heard the incredible stories of gas chambers, and crematoriums, where thousands of our people were murdered every day. Some of them told us that they were standing naked before the gas chambers when they were suddenly ordered to get dressed and were sent to us .

Around March 1945, there were only a few of them left alive. One of them was known as the ‘Chaim the Rabbi’. We never found out whether he was actually a rabbi, but he always washed his hands and made a bracha before eating. He knew the dates of the Jewish calendar, and also knew all the prayers by heart. From time to time when the Germans were not looking, he would invite us to participate in the evening prayers,. Our Jewish camp commander, Burgin, heard about him and tried to get him easier jobs. Most people died when they had to carry a hundred pounds of cement sacks on their backs, or other chores of heavy labour. He wouldn’t have lasted a day on a job like this. He once told me that if he would survive he would get married and have at least a dozen children.

Around the middle of March, we were given a day off. It was a Sunday. The camp was covered with snow, but here and there the first signs of spring was in the air. We heard vague rumours of the American break through into Germany and a glimmer of hope was kindled in our hearts. After breakfast, consisting of a slice of mouldy bread, a tiny piece of margarine, and brown water, known as ‘Ersatz Coffee’, we returned to our barrack to get some extra sleep.

Suddenly we noticed ‘Chaim the Rabbi’ standing in the snow and shouting “ Haman to the gallows! Haman to the gallows!” On his head he had a paper crown made of a cement sack, and he was draped in a blanket which had cut out stars from the same paper attached to it. We stood like petrified before this strange apparition, barely able to trust our eyes, while he performed a dance in the snow, singing: “I am Achashwerosch, Achashwerosh, the king of the Persians.” Then he stood still straightened himself out, chin pointed to the sky, his right arm extended in an imperial gesture and shouted: “Haman to the gallows! Haman to the gallows! And when I say Haman to the gallows, we all know which Hamman we are talking about!”

We were sure that he has lost his wits, as so many did in these impossible times. By now there was about fifty of us standing gaping at the “Rabbi”, when he said: “Yiddn wos iz mit ajch! Haint is Purim, lomir shpilen a purim shpil!” “Fellow Jews, what is the matter with you?! today is Purim, let us play a Purim Shpil!” Then it dawned on us that back home, a million years ago, this was the time of the year when we children were dressing up for Purim, playing draidlach, and eating ‘Hommen Taschen’.

It took the ‘Rabbi’ to remember the exact date by the Jewish calendar when Purim was. We hardly knew what day it was. He then divided the roles of Ester Hamalka, Mordechai, Vashti and Hamman among the onlookers.. I was honoured to receive the role of Mordechai, and we all ended up dancing in the snow. And so we had our Purim Shpil in Dachau.

But that was not the end of the story. The “Rabbi” promised us that we will get today our ‘Shalach Manot’, and we thought that it was hardly likely to happen. But, miracle of miracles, the same afternoon, a delegation of the International Red Cross, came to the camp. It was the first time that they bothered about us. Still, we welcomed them with open arms, because they brought us the “Shalach Manot” the ‘Rabbi’ promised. Each one of us received a parcel, containing, a tin of sweet condensed milk, a small bar of chocolate, a box of sugar cubes, and a pack of cigarettes. It is impossible to describe our joy! Here we were starving to death as suddenly on Purim, we received these heavenly gifts.

Since then we never doubted the ‘Rabbi’ anymore. His prediction also came true. Two months later ‘Haman-Hitler’ went to the gallows, and shot himself in Berlin, while we, those of us who were still alive, were rescued by the American army, on May 2, 1945.

I lost track of the ‘Rabbi’ on our ‘Death March’, from Dachau to Tyrol, but I hope that he survived and had many children as he always wanted. I always remember him when Purim comes around, for the unforgettable ‘Purim Shpil’ in Dachau.

Solly Ganor
Herzelia Pituach, Israel
Yud Daled, Hadar
March 16, 2003

Monday, March 10, 2003

Death of my teacher

By Elisheva Harrow

"Elisheva, come see what I took me hours, but I finally organized all the hundreds of pictures we've taken over the last couple of years and put together an album...there's some pictures of your graduation, and a great one of you hugging Ha'Mora (the teacher) Dina...”

Regular, every day conversation. Life goes on. Small sentences like a roulette wheel...

Fast forward to the next morning.

On my way into synagogue, I see my brother outside with a friend of his. Serious faces mean bad news. "A pigua (terrorist attack) last night, in Kiryat Arba... an older couple was murdered in their home-apartment 35."

That's all they know. Kiryat Arba is where I went to high school...Quick search through memory...older couples, older couples. No one comes to mind. No point in getting all worried now anyway, there's no way to find out until after Shabbat.

After synagogue. Back at home, playing a game before lunch. Relaxing, fun, laughter… my Mom comes in. "...Do you know a Horowitz, from Kiryat Arba…?" The name sparks in my brain. Cards lowered, I already understand, want to ignore, ignore… "Yes, Dina Horowitz- my teacher." "Dina? Is her husband a Rabbi? " "Yes..." We look at each other, already knowing, denying..."but there are a bunch of Horowitzes there...maybe..." I say the final words:

"They said apartment 35..." My mom goes for the phonebook. flipping through a second we'll know. Cards heart pounding, brain screaming...already knowing, already KNOWING. Feelings familiar, so familiar, too familiar. We already recognize this darkest of shadows; horror and evil left in its wake, greatest destroyer of light and love.

And she looks at me. Her face says it all.

I can't move, can't speak. Words so trite, tears so common. How to grieve in first moments of shock. Why, why them, why like this. Futile questions searing through every heartbeat. It seems that being amazing condemns you to an early grave...

I don't know how many of you have been taught by an amazing person before. How many had the privilege of knowing a real, passionate, gentle, loving teacher. In Hebrew, the word "Morah" means teacher and guide- someone who shows you the way, who gives you love and encouragement, helping you make your own way in this complicated world. A Morah is someone who gives you the tools to deal with whatever should happen along your path. Such a person was Dina. She was my Morah. She loved all her students so very much, always believed in us and in our abilities. She never gave up on us, always tried to listen and to do her best to help...

The Shabbat queen takes her leave. The phone calls start. So many people to tell…our class once again united in grief… and the need- "we have to do something"… A "melaveh malka" (post-Sabbath get together) is quickly organized at someone's house…"bring a guitar"... Girls come, we sit around the table and sing the songs that she loved, the soft melodies put to verses, to psalms. And we talk, comforting each other, expressing how much we all loved her back, each in our own way. Stories...we smile at the small things, cry at the big ones.

She loved the Torah (Bible) with such passion, really reliving, breathing it each time she gave a class on the subject. It was so real and vibrant to her...but her passion was mostly wasted in class; we wanted to just learn the material needed for the next test, not get into torah philosophy. My friend and I kept telling her that she should go teach in a midrasha (yeshiva for girls), because there there are no tests, girls learn for the sake of learning. At the end of 12th grade she announced to my class that that's precisely what she was planning on doing the following year. She thanked my friend and me for all of our support and 'nagging' on the matter... At the Melave Malka tonight a friend told me she had just spoken to Dina a few weeks ago, and Dina had said that she was so happy, so happy to be teaching in a midrasha. She mentioned me and my friend, expressing her gratitude at our insistence once again. So strange. One of my greatest teachers thanking me for helping her along her way..

A friend and I recalled a D'var Torah (sermon) we heard Dina say once, about the greatness of women. It was at the beginning of this whole intifada, people were being killed every day, we were feeling so helpless, we didn't want to be sitting in class, studying as usual, we were scared, confused, hurting.. Dina listened, smiled in that gentle way she had and told us the following: It says in the book of Shmot (Exodus) that after the miracle of the splitting of the sea Miriam (Moshe’s sister) led the women of Israel in song and dance, in God's honor. I quote: "And Miriam...took the timbrel in her hand and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances..." Shmot, 15,20. But where did they get the musical instruments from? Rashi (a known commentator) answers: "The righteous women in that generation were confident that God would perform miracles for them and they accordingly had brought timbrels with them from Egypt." Here you see the immense strength of these women- they could see past all the horror and slavery to a better time, a time of peace, when our enemies would be vanquished and we could walk as a free people without fear. A vision they had no recollection of, but were so sure in their faith that they knew the ending would be great. (Note: until today the tambourine is called a "tof miriam" in Hebrew- literally meaning "Miriam's timbrel").

Today, again, we are facing hardships. We, our families, friends, neighbours, relatives, are being targeted and killed. Young and old, armed or unarmed, it makes no difference to our enemy. We're scared, we're angry, we're frustrated. We try, but many times it's very hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet we have to learn from those amazing women, from our ancestors whose blood flows in our veins and whose stubbornness and tenacity has kept us going for almost 4,000 years... This was so very much Dina's way of comforting- getting us to focus on the bigger picture, identify with our predecessors, strengthen our faith in the master plan. And so we were comforted, so much so that today, a day after her death- "al Kiddush Hashem" (in sanctifying Gods' name), these powerful words of hers are what we call upon to comfort us once again. Dina died for what she so strongly believed in, for Israel and the whole Jewish people. I could go on and on about the Zionism that lived in the core of her very being, about her personal sacrifices for the whole including making aliyah from the US and taking an active part in the horrible "Yamit" evacuation in the early 80s. (Yamit was a beautiful Jewish town in the Sinai desert that was dismantled by force when we gave the entire Sinai over to Egypt).

But how do you really explain a person? How do you capture an essence, an entire being on a blank screen? Her kindness, her gentleness, her dedication...She will live forever in the minds and hearts of those who knew and loved her.

Dina, The light you were, you still are...but now you've just moved to the end of the tunnel, accumulating with the millions of lights already there. You're now burning ever more brightly for us- the ones still down here, the ones trying to catch a glimpse.

I'll start working on my "tof Miriam", Dina. With the memory of your words, cited from the book you so loved and lived by I'll see past all this horror, envision the better time that you taught me to look for, a time of true peace.

In closing, I want to share with all of you a beautiful vision from the book of Isaiah. The prophet writes about the future, of days yet to come: "…And Death will be abolished forever, and the Lord God will wipe every tear from every face, and the humiliation of his people will be eliminated from this earth, for God has spoken." (Isaiah, 25,8)

And in the meantime, life goes on.

I love you, my Morah Dina. Shalom.


Elisheva Harrow, age 21, is a resident of Efrat. She wrote the following after hearing of the murder of Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz at their Shabbat table Friday night in Kiryat Arba. After graduating the Ulpana High School in Kiryat Arba 2 years ago, Elisheva studied for a year in Midreshet Nov, and is now completing the first of 2 years of her National Service with Livnot Ve'Lehibanot, based in Tzfat and Jerusalem.

This article was originally posted by The Israel Resource Center.

Naomi Ragen
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