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December 5, 2016 / 5 Kislev, 5777

Posts Tagged ‘Arabs’

On 69th Anniversary of UN ‘Partition Plan for Palestine’ Arabs Still Hopelessly Stuck

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

On November 29, 1947, by a vote of 33 for, 13 against, and 10 abstained, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 181(II) to partition Mandatory Palestine at the end of the British Mandate in 1948. The Plan was accepted by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, despite the fact that it turned Jerusalem into an international city, outside Jewish control, and carved out an enormous section in the center of the country for the future Arab state.

Arab leaders and governments, on the other hand, rejected the partition plan and declared their unwillingness to accept any form of territorial division.

A civil war, known to Jews as The War of Independence and to Arabs as The Catastrophe, broke out in Mandatory Palestine immediately following the adoption of the Resolution by the General Assembly. Then, at midnight on 14 May 1948, the British Mandate expired, and, a few hours earlier, the Jewish People’s Council approved a proclamation, declaring “the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.” The 1948 Arab–Israeli War began with an invasion of the fledgling country by the Arab States on May 15 1948. Hundreds of thousands of Arabs fled the country, never to return, eventually losing the entire area they could once declare their own.

Moshe Ma’oz, professor emeritus of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, explains why the Arabs reject the 1947 partition plan. Noting that some moderate or pragmatic Arabs were prepared to accept a small Jewish state in part of Palestine.

“But the [Husseini family] – not democratically elected but backed by the Arab League – continued to intimidate its moderate brethren and to maintain its uncompromising position against the Jews. Even according to moderate Palestinian intellectuals, this leadership adopted an extreme policy vis-à-vis the idea of two states, thus grossly ignoring the will of the UN and the Great Powers, and leading the Palestinians into war and tragedy.”

“Indeed, this militant syndrome of the Palestinian leadership significantly contributed to preventing a political solution to the Arab-Jewish dispute over Palestine in 1947, as in 1937,” Ma’oz argues. “This syndrome was inspired by an intense Islamic and nationalist ideology, dominated by the Husseini family and in particular, Hajj Amin al Husseini, the charismatic Grand Mufti of Jerusalem and Head of the Supreme Muslim Council.”

“Denying the right of the Jewish-Zionist community to national self-determination even in part of Palestine, the Husseinis periodically used violence and terror against Jews, as well as against the moderate Palestinian Nashashibi faction that for many years cooperated with the Jewish community and acknowledged its national aspirations,” he reiterates, explaining that “this moderate faction, although supported by many families and notables throughout the country, was not as organized, armed, motivated or influential among the younger generation as the Husseinis. Consequently, the moderate/pragmatic Palestinians were unable to neutralize the powerful militant Palestinian nationalist leadership or induce it to accept a political settlement.”

Fifty years after that catastrophic Arab failure, in 1977, the UN declared an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, to be celebrated each year on November 29. Special commemorative activities are organized by the Division for Palestinian Rights of the United Nations Secretariat, in consultation with the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.

One would think that on these commemorative events Arab participants would meditate on and recognize their mistakes of the past, and finally adopt a pragmatic, if not friendly approach to their dominant neighbor, the State of Israel.

Not really, to judge by the tone of Arab media’s observance of the November 29 anniversary. One example is an essay by Dr. Ramzy Baroud, “Symbolic ‘solidarity’ is moral defeat: A Palestinian view,” published on the occasion of November 29, 2016, in The New Arab.

“There was no moral or legal basis for that partition, as communicated in UN resolution 181 (II) into a ‘Jewish State’ and an ‘Arab State,'” Baroud writes, pointing out that “Jewish immigrants were granted over 55 percent of the total size of historic Palestine and the ‘Arab State,’ which never materialized, was accorded the rest.”

A quick glance at the map shows that more than half the Jewish portion was awarded in the arid Negev and Arava deserts down south, while the Arab portion was mostly contiguous and captured the bulk of central Mandatory Palestine.

Baroud’s recollection of history is understandably different from the Israeli view: “A few months after that unwarranted partition, well-trained Zionist militias moved from several fronts to ‘secure’ the borders of their promised state, only to take over half of what was designated for the future of the Palestinian state, leaving the indigenous Palestinian Arab population of that land with 22 percent of historic Palestine.”

There were no Arab gangs shooting at Jewish civilians in Baroudi’s narrative, nor is there the invasion by well armed Arab forces from three directions. In the same account, the Jews are “immigrants,” the Arabs “indigenous,” despite the fact that the vast majority of Arabs arrived from all across the Middle East in response to the economic renewal brought by European Jews.

Baroud spells it out: “By adopting a popular Palestinian narrative (not an official one), in which all Palestinians – Muslim or Christians, in Occupied Palestine or in “shattat” (diaspora) – are the center of the story, a better understanding of Palestine and its people can be established, and true solidarity can be offered.”

How should they unite around their national narrative? Simple, Baroud explains, “One major platform for their resistance, which strongly bonds Palestinians at home with those in shattat, is the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which pushes for accountability from those who make the Israeli domination over Palestine possible. It advocates for the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees, the end of occupation and equal rights for Palestinians who live in Israel.”

And so, according to him, “any solidarity that deviates from the current aspirations of Palestinians – as articulated by their fighting women and men, by their prisoners on hunger strikes, by their students fighting for the right to education, by these resilient, but often neglected voices – is not true solidarity.”

And so, in the best tradition of the French Royal House of Bourbon, the Arabs of the Land of Israel have forgotten nothing and learned nothing.

JNi.Media

Security Forces Arrest 15 Wanted Judea and Samaria Arabs Overnight

Tuesday, November 29th, 2016

Combined IDF, GSS and Police forces arrested 15 wanted Arabs in Judea and Samaria early Tuesday morning. Eight of the wanted are suspected of terrorism and violent disturbances. Two are members of Hamas. The suspects were taken to interrogations by security forces.

David Israel

PA Arabs, State Dept. Mourn Fidel Castro, as Miami Exiles Dance in the Streets

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

The “Palestinian cause” was close to Fidel Castro’s heart throughout his political life, Al Jazeera reported on Saturday, in a lengthy account of the Cuban dictator’s anti-Israel and pro-Arab policies. According to the Arab channel, the diplomatic ties between Cuba and Arab refugees began as soon as Castro had become Prime Minister in 1959, following the Cuban revolution, when Raul Castro and Che Guevera visited the Gaza Strip, which at the time was under Egyptian occupation.

Incidentally, in 1959 Israel opened its first consulate in Havana, headed by Yoel Bar-Romi, who later described his excitement at the Castro revolution, which reminded him of Israel’s war of independence.

Al Jazeera claims that Yasser Arafat and Fidel Castro developed close diplomatic and personal ties, and Castro invited Arafat to Cuba “at least eight times,” each time welcoming the PLO terrorist “like he was a head of state.”

Cuba condemned Israel at the United Nations for the first time after the 1967 Six-Day War. Cuba also began to provide military support to the Fatah movement, and eventually extended its support to both the Palestinian popular and democratic fronts. In 1973, Castro, who was eager to become president of the organization of non-aligned nations, severed diplomatic relations with Israel. A little earlier, Cuba and Nicaragua were the only Latin American countries who granted the PLO full diplomatic status.

Castro was a co-sponsor of the 1975 UN resolution 3379 declaring that “Zionism is a form of racism and racial discrimination.” The resolution was repealed in 1991.

The Obama State Dept. on Saturday issued an announcement saying, “We extend our condolences to the Cuban people today as they mourn the passing of Fidel Castro. Over more than half a century, he played an outsized role in their lives, and he influenced the direction of regional, even global affairs.”

“As our two countries continue to move forward on the process of normalization – restoring the economic, diplomatic and cultural ties severed by a troubled past,” the announcement went on, “we do so in a spirit of friendship and with an earnest desire not to ignore history but to write a new and better future for our two peoples. The United States reaffirms its support for deepening our engagement with the Cuban people now and in coming years.”

Meanwhile, according to the NY Times, Miami’s Cuban-American community took to the streets of Little Havana in the middle of the night to celebrate. They banged pots and pans, sang the Cuban national anthem and waved the Cuban flag. “They danced and hugged, laughed and cried, shouted and rejoiced.”

“Him dying represents the end of something awful that happened to us,” one Cuban woman told the Times. “It’s actually him — not anybody else — who caused this. It’s because of him that we lost our opportunity to have a life in our country.”

President-elect Donald Trump described Castro as a “brutal dictator who oppressed his own people for nearly six decades,” and expressed his hope that Castro’s death would result in freedom for Cubans.

David Israel

PA Civil Defense Rescues Settler after 6 Days in Waterhole

Saturday, November 26th, 2016

An Israeli resident of Avnei Hefetz, on the western edge of northern Samaria, was rescued on Saturday by PA Civil Defense forces after being stuck in an empty waterhole for six days, Israel’s Channel 2 News reported.

The man climbed down into the hole last Sunday, apparently to meditate alone (“hitbodidut” in Hebrew), when his rope was torn he became stuck. He was discovered only a full six days later, on Saturday, by the PA Arabs who released him immediately and alerted the IDF Civil Administration.

“Would you like something to drink?” the rescuers asked the man, gave him water and retrieved and handed him his wallet, cash intact, which he had left in the hole.

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) transported the man to the Israeli side of the 1993 Oslo-agreement borderline, where he received EMT treatment.

So far it isn’t clear why no one in Avnei Hefetz was aware of the man’s absence for almost a week, though if the man disappeared regularly that could explain it.

JNi.Media

MK Tibi: If Arabs Committed Arson It Would Be ‘Despicable and Vile’

Friday, November 25th, 2016

MK Ahmad Tibi (Joint Arab List) told Tel Aviv Radio Friday that should it be discovered that the bulk of arson attacks committed this past week had been carried out by Arabs, this would be “horrible, despicable and vile.” He suggested in such a case, it would require condemnation and self examination inside Arab society in Israel.

So far there have been a number of arrests of Arab suspects who were caught fleeing the sites of fires this week, including in Beit Meir outside Jerusalem. In Haifa, the fact that several fires erupted at the same time on Thursday morning, one of them outside a firehouse, appear suspicious to investigators. And investigators blamed arson for the second wave of fires in and around Zichron Yaakov, after the original blaze had been brought under full control.

MK Tibi, an obstetrician who received his degree from the Hebrew University and began his internship at Hadassah Hospital in 1984, served as a political advisor to PLO chief Yasser Arafat and represented the Palestinian Authority at the 1998 Wye River peace negotiations with Israel.

Since his election to the Knesset in 1999, Tibi has been a vociferous critic of Israel and its rule over Judea, Samaria and Gaza, largely blaming it for all the ills of Arab society inside and outside the 1949 armistice border.

Despite his relentless opposition to every Israeli government since his election, Tibi is also famous for his eloquent and moving speech at the Knesset in honor of the 2010 Holocaust Day.

Meanwhile, on Thursday MK Tibi intervened with police on behalf of an Arab youth who incited for #pyroterrorism on his Facebook page, saying the post was “satire.”

David Israel

Arab #PyroTerrorists Caught Trying to Start Fire Near Ariel [video]

Friday, November 25th, 2016

Security cameras caught three Arabs trying to start a fire near the city of Ariel using what appeared to be a Molotov cocktail. The three were dropped off by a car, and they then began trying to start the fire.

After starting the fire, they casually continued walking to the Arab village nearby.

Residents from Ariel got there in time to put it out using bottles of water.

The city got lucky because the Arabs didn’t pick a very flammable area and the surrounding brush and trees didn’t catch fire, even after burning for 4 minutes.

They also picked the wrong side of the road to light their fire.

The pyro-terrorists were tracked walking back to a nearby Arab village, and were caught and arrested by security personnel.

 

Jewish Press News Briefs

When the Arabs Surrendered Hebron: Rabbi Goren Recalls How He Reclaimed the Cave of the Patriarchs

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016

The Torah reading this Shabbat, Parashat Hayyei Sarah, details Abraham’s purchase of Ma’arat HaMachpela in Hebron. In light of the political climate regarding jurisdiction over Hebron, it is worthwhile to read Rabbi Shlomo Goren’s firsthand account of the battle to reclaim Hebron and the Arabs’ surrender to the Israel Defense Forces. At the time, Rabbi Goren served as a general and the Chief Rabbi of the Israeli army. In his autobiography, With Might and Strength, Rav Goren recalls the excitement of and hurdles to being the first Jew to open the gates of the Maarah in more than a thousand years.
***

I decided to be there when the IDF liberated Hebron. I thought there would be a big battle, like there had been everywhere else, because if the legion had fought for Bethlehem, they would fight even harder for

Hebron, which was a large city. I reached Gush Etzion at 1:30 a.m. There were armored corps units, a company of jeeps, infantry, and all the otherforces that we would need, except for the air force.

 

Lt. Col. Tzvika Ofer and the forces with him were planning to set out toward Hebron at six o’clock in the morning.

As part of the preparations for going into battle, I asked the commander if I could speak with the soldiers. He answered in the affirmative and said he would assemble his entire brigade at three o’clock in the morning. At the appointed hour, the soldiers assembled on a small hill near the vehicles and the commander handed me a megaphone. This is what I said to the soldiers:

 

Dear soldiers, today we liberated our nation’s Holy of Holies   in Jerusalem – the Temple Mount and the Kotel.  Tomorrow, we are going to liberate the second-holiest city in Eretz Yisrael. You are going to liberate the Jewish people’s city of the patriarchs, which is the foundation of the Kingdom of David. King David ruled for seven years in Hebron before he ruled in Jerusalem. You are going to fight against the worst and wildest murderers. They carried out the pogroms all over the country and killed 164 fighters right here, where we are now, after they surrendered and laid down their arms. There is no absolution for that! Know how to behave with them and in the name of the Lord, take action and succeed, and go from victory to victory! From the victory in Jerusalem and Judea to the victory in Hebron!

 

As dawn approached, the soldiers started organizing for their departure. At 6:00 a.m. I went out onto the road to look for Tzvika Ofer’s battalion, but I didn’t see anyone there. I thought they might already have left, but the line of tanks was still there. I thought that perhaps he had taken the first tank and gone toward Hebron to get there first. I told my driver that we should advance toward Hebron, regardless of what the battalion was doing. There was my vehicle and the Military Rabbinate jeep that escorted us. On the way we met the battalion’s reconnaissance company and passed it. We turned on our vehicle’s siren and everyone let me pass.

Suddenly my driver said, “Rabbi, we’re the first ones here. There are no soldiers ahead of us. The entire brigade is behind us. We could get stuck in Hebron alone, and who knows what they’ll do to us.”

“Drive on,” I told him.

When we drew closer to Hebron, I saw white flags waving over all the houses along the way. I realized that there was no war here. There wasn’t a single Jordanian flag, so there was nothing to fear and no reason to be afraid – we were entering Hebron as victors, without a war and without having fired a single shot.

“There’s a Jordanian flag flying from the third floor of one of the houses,” my driver said as we drove past Ĥalĥul. “They might fire on us.” “Take the Uzi and cover me,” I said. “I’m going up there to take down the flag.”

My driver said they might kill me, so he would go.

“You’re still young,” I told him. “You still have to build a home and a family. I’ve already lived my life. I’ll go up, and whatever happens, happens.”

One of the drivers accompanied me to the second floor, and from there I went up to the third floor. I reached the flag and took it down.

Salaam Alaikum,” I said to the tenants. I took the flag and they didn’t say a word.

We advanced toward Hebron, and when we entered the city we saw that all the houses along the main road were festooned with white sheets, hung from all the balconies. The Hebron municipality and the military forces in Hebron had decided on a self-imposed curfew and ordered that no one leave their homes. I wanted to inform them that the IDF had already conquered Hebron, even though at this stage the IDF force was only me and the jeep.

There was a podium in the middle of the city, where a policeman usually stood, directing the traffic. I mounted the podium, took the Uzi and fired a whole magazine of bullets into the air, to notify the residents of the city that the Israel Defense Forces was inside the city and that we had captured Hebron.

My declared goal had been to be the first to reach the Cave of the Patriarchs. In my mind’s eye I still saw the incident that I told you about – regarding my visit to Hebron back when I was engaged to Tzfia, how we reached this place and the Arabs’ reactions to our arrival, and about the British policeman who suddenly appeared, like the prophet Elijah, and saved our lives.

I saw an Arab boy of about sixteen or seventeen, standing at one of the windows. I called out to him to come down to me.

“Where is the grave of our Avraham Avinu (that’s what the Arabs called the Cave of the Patriarchs)?” I shouted up to him, but he replied that he was afraid to come down because of the curfew; he wouldn’t be able to get back home. I promised him that my driver would bring him back, and the boy agreed to show us.

We reached the site and began to climb the stairs toward the gates on both sides of the building, at the top of the two staircases. I climbed to the top of the staircase on the north side, where everyone prayed, and saw that the gate was locked.

Ifta el-bab!” I shouted in Arabic. “Open the gates!” I heard voices inside.

Mefish maftuah,” they said. “We don’t have a key.”

If they don’t have a key, I thought to myself, how did they get inside? I knew there were people in there, and that the gates were closed from the inside with bolts. They had thirty-six keys, and they were holding onto them. I began firing hundreds of bullets at the gates, but they didn’t budge. To this day you can see the holes I made in the gates, which the Arabs call “Rabbi Goren’s holes.” (Years later, the Arabs tried to fill in the holes so that there would be no trace of our liberation of the Cave of the Patriarchs. I phoned the governor of Hebron and he sent an officer to stop the holes from being filled in.)

For three hours, we tried to break down and open the gates, but without success, until I heard the sound of a tank approaching the site. That was the first tank that entered Hebron, and it was adorned with an improvised flag – a sheet on which the soldiers had drawn a blue Star of David. The soldiers had taken the flag from David’s Citadel. Here’s what had happened:

During the liberation of Jerusalem there was no flag to hang   on David’s Citadel. A Jewish family from England lived nearby, and the wife gave a white sheet to the soldiers and told them they could draw a Star of David on it. At first, this improvised flag was hung on David’s Citadel, and after several hours it was taken down and hung on the tank that would be the first to enter Hebron and reach the Cave of the Patriarchs.

There was a small flagpole on the main gate in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs. We drove the tank up against the wall beside the gate, and from there I climbed up onto the tank’s turret and hung the flag at the entrance to the compound. Many pictures of me hanging that flag were later published in Israel and around the world.

We wanted to break through the gate to the Cave of the Patriarchs. Despite the hundreds of bullets I had fired, we had not managed to dislodge the gate. When the tank arrived, I saw the soldiers had a crow bar. My driver and I put the bar into the gate and worked it off its hinges until the gate fell to the ground and we could enter the Cave of the Patriarchs. We saw two Arabs inside, so scared they were trembling like a lulav, and one of them was holding the dozens of keys to the gate – even though they had shouted to me from inside that they didn’t have any keys. My driver went over to him, took the keys, and we went into the Cave of the Patriarchs, where I blew the shofar.

I took the sefer Torah that I had brought with me and read the weekly portion of Ĥayei Sara, which relates how Abraham bought the Cave of the Patriarchs from the sons of Ĥet. It was still early in the morning and we were able to daven Shaĥarit there. That was the first time, after more than a thousand years, that Jews were inside the Cave of the Patriarchs.

 

We tried to figure out a way of closing the Cave of the Patriarchs so that soldiers would not come and plunder everything that was there – expensive carpets and other valuable items. It was impossible to reinstall the gates after we had forced them off their hinges, because the gates were very heavy. In order to safeguard the site, even temporarily, I called over one of the two Arabs who had been inside and had not allowed us to enter, and gave him a piece of paper on which I had written the following order:“I hereby order any soldier visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs that he not enter without instructions from an officer.”

 

Furthermore, the officer had to sign that if he entered with a group of soldiers, he was responsible for the property in the Cave of the Patriarchs; nothing could be removed and the soldiers must not damage

the carpets or any of the valuables.

 

While we were inside the Cave of the Patriarchs, a messenger arrived from the mayor’s secretary and told us that the mayor wanted to come to the compound to surrender and hand Hebron over to me. I told him that I could not accept his surrender inside such a holy place; he should wait at City Hall and I would come to him. I told him that it was sufficient for a lieutenant colonel to accept the surrender, and that a brigadier general such as myself was not necessary.

By the time we had davened and I had blown the shofar, it was about eleven o’clock in the morning. I decided to go to City Hall to see Mayor Ali Jabari. When we arrived there, the mayor and the qadi of the Cave of the Patriarchs were already there – as were the municipal secretaries and our interpreters and the IDF interpreter who accompanied battalion commander Tzvika Ofer – and they had prepared a statement of surrender in Arabic. I said that until I understood what was written there, we would not sign.

The municipal secretary translated the statement of surrender into English for me, and it did not include anything about unconditional surrender. I tore up the statement and told the secretary, “You write what I tell you, word for word.”

This is what I dictated:

I, Mayor Ali Jabari, on my own behalf and on behalf of the members of the municipality and on behalf of all the residents of Hebron, surrender unconditionally to the commander of the Israel Defense Forces who is in charge of the city, and commit to accepting all the directives I receive from authorized IDF personnel, without objection and without hesitation, and to fulfill them.

 

After he read this in Arabic, I asked the mayor and the qadi to sign the draft and to make a copy of it. I took the first one and signed it. Ali Jabari asked me for a gift, as a memento, and I gave him a copy of the Prayer Before Going into Battle, which I had had printed up in thousands of copies. I signed the back and wrote, “So let all Your enemies perish, O Lord” (Judges 5:31).

 

***

After we completed the surrender ceremony, we discovered that our car had been left unlocked and someone had stolen all the rolls of film of all the photographs we had taken throughout the war.

 

We decided to return to Jerusalem. By then, it was Thursday afternoon. On the way out of Hebron we returned to the Cave of the Patriarchs and I reminded the Arab in charge of the site that until he received different orders from the IDF, any Jew who wanted to enter the Cave of the Patriarchs should be allowed in, but on the condition that an officer accept responsibility for the property – that nothing would be removed or damaged.

 

On the return trip to Jerusalem, we met Moshe Dayan, who was on his way to Hebron. We flagged down his car and I told him about what we had done at the Cave of the Patriarchs, about the statement of surrender and the order I had given to the Arab who was in charge of the compound. Dayan said that I had done well and agreed with everything. He did not object to the fact that we had hung up a flag…

 

As soon as the battles died down on all the fronts, the war was declared over, and we began sending soldiers back home, my thoughts turned to the fate of the Cave of the Patriarchs. I was afraid that Moshe Dayan was planning to return this site to the Muslims. The previous Thursday night, in the middle of the night, I had already decided to take the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah that were in my office at General Staff headquarters and move them into the Cave of the Patriarchs, in order to create a fait accompli. I went there in the middle of the night with my assistants. We opened the gate and installed the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah inside the Cave of the Patriarchs. The qadi must have had a few spies who notified him of our arrival, because at 2:00 a.m. he suddenly turned up at the compound, but he didn’t say a word. He knew very well that I had taken command of the site and there would be no point in challenging me. I told him that I was closing the Cave of the Patriarchs to Arab worshippers for a month, because I was going to bring in the engineering corps to repair and renovate the site. We put all the carpets away in a storeroom in the Cave of the Patriarchs and replaced them with plastic sheeting. I told the Arabs that they could pray in the outer hall, where the Arab women used to pray.

 

At first I wasn’t sure where to set up the aron kodesh. I felt that the largest hall, Ohel Yitzĥak, looked too much like a mosque. There were quotes from the Koran on the walls and a place for the muezzin, and it didn’t feel right to me to hold the regular services at the Cave of the Patriarchs in a place so permeated with symbols from the Koran. I therefore decided to put the aron kodesh in the hall that leads into Ohel Yitzĥak. Even though that hall is smaller, it is more suitable for prayer services. I brought siddurim and Ĥumashim, too, and all the basic furnishings for a synagogue, and I set up the aron kodesh such that it would be clear to all that this was the way it would remain. It was a miracle that I managed to get there in the middle of the night and get everything set up, otherwise, this place would not be under Israeli control today and we would not be able to daven there.

 

A few days later, the Knesset held a festive luncheon that was essentially a victory celebration for all the IDF generals and senior commanders of the Six Day War. In the middle of that event, Moshe Dayan suddenly came over to me and said, “Rabbi Goren, I handed the management of the Cave of the Patriarchs over to the qadi of the Waqf.”

 

I was outraged and astounded that he would do such a thing.

 

“Who gave you the right to do that?” I asked him. “Is it your private property?”

 

“That’s what I decided!” he replied, and said there were three things I had to do (afterward I also received a letter to this effect from the chief of staff, by order of the defense minister): 1. Take down the flag I had hung there, because the site is an Arab mosque and an inappropriate place for the flag; 2. Remove the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah, because the site is not a synagogue for Jewish prayer services; 3. Issue an order that any Jew who wants to go to the Cave of the Patriarchs can go only as far as the seventh stair, and pray there, or if he wants to go inside the Cave of the Patriarchs, he must remove his shoes, because he is entering a mosque.

 

When I heard this, I was so angry that I exploded.

 

“Do you think you can hand over the Cave of the Patriarchs to the Arabs?!” I shouted. “It’s a holy site for the Jewish people! This is the burial place of the fathers and mothers of our nation; this is where the kingship of the House of David began. This is what our soldiers have been fighting for. Who gave you the right to relinquish all that and give it to the Arabs?”

 

I left the luncheon in a rage. Later that day, I went to Dayan’s office and told him, “This cannot go on! I held my peace when you gave the Temple Mount to the Muslim Waqf. I should have raised a hue and cry at that point, and I’m sorry that I didn’t. But this time it won’t happen. The entire Jewish People will curse you forever. You will be the most accursed man in Jewish history if you do this thing. You will go down in history as a terrible disgrace.”

 

I said that to Dayan, and immediately turned around and left his office. He had a habit that when he issued orders that the generals didn’t like and they wanted to meet with him and voice their objections to the orders, he would let them say their piece and not utter a word. After they finished with everything they wanted to say, and were standing by the door, he would tell them, “You will do what I want, and not what you want,” and the generals could not say anything more, because the conversation was over. I did not want him to say that to me, so I just left immediately.

 

I also told him explicitly: “Regarding the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah, I will disobey the order and will not remove them. As for the flag, I won’t fight with you – the flag is no holier to me than to you, and I believe it should stay, but if you send an officer to remove it, I won’t oppose him. Regarding the aron kodesh and the sefer Torah, however, and the matter of removing shoes – I will fight those with all my might and will make sure that anyone who cares deeply about them will fight you over this decision.”

 

In addition to everything I said to Dayan, I also wrote an angry letter, lambasting his decision. I did not hold anything back, and the letter made a difference. [See With Might and Strength for the full text of the letter.]

 

The following day, I received a letter from Chief of Staff Rabin, stating that the defense minister had ordered that the first directive regarding the flag remain in effect, but that the implementation of the other two directives – regarding the removal of the sefer Torah and aron kodesh from the Cave of the Patriarchs, and the requirement for any Jew entering the site to remove his shoes – had been postponed until further notice. My letter had had the desired effect and the decree had been rescinded.

IDF Generals join Rav Goren at entrance to the Cave of the Patriarchs

IDF Generals join Rav Goren at entrance to the Cave of the Patriarchs

 

For more from Rabbi Goren’s autobiography, see With Might and Strength, published by Koren Publications, available online and at your local Jewish bookstore.

Rav Shlomo Goren

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/first-person/when-the-arabs-surrendered-hebron-rabbi-goren-recalls-how-he-reclaimed-the-cave-of-the-patriarchs/2016/11/23/

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