Photo Credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90
Jewish children outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

[Originally posted to the author’s website, Emes Ve-Emunah]

Click here for JewishPress.com’s response to this post.

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The Jewish Press has been a home for my blog for some time now. I am grateful to them for publishing so many of my posts on their website. I have more posts published there than any other blogger. I am also grateful to them for having published a few of my articles in their print edition.

I truly appreciate how much they value my words, even when they don’t agree with them.  I am not sure they will feel about me after this, though. I have to express what I believe to be Emes without considering the consequences to myself.

There has always been something about their editorial position with respect to Israel that has troubled me. That policy goes beyond their written editorial. It biases the way they report the news.They have a strong bias in favor of West bank settlements. Not just those in large and long established border cities like Ma’aleh Adumim. I too support those cities. They will no doubt remain in Israel’s hands in any kind of peace agreement with Palestinians. (Not that I think it is possible at this point in time.) But Jewish Press support goes way beyond that. They support settlers in places like Chevron, a city populated by Palestinians.

Those settlers are there for only one reason – to assure that not a single inch of Eretz Yisroel is ever turned over to the Palestinians. Especially not Chevron. So wrapped up are they in this goal that they are not beneath committing criminal acts. And in one of the more extreme cases, mass murder was committed by one of their more esteemed members, Dr. Baurch Goldstein.

The settlers of Chevron are the same people that worship Baruch Goldstein as icon and martyr for the Jewish cause. How different is that from the Palestinians that worship a suicide bomber that successfully blew himself up and took some Jews along with him?!

The latest article in the Jewish Press presents a sympathetic spin about the eviction by police of settlers in Chevron that have occupied 2 buildings there. The settler claim is that Chevron is holy, it is ours, and has been ours since Matan Torah. It was the home of Avrohom, and it contains the holy burial grounds of our patriarchs and matriarchs. They therefore will do whatever it takes to keep Chevron in Jewish hands. The Jewish Press seems to agree with that. So they report the eviction of Jewish settlers there with an immoral and unjust spin.

I don’t know if those settlers did or didn’t have a legal right to occupy those buildings. But in my view they endanger the welfare of their people. Their presence in or near that city is an incitement that is unnecessary and a source of anger to Palestinians. Which increases the chances of more Jews being harmed of killed.

Please do not misunderstand. I fully understand Palestinian terrorists don’t need much to terrorize us. They have been doing that in a piecemeal fashion for months now. Most Palestinians probably feel we deserve it. So that even if there was not a single Jewish soul living in or near Chevron, not much would change. But as I have said many times, pouring gasoline onto a fire does not help. Doing Yishuv Ha’aretz  – settling the land in this way is irresponsible and has consequences. To which they seem oblivious.

This is also not to say that we don’t have a right to Chevron. Of course we do. But rights do not trump safety. When one exercises their rights under conditions that cause harm to others, one has to question the priorities. Jewish life is sacred. Exercising a right that can bring more death and destruction – is wrong.

That’s why I agree with Rav Shach on this issue. If I recall correctly, he said he would even give up the Kotel if it would bring genuine peace. I agree with him. My motivation is simple. Whatever saves Jewish life is what I favor.  Pikuach Nefesh is not something that should be taken lightly. It should not be ignored by people with agendas – even legitimate ones. Saving Jewish life has the highest of value in Judaism. V’Chai Bahem the Torah tells us about the laws dictated by the Torah. The sages interpret this to mean that one may violate any and all Halachos to save a Jewish life – except for idol worship, murder, and adultery. Certainly settling the land of Israel is not any of those three.

I therefore find an editorial position that sympathizes with the settlers of Chevron repulsive no matter who has it. It is one thing to feel that the settler view is the right one. It is another to write in sympathetic tones about actions that exacerbate the enmity of our enemy.

The Jewish Press is not alone in praising such deeds. I have read more than once about the ‘courage’ of those who risk their lives by settling in and around Chevron. In my view this ‘courage’ is pure foolishness. They risk their lives for an ideal that is over-ridden by the ideal of saving Jewish lives.

If it were up to me, I would evacuate all of Chevron’s Jews. And I would consider doing the same thing to Kiryat Arba, the Israel town right next to it. I see no value to having a town there – even though it has been there since shortly after the 6 day war of 1967.

I realize that a lot of readers that generally support my views here, will be appalled at this post. I’m sure I will be accused of Nazi-like attitudes of making parts of biblical Israel Judenrein (free of any Jews). That’s OK. I will take my lumps. But I feel very strongly about Pikuach Nefesh and I oppose any activities that endanger the lives of fellow Jews. And this doesn’t even take into account the danger Israeli soldiers face that are there to protect them.

I understand the sincerity of these people. They are committed to their ideals and are willing to risk their lives for them. That is admirable under normal circumstances. But when they risk the lives of others along with their own that idealism turns into a callous disregard for the welfare of their fellow Jew.

They may claim that activities in Chevron does not endanger the Jewish people any more than they already are. But that makes about as much sense as saying that pouring gasoline on a fire will not increase the flame. These people are wrong. And the Jewish Press would do well to recognize that instead of constantly sympathizing with them.

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Harry Maryles runs the blog "Emes Ve-Emunah" which focuses on current events and issues that effect the Jewish world in general and Orthodoxy in particular. It discuses Hashkafa and news events of the day - from a Centrist perspctive and a philosphy of Torah U'Mada. He can be reached at hmaryles@yahoo.com.

57 COMMENTS

  1. this writer, Harry Maryles a leftist hypocrite being given legitimacy and a voice by The Jewish Press which is really losing them readers, dares to compare Hebron Jews who bought proprieties fair and square from Arab owners who were only too happy to pocket the money well above market value, comparing them to Baruch Goldstein who just went in and sprayed a group of arab worshipers, and to suicide belt terrorists who blow up innocent people on the street…. ignorance at best, desperate attempt at bad journalism at worst…

  2. Everything you say is right — except the exact opposite! HaKadosh Baruch Hu commanded us to conquer Eretz Yisrael, and as I'm sure you know, Chazal tell us it is forbidden to rely on miracles. In war, people are killed. Nevertheless, we are commanded to conquer and settle the Land. And I'm also sure you know that Chazal teach us that Shabbat is violated if goyim come only to steal hay from a border town in Eretz Yisrael, not because of pikuach nefesh, but because if we give-in to our enemies on the border for even a small thing like hay, they will eventually come to kill us. Kal v'chomer, if you give them an entire city! If the Jews are not in Hevron and Judea and Samaria, who do you think will be? Moral and cultured people??? MURDERER'S!!! And then your whole pikuach nefesh worry will be a 1,000 times worse! YOU, my friend, are risking the lives of MILLIONS of Jews with your attitudes, G-d forbid!

  3. Everything you say is right — except the exact opposite! HaKadosh Baruch Hu commanded us to conquer Eretz Yisrael, and as I’m sure you know, Chazal tell us it is forbidden to rely on miracles. In war, people are killed. Nevertheless, we are commanded to conquer and settle the Land. And I’m also sure you know that Chazal teach us that Shabbat is violated if goyim come only to steal hay from a border town in Eretz Yisrael, not because of pikuach nefesh, but because if we give-in to our enemies on the border for even a small thing like hay, they will eventually come to kill us. Kal v’chomer, if you give them an entire city! If the Jews are not in Hevron and Judea and Samaria, who do you think will be? Moral and cultured people??? MURDERER’S!!! A PLO/Hamas/ISIS terrorist state in the heart of our country, threatening millions of Jews! And then your whole pikuach nefesh worries will be a 10,000 times worse! YOU, my friend, are risking the lives of MILLIONS of Jews with your attitudes, G-d forbid, not the brave settlers who are putting their lives on the line for the sake of Am Yisrael and Eretz Yisrael!

  4. Annika Tetzner Israel is a secular country where one is free to live as he chooses. Freedom and democracy are not insulting concepts. In the 21st century the bible does not run or dictate people’s lives otherwise we’d all be living in tents and growing livestock in our backyard for food and clothing as we practice animal sacrifice. This is about real life and if your property was not legally purchased with the proper documentation and licences, bible believer or not – you’ll be evacuated

  5. When I read the title of the rabbi's article I had the impression that the respected rabby was denouncing the naughty settlers for taking over a gas station.

    Only after reading the article I saw that the good rabbi is completely confused. He meant Hebron, the first capital of David's kingdom and not Chevron the oil company.

    Well, I suppose that living in Chicago he is not very well acquainted with the proper names of the cities in the Holy Land.

  6. According to this train of thought, we should evacuate Jews from EVERY city in Israel as there have been Jewish lives lost in every city. I think Harry Maryles needs to understand that yishuv Eretz Yisrael is a mitzvah that is done with great sacrifice. So say our chachamim. Time to go back to the original Zionistic source- the Torah. As for Baruch Goldstein HY"D, Maryles is wrong on that too. The community in the Gush were informed that the Arabs were planning on attacking Jews at Maarat Hamachpelah. The army was informed and ignored this piece of news. Unfortunately Dr. Goldstein became the sacrificial lamb and went to Machpelah to stop them single-handedly. He was butchered by axes and knives. Who brings knives and axes to a place of worship unless you are planning on using it there? How do I know? I have family who lives in the area.

  7. Harry you live in a dream land, people like you with liberal vision that put our people in more danger, when you R going to realize that what ever we give,or do for these blood sucker killers, it will never help they still want to kill us, as they were taught to do from birth.

  8. Galutitis is now affecting this Mar-tian.
    His belief system seems to be eroding by castigating those
    who are on the battlefront maintaining Jewish presence in very critical areas. His chut's la'aretz brainwaves place great emphasis on capitulation and have no reality when understanding every nuance and decision that takes place in Israel. His generalizations are quite sad and lacking truth.
    It appears that when a so-called ortho Jew begins the withdrawal process of zero confrontation, he is really morphing into an open-ortho or more simply put- rightwing con jew.
    With friends like these, Jewry will be in harm's way.

    While his ego driven blog seems to be running ahead of him,
    the addage of less said the better would give him more credibility. On the other hand, he has shown us the cards in his hand and his deal would make most readers wonder why
    the JP gives him space altogether.

    Jews don't need devil's advocates – we need Torah True Jews who have many more principles.

  9. Before the evacuation of Gaza, many Israelis and others had the opinion that we don't need Gaza. It is also primarily populated by Arabs. It was dangerous to live there. I heard people say that they don't want their soldier kids to risk their lives protecting the Israeli "settlers" of Gush Katif. So the Jews of Gush Katif were all evacuated for their safety and for a "genuine peace". What did we get in return? No peace and more pikuach nefesh. Missiles flying and killing innocent people in Israel. It is time to realize that a Jew isn't totally safe anywhere – not in Jerusalem, Raanana, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Paris, or anywhere else. Instead of evacuating Jews, it is time to relocate the Arabs back to their countries. Let them go to Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt and all their other countries. Evacuate the real trouble-makers; the ones who make it dangerous for us to live peacefully in our land – all of Eretz Yisroel.

  10. Your style of pikuach nefesh is exactly why 6 million Jews silently walked into the cattle cars… never to be seen again.

    The only thing that will bring real peace with Arabs is when every last Jew is dead… OR WE defend our land, and our rights to it and fight back.

    Because if they push us out of Hevron, the will push us out of Efrat next, then Jerusalem, and then Tel Aviv. I'm sorry Bud but you are just a short sighted pathetic coward.

  11. This was a very sad article. "Never Again"! Remember that! What would you have told the Jews who organized the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, 1943? Do nothing & hope for the best? Maybe the women & children would be spared? These were very brave brave men & women. Over 265,000+ Jews quietly moved along on trains to Treblinka.
    If the land was legally purchased, then they should not be afraid of Arab terrorists or Jewish cowards like you. They should be armed & protected by ALL the Israeli military to stand up for what is theirs!

  12. I don't always agree with this author, and I'm not sure whether I do here either. Both points of view have arguments that are valid. What I AM sure of is that the author does NOT deserve the degree of vitriol he has gotten in these comments. Rabbi Maryles deserves a great deal of respect for saying exactly what he believes, and saying it in a reasoned, respectful way.

  13. No! Rights do trump safety! Any time you give up rights for safety you have lost. Chevron had a Jewish community that was massacred in 1929. If the current settlement is stopped the terrorists will have won that round and will try for another.

  14. Ridiculous viewpoint. Israel was settled by such brave piobeering spirit as the Yehudim in Chevron. Israel would be empty otherwise. They only appear radical alongside of those living in the older established cities. I do not in any way approve of the actions of Baruch Goldstein…..and I doubt if they all do in Chevron today.

  15. Why publish such articles? He sits here, in the safety of the United States, and judges those couragous enough to live in Eretz Yisroel. Yes, it's more dangerous in Chevron, and those who live there,deserve our support and admiration only. Chevron is one of the five holy cities of Eretz Yisroel. To abandon it, like we did when we kicked out the jews from Gush KaTif, will only lead to more terror. Our enemies are only waiting for people like him- to retreat is to admit defeat.

  16. This Jew, does not deserve to live in Israel. He should live in Europe, where the Jew haters will attack him if he wears a kippa. His attitude is why we Jew's suffered six million dead. His brain is in a ghetto. The city of Hevron, would have thousands of Jew's, not seven hundred, if it weren't for government temerity. If the Arab forces us out of Hevron, they will choose another city to make Judenrein.

  17. Your opening statement : "…not an inch of ERETZ ISRAEL …." – negates the remaining 1000 words. Not only that but your proposal, which might bring peace with any other culture, would only bring more violence from the Arab Muslim culture.

  18. "That’s why I agree with Rav Shach on this issue. If I recall correctly, he said he would even give up the Kotel if it would bring genuine peace. I agree with him. My motivation is simple. Whatever saves Jewish life is what I favor." This is pure humanism. A believer in the Almighty would say to do what is right, and trust in the Keeper of Israel to save Jewish life. How many miracles does He have to do before you will believe.

  19. The Jewish Press should be ashamed for publishing this trash. is this haaretz? no place for such stupidity and hostility in a publication that claims to support Israel. I certainly hope this is his last blog published ever, and also in the Jewish Press.

  20. "Doing Yishuv Ha’aretz – settling the land in this way is irresponsible and has consequences…This is also not to say that we don’t have a right to Chevron. Of course we do. But rights do not trump safety. When one exercises their rights under conditions that cause harm to others, one has to question the priorities. Jewish life is sacred. Exercising a right that can bring more death and destruction – is wrong." Harry lives in the Golden Medina, chicago, Illinois, where he can shop in the safety of Jewel Foods, kosher section, and bask in the glow of Rahm emannuel's SAFE police blanket. well, Harry, Zev shandalov moved here, time for you. And wherever you move to Israel will be considered unsafe by the Jews left in america.ah, Devon Ave. Kosher Dunkin' donuts…..can't leave that….Anywhere we live, not just Hevron , is considered,"under conditions that cause harm to others.." So, if you move here, you do harm…BUT…so did my cousin, Yaakov Wexler, buried in Hevron Cemetary, murdered in 1929…did he cause harm to others? Your smug claim , via your connections to R. Aaron Soloveichik don't impress. Every step you take in eretz Yisrael is interpreted by the arabs as "harmful." You bought the lie. If you make aliyah, (did you also "buy" an aprtment in Jerusalem (west , of course) for your vacations, your kids) your mere presence is an anathema to the arabs; or if you didn't make aliyah, and you pontificate remotely, then you have no dog in this fight, and you should hold your piece.

  21. Jennifer Galit Chantrell Many of us here in Israel also have no weapon and and no certain knowledge of our fate. But we have knowledge of what this enemy ultimately wants from us. To give into that would be to empower the enemy and cause many more deaths than we currently are. Learn from history.

  22. Dear Harry,

    Let us assume that a prominent African American preacher said, circa 1954:

    "I don’t know if those Negros did or didn’t have a legal right to occupy those buildings. But in my view they endanger the welfare of their people. Their presence in or near that neighborhood is an incitement that is unnecessary and a source of anger to whites. Which increases the chances of more Negros being harmed of killed."

    Harry, would you agree with that statement? If not, why not? After all, it is, except for the change in ethnic group, identical to yours.

    (Please remember – "Negro" was, in the 1950's, the polite term for persons with ancestors from sub-Saharan Africa.)

  23. I understand his sentiment very much, but the problem lies with trusting Arab honour (is that an oxymoron?) Like here in Europe when consesions are made to Muslims they then continue to make more of them, what if you concede this ?you will then have them tdemand removal from every area where jews are, it would set a dangerous precedent believe me

  24. first, i doubt this idiot has ever been to hevron, second he is clearly clueless about the people. does he know that the arabs have said if israel ever pulls out they will deny acces to the mach pela? listen you asshat, if Jews only lived where people said they could, ISRAEL WOULDNT EXIST. you are on the wrong side of the jewish story, you are the hellenised jews. i hope you know that.

  25. This article is a perfect example of the wonders of free speech; even someone so blatantly wrong has a right to voice their absurd ideas.

    What you're saying is that Jews must leave places that Arabs want, regardless of history, culture, or legality. As long as the threat of violence is a possibility, Jews have to go. Even from the Kotel (gasp!), the second-tier spot to which we Jews were banished when the Muslims decided we weren't fit to pray with them on our holiest site.

    In that case, I suggest we all pack our bags and hop on the first shuttle to Mars, because we've tried living everywhere on this planet and we haven't had the best track record when it comes to not getting slaughtered by our hosts/neighbors.

    Mr. Maryles: your ideas are not only stupid, they endanger the lives of me and my family.

  26. Clearly, Harry Myles has been steeped in the anti-Jewish racism of the PLO and most Western Holocaust culture. Hevron, with land purchased by Abraham Avienu, and promised to the Jews by Hashem IS Israel…if Hevron is not Israel then there is no Israel. Unfortunately people like Harry are brainwashed into thinking that for the Jews to be safe, they must renounce Hashem and put out trust in human racist Jew haters. I feel bad for Harry and I hope he finds help

  27. How disgustingly sad and pathetic. You don't care about pikuach nefesh whatsoever! Otherwise you would advocate people not live in Israel altogether. What does people living in Hevron have to do with poeple getting brutally murdered on the streets of Tel Aviv. It is pathetic you care more for the palestinians of hevron than your own people…

  28. Mr. Maryles does not understand the Arab mentality and has not taken a lesson from very recent history. The Jews of Gush Katif were expelled with his very same rationalization, for the left said that Gaza was a flashpoint and better to remove Gaza Jews who were a clear irritation to Gaza Arabs. We did so and what happened? Now Ashkelon, Ashdod and the kibbutzim that surround Gaza have become the new flash-points. If Jews would be expelled from Hevron and Kiriat-Arba because it's a flashpoint then the Arabs would treat Gush Etzion the same way. And then if Jews would be expelled from Gush Etzion then Gilo as the southern neighborhood of Jerusalem would become the flashpoint. And if Jerusalem would be made Judenrein then Tel-Aviv would become the flashpoint. Truth is that the Arabs seek flashpoints and have been doing so for decades. If it isn't one flashpoint then it'll be another. The left said that we should give away Gaza because if we give them what they want then they'll leave us alone. The problem is that they want everything and appeasement only encourages conflict rather than diminishes it. The respective covenants of Hamas and Hisb'Allah both declare their intention to take all of the Land of Israel as well as exterminate Jews the world over. The PA maintains their unchanged PLO Covenant that calls for the "armed struggle" against Israel and Jews. Has he not heard this or does he not believe them? It's not smart to disbelieve those who proclaim they want to take all the Land of Israel and do away with all Jews.

  29. let me see, so the rabid muslim murderers are killing us on a daily basis because we live in Chevron and/or in Kiryat Arba? where in the world did this guy come up with his warped thinking? don't you know that it does not matter where we Jews live in our historic homeland – the arab muslim murderers will never accept Jews living anywhere except in the sea or back in the armpit of the world, aka, europe. these pali murderers should be rounded up and shipped to germany where they can join their fellow rapefugees and continue their terror intifada against the neo-nazis who are ready to kill them en masse. our answer is the just one – every attack on us must be followed by more and more building in our country especially in the so called "settlements".

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