Op-Ed: Hebron First
It wasn’t too many weeks ago that rumors of Bibi’s intended US speech, declaring intentions to immediately recognize a ‘palestinian state’ within temporary borders, abounded. Commentators expected such an announcement, perhaps in the Premier’s address before Congress in May.
Then disaster struck. The Fogel butchery in Itamar seemed to throw a wrench into the mechanics of Bibi’s seemingly well-oiled machinery. Photographs of a baby stabbed in the heart and a father with his throat cut are not conducive to peace plans.
Then, again, Arab terror struck in the heart of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Central Bus station. Again, murder, targeted at the body and soul of every Jew in Israel, only because they are Jews, in Israel. It makes no difference that the one fatality was a non-Jew from England. Terror is terror is terror.
Suddenly Bibi’s new ‘piece’ initiative seemed to get stuck.
Our Arab neighbors, not wanting to get pulled deep into Netanyahu’s suggested quicksand, totally rejecting any form of ‘temporary statehood,’ began pushing for a unilateral declaration of ‘palestinian statehood.’ Building upon anti-Israel sentiment in South America, several countries announced their recognition of a ‘palestinian state’ in pre-1967 Judea and Samaria, part of which is presently partially controlled by the ‘palestinian authority.’ The winds of the new ‘state’ are quickly transforming into a political tornado, picking up speed and international support. The time and place seem to be September at the United Nations, when the UN will be asked to recognize ‘palestine’ as a full-fledged member of the world community.
It must be clear without mincing any words. Nothing has changed within the Arab thought process. Abu Mazen has not repented. He still denies the Holocaust. He has not apologized for his role, planning terror attacks against Jews for decades, including his financing of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. He continues to honor terrorists. This month his advisor Sabri Saidam, exclaimed that palestinian weapons must be turned towards Israel. Under his auspices, a town square in El-Birah was named in honor of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who participated in the 1978 Coast Road massacre. The ‘palestinian authority, continuing to incite against Israel and Jews, is nothing less than a PTA – a ‘palestinian terror organization. This has not prevented UN secretary general Ban from castigating Israel, labeling Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria as ‘occupation,’ and ‘morally, politically, unsustainable.’
As Ban speaks, Arabs are killing Arabs in Libya and Syria, while other Arab tyrants are cranking up their killing machines in order to deflect any attempts to dethrone them. Yet, it is the ‘Israeli occupation’ that occupies the United Nations leadership.
Israeli politicians and other public figures have started reacting to the September Accords. This morning Infrastructure Minister Uzi Landau, a well-known, veteran right-wing leader, suggested that Israel annex parts of Judea and Samaria in reaction to declaration of a ‘palestinian state.’ Landau isn’t the first to make such a declaration. However, Landau’s solution is partial and lacking, in that he proclaimed that the ‘large settlement blocks within the national consensus’ should be made part of sovereign Israel.
And so I ask, what about Hebron?
Actually, there is no doubt in my mind that all of Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, and as such, should be officially annexed. However, if the state of Israel, for whatever reason, prefers to establish an annexation process, declaring statehood in Judea and Samaria little by little, what better a place to begin than Hebron?!
Recently Education minister Saar announced that all Israeli schoolchildren should and would visit Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela. In a survey conducted amongst high school teachers, over seventy eight percent supported this decision. As reported on Kol Yisrael radio on March 21, the head of the teacher’s union, Ron Erez, commented that “this result proves that educators are not only teaching with an aim of achievement, rather they are also looking at the roots of our state, our education, and deepening those roots, bond them to Eretz Yisrael.”
David began his rule in Hebron, and remained here for over seven years, thereby immersing himself, not as an individual, but as King of Israel, in the sanctity of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, prior to moving up to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. Following in the footsteps of David, it would seem natural that still today, Hebron is the place to start.
Jewish Hebron is, in the eyes of the world, a seeming question mark. How can Israel dare allow Jews to live in the first Jewish city in Israel? Hebron is, in their opinion, the epitome of Israeli intransigence and foreign occupation.
The time has come to put an end to any such question marks. Hebron, the roots of our people, is, always was, and always will be, a Jewish, Israeli city. The fact that Arabs too live here, so what! That cannot and does not erase the core significance of Hebron, throughout the generations, to the Jewish people.
For seven hundred years Jews were forcibly prevented from accessing building atop the caves of Machpela, the 2nd
holiest site in the world. Yet Jews did not forget their roots, yearning for the day when they could return to visit, worship and identify at this sacred monument.
As such, nothing could be more fitting than a declaration of “Hebron First.” On the day that the UN declares acceptance of a ‘palestinian state’ the Knesset should vote to extend full Israeli sovereignty on the city of Hebron, again declaring the Jewish people’s allegiance to our age-old heritage. This historic event will open the eyes of the world-at-large, proving to them that we, the Jewish people in the State of Israel, will never, ever, abandon our ancient homeland.
And they will know: Hebron First is only the beginning.