What Did Lilly Sharon Mean?

Lilly Sharon asked the woman: "Do you know the parable of Jotham?" G. was not familiar with that parable, but Lilly did not attempt to further explain.

Nadia Matar

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First, let us congratulate the soldiers of the IDF for the splendid action against Ahmed Yassin, a lethal foe of the Jews. We pray that IDF soldiers will soon receive orders to eliminate another arch-murderer, Yasser Arafat, and the band of murderers of Jews he harbors in Ramallah, and other leaders and personnel of terrorist organizations.

A serious question remains. If Ariel Sharon sought to protect the Jewish People, why hadn't he eliminated Ahmed Yassin long ago? And why hasn't he added Yasser Arafat and other murderers of Jews to the elimination list? If Ariel Sharon truly desires to break the spirit of the enemy and eliminate, once and for all, the Hamas movement and the other Arab terrorist organizations, he would take these actions:

1. He would eliminate - every day - key individuals in these terrorist organizations. The daily elimination of such commanders and leaders would quickly squash the existing Arab intifada, and smash the Arab will to continue terrorism.

2. He would permanently put the IDF back in the Gaza Strip, clean up the area once and for all and rid it of the terror nests. That means the elimination of every armed individual and the expulsion of their families, and the restoration of Jewish control over all of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza. It has already been proven that the only way to fight terror is for Israel to control the area. The moment that the IDF abandons the field, terror flourishes and develops.

Since these steps were not taken by Sharon, and apparently will not be taken, we must ask: What is Ariel Sharon really doing? What is he striving to achieve? We might possibly receive the answer to this question from what Ariel Sharon's late wife, Lilly, of blessed memory, told an unimpeachable source in the Golan many years ago.

A woman, G., who knew Lilly well, told me the following: A few years ago, when Yitzchak Rabin was in power, and when the sword of destruction hung over the Golan, Ariel Sharon and his wife came to Neveh Ativ for a solidarity visit. After a talk with the residents, the men went and talked with Sharon. Lilly remained with G. for a talk among women. G. told Lilly that she so greatly wanted Ariel Sharon to be Prime Minister. She even volunteered to act on his behalf and to bring others to act as well. When Lilly Sharon asked her why she so strongly wanted Ariel Sharon to be elected Prime Minister, G. replied that she was certain that he would know how to be a true and proud Jewish leader.

Lilly Sharon asked the woman: "Do you know the parable of Jotham?" G. was not familiar with that parable, but Lilly did not attempt to further explain.

The parable of Jotham appears in the ninth chapter of the book of Judges. After the death of Gideon, the Israelites enthroned his son Abimelech as their king - the same Abimelech who murdered seventy of his brothers, in order to ensure that only he would rule as king. One brother was not killed by Abimelech. This was Jotham, who managed to hide during the slaughter. When Jotham heard that the Israelites had proclaimed the wicked Abimelech king, he went to the top of Mount Gerizim and related the following parable, in order to warn the Israelites of the terrible mistake that they were making:

"Once the trees went to anoint a king over themselves. They said to the olive tree, 'Reign over us.' But the olive tree replied, 'Have I, through whom God and men are honored, stopped yielding my rich oil, that I should go and wave above the trees?' So the trees said to the fig tree, 'You come and reign over us.' But the fig tree replied, 'Have I stopped yielding my sweetness, my delicious fruit, that I should go and wave above the trees?' So the trees said to the vine, 'You come and reign over us.' But the vine replied, 'Have I stopped yielding my new wine, which gladdens God and men, that I should go and wave above the trees?' Then all the trees said to the thornbush, 'You come and reign over us.' And the thorn bush said to the trees, 'If you are acting honorably in anointing me king over you, come and take shelter in my shade; but if not, may fire issue from the thorn bush and consume the cedars of Lebanon!'"

This is how Jotham ended his parable, warning that the crowning of Abimelech would bring only fire and trouble.

Lilly Sharon is not with us today to explain what she said. One thing, however, is clear. Lilly wanted to caution G. against the idea of Sharon as Prime Minister, just as Jotham had warned the Israelites. Indeed, a thorn bush can cause fires - not only among the enemy, but also among its own people, for all that interests it is its own survival and remaining in power.

Yes, the elimination of Yassin is a blow to the Arab enemy. But we cannot deceive ourselves. To the same degree that Sharon delivered a blow to the enemy, Ariel Sharon is also capable - and apparently intends, as well - to unleash a "strange fire" against his own people, and even more forcefully to promote the disengagement plan for the destruction of the settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

It is within our power to stop the "strange fire" of Ariel Sharon. We, the national camp, also possess a fire, the perpetual fire of which we shall read in the Torah portions of the coming weeks. As Dr. Yisrael Eldad writes in Contemplations of the Bible:

"The first fire in the Bible is that of the Covenant between the Pieces. This fire, the first that came down from heaven, sanctified the covenant of Abraham's offspring with this land. This is the fire of the great love that rivers shall not wash away, not the River of Egypt, not the Euphrates River, and not the mighty waters of the entire world. This fire shall not be extinguished. It shall not be consumed. An eternal flame, from the Covenant between the Pieces to the burning bush, from the burning bush to the altar of the kohanim [priests], from the altar of the kohanim to the lips of the prophets, an eternal flame. The same fire."

Eldad notes that in all generations, foreigners have attempted to extinguish the eternal Jewish flame, but without success. The most dangerous, however, are specifically individuals such as Nadab and Abihu, who come from within our midst, who pretend to be "one of ours," but who hold in their hands a destructive "strange fire". We must be warier of them than of anyone else.

Ariel Sharon pretends to be a leader who is "one of ours." He built the settlement enterprise in Judea, Samaria and Gaza. He embodies "security." He eliminated Ahmed Yassin. But he holds in his hands strange fire, the fire of the disengagement plan, the fire of the plan of destruction and expulsion of Jews. We must ensure that our positive fire, the fire of Judaism, the fire of love and loyalty to the people of Israel, the Torah of Israel, and all the Land of Israel, shall extinguish the strange and destructive fire of Ariel Sharon. Who knows, perhaps this is what Lilly Sharon meant by her laconic statement.