Self-Hating Horror - Part II

In order to rebut MJ Rosenberg's view of "Hebron Horrors", I continue herein to try and dismantle his article, piece by piece.

David Wilder, Hevron

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[Part one of this article can be read at]

In order to rebut MJ Rosenberg's view of "Hebron Horrors", I continue herein to try and dismantle his article, piece by piece.

Rosenberg: I walked into the heart of H-2 following a short inquisition by an IDF soldier. My first stop was the Ibrahami Mosque, which encompasses the Tomb of the Patriarchs. As I walked down the steps toward the mosque, a young Palestinian made the point of informing me that I was following the same route Jewish zealot Baruch Goldstein took when, in February 1994, he burst into the mosque and shot dead 29 Muslims at prayer. Goldstein is a hero to the Hebron settlers. His burial place (in a tourist park named after Meir Kahane) was turned into a shrine where settlers annually celebrate Goldstein's murder spree with parties and games. (In 2004, police arrested some of them for holding an illegal celebration of both the Goldstein murders and the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin.) For Palestinians, of course, the Goldstein massacre is a symbol of the ultimate threat.

The author's bias becomes exceeding clear by speaking of Ma'arat HaMachpela as the Ibrahimi Mosque, thereby negating legitimate Jewish rights to worship at the site. According to Islam, only Muslims can pray at a mosque. Therefore, Rosenberg implicitly agrees that this holy site should be inaccessible to Jews and Christians.

Of course, no besmirching of Hebron would be complete without mentioning Baruch Goldstein. Hebron's Jewish community has repeated, time and time again, that it rejects all illegitimate and unnecessary violence. The fact is that no Hebron Jewish resident has ever used a weapon to indiscriminately shoot Arabs in Hebron. Goldstein's grave site is not a shrine, rather it is located in an isolated area in Kiryat Arba. The grave stone was erected by his family, as is customary for any deceased person. The site and the nearby park are not tourist attractions.

The generalization that "Goldstein is a hero to the Hebron settlers" is grossly distorted. Baruch Goldstein, in his capacity as a regional doctor, saved many people's lives following terror attacks in and around Hebron. I can honestly say that there are very mixed feelings about his actions in February, 1994, amongst people in Hebron and Kiryat Arba, including many people who knew him personally and were his friends.

Rosenberg: I left the mosque and walked through the mostly deserted Casbah toward the settlers' neighborhood. There wasn't much to see, just settlers strutting around with rifles and a few Arabs trying to sell their wares in what was once a thriving market and is now mostly abandoned. And there is the graffiti in English and Hebrew promising death to all Palestinians. But the most striking thing is the steel mesh screens that the Arabs have installed just above the heads of pedestrians to protect them from the garbage and excrement routinely dumped by the settlers from their second-floor windows. The screens catch all sorts of disgusting stuff, and lethal objects like cinder blocks, although liquid debris does make its way to the ground or on the heads of anyone below. It's an appalling sight. Imagine looking up and seeing and smelling the foulest debris just above your head, stopped only by mesh. But then everything about H-2 is appalling, including the fact that Israeli soldiers are forced to serve there.

Of course, there isn't much to see, from Rosenberg's perspective. Jewish sanctity at Hebron is nonexistent, be it at Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of Jessie and Ruth, or the Avraham Avinu synagogue, not to mention Jewish holy sites which are 'off-limits' to Jews, such as the cave of Otniel ben Knaz (the first Judge in Israel) and the tomb of Avner ben Ner (adjacent to Ma'arat HaMachpela.

1) Jews do not "strut" with rifles. People carry arms for reasons of self-defense. There are Jews alive today because they had weapons to protect themselves with. And vice versa.

2) The "once-thriving market" is no longer thriving due to the fact that Hebron's Arabs declared war on the city's Jewish population, shooting at us day and night for two years. Rosenberg does not see fit to even mention this fact anywhere in the article (excepting a brief notation concerning the killing of 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass). The shops were closed by the Israel Defense Forces in accordance with security precautions needed to protect Israelis in the city. According to all estimates, this threat has not yet passed and the stores are still closed.

Concerning graffiti and garbage: Rosenberg neglects to mention that the wire screening also acts as a deterrent, preventing Arabs from hurling rocks, hand grenades and other explosive devices (bombs) into the Jewish homes and playgrounds from the Casbah. It is not an infrequent event that rocks and other projectiles are thrown at Jewish homes, particularly in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood.

I have written in previous articles that Hebron's Jews are not perfect. We are also people, not angels. Our children have been constantly attacked by Arabs, either on the streets or from afar (people were shot at in their homes, cars and walking on the streets. Hebron youth were stabbed and seriously wounded by Arab terrorists). Therefore, it is no wonder that graffiti expressing 'dislike' for our enemies can be seen on walls in Hebron. This is certainly not a 'just solution' to the problems we face, but I can imagine much more serious reactions to such events as we've dealt with in Hebron over the past four years.

The final paragraphs of Rosenberg's column deal with "eyewitness accounts" of soldiers in Hebron. I will not reprint them here; you can read them for yourselves if you so desire. The group of soldiers, called "Breaking Silence", used its military service in Hebron as a springboard to launch a new left-wing form of expression. The photo exhibition and accounts deal primarily with the soldiers and relationships amongst themselves, as opposed to dealing directly with Hebron.

Unfortunately, over the past decade, the role of Israeli military personnel has been maligned, and as a result, many soldiers are unaware of their true purpose. They have little understanding of the importance and significance of Eretz Yisrael. (Many of them arrive in Hebron knowing virtually nothing about the historic importance of the city.) Their ability to defend themselves was, for many years, greatly curtailed, with army morale falling leaps and bounds. This has led to groups such as Breaking Silence, which, under different circumstances, could be defined as treasonous, as well as aiding and abetting the enemy. In Israel, if you are on the Left side of the political spectrum, this is legitimate.

I will not relate to the individual "accounts", for there is absolutely no proof of their veracity.

Rosenberg: That is why Hebron is significant. In one neighborhood, in one city, on any given day, anyone can experience the occupation at its worst -- terrible for the Palestinians and terrible for the Israelis too. The Sharm el-Sheikh summit was a start toward a full ceasefire and the end of the Intifada. But it won't change much in Hebron or in the rest of the West Bank either. As for Gaza, Ariel Sharon is getting out. That is if extremists in the Knesset, and settlers very much like their brethren in Hebron, let him. But a start is certainly better than the status quo.

Why is it a given that Jews living in Hebron represent "occupation"? Why can't a Jew live in the first Jewish city in Israel? I understand from Rosenberg's remarks that anyone opposing Ariel Sharon's plans in Gush Katif is an extremist: "...extremists in the Knesset, and settlers very much like their brethren in Hebron...." Meaning that 'they' (in the Knesset) and all other settlers are comparable to us (their brethren in Hebron). In other words, Rosenberg's article isn't really dealing with Hebron, rather, it is describing his vision of reality amongst all Jews living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and all others around the country who support us. That is, about 50% of the Jews living in Israel. In other words, I am in good company.

According to Rosenberg's reality, at least half of the Jews living in Israel represent a "horror".' The only thing left to say is: the only horror I've witnessed in MJ Rosenberg's article is that of another self-hating Jew; a true, self-hating horror.

[Part 2 of 2]