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Before making Aliyah to Israel, Tzvi Fishman was a Hollywood screenwriter. He has co-authored 4 books with Rabbi David Samson, based on the teachings of Rabbi Kook, Eretz Yisrael, Art of T'shuva, War and Peace, and Torat Eretz Yisrael.
Cheshvan 28, 5770, 11/15/2009
Motzei Shabbat, I went to the Kotel to say Tehillim with Rabbi Leon Levi and students.
Afterward, around midnight, in order to get an additional spiritual lift before Rosh Chodesh, we drove up north to the holy city of Tiberias. We recited Tikun Hatzot at the tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess, the great Mishnaic sage renowned for his miracles, where I prayed for Hashem to do the greatest miracle of all – bring the Jews home from the lands of the gentiles.
Tomb of Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess
Next, we stopped to recite Tehillim at the tomb of the Rambam, five minutes away.
Tomb of the Rambam
We reached the holy city of Tzfat at around three in the morning, where we immersed in the pure, invigorating, mountain-cave mikvah of the Arizal.
Mikvah of the Arizal
Grave of the Arizal
After praying at his gravesite, we journeyed on to Meron, where we davened Vatiken, the sunrise service, at the Tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, author of the Zohar.
Tomb of Rabbi Shimon
We drove back to Jerusalem along the breathtaking Jordan Valley highway.
"And the L-rd said to Abraham, Go to Monsey NY
Just like a typical Saturday night in Brooklyn, or Monsey, or Toronto, or Australia, or Las Vegas.
Cheshvan 25, 5770, 11/12/2009
Rabbi Meir Kahane was a very gifted writer. He could have stayed in America and written talkbacks and letters to the editor all day long. But he chose to make aliyah and personally participate in the rebuilding of the nation in Israel, rather than just writing about it from the sidelines.
Since thousands of Jews will be visiting Hevron this Shabbat for the Torah portion of “Chaya Sarah,” we thought it fitting to conclude the Rabbi Meir Kahane Legacy Memorial Week with a story from his inspiring biography about his involvement in the resettlement of the city of Hevron.
Thanks Rav Meir!
THE RIGHT TO RETURN TO HEVRON
(Excerpted from the biography, “Rabbi Meir Kahane - His Life and Thought” Vol.1, written by his wife, Libby Kahane.)
At the same time, Meir embarked on a campaign for the right of Jews to return to Hebron, which was historically Jewish. Over 3,000 years ago it was King David’s capital. Only recently, in 1929, Jews abandoned Hebron’s old Jewish quarter after a bloody riot in which Arabs massacred sixty-seven Jews and wounded many others. Arabs now occupied the homes of the eight hundred Jews who had lived there. After the 1967 Six Day War, when Israel recaptured Hebron, a group of Jews went to settle there. They were housed in the Israeli military compound until 1971, when a new Jewish town bordering on Hebron, Kiryat Arba, was built. But Jews were not permitted to live in Hebron itself. Meir believed Jews should have the elementary right to return to the Jewish homes in Hebron and live there.
His first step was to send a telegram to the mayor of Hebron, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Ja’abari. He informed Ja’abari that he and his followers would arrive in Hebron on Sunday morning, August 27, to begin arrangements for the return of Jews to their homes and for the return of their property. Of course, he also sent copies of the telegram to the media.
Mayor Ja’abari, who claimed to support co-existence between Arabs and Jews, appealed to the Israeli government to prevent Meir’s arrival, declaring that he would not be able to prevent violent demonstrations by the Arabs of Hebron. To avoid Arab unrest, minister of defense Moshe Dayan issued an order keeping Meir and his followers out of Hebron. However, they succeeded in circumventing the army’s roadblocks. Some went by car early in the morning, when the main roadblock on the southern outskirts of Bethlehem was manned by only one soldier. Others went by Arab buses and taxis, and some spent Shabbat in Hebron. Meir drove through the roadblock by pretending to be an American tourist. He donned sunglasses and a baseball hat, and when he was stopped, he asked in English,
“Is this the way to Beersheba?” The soldier waved him through.
David Fisch recalled:
“Meir had three of us, including me, dress as American tourists – floppy rainbow hats, dangling cameras, Bermuda shorts, really ridiculous stuff – and take a ride to Hebron on an Arab bus line. We did. We got into the city, really close to Ja’abari’s house (i.e., just short of the front door), and handed a letter to the guy guarding the door. I don’t know what was in the envelope, but it got the guy really frenzied. There were a million soldiers, and they seized us and put us on a bus out of Hebron.”
The letter that was presented to Ja’abari was in English. It said:
To the Honorable Sheikh Ja’abari, Mayor of Hebron, City of the Patriarchs: We are here to discuss repatriation of the former Jewish residents to the Jewish city of Hebron, whose Jewishness dates back to Abraham our father. We are also interested in receiving your reply to the ugly rumors concerning your participation in the Hebron riots of 1929, in which scores of Jews were massacred, as well as the part you played in the slaughter at Gush Etzion [the Etzion Bloc] in 1948. [signed] Yitzhak Ben Avrahamת Hebron Chapter Chairman.
About 60 Liga [Jewish Defense League] members assembled in the plaza outside the Cave of the Patriarchs. A photo in Yedioth Ahronoth shows Meir with Yosef Schneider and other supporters, singing and clapping hands. In a Ma’ariv photo, Meir stands with several supporters at the top of a hill, the houses of Hebron spread out below them.
Reporters who came to cover the story asked Meir if Liga members could live together with the Arabs of Hebron. Meir promptly replied, “What a question! The Arabs couldn’t wish for better neighbors!”
Referring to the historic Jewish quarter of Hebron, Meir told the reporters: “There’s a Jewish quarter here, but no Jews yet. Ask the leftists who think the Arabs should return to Biram and Ikrit why they aren’t demanding the return of the Jews to Hebron!”
Army officers approached Meir quietly and invited him for a talk in the nearby Settlers’ Restaurant. There he received orders to leave Hebron with his followers. Back in Jerusalem he held a press conference. He maintained that expelling him from Hebron was a violation of his civil rights. He announced that he would apply for a court order that very day to allow his group into the Jewish quarter of Hebron. Attorney Meir Schechter immediately applied to the High Court of Justice for an order nisi calling on the defense minister to show cause why Meir should not be allowed to “tour” the old Jewish quarter of Hebron. Justice Moshe Etzioni’s decision, given the next day, denied Meir’s request. But Meir had succeeded in making the Hebron issue an important news story. His demand for the return of Jews to Hebron and the restoration of their property was carried by all the Israeli media. Ma’ariv carried this insightful commentary by Yizhar Arnon:
“The Hebron massacre took place when I was a child. I have vague memories of postcards with the pictures of the victims, but in later years there were no reminders of the massacre. In grade school and in high school there was no mention of it, and in the course of the years it was forgotten by most of the population.
“When Hebron was liberated in the Six Day War I thought to myself, ‘Now the victims of the massacre will see justice done.’ But after 43 years they were forgotten, and there were even many who were opposed to ‘stealing’ Hebron from the Arabs. Rabbi Meir Kahane has done us a favor by reminding us that Hebron is not only an Arab city, it is first a Jewish city.
“Try as I can, I cannot think of when anyone, in the past 40 years, has raised the subject of the Jews who were massacred in Hebron. It is not enough to write about them in the weekend newspaper, when the reader is drinking a cup of tea and nodding off. Rabbi Kahane is to be praised for putting the massacre at the top of the news.
Meir’s campaign in Hebron made waves. A letter to the editor in Ma’ariv asked, “Why can’t Mayor Ja’abari be interviewed about his past? Why can Mayor Kollek be interviewed but not Mayor Ja’abari?”
Meir continued his campaign for a Jewish Hebron. He called a prayer meeting for 10 A.M. on the eve of Yom Kippur, September 17, in Hebron, calling on the public to join him in prayers for the return of the refugees to Hebron. In mid-September, flyers asked witnesses to come forward to testify at a public trial against Ja’abari to be held September 28 at Beit Agron in Jerusalem. The flyer featured a 1948 photo of the sheikh reviewing a line of soldiers of the Arab Legion. In order to seek out witnesses for the trial, Avraham Hershkowitz and others went to Hebron, where they were detained by soldiers.
On September 22, in an unusual step, the government issued an injunction ordering Meir and 19 other members of the Liga to stay out of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The purpose of the order was to prevent them from carrying out “any activities liable to disrupt order or endanger security in those areas.” The Ja’abari trial was “postponed,” because the Association of Journalists, whose headquarters was Beit Agron, refused to rent the hall to the Liga, but Meir had made his point. He declared:
“I say that Hebron is not the real issue, but rather the right of Jews to create a Jewish state in THEIR Eretz Yisrael is the real issue. The Arab has NO RIGHT to Haifa and Jews DO have right to Hebron because it is part of Eretz Yisrael.”
May his memory be a blessing and inspiration to all. And may his murder be speedily avenged in our time.
Cheshvan 23, 5770, 11/10/2009
I have a pretty good idea what Rav Kahane would have said to the self-hating Jew, Goldstone, and his anti-Semetic, anti-Israel report on the war in Gaza.
Like on most issues, Rabbi Meir Kahane had a no-nonsense, no beating around the bush, solution on how to deal with terror.
Here’s another excerpt from the compelling and learning-packed biography of Rabbi Kahane, written by his wife. No home Jewish library is complete if this book isn’t in it.
Rabbi Kahane believed that demonstrations against Arab terror were not enough. Only counter-terror could succeed in stopping terror. In the wake of the massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich, he wrote:
Let us not underestimate the importance of the psychology of combatants in this deadly war of terror. The terrorists’ exploits, despite the fact that they were soaked in innocent blood, are nevertheless psychological victories that raise up from the dust the victory-poor Arabs. They also remind the world, long after it has gotten over the shock of the Munich victims, of the topic “Palestine.”
Together with this, there is the problem of the nations of the world who also suffer because of “those Israelis.” In Paris, the Masons receive a threat after they send a message of condolence to the Israeli branch.... A German weekly retracts an article unfavorable to the terrorists, again after threats. Air travelers throughout the world are forced to undergo lengthy searches that delay flight schedules and infuriate the passengers with the usual result – they direct their anger at the root of the whole mess: the Israelis.
It is imperative to eliminate – immediately and permanently – the terror plague.... It is obvious that the conventional methods of attack, such as a sweeping operation for two days in Lebanon, or air attacks on the terrorist bases do not begin to solve the problem. We must arrive at the decision to use unlimited counter-terror; to strike directly at Arab leaders and to bring terror into the streets of Cairo, Damascus and Tripoli. Only this will bring an end to the criminal Arab attacks.
And as for the argument that the State [of Israel] dare not be dragged into the sensitive matter of terror lest the effect on world public opinion be negative, I suggest a number of replies that Israel might take to her critics:
1) Just as the Arab states openly support terrorists with money, training, false papers, materials, operation bases and sanctuaries – so do we support our own “unofficial” terrorists...
If this is, perhaps, too strong a reply for the “moralists,” I suggest the following one:
2) We, the State of Israel, solemnly and categorically condemn all actions by Jewish counter-terrorists. We understand, however, the root causes of their actions – frustration and bitterness. Therefore, so long as the Arabs continue their terrorist activities we will be unable to put a stop to them.
The time is not too late to set up such a group. As it says in the Torah, “Thou shall not stand idly by thy brother’s blood.”
Cheshvan 22, 5770, 11/9/2009
Can there be any greater anguish than a father having to slaughter his own child? Why did this horrific mission fall upon Avraham? It was so horrifying, when Sarah heard of it, she dropped dead in fright.
The Torah commentator, the Rashbam, based on the words “After these things,” says that the trial of sacrificing Yitzhak came as direct and immediate punishment for Avraham’s making an unauthorized peace treaty with Avimelech over the Land of Israel, which G-d had promised to the Jews (Bereshit, 22:1).
Clearly, it is absolutely forbidden for the People of Israel to grant or recognize any other nation’s sovereignty over Eretz Yisrael.
To elucidate this basic, concrete rule, during the Rabbi Meir Kahane Legacy Memorial Week, let’s turn once again to Rabbi Meir, of blessed memory, may Hashem revenge his murder.
The following very condensed selection is taken from Chapter 20 of his masterwork, “The Jewish Idea” Vol. 2. The chapter, entitled “The Non-Jew in Israel,” delves into far greater detail and Torah analysis than our brief excerpt can. In addition to being a fierce fighter for the Jewish People all of his life, Rabbi Kahane was first and foremost a brilliant Torah scholar whose breath and knowledge of the holy texts and their commentaries is absolutely staggering. Readers are encouraged to acquire “The Jewish Idea,” available at Amazon, or by calling in Israel 02-5811981, as well as the recently published biography, which is loaded with never-seen writings, photos, and stories from his life.
The best Jewish Education there is!
Chapter Twenty: The Non-Jew in Eretz Yisrael
Eretz Yisrael is called that because it is the Land [eretz] of Yisrael, the People of Israel. Whoever is not of the holy, chosen people of Israel has no portion in Eretz Yisrael.
Eretz Yisrael was given by G-d as a vessel to house Israel so they could be separated from the abominations of the nations and from their alien culture, and so they would establish there a holy, pure and complete society and state according to G-d’s mitzvot and under His Heavenly yoke. It is not the Land which defines the nation in it, but the nation which defines the Land. Not every person who lives in the Land is defined as its owner. Rather, the Land is defined by the People of Israel as the Land of Israel, and whoever is not of Israel has no portion in this ownership.
All this being so, would it occur to a sane person that a non-Jew should be given any opportunity to influence the Land and the state?
It is clear that there is an absolute prohibition on giving a non-Jew mastery over Eretz Yisrael, and that a non-Jew, whoever he may be, has an entirely different status from that of Israel, who are the owners of the Land. The non-Jew is nothing but an alien, a stranger, a temporary occupant, and not an owner. Only within well-defined principles and laws is it permissible for him to dwell in Eretz Yisrael, even as an alien and occupant.
Moreover, it was clear to G-d that the nations who were the owners of the Land before Israel arrived to conquer it, and, indeed, any non-Jew who views the Land as belonging to him, pose a danger to the existence of the People of Israel.
The Torah saw a twofold danger in the seven Canaanite nations who dwelled in the Land before Israel arrived to conquer it. On the one hand, like all the nations, the Canaanites constituted a spiritual danger to Israel, who had been commanded to establish a Divine, Torah-oriented state in Eretz Yisrael, isolated and set apart from the abominations of alien cultures. Moreover, the Canaanites posed a unique danger in that they viewed Israel as conquerors who had taken their land. They would hate Israel forever and would forever dream of revenge and seek opportunities for re-conquest. The Torah states:
“Be very careful with regard to what I am instructing you today. I will drive out the Amorites, Canaanites, Hivites, Perizzites, Hittites and Jebusites before you. Be most careful not to make a treaty with the people who live in the land where you are coming, since they can be a fatal trap for you” (Shemot, 34:11-12).
Following is the explanation of the great commentator Abarbanel:
“Verses 11-12 inform us that since G-d is driving out the Amorites and the other nations, it is improper for Israel to forge a covenant with them. If a nobleman helps someone by fighting his battles and banishing his enemies, it is morally inappropriate for that person to make peace with them without that nobleman’s permission. So, too, with G-d driving out Israel’s enemies, it is inappropriate for Israel to forge a covenant with them, for that would profane G-d’s glory.”
This is especially so considering that this friendship and this covenant will not succeed. With Israel having taken their land, there is no doubt that they will constantly seek Israel’s downfall. This is why it said, “[the land] where you are coming.” Since Israel came to that land and took it from its inhabitants, and they feel that it has been stolen from them, how will they make a covenant of friendship with you? Rather the opposite will occur. “They will be a fatal trap for you.” When war strikes you, they will join your enemies and fight you.
How exalted and true are Abarbanel’s words! This is the real reason for the approach taken by Halachah toward the seven nations. G-d understood the mentality of these nations. He knew that they would view Israel as conquerors and thieves and would forever relate to them with resentment and hatred. Therefore, besides the common danger posed by them and all other nations, i.e., the spiritual danger that Israel would learn from their false, alien ways, there was also a unique danger posed by the nations of the Land, the constant danger of war and uprising against Israel.
Here is the plain truth before us, and it will defeat those who warp and distort the Torah. The Torah commanded us not to hesitate about annihilating the nations in the Land, lest they harbor enmity and seek revenge for Israel’s taking the land they viewed as their own. Certainly, Israel did take it from them, but that has no importance, because G-d, Master of all the earth, promised the Jewish People — and them alone — the Land. G-d “uproots some inhabitants and brings in others” (Pesikta DeRav Kahana, page 123). G-d uprooted the Canaanites and brought in Israel, “that they might keep His statutes, and observe His laws. Praise the L-rd!” (Ps. 105:45).
Every non-Jew is certainly prohibited from living in Eretz Yisrael unless he obeys definite restrictions, and this due to the influence his alien culture may have on the supreme, holy nation. Yet, regarding those nations that lived in the Land before Israel conquered it, another danger looms as well: their hatred and appetite for revenge, posing a constant threat to the future of the Jewish state in the Holy Land.
It follows that those same laws that applied to the seven nations apply to all the nations that live in Eretz Yisrael in every age. This includes those of our day, who view Eretz Yisrael as their own land and soil, and who view the Jewish People as a nation of conquerors, robbers and thieves. That same danger looms over the Jewish People and its control over Eretz Yisrael in our times as then.
After all, what difference is there as far as G-d’s warning that “those who remain shall be barbs in your eyes and thorns in your sides, causing you troubles in the Land” (Num. 33:55), between the seven nations and between any nation that dwells in the Land, views it as its own, and then Israel come and conquer it from them? Surely it will feel that same hatred and that same fierce will for revenge as did the seven nations, as explained by Abarbanel (quoted above).
Any fair and honest person, who has accepted G-d’s yoke upon himself, knows from simple logic that this is the truth, that today’s Ishmaelites — as far as their dwelling in the Land — are considered like the seven nations (and in this regard, lacking any reason to distinguish between the seven nations and others, the same laws apply.
It is patently clear that for that same reason, we cannot tolerate the Ishmaelites’ presence today in Eretz Yisrael. Not only did they not submit before the war began in which they were defeated, but they murdered, burnt and tried to wipe out the Jews who arrived in Eretz Yisrael years and decades beforehand. In this they are no different from the seven nations.
The law of the seven nations is not an arbitrary decree applying solely to them. Rather, the reason G-d decreed that we “must leave no one alive” (Deut. 20:16) in Eretz Yisrael is that they viewed themselves as its owners and masters. Therefore, they would forever await the chance to revolt and drive out or annihilate the Jews.
Certainly, the Ishmaelites, too, think that Israel, who arrived in the Land and wished to establish a Jewish state there, are thieves. They, too, will always harbor resentment against Israel and will never resign themselves to us, but will await the “right” moment to rebel.
Let us never forget that G-d gave the Land of Israel to the People of Israel to separate them from the nations. Having decided to separate them, He at once concluded that they would have to be isolated in their own land. He took His people whom He loved and placed them in His land which He loved, and to both He awarded not just extraordinary love but extraordinary holiness, for Eretz Yisrael, as well, by virtue of Israel, holiest of nations, has holiness no other land has.
Certainly Eretz Yisrael is intrinsically holy, more so than all other lands, regardless of the mitzvot that can be done there. Chatam Sofer makes this point in a responsum regarding whether living in Jerusalem is a greater mitzvah than living elsewhere in the Land (Responsa, Yoreh Deah, 234): “It would seem that the courts can force [the intransigent spouse] to go up to Eretz Yisrael, not because of the mitzvot dependent on Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem, but because of its intrinsic holiness, and because whoever lives outside the Land is likened to one without a G-d....”
Jerusalem has been the gate of Heaven since the beginning of time, even when the Jebusites lived there and the Canaanites and Perizzites were in the Land. The Divine Presence has never left nor will it ever leave the Western Wall, even in its destruction... In conclusion, all agree that both Eretz Yisrael and Jerusalem are holy forever, from the dawn of time until the end of days. This has never changed, nor will it ever.
It is, thus, clear that there are two reasons for the Torah prohibition against selling houses, or even leasing fields, to any non-Jew, even if he be one of the righteous gentiles. Rambam mentioned both in discussing the prohibition against leasing fields (Hilchot Avodah Zarah 10:4): “It diminishes the tithes, and gives them a foothold on the Land .”
A non-Jew, by buying or renting land in Eretz Yisrael, takes a portion of the Land and has a sort of ownership over it, and it is forbidden to give him this foothold. What, after all, is this “foothold”? Surely it is the feeling in the non-Jew’s heart that he has found a place to live, a place to call his own. The Torah cries out: Separate! Segregate from them and their abominations! The non-Jew who lives in Eretz Yisrael must always feel that he has no foothold, no connection, no sense of belonging, no portion, that this is not his land, that he has no ownership over it, that he is indeed a “resident alien” — a foreign occupant and not a citizen — who is living in the land of another people, the People of Israel.
Cheshvan 21, 5770, 11/8/2009
Last night in Tel Aviv, there was another gala, media-hyped, settler-bashing, “all right-wingers are murderers,” memorial to Yitzhak Rabin. His yahrtzeit seems to go on and on for weeks. As a counter balance, we have decided to inaugurate the “Rabbi Meir Kahane Legacy Memorial Week.”
This week’s blogs will be dedicated to the cherished Rabbi’s writings and the true Jewish heritage which he stood, and died for.
Our Sages tell us that Sarah was a greater prophet than Avraham. Also, when there is a debate in Jewish law between them, the halachah is decided according to Sarah. This is demonstrated in the Torah portion we read on Shabbat. Understanding Yishmael’s corrupting influence on Yitzhak, Sarah demands that he be banished from the home. There is no place for Yishmael and Yitzhak together. The wild Arab boy must go. Indeed, a “two states for two peoples” solution to the conflict is an excellent idea, so long as Yishmael’s state is in Saudi Arabia and not in Israel.
Modern-day prophet that he was, Rabbi Kahane understood that peace would only come to the Jewish People in Israel when the Arabs lived elsewhere. Way back in 1973, he set forth his plan calling for mass Arab emigration. Naturally, he was indicted and charged with incitement under the Israel Sedition Act, but this didn’t slow down the Rabbi.
Here’s a condensed account of the episode from Part One of the powerful and fascinating biography written by his wife, an intimate and detailed portrait of a true Jewish leader that is a must addition to every Jewish library:
Must reading for everyone
[Excerpted from the book, “Rabbi Meir Kahane: His Life and Thought. Vol. One.”
Meir’s most significant talk during this period was on November 29 at the Technion, Israel’s technical university in Haifa. His presentation of the Liga’s (Jewish Defense League’s) platform drew media attention when he outlined his plan to encourage Arab emigration from Israel. Ha’aretz quoted him:
“We must find ways,” he said, “to persuade the Arabs that it would be best for them to emigrate to one of the neighboring Arab states, rather than continue to live under Israeli rule.” He explained, “As long as they are a large minority here, we will not be able to achieve peace with them.”
“This could be accomplished,” he said, “by setting up a fund to compensate them for the lands and property they would leave behind.”
In his Jewish Press article, “Facing Up to the Arab Presence,” Meir detailed the Liga’s platform: immediate annexation of all the liberated areas, which are “historically part of Eretz Yisrael, ripped away from us by conquerors who exiled us,” and the opening of a national fund “with an initial sum of IL100 million for the purpose of urging and aiding Arabs to immigrate to other lands.”
To those who wanted to be rid of the liberated areas because of the large Arab population there, he presented a history lesson:
“If any part of the Land of Israel is Jewish, it is surely that which is today known as the West Bank. It is here – under its more proper historical names of Judea and Samaria – that the Israelites of the Bible found their setting. What student of the Bible does not perk up his ears when he hears the name Hebron? It was here that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob created a Jewish people; it was here that the Judges ruled and it was here that Saul, David and the kings who followed them welded together the first Jewish commonwealth. If these lands are not Jewish, surely the new cities of Tel Aviv, Kiryat Gat, Haifa, Savion, and Netanya are not! If Jews have no claim to the former, they certainly have none to the latter.”
In another article, “What Palestinians?” Meir wrote:
“There never was and there is not now such a thing as a Palestine people or Palestine state. The Land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael, is the land of the Jewish people in all its historical boundaries.
“Despite pious hopes, there will not be any peace between Jews and Arabs so long as there remains a Jewish state of any kind, regardless of what concessions we offer.... To the Arabs, all of the land is “Palestine” and there is no difference between the soil of Hebron or the coastal villas of Herzliya and Savion.
“The present hazy and irresolute Israeli stand on both the borders of Israel and the Arab population (on both sides of the 1967 cease-fire line) only leads to corresponding confusion and doubt in the minds of the youth of Israel as to the propriety of their government’s moral and ethical stand. It increases their questioning of Israel’s right to remain in the territories liberated in 1967, the legitimacy of a Jewish state AT ALL, and of the relations between Israelis and World Jewry.
“A well-conceived and well-financed plan to persuade the Arabs (through financial aid and all other assistance) to leave the Land of Israel must be undertaken. In the end, this last point – no matter how unpleasant – is the only hope for averting a second Cyprus or Northern Ireland.”
Terming the situation a “time bomb,” Meir wrote: “We must disabuse ourselves of the illusion that the demon of Arab demography will be disposed of by getting rid of the liberated lands.... Indeed, I hasten to add, the Arabs within what is known as “the Green Line” (pre-1967 Israel) will pose a far more dangerous and explosive threat to Israel than those of Hebron and Gaza.”
“The new generation of Israeli Arabs is not more well-disposed to the Jews....The growing number of educated Israeli Arabs, those entering both secondary schools and universities, will never create a more moderate and compromising Arab but precisely the opposite. Every example of history shows that revolutionaries come not from the numb and dumb peasant and oppressed classes but specifically from the intellectual middle or upper classes, or the sons of the oppressed classes who have escaped into the new, rarified atmosphere of the university. It is the new, educated Arab generation that is infinitely more dangerous; that is unwilling to accept its status as a something-less-than-first-class citizen and will resort to ever-growing protest and revolt.
“The revolutionary left, liberals of all kinds, and anti-Semites in general, will seize upon the “plight” of the Arabs to raise an international hue and cry of world-wide protests on behalf of the Arabs. This will hurt, to an as yet unknown degree, financial support for Israel both from foreign governments as well as private supporters – including Jews.
“The best partial solution, the most humane in the long run and the safest for the Jews, is ... the urgent creation of an Emigration Fund for Peace.
“The majority of Arabs will not agree to leave Israel under any circumstances, but sizeable numbers — more than we think — will, IF THEY ARE GIVEN SUFFICIENT INCENTIVE. It is up to those who wish to save Israel from a disastrous crisis to furnish that incentive.... Integration is not always the answer.... Attempts to integrate the Arabs of Israel can be successful only at the price of a unique JEWISH state.... We need a PRIVATE body of wealthy and influential Jews to set up the machinery for an ongoing emigration fund. This fund would do more to solve the Middle East problem than all the United Nations plans yet created.”
Indeed, it was Meir’s ahavat Yisrael, love of the Jewish people, that motivated him to pursue the Arab emigration plan. He wanted to prevent a destructive religious and national war in Israel like the one then raging in Northern Ireland. In mid-December, he mailed letters both to Israeli Arabs and to Arabs of “the territories” offering them financial benefits if they would emigrate. The letters said:
“Since we respect the Arab nationalist feeling, we realize that an atmosphere of eternal tension between the Jewish majority and the Arab minority might arise such as that in Northern Ireland. In the cause of peace and brotherhood, it would be advisable to take steps to prevent this danger. It is preferable that every nation should live in its own country, and not under the jurisdiction of another nation. Therefore, we are raising an emigration fund for this purpose, which will help every Arab who is willing to leave the country. If you willing to emigrate, we ask you to notify us:
a) The number of people in your family, so that we can work out a plan of payment to each family according to its size;
b) If you are willing to sell your dwelling to a Jew, and if so, when?
c) To which country would you like to immigrate?
Meir was to be prosecuted on criminal charges for the letters sent to Arabs. He was charged with violating the Law of Sedition, which stated, “It is a criminal offence to publish material likely to promote feelings of ill will or hostility between different sections of the population.” The maximum penalty was two years imprisonment.
Meir reacted with a quarter-page ad in Ma’ariv on January 11, 1973, addressed to prime minister Golda Meir. In it, he maintained that it was absurd to accuse him of sedition or any illegal act – his words were neither offensive norinsulting. He presented logical reasons for promoting Arab emigration, and he protested the government’s official condemnation of his plan. He argued that Golda Meir herself had violated the Law of Sedition: “Regularly, you reject the annexation of the liberated areas on the grounds that ‘Israel cannot take in any more Arabs.’ What do you think the Arab citizen of Israel feels when he hears that?” Meir asked. In light of Golda Meir’s own statements, charging him with sedition was hypocrisy, he said.
That day, he held a press conference at which he announced that he would continue to send letters to Arabs. His message was broadcast on Israel TV news that evening. Coverage of the press conference in Yedioth Ahronoth began with the words “Rabbi Meir Kahane has an answer to every question” and continued:
“There is a large and growing minority here,” Kahane said, “which hates us and will in the not-distant future cause us many difficult problems. If we don’t act today,” he warned, “it will be too late.” He cited Canada and the French separatists of Quebec, Cyprus and the Turks, England and the Irish, to show the magnitude of the danger.
The newspaper article continued:
Kahane is not worried about the lack of money in the emigration fund. “The project will, in the future, be taken over by the government,” he said. But meanwhile he has a problem with the police. Two days ago, for example, he wasbrought to Jerusalem police headquarters for questioning.
“Major Levi wanted me to sign a statement saying that I refused to reply to his questions,” Kahane related. “However, the document had the words ‘conquered territories.’ I said I was ready to sign if he would change those words to ‘liberated territories.’ Major Levi refused to change the wording, so I did not sign, nor did I answer questions.
When I returned from the investigation, I gave instructions to send out more letters. The letters have nothing wrong in them. They do not offend, they do not insult, they are not illegal. But even if I have to sit in jail, I will not cease to encourage Arab emigration. It is a question of life and death for the future of the state of Israel.”
[End of condensed book excerpt.]
In upcoming days, we will present more of the Rabbi Meir Kahane Legacy. The inspiring and highly recommended biography can be found onlibe, or for readers living in Israel, Tel: 02-5811981; E-mail: email@example.com