While cleaning for Pesach a few weeks ago I went through the cabinets holding documents and papers from the years I was the Director of the Foreign Desk of the Yesha Council and editor of the "Yesha Report". Like so many times I was struck by the words that I wrote in the newsletter in the summer of 2001, and felt my heart breaking with the realization that albeit the names of the heads of the Israeli government have changed as have the names of the Palestinian Authority- nothing else has changed.
In light of this reality I will print here a part of the editorial that I wrote in the summer of 2001.
"Our lives are a combination of impossibilities and improbabilities. I stood in the wet sand of the new neighborhood, Tekoa Dalet, looking out at the exquisite mountains of the Judean Desert as we waited for the dedication of two Torah Scrolls in memory of Koby Mandel, and Yosef Ish-Ran z"l of Tekoa who were brutally murdered recently. The mixed emotions I felt are now symbols of our lives - joy mixing with deep sorrow and pain. For what is a greater joy than to bring a Torah to a new neighborhood? And what deeper sorrow is there than to dedicate the Torah to the memory of two young boys who were murdered because of the intense blind hatred for Jews that is being taught by the Palestinian Authority?
As we danced around the Torah Scrolls, one symbolically brought to this new Jewish neighborhood after surviving the Holocaust, we know that we must cry and go on "davka" to live and grow. That this is the fitting response to those who seek to destroy us.
Our reality is far from the reality of the Prime Minister and this government who have gone broke. Our reality is to straighten our shoulders and go on with the development and protection of our heritage. Every shot that is fired, every friend that is injured or murdered is another reason that we must go on......
The most important issue is the real problem: Our so-called leaders first have to be convinced of two important things; that we have the legitimate right to be here in our Land and that no one has the right to deny us this, and that our cause is the just one no matter what pressures, whether real or imagined, Israel faces now and in the future. As the saying goes, a spade must be called a spade. A leader must stop worrying about his primaries, popularity or the continued game of pretense that one day the Palestinian Authority will cease to perpetrate hatred against us, confiscate all the weapons of death, and teach that it is forbidden to become a Shahid (terrorist suicide bomber),
......No more excuses for not destroying the infrastructure of terror. Now is the time to decide what the future of this country will be. This is not a stage set where you can put up a prop of separation : walls, concrete or barbed wire, because unless you are confident of our unalienable right to live here none of that will help. The message must go out loud and clear, not only that no amount of terror will break our spirit, but that indeed we will do everything to prevent the cycle of hate and vilence from continuing. Because although we will continue to live here and develop our communities, we will not accept terror as a fact of life. We do not accept the excuses that it is impossible to prevent the terror. And those who dare to teach hatred and send out emissaries to kill us must be stopped. It is dependent of the Israeli public to pressure the government into finally implementing their mandate.
We are sure of our place here in Yesha and just as the few and strongest went to dry the swamps of the Hula Valley, we know that the strongest of us will remain here. We need the type of leadership that will encourage this and not give pitiful excuses why it is impossible to protect our lives. Our existence in our Land is a combination of impossiblities and improbabilities and we shall continue to do the impossible and protect our inherent right to live here. It is the time for true leadership to be developed in order to support us in our efforts."
What can I say? How many compromises and "painful decisions" have the governments of Israel implemented since September 13, 1993 and the signing of the Oslo Agreements? How much pressure on Israel and how much tolerance for the Palestinian Authority?
Each day I pray for us to be blessed with true leadership that protects the name of our L-rd, our Torah our Land and people and that we be worthy of serving HIM and doing the same.
Shabbat shalom v'shkaita