The head of Machon Meir in Jerusalem, Rabbi Dov Begun, sent a personal letter this week to his childhood friend, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and asked him to prevent the demolition of the Ulpana neighborhood of Beit El.
Barak and Rabbi Dov Begun grew up together in Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon in central Israel. The two have maintained a friendship through letters they have sent to each other. In his last letter, Rabbi Begun congratulated Barak on the occasion of his 70th birthday. In response, Barak thanked the rabbi and added that they should join hands in the wake of the social and security situations in Israel.
Last weekend, Rabbi Begun decided to send Barak another letter in which he wrote:
“In your last letter in which you thanked me for congratulating you for reaching your 70th birthday, you correctly wrote that we should join hands in light of our security and social situations. And indeed, joining hands for the unity of the nation is important at any time and especially in our generation - the generation of national revival and ingathering of the exiles. Because of this, I am asking you to address the planned evictions and demolition of houses in Beit El, Givat Assaf, Migron and other places.”
Rabbi Begun said that it is well known and accepted that Jews are not allowed to rob Arabs of their homes and their own private land, but noted that, in this case, “The plaintiffs who approached the Supreme Court are political organizations whose explicit purpose is to destroy the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and the Arabs in whose name they supposedly act, aim to destroy and annihilate the State of Israel, and if among them there is some Arab who really has an interest in selling his land to Jews, then his Arab brothers will murder him.
“I am surprised at you, as a person who is attentive to the sorrow of others and as the Defense Minister who is entrusted with national security, over the lack of sensitivity to the dozens and perhaps hundreds of families - men, women and children - whose homes will be destroyed and will find themselves destitute and in the midst of a family crisis, as was done in the expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif.”
Rabbi Begun asked, “How do we allow ourselves to play into the hands of our enemies by falsely saying that what was done here was right? Our enemies are happy about every house that is demolished in Israel in general and in Judea and Samaria in particular. With these acts we weaken the righteousness that has accompanied us throughout the centuries that the land of Israel has belonged to the people of Israel.”
He concluded by saying, “I am asking you and your friends in the government to change the disastrous plans of expelling Jews and destroying their homes. On the contrary, you, the government and every Jew must strengthen the people of Zion through the continued momentum of settlement in Judea, Samaria, the Galilee, the Negev and everywhere.”