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Thursday
Jan032013

FROM MIGRON 
TO CHEVRON IN THE PATH 
OF SHARON 

The voting public must now remind the prime minister that he received a mandate from the people based on his promise to preserve the territorial integrity of Eretz Yisroel by not uprooting Jews from their homes. This call must also be directed to the religious and right-wing Knesset Members within the Likud Party, who pride themselves on their activities on behalf the cause of Greater Israel. Now is the time for them to show their leadership qualities and demand that the prime minister make clear his plans regarding Beit Ezra in Chevron, where residents are expected to be forcibly removed after the elections.

Translated by Michoel Leib Dobry

1.

With each passing day, the excitement leading up to next month’s Knesset elections intensifies, and the various political parties are doing everything possible to grab the headlines in the print and electronic media, each one according to its primary issues of concern. The centrist bloc of parties – those that call themselves left-center or right-center – are trying to formulate a true ideology, defining their principles before the electorate and presenting persuasive arguments for why they ought to get votes. In this manner, trivial incidents usually turn into major media stories throughout Eretz Yisroel.

Last week, it was the turn of Naftali Bennett, chairman of the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) Party, to pay the price for saying that he would not be prepared to uproot settlements. Bennett himself is adamantly opposed to refusing orders and had previously declared that he would carry out any order he was given, even if it meant expelling Jews. All this didn’t seem to bother the Israeli media, which painted the political novice as some kind of “extremist” and branded him with a scarlet letter of muktzeh on his forehead. Even his later statements clarifying his opposition to refusing orders and that he would follow all military directives as commanded did him little good in the national press.

In stark contrast, many people in the nationalist camp attacked Bennett for his vacillation. The more he declared that his words had been taken out of context, the greater the questions that arose. Is the new leadership that promised to change the previous policies identical to the one that led us to the Gush Katif expulsion? Haven’t we been down this road before, marked by vague statements on the obligation to drive Jews out of their homes in accordance with the law, resulting in the destruction of entire Jewish settlements?

It appears that the recent public relations storm has once again made the picture much clearer: Prior to an election, everyone speaks in the voters’ language. They have no problem with expressing opinions they really don’t mean. This is happening with the “centrist” parties, which have completely cast aside their ideologies, and also among the moderate “right-of-center” parties, trying to attract right-wing voters before the election – only to forget all about their principles the following day.

2.

The ideological debate that has swirled around the new chairman of the Jewish Home Party was a good opportunity to sharpen political messages and policy positions. Fortunately, we didn’t have to wait for a real debate in order to understand the platform of the leaders of that party, whom the Rebbe had previously termed “Canaanite slaves.”

It has once again become quite obvious that anyone who follows something besides our Holy Torah is unwilling to outline a clear-cut policy against withdrawals and expulsions. Once more, it is clear that we cannot rely upon anyone who doesn’t dare to speak in plain terms about how there is no place in Eretz Yisroel for any other nation-state, and how it is forbidden to give any administrative rule to the Arabs, including autonomy.

This is one of the reasons why the Rebbe called Election Day “the day of the voter.” The Rebbe emphasized that the politicians must be made to pay for their actions at the ballot box. This time, payment will be demanded not only for the policies of the last term, but also for the weakness and compromise of principle during the election campaign. Anyone who is unprepared to state forthrightly that he will not drive Jews out of their homes and he will not obey expulsion orders cannot lead the struggle to preserve Eretz Yisroel and the fight against the establishment of a Palestinian state.

Apparently, it wasn’t for naught that just last week, as we heard all the harsh statements on “carrying out orders,” one of Mr. Bennett’s partners in the party leadership was quoted as saying, “If they evacuate the Migron settlement, I suggest taking some pills and staying in the government.”

3.

Even the chairman of the Likud Party, who has been the worst prime minister for the settlements over the last several years, is painting himself these days with bright shades of orange. He continues to proclaim repeatedly about those hundreds of residential units to be built in Yerushalayim, despite the fact the people have already been waiting three years for some progress with the project. Thus far, nothing has happened, not even the preparation of a simple regional building plan.

The same prime minister, who ordered the evacuation of the Jewish communities in Migron, Givat HaUlpana, and Ramat Gilad, is planning to expel the Jews from Beit Ezra in Chevron immediately after next month’s elections. He can’t hide behind claims of Arab-owned land or an order of the Israeli High Court of Justice this time. Here, we’re talking about a Jewish house, and even professional legal opinions have approved the families’ occupancy on the premises. Nevertheless, the prime minister has decided not to do the Jewish thing and simply authorize the families’ residence. Just as in the case of Migron and Givat HaUlpana, the prime minister possesses all the necessary information to approve the Jewish settlement, yet he chooses to uproot and drive the Jewish residents out – conveniently using hollow excuses, such as the law compelling him to take this action.

The voting public must now remind the prime minister that he received a mandate from the people based on his promise to preserve the territorial integrity of Eretz Yisroel by not uprooting Jews from their homes. This call must also be directed to the religious and right-wing Knesset Members within the Likud Party, who pride themselves on their activities on behalf the cause of Greater Israel. Now is the time for them to show their leadership qualities and demand that the prime minister make clear his plans regarding Beit Ezra in Chevron, where residents are expected to be forcibly removed after the elections.

4.

All this could have been avoided if the prime minister would simply decide to act with courage and adopt the findings of the commission headed by Israel High Court Justice Edmund Levy. This was a high-level report from three prominent judicial experts, called upon by the government of Israel to make an in-depth study of all legal aspects to the Jewish settlements in Yehuda and Shomron. The commission report clearly determined that it is not occupied territory under discussion, and therefore we must treat this region as we would any other part of Eretz Yisroel. For example, when a resident of Tel Aviv wants to make certain vital additions to his house, he doesn’t need the signature of the minister of defense. So why is a resident of Karnei Shomron forced to get his approval?

Adopting the Levy Report will not only solve future problems and provide greater freedom to build in Yehuda and Shomron; it would also deal with various legal quandaries that have been plaguing the settler movement. The crisis at Beit Ezra in Chevron is just one example. Since this is an undisputed case of privately owned Jewish land, what possible reason could there be for evicting its Jewish residents?

By Divine Providence, the Beit Ezra affair has made the headlines in the middle of the election campaign, and this creates an excellent opportunity to remind the prime minister and his associates in government of their commitment to protect Eretz Yisroel. In the past, the Rebbe often referred to the democratic aspect to breaking promises made to the electorate. He noted that such conduct is not only in direct opposition to the laws of Torah; it also contradicts the tenets of democracy. This prime minister, of all people, who speaks so effortlessly about preserving democratic values, is harming and trampling over each and every one of them. He promised to crush the Hamas leadership – and he strengthened it. He promised to develop the settlements – and he imposed a freeze on all construction throughout Yehuda and Shomron. He promised that he would not expel Jews – and he’s already destroyed three settlements.

Thus, it’s quite appropriate that the Binyamin Region Settlers’ Committee recently came out with a new campaign with the slogan “From Migron to Chevron – In The Path of Sharon,” designed to remind Likud members how it was their party that always raised the flag of withdrawals and territorial compromise. This party has never admitted to its sin of its involvement in bringing about the expulsion from Gush Katif, and therefore it has not altered its path.

5.

Next month’s elections are extremely critical and significant, since the option of establishing a Palestinian state is receiving serious consideration for the very first time. Up until now, all the left-wing prime ministers gave lip service to this possibility, but they never really had the nerve to do it. This marks the first election campaign in Eretz Yisroel when there is a clear majority for this leftist policy, and the soon-to-be re-elected Likud prime minister hopes to form a governing coalition with the large left-wing parties, marching straight along the path towards r”l a Palestinian state.

We saw all this ten years ago, when Sharon was overwhelmingly re-elected to the premiership, formed a national unity government together with Labor and Shinui, and then strode confidently towards the Gush Katif expulsion. Therefore, this is the time to put our shoulders to the wheel and stop the second disengagement plan that the prime minister is organizing for Yehuda and Shomron. However, we can only do this by speaking clearly without hesitation that there is no room to consider granting an independent regime within Eretz Yisroel for terrorists, not even autonomy – or as the Rebbe said, not even on issues pertaining to water and sewage.

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