28 Tishrei 5760 October 8, 1999 Issue number 239
A weekday afternoon Mincha minyan has been started in the Highway 7 / Highway 400 area. For info please call 905-669-6613.
"Safe Passage" Highway to Open Sunday; Some Issues Still Unresolved
The Palestinian corridor through Israel - affording unrestricted passage for Palestinians between Gaza and Hevron - will open on Sunday, following Tuesday's agreement on the issue. Public Security Minster Shlomo Ben-Ami said that Israel's sovereignty over the area will be preserved, but when asked if Israel has the right to arrest terrorist suspects, he only said, "Sovereignty implies certain authorities, and I don't think I have to enumerate those authorities." The Likud is demanding that Prime Minister Barak make public the entire text of the agreement so that its details can be freely examined by all interested persons. Even some government ministers appear to be in the dark as to the specifics of the deal; Interior Minister Natan Sharansky told Arutz-7 that he is unsure of what was agreed upon, and that he hopes that the passage will be "as safe for Jews as it is for Palestinians." Israeli newspapers reported this morning that the deal consists of an oral agreement according to which Israel promises that it will not hinder the movement of wanted Palestinian terrorists along the corridor.
Arutz-7's Haggai Huberman reported this week that for the permanent status, Prime Minister Barak has proposed a bridge that will span the distance from Gaza to Hevron, but that the Palestinians have not accepted this: "The Palestinians have had a detailed plan since 1992 for their own highway, the sovereignty of which will be determined, they claim, by the amount of Palestinian and Israeli cars using it. The Palestinians expect that there will be more PA cars, and will therefore claim that international law mandates that they be sovereign on the road." Huberman said that Barak agreed to allow individual cars to use the route immediately, as opposed to previous understandings, under which only convoys of buses and cars would be permitted at first. "On the other hand," Huberman said, "Barak was tougher in two matters than Netanyahu was, and voided two oral understandings that Netanyahu and Sharon had agreed to at Wye. Barak basically told them, 'You missed the boat by not signing with Netanyahu.' In the new agreement, Israel and not the Palestinians will perform the security checks on the route's passengers, and the PA will be required to advise Israel in advance as to who will be using the route." Housing Minister Rabbi Yitzchak Levy pointed out at yesterday's government meeting that issues of road safety and insurance on the route have still not been resolved. "We know where in Ramallah the Arab driver lives who caused the deaths of Orit Filber and Tamar Weissrosen from Beit El four months ago," he said, "but there is no legal way for us to arrest him, try him, or even to sue him or his insurance company." Prime Minister Barak said that issues of this nature will be taken up at the next Cabinet meeting.
Historian Aryeh Yitzchaki reminded Arutz-7 listeners that this is not the first time in the history of the State of Israel that a route for Arabs between Hevron and Gaza has been discussed. "Most people are unaware of the fact that less than two years after the War of Independence, in 1949-50, Jordan's King Abdullah asked David Ben Gurion for a "free passage from Hevron to Gaza, and he wanted it to be classified as Jordanian sovereign territory as well. Ben Gurion summarily dismissed the request, arguing that the Jordanian goal was to create a corridor, and then chop the state in half." Yitzchaki added, "Recent Israeli governments don't seem to grasp Ben Gurion's point. Next to come is a northern corridor, through the Latrun interchange to Ramallah. It's not hard to envision yet another route connecting the Palestinian autonomy in the Shomron to an additional autonomous region that the Palestinians are targeting in the Galilee..." (Arutz 7 Oct 5,6)
Barak: Bet El to Stay
Prime Minister Ehud Barak, visiting the army base in Beit El last week, pledged again that Bet El will remain forever under Israeli sovereignty, since "it is a community of thousands of residents, where the history of the Jewish people was carved." Earlier this week, Barak told the Jerusalem Post, "The thought of giving up land around Bet El, not even Bet El itself, or in the area of Shilo, Ma'ale Levona or Beit Horon, tears my heart. I have an emotional and physical attachment to each and every one of these places." When asked as to whether withdrawing from Bet El was a possibility, Barak responded, "No, definitely not the settlement. But ask me about the region around Bet El. Ask me if we will be forever in Deir Dibwan, I don't think so." In answer to reporters' questions, the Prime Minister said that he did not want to discuss details of other Jewish settlements in Yesha, and repeated his well-known pledge that the majority of Yesha residents would "livein settlement blocs under Israeli sovereignty."
The Yesha Council welcomed the Prime Minister's renewed commitment to Bet El, and called on him to make a similar commitment to the entire population of 200,000 Jews living in Yesha. A council spokesman also expressed concern over Barak's failure to deny reports that he plans to transfer several Yesha communities to Palestinian control. The Council has once again gone firmly on record against the evacuation of even the smallest Yesha settlement. Yesha Council head Benny Kashriel, issuing a statement against harming the Yesha settlement enterprise, wished to put to rest any rumors that leading personalities in Yesha had "softened" their positions on the issue. (Arutz 7 Oct 1)
Further Terrorist Release
Israel was to release the next wave of Palestinian terrorists beginning Wednesday night. Some 150 terrorists were scheduled to be released, including 42 who committed crimes after the signing of the Oslo Accords. (Arutz 7 Oct 6)
Iran Signals Flexibility on Jewish "Spies"
Iran's Foreign Minister announced in the United Nations yesterday that his country does not execute spies during peace time. This was understood as an allusion to the thirteen Jews imprisoned in Iran on charges of espionage. Iranian President Hatami added today that the 13 will receive a fair trial, and will be freed if the Prosecution does not succeed in proving their guilt. (Arutz 7 Oct 3)
Three Terrorists "Escape" PA Prison
Three Islamic Jihad terrorists have escaped from Palestinian Authority prison in Shechem, according to official PA sources. A Hamas terrorist escaped in exactly the same method from the same prison six months ago. The PA claims that it is searching for the three, who are responsible for organizing one of the fatal Machaneh Yehuda bombings. (Arutz 7 Oct 3)
80% of PA Cars Are Not Legal
Four out of five cars in the Palestinian Authority are not bought legally.
So estimates Yochanan Danino, who heads the Israel Police campaign against car thefts. He told the Knesset Economic Committee yesterday that 60% of the approximately 90 cars stolen every day are dismantled and their parts sold. The Committee approved a temporary order forbidding the possession or transfer of used car parts originating in the Palestinian Authority. A similar order, which expired last month, was reported to be effective in the struggle against car thefts.(Arutz 7 Oct 6)
Man Fined Only 1,000 Shekels for Beating Rabbi
A fine of 1,000 shekels, payable in three installments, and a six-month suspended sentence - this was the penalty a Tsfat court imposed yesterday on a local resident who brutally assaulted the town's Chief Rabbi Levy Bastritsky this past Sunday. Tsfat residents explained the background of the incident to Arutz-7's Ron Meir: "The attacker was in a car accident several years ago and entered a coma. Afterwards, he claimed that he had been visited in his comatose state by the late Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Schneerson, and had become 'his servant.' He went so far as putting up posters around Tsfat attributing Divine qualities to the Rebbe. In light of this desecration of G-d's name, the city's rabbis excommunicated him." Rabbi Bastritsky, recovering from his three-day hospital stay, told Arutz-7 that he was distraught by the light sentence: "We find ourselves in an increasingly violent society. It's absurd that an attacker can approach another citizen, assault him, leave him unconscious on the street, and be fined 1,000 shekels - in three payments yet!" He noted that the court's approach makes rabbis especially vulnerable. "If a rabbi decides that he must withdraw kosher certification from a restaurant, for instance, the disgruntled owner can corner him, beat him up, and leave three checks, with a note: 'Please pay the fine for me!'" Rabbi Bastritsky compared the present judgment with the case of Yisrael Lederman, who was sentenced to three years in jail for tossing hot tea on Labor MK Yael Dayan in October 1996. (Arutz 7 Oct 6)
Broad Opposition to Israeli Casino
Labor MK Eli Goldschmidt is in favor of the proposal by Prime Minister Barak and Finance Minister Shochat to build a casino in southern Israel within a year. Goldschmidt said, "Casinos can serve as an economic stimulus, and they serve as such in every modern country. Look, we have to understand that there are casinos in 102 countries around the world." The proposal, however, faces broad opposition in the government and in the Knesset, the approval of both of which it requires. Chief Sephardic Rabbi Eliyahu Bakshi-Doron and other leading rabbis have expressed great opposition to the proposal to build a casino. The Chief Rabbi said that casinos are a "moral defect" that lead to crime and the breakdown of families. Attorney-General Elyakim Rubenstein is also not in favor: "The whole idea of casinos gives off a stench. We are a society that is based on values, that go back to our prophets* and these values are simply not measurable in terms of money. It is not for naught that gambling is a crime." Other public figures who have come out against a casino in Israel include Justice Minister Yossi Beilin and MKs across the political spectrum. (Arutz 7 Oct 6)
Ettinger: Golan Package Would Strain Congressional Coffers
Yoram Ettinger calls it "an amazing prescription for transforming Israel from a strategic ally [of the U.S.] to a strategic burden." Ettinger, Israel's former liaison to Congress, was referring to the financial aspects of a proposal for Israel to withdraw from the Golan Heights. Ettinger released a report today on the issue, citing Col. (res.) Yoash Tsiddon-Chatto, former Head of Air Force Planning and Operational Requirements. Following is only a partial list of Tsiddon-Chatto's estimates of how much the U.S. Congress may be asked for to facilitate a Golan pull-out:
*$5 billion for two high-readiness, fully-equipped, manned mechanized divisions, including divisional artillery, communications, electronic warfare, auxiliary and base facilities and ammunition.
*$3 billion for 100 ready-for-battle Apache Longbow-type attack helicopters.
*$500 million for one light, air transportable, anti-tank brigade equipped with Hellfire or equivalent missiles, including communications.
*$6 billion for two squadrons of multi-purpose, long range F15I, including base facilities and ammunition, bolstering anti-SAM and ballistic missiles capabilities.
*$2 billion for 5-6 AWACS and JSTAR surveillance aircraft, and
*$3 billion for accelerated research and development, production and deployment of the Arrow anti-ballistic missiles and BPI systems.
Aside from the "conservative" sum of $22.9 billion for military redeployment and an annual $5 billion bill to sustain force preparedness, "an estimated $10 billion would be required for civilian relocation, based on a study conducted by Prof. Nurit Kliot and Shmuel Albeck," said Ettinger. He also notes that, from a U.S. perspective, talks of a Golan pull-out may therefore be premature, since Congress was unwilling to even approve the significantly smaller $1.2 billion Wye package last week. (Arutz 7 Oct 5)
Another Palestinian Work Accident?
A Palestinian Arab resident of Hevron was lightly injured Tuesday when a bomb exploded in his car. Security sources say that the incident may have been "a work accident" of terrorists planning to detonate the bomb in a Jewish neighborhood at a later time. Arutz-7 correspondent Aharon Granot reports that the bomb went off in an area which is officially under Israeli control; despite this, the first forces to arrive at the scene of the blast were Palestinian, who transported the injured driver to hospital. In other PA-related news, it was learned this week that at the heights of Mt. Eval - in a region under full Israeli control - the Palestinians continue to establish new farms. Yesha Council spokesmen report that the Palestinians are setting up some 40 farms throughout Judea, Binyamin and the Shomron, with the approval of the Civil Administration. (Arutz 7 Oct 5)
Peace Index Results on Golan, Israeli Arabs
IMRA has just released a translation of the Tami Steinmetz Center September Peace Index Survey. A sample of 501 Israeli Jews expressed their views on numerous issues. Following are findings on two issues currently preoccupying Israeli society:
*Less than 22% of Israeli Jewish respondents support "a full peace treaty between Israel and Syria in exchange for full withdrawal from the Golan Heights." This compares to 41% who are "greatly opposed" and 17.4% who are somewhat opposed to such a move. Nearly 18% of those questioned said that they were "in the middle."
* 28.3% of respondents said that "only individual Arab Israelis" support terror attacks against Israel; 31.7% said that "a considerable minority" supports such violence; 13.5% of the respondents said that "half" of the Israeli-Arabs support anti-Israel terror; 14.9% of those questioned said that "a considerable majority" support terror; 5.8% of Jewish respondents said that "all" Israeli-Arabs favor such attacks.
The Steinmetz Center study also reveals that most Jews believe that Israeli Arabs will be more loyal to a future Palestinian state than to Israel. (Arutz 7 Oct 5)
Barak Takes Heat For Approving Jabali Trip
Prime Minister Ehud Barak today approved a request by Palestinian Authority para-military police commander Razi Jabali to travel by helicopter from Gaza to Ramallah in order to participate in his father's funeral. An arrest warrant is still in effect for Jabali, who participated in terror attacks in the heart of the Shomron two years ago. The Prime Minister's office explained that permission was granted for "humanitarian reasons." MK Chanan Porat (National Union) joined Likud MKs in criticizing Barak's decision, saying that the Prime Minister "apparently forgot the rabbinic dictum that one who has compassion on the cruel will eventually be cruel to the compassionate." National Union leader MK Rechavam Ze'evi said, "Mr. Barak may have consulted with legal and security officials before he made the decision, but he forgot to consult with people of conscience and straight-thinking." (Arutz 7 Oct 4)
Austrian Election Results
President Ezer Weizman has called upon Austrian Jews to come on Aliyah [immigration to Israel] immediately, in the wake of the success of Austria's Freedom
Party in Sunday's national vote. The party captured some 27% of the vote, and is now the country's second-largest. Party-leader Joerg Haider's campaign was
characterized by calls to stop immigration to Austria, as well as constant warnings against the country's "over-foreignization." Haider, the son of a low-level World
War II Nazi Party official, was forced out of his position as Governor of Carinthia eight years ago after saying that Adolf Hitler had "sound employment policies."
He also reportedly once called veterans of the Gestapo "men of character." President Weizman said Monday, "Austrian Jews should draw the proper conclusions, and the sooner, the better." (Arutz 7 Oct 4)
Reports of Demolitions "Highly Exaggerated"
Journalist David Bedein has discovered that reports of "6,000 demolition orders of Arab homes in the Jerusalem area" are not based in fact. An organization known as Rabbis for Human Rights has been claiming for a year that it has information that the Israeli government has issued orders to demolish the homes, and Bedein says that the Rabbis' campaign has been quoted by international groups and by Arafat at the UN. When asked by Bedein to verify the number 6,000, the organization responded that "the figure of 4,000 for East Jerusalem comes from Meir Margolit, Meretz member of the Jerusalem City Council", and that "the figure of 2,000 for Area C [Israeli-controlled territory] is from the Palestinian Land Defense Committee. They keep lists, and their information is accurate." Bedein then spoke with Meir Margolit, who strenuously denied that orders had been issued to demolish 4,000 homes in Jerusalem. Margolit explained that this was merely the number of illegal units that had been built by Arabs, but that no such order for the destruction of these thousands of buildings had ever been issued. Asked about the "Palestinian Land Defense Committee," the Meretz city council member said, "I would not rely on their credibility." (Arutz 7 Oct 4)
Massachusetts Salutes Israeli Hi-tech
The Israel-based Scitex Corporation - a leader in digital imaging solutions for graphics communications -was saluted Wednesday at a special ceremony on the steps of the Grand Staircase of the Massachusetts State House. Massachusetts Lt.-Gov. Swift, together with Israel's Consul-General presented an official citation to company CEO Dr. Shamir to acknowledge contributions made by Israeli companies in general, and by Scitex in particular, to the state of Massachusetts. There are over 70 Israeli-owned companies in the state. (Arutz 7 Oct 4)
MEMRI: More Details on Arabic "Mein Kampf"
Middle East Media and Research Institute has just released more details on the sale of Adolph Hitler's Mein Kampf in eastern Jerusalem and the Palestinian autonomy. The Arabic translation is being distributed by Al-Shurouq, a Ramallah-based book distributor, and is now in 6th place on the Palestinian best-seller list. The cover of the book shows a picture of Hitler, a swastika, and the title in both German and Arabic. Following are some excerpts of the introduction by translator Luis Al-Haj:
"Hitler was a man of ideology who bequeathed an ideological heritage whose decay is inconceivable. This ideological heritage includes politics, society, science, culture, and war as science and culture...
"The National Socialism that Hitler preached for and whose characteristics were presented in his book My Struggle [Mein Kampf]... this National Socialism did not die with the death of its herald. Rather, its seeds multiplied under each star..."
"This translation of the book My Struggle has never been presented to Arab speakers. It is taken from the original text of the author, Adolf Hitler. The text was untouched by the censor. We made a point to deliver Hitler's opinions and theories on nationalism, regimes, and ethnicity without any changes because they are not yet outmoded and because we, in the Arab world, still proceed haphazardly in all three fields..." (Arutz 7 Oct 4)
Old City Excavations Opened
The Antiquities Authority opened the excavations south of the South Wall of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem's Old City Sunday. The excavations show impressive remnants of King Herod's royal pillared corridor, including parts of columns and large sections of embossed stone cornices with geometric designs. The original building was 180 meters long - the largest roofed structure of its time in Israel, and one of the largest in the ancient world. The Romans destroyed it to its foundations during the destruction of Jerusalem, and hurled its parts down outside the Temple Mount walls. Also excavated and partially restored is the "Hulda Staircase," which afforded access to the Temple. (Arutz 7 Oct 3)
Benetton in the News
An Israeli "peace" organization, Gush Shalom, is one of several groups spearheading yet another pressure campaign against a company wishing to do business in Yesha. The latest victim: the Italian textile giant Benetton. Gush Shalom and its associates are protesting a decision by a daughter company of Benetton to establish a sportswear factory in the Israeli industrial zone of Barkan, just west of Ariel. Gush Shalom announced that since the launching of the campaign two weeks ago, "Benetton's head offices...have been flooded with protest messages by mail, fax and email, from all over the world." Other Israeli groups have called for a counter-campaign, wherein Benetton would be encouraged in its decision to "invest in projects which promise a livelihood to both Israelis and Palestinians, like the Barkan Industrial Zone." (Arutz 7 Oct 3)
Jerusalem at Disney World By David Bar-Illan
The fiasco of Israel's exhibit at Disney World is not merely a public-relations setback. There will be millions of visitors at the Millennium Village in the EPCOT Center, and they will not see what should have been shown in an official Israeli pavilion: that there is no parallel in history to the bond between the Jewish people and Jerusalem; and that in the 3,000 years of its existence Jerusalem has never been the capital of any other nation.
Moslems, Crusaders and Britons have captured and ruled it, but only the Jews, whether in exile or sovereign in their land, have considered Jerusalem their national capital.
Nor is there any question that Jerusalem now functions as the capital of sovereign Israel. It is the seat of government, where all internal and external state business is transacted.
None of this is shown in the exhibit. Its creators, anxious to forestall Arab displeasure, produced an "inoffensive" universalist show which is an insult to history and reality. And when even this failed to satisfy the Palestinian Information Ministry and Arab-American organizations, they yielded to threats of Arab boycott, omitted a furtive mention of Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and turned the presentation into a dull parody of Shangri-La.
The result was aptly described by correspondent Nitzan Horowitz of Ha'aretz, a newspaper not known for overflowing nationalist sentiment. "Contrary to the bragging of Israeli officials about a victory over the Arabs," writes Horowitz, "Jerusalem is portrayed there as an independent entity, a sort of 'corpus separatum,' a separate body. Israel as a state, an authority, a sovereignty - is not mentioned. The words 'State of Israel' are never heard or seen. Even the modest sponsorship plaque states nothing more than 'Foreign Ministry' in English and Hebrew. 'Of which country?' asked MK Ruby Rivlin."
The desire to avoid offense reaches ludicrous proportions. In a biblical scene, Abraham is asked to sacrifice an anonymous son. You want to know what Aziz of Jerusalem thinks his name is? Press a button on the computer and Aziz will tell you: it's Ishmael.
And what is the most appropriate scene with which to open a film on this modern capital city of more than 600,000, which has had a Jewish majority for 150 years? Why, the Arab market in the Old City, of course. The Knesset, on the other hand, seen from a passing helicopter, is just another building with neither name nor function. It may, after all, hurt some people's feelings to know that the seat of Israel's democratic institutions is located in (gasp) Jerusalem.
Perhaps most humiliating is that the 40 Israeli guides have been instructed to answer questions about Jerusalem's status by saying, "Israel claims that Jerusalem is its capital." This, lest we forget, is not a UN exhibition. It is an Israeli show, in which the Israeli government invested $1.8 million. That Arab organizations and governments can demand - and get - the right to censor it is a measure of Arab arrogance, Israeli timidity, and Disney's double standard. Such treatment of any other sovereign nation's exhibit would be unthinkable, intolerable and unacceptable.
Nor does it make business sense. The purchasing power of the would-be Arab boycotters is relatively negligible, while the disgust for Disney among Israel's friends may have a more lasting effect. It took Ford many years to overcome the damage to the company caused by Henry Ford's antisemitism.
As Ha'aretz put it, it is a show French diplomats would enjoy. So would the Arab regimes, despite their protests which bespeak an appetite whetted by the taste of continued appeasement.
But Jews will find it difficult to disagree with ADL national director Abraham Foxman, who - observing that Jerusalem is depicted as the capital of the Millennium rather than of Israel - said, "Shame on Mickey, shame on Disney, shame on [Disney President] Eisner." He could have added, "Shame on the Jewish community leaders for letting this happen." And yet the most unfortunate aspect of this story is not that a company anxious to avoid controversy surrendered to the kind of extortion only dictatorial, bigoted regimes can practice. What makes this a particularly sad event is that it exposes the unbearable ease with which Israel can relinquish the most cherished elements of its patrimony. Such "public relations" concessions, meant merely to placate others, all too often become Israel's received wisdom. And if recent history is any guide, letting Arab threats and Disney cowardice dictate the showing of Jerusalem as a "corpus separatum" does not bode well for Israel's resilience in the coming battle for its capital.
The writer is the former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post and the former policy and communications director of the Netanyahu government. (Jerusalem Post Oct 6)
The Peres Pill By David Weinberg
Politicians who speak of the "New Middle East" must be under the influence of a hallucinatory drug.
Last week, our security-oriented Prime Minister Ehud Barak unexplainably began to talk about "the New Middle East." Ah yes, the New Middle East, that nirvana-like dream world created by imaginative minds desperate for peace at any cost. Barak must be on the Peres pill.
The Peres pill, you see, is a powerful drug invented and distributed by this country's elder statesman and former prime minister Shimon Peres. Be sure to read the fine print on the packaging label before taking this prescription-only medication. Therapeutic activity: For the relief of dilemmas in the peace process and uncertainties in relating to the Arab Middle East. Induces hallucination and wishful thinking, allowing the patient to ignore the hostile intentions of, and shrug-off the threatening declarations of, neighboring Arabs. Allows the user to believe that peace is breaking out all over. Most effective on a fatigued, depressed populace, and/or a public which has become extremely affluent and comfortable and no longer has the stamina for continued struggle.
Composition: Each capsule contains 5 mg of laxative (for catharsis, to clear the mind of paranoia and out-dated nationalistic fervor); 10 mg of valium (a relaxant); 20 mg of amphetamine (stimulates feverish mental activity); 200 mg of LSD (aids in hallucination); 700 mg of essence of sophisticated, intellectual French wine (helps the mind ignore Mideast realities).
How will this medicine affect your daily life?: Use of this medicine may impair alertness to dangers and therefore caution should be exercised when engaging in activities such as driving a car, operating heavy machinery or taking the helm of state. Patient is likely to develop delusionary tendencies, and to say things like "science is more important than territory" or "a row of five-star hotels on the Hermon is a better guarantee of peace than a line of early warning stations."
Takers of this drug are prone to take wild leaps of faith and to project all their good intentions onto the adversary (transference). As such, they are liable to cavalierly and hastily forgo hard national security assets without appropriate return or safeguards.
This drug also has been known to activate frantic philanthropic activity aimed at planting hi-tech wheat fields around Gaza, the establishment of joint bio-technology farms with Egypt, the building of industrial parks for Yasser Arafat, and the tying of tripartite town twinnings, such as that, for example, between Brussels, Bir Zeit, and Bnei Brak. The drug-induced assumption here is that economic advancement will cause its beneficiaries to moderate or abandon their hostile and decade-old goals of over-powering the Zionist enemy.
Patients on the Peres pill tend to develop a fancy for all things and leaders European, and enjoy cavorting around the continent garnering support from kings, princesses, Marxist novelists and intellectuals, movie stars, and socialist leaders who have lots of money to throw at the Palestinians. Users are partial to Norway.
Warnings: Do not take this medicine if your country has a waist less than 50 kilometers wide. You may end up in the sea. Inform your doctor and consult first with your psychiatrist if you are sensitive to historic, national, and religious rights, to the justness of history or to the logic of deterrence doctrine. Patients often develop an aloofness to the common Israeli man-in-the-street, who simply just doesn't understand the sublime and cultured approach to peace engendered by the drug. Do not take before meals or at any time within six months of an Israeli election campaign.
Side effects: In addition to the desired effect of the medicine, adverse reactions may occur during the course of taking this medicine, such as rapid weight and land loss, loss of fluids and water resources, withdrawal symptoms,
and inflammation of the ego. Deafness, especially to Palestinian antisemitism and threats of violence, may develop. Consult your doctor and reconsider your political affiliation immediately if you experience blindness to Palestinian treaty violations, Iranian nuclear programs, Syrian and Egyptian military build-ups and the like; or if you find yourself always excusing the other side's gross failures and breezily overlooking its dictatorial character.
Antidote: In case of overdose, take two Bibis or equivalent for at least three years. Proceed immediately to a hospital emergency room or an emergency bomb shelter. Recommended dosage and directions for use: This is an experimental medication. Effects of the drug for the long-term have not been proven. Take at your own risk. Not recommended for children, the faint-hearted, or those involved in diplomatic negotiations. Adults: one capsule only if necessary, chewed slowly and cautiously. Keep your guard up and army in ready state when under the influence of this psychotropic drug. Do not swallow whole! Keep out of the hands of sitting prime ministers, especially Ehud Barak. (Jerusalem Post Oct 3)
Jerusalem and Mt. of Olives stand at the center of the haftarah (public reading from the Prophets) that we read on Sukkot. The passage, from the book of Zechariah, chapter 14, tells us that in the future, woe will be to those nations of the world who do not arrive in Jerusalem to celebrate the holiday of Sukkot, and a great plague will befall those who fought against Jerusalem. The holiday of Sukkot, on which are brought 70 sacrifices on behalf of the 70 nations of the world, will be the time when all the nations and the entire world will finally appreciate the place of the Nation of Israel and that of Jerusalem.
A special focus in this haftarah is placed on the Mt. of Olives: "Then shall the L-rd go out and fight against those nations* And his feet shall stand that day upon the Mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split along its middle by a very great valley from east to west. Half of the mountain shall be removed towards the north, and half of it - towards the south."
The description of the Mt. of Olives as east of Jerusalem is very significant. East of Jerusalem was always very important - the Geonim used to arrive from there, and the Mt. of Olives was always a place where Jews would stand and look out onto the remnants of the Holy Temple when they weren't allowed to enter the city itself. Here, atop this mountain, was where David prayed while running away from King Saul. On Hoshana Rabba (the seventh day of Sukkot) a special, important, well-known, and holy Hoshanot ceremony was held, in which Kohanim (priests) holding willow branches would walk around the mountain. There are Geonic reports of this ceremony, and Kabbalistic writings about what will happen in the Redemption process when this ceremony - the forerunner of today's twice-yearly massive Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall - is renewed.
In the politics of today, too, this year may well have critical implications for the future of Jerusalem and Mt. of Olives. This could be the year in which the nations of the world will attempt to determine the fate of the Jerusalem, and the Arabs will likely attempt in various ways - including terrorism - to separate us from the eastern half of Jerusalem and Mt. of Olives. They will make every effort that we should not come to visit the ancient Mt. of Olives cemetery, or Yeshivat Beit Orot, or Ir David (the City of David, just below Dung Gate and the southern entrance to the Western Wall). They will do their best that we should not live in this entire area, east of the Old City of Jerusalem, the area known as the City of David.
This could also be the year, too, in which maps will be drawn, and we will see whether the city is truly united - not only in declarations, of which we hear many from our politicians: "eternal capital, united forever, etc." - but also in practice. If you have a car, you should try to get out and take trips in the different parts of our capital, and you will see that great efforts are being made in truly making this city totally Jewish. We are working on this very hard - myself, and many others - not only in Beit Orot, and not only in the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood. Many many lands in Jerusalem and environs are owned by Jews and can be reclaimed.. These include a clear majority of the lands surrounding Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount - from the Kidron, from Shimon HaTzaddik, the University (known as Tzurim Valley), the Valley of Yehoshaphat, the Valley of the King, the ancient and holy Jewish cemetery on Mt. of Olives, the City of David, the Ben Hinnom valley - all along the east half of Jerusalem.
Our presence must not only be under the ground, in the cemetery, but also above ground, with Jews walking there on Shabbatot inside the eruv, with schoolchildren on trips in their capital, walking along the green patches - all this is not only possible, but it must be done. This is what will determine the fate of Jerusalem, and will decide: Will the nations despair of dividing Jerusalem, while we determine facts on the ground to perpetuate its genuine unity? Or will we be like those who merely parrot declarations, but don't get up and do anything? Unfortunately, there are those who do this - sitting in the Diaspora, every year they recite "Next Year in Jerusalem," in the full knowledge that next year they will be exactly where they are now.
This is the test that all of us will face this very year - there is nothing more urgent than this. The status of Jerusalem will be determined by us. I would be happy to meet each of you personally to walk around the various parts of Jerusalem and show how we are investing efforts, and how we must continue to do so. We are the Nation of Israel, returning to its Land and returning to its City, the Eternal City. May the words of the Prophet Zechariah - in the above chapter - be fulfilled: "On that day, He and His Name will be one."
Chag Same'ach, and we hope to see you - walking in Jerusalem!
Rabbi Benny Elon, a Knesset Member of the National Union party, headed the Beit Orot Yeshiva in eastern Jerusalem. (Arutz 7 Sep 29)