Sunday, November 27, 2005


A key figure in the establishment of settlement in Yesha:
Already at a young age, Baruch started his public career. He joined the "Jericho nucleus". He participated in all of the aliyot and struggles over "Sebastia" and in the creation of the settlements of Gush Emunim during the 70's. During the early years, he was active in the establishment of Ofra, Mitzpeh Yericho and Kedumim. He participated in the activities of the Elon Moreh nucleus and left after living for 8 months in Rojev, which was forcefully evacuated.
Baruch refused to accept the compromise that was reached, and went to live in Shechem in '82, and he was removed from there when he entered a hotel in the city to live there and to set up a Jewish outpost.
During his activity on behalf of the renewal of Jewish settlement in Hebron, he was removed from there. Due to his activities in the territories at that time, Fuad ben Eliezer ordered that he be forbidden to enter all of Yesha, since as soon as he was removed from one place, he would start up again in another.
When the struggle over Yamit began, Baruch went to live there and helped to establish the settlements of Atzmona, Hatzer Adar and Maoz HaYam, as well as the yeshiva in Ophira.
In 1984, after his marriage, Baruch went to live in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood of Hebron, and immediately afterwards he was one of the founders of the Admot Yishai (Tel Rumeida) neighborhood, where he still lives in a caravan together with his wife and 9 children.
Over the years, he helped to establish many more settlements all over Yesha.
Baruch was one of the first people called upon by Nati Ozeri HY"D to help the hilltop settlers. Together with Adir Zik and Israel Bermeson, he set up a fund to assist the hilltops. The fund helps to set up hilltop settlements and assists in all stages of the struggle.
Greater Israel:
Over the decades, Baruch has been considered the life force of the determined struggles for Greater Israel, within the frameworks of: Gush Emunim, the Movement to Stop the Retreat from Sinai, and in all other movements operating with similar purposes.
In most cases, Baruch prefers to participate behind the scenes. His wisdom and courage during the struggles serve as a model for thousands to courageously keep up the fight without being deterred by threats from the authorities.
Baruch fought vigorously against the "pragmatism" that has permeated some Yesha public figures and the Right, and saw in this phenomenon a disaster leading to the weakening of a strong stand in favor of Greater Israel. On this issue, Baruch subscribes to the Lubavitcher Rabbi's doctrine that it is absolutely forbidden even to speak to Arabs about any surrender of land, which constitutes a danger to millions of Jews - let alone to actually give up even a tiny piece of the Holy Land.
The right-hand man of Rabbi Meir Kahane ZT"L HY"D:
For 25 years, Baruch was considered the student and the right-hand man of Rabbi Meir Kahane, with whom he became affiliated while still a boy. Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D came to Baruch's Bar Mitzvah when the latter was already an activist in the movement.
For the first time in his life, Baruch was arrested at age 14 as he was blocking traffic with Rabbi Kahane, at the time of the American Secretary of State Henry Kissinger's visit to Israel to finalize the agreements to leave the Sinai during the '70's.
During his first years of activity in the Kach movement, he was an energetic activist out in the field. He initiated brazen actions against the missionary movements and was arrested on suspicion of setting fire to an apartment of missionaries. For many years, he led the militant front lines in Judea and Samaria, to act with a firm and uncompromising hand against the Arab enemy.
For ten years, he was the spokesman for the Kach movement. In every election in which Rabbi Kahane ran, he was among the main activists.
In 1984, when Rabbi Kahane successfully ran for the Knesset and won a seat, he appointed Baruch as the secretary of the Knesset faction, and in this framework, Baruch organized the political activity of Rabbi Kahane and the Kach movement.
Knesset Speaker Shlomo Hillel worked to impose limitations on Rabbi Kahane's actions, and tried to impose countless changes in the Knesset regulations against Kach's activities. Among the changes he instituted was to make it possible to throw out Baruch from the Knesset building in light of the complaints of Arab and Leftist MKs. But Baruch kept up his activities. He is especially remembered for greatly helping to amend the "Who is a Jew" law, securing the freedom of the Jewish Underground prisoners and harassing Arab MKs.
He participated in hundreds of demonstrations and rallies organized by Rabbi Kahane, by whose side he stood, even getting arrested many times together with him.
After Rabbi Kahane was murdered, Baruch was elected as the head of the Kach movement's secretariat, and ran for the Knesset as the head of Kach, but his candidacy was banned by the High Court, claiming that he was continuing directly on Kahane's path.
He continued to be one of the leaders of the movement until the latter was outlawed after the Baruch Goldstein affair in 1994.
With the outlawing of Kach, Baruch announced, together with the whole Kach administration, that he was quitting any activity in the movement. In spite of this, the media and the authorities continued to tag him as the leader of the Kach movement.
The struggle over the Sinai:
The struggle over the Sinai was the high point of Baruch's career on behalf of Eretz Israel. He was one of the first ones to go down to Yamit to live as soon as the rumor broke of a decree to destroy the settlements and Yamit. He participated in the organization aiding the struggle, "Gan Hayarok" in Neot Sinai. He also had a hand in the establishment of Atzmona and lived there. Immediately afterwards he went to live in Hatzer Adar and organzied a powerful and uncompromising struggle that included 7 attempts to take back land as the last evacuation was being carried out, together with the Israeli army's withdrawal and the entry of the Egyptians.
He helped to establish Maoz HaYam in the Sinai and, together with his friends, organized the opposition to the Yamit establishment, which refused to actively fight the evacuation of people from Hatzer Adar. He was among the initiators and organizers of the opposition in bunkers and on rooftops, which made the act of evacuation more difficult. He was arrested tens of times in the Rafiah area. After the end of the struggle over Yamit, Begin decided to close hundreds of cases that were opened against the protesters for disturbing the peace and breaking the law. But Baruch did not receive amnesty.
IDF activities:
Baruch was drafted at the age of 20 after completing his studies in the Hesder Yeshiva in Yamit, where he studied after moving there during the struggle over Yamit. He was not called up to serve in the Lebanon War due to the court case against him for his actions in Yamit, but he decided to volunteer at any cost. He hitchhiked to Lebanon and fought in the central district in a tank. He was one of the first to take over the Beirut-Damascus route. During the conquest he identified a number of Syrian commandos. He charged towards them and killed 7 of the commandos. At the same time, he was injured by a grenade thrown at him, but after receiving medical treatment for a short time, he returned to the tank and participated in the conquest of the Beirut museum.
During his stay in the "Bechamdon" village, he helped renovate the synagogue in the town, and made sure to inform Chabad of his request to repair the mikveh, which was finally renovated with the help of the personal intervention of the Lubavitcher Rebbe.
During his entire military service, Baruch was concerned for religious services for the soldiers, including putting tefillin on them. In the army he fought against the problem of assimilation in Lebanon. Once he even fired at a Lebanese woman who entered the army base. Baruch was tried for this, but the problem stopped. Twice.
During his military service he refused an order whenever it clashed with matters of religion.
After completing his army service, Baruch was sent by the IDF as an emissary to the United States, within the framework of the "Israel" project promoting accurate information on the situation in Israel and recruiting immigrants and volunteers.
Imprisonment, arrests and convictions:
Baruch's activities on behalf of Eretz Israel and Torat Israel led to hundreds of arrests and tens of convictions. Baruch always stood at the head of the struggles and never shied away from them. Even in the worst and most bitter of struggles, he was ready to pay the full price. Especially memorable were the struggles and his arrest in Sebastia and his fights against the separation agreements, missionaries and autopsies. During the struggles of Gush Emunim, he was arrested innumerable times over Shechem, Jericho and Hebron, and the entire settlement enterprise in Yesha. He was constantly under suspicion, and was arrested a number of times for being suspected of attacking Arabs and their property. After the Goldstein affair, and after being chased, he was arbitrarily put into administrative detention for half a year, and then under house arrest for 3 years!
At the age of 17 Baruch was convicted in court for the first time, and many times since then. Nine times he was forced into community service work. Baruch's file of ideological convictions is considered one of the thickest in the State. Baruch, needless to say, considers that a badge of honor.
Hebron - now and forever:
Baruch and Hebron are two concepts that have been linked to each other for two decades. He established his home there and turned Hebron into a central location and a tourist site visited by thousands ever year.
Already as a child, he visited Hebron with his parents during the time when Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the father of Jewish settlement in Hebron, had taken over the Park Hotel. He was active together with Prof. Ben Zion Tavger a"h in the excavations at the Avraham Avinu synagogue and in renovating the cemetery. Together with his teacher Rabbi Kahane, he broke into the closed military zone at Beit Hadassah 3 times and was arrested, long before it ever occurred to anyone that this was the only way people would get to live in Hebron. He assisted the "Hadassah women" holed up in the building for many months.
So it was only natural that his marriage to Sara would take place at the Cave of Machpela. Twenty years later, he came full circle and married off his two daughters at the Cave in Hebron.
On their wedding night they went to live in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. He was one of the first to come to live in Tel Rumeida (Admot Yishai) in 1984, where he has been living with his wife and 9 children for more than 20 years in a flimsy caravan.
With the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987, the stream of Jewish visitors to the Cave of Machpela and Hebron stopped.
Baruch took upon himself the task of changing the situation. Thanks to his actions, Hebron became a household word. Baruch worked almost single-handedly and succeeded where many other good people failed, bringing in thousands of Jews every year to the City of our Fathers.
This is how Baruch made extensive connections with the Haredi sector. Tens of great rabbis and Torah giants from the entire spectrum came to Hebron thanks to his activity, and they all forged close links with Hebron and with settlements throughout Yesha.
His home in Tel Rumeida was the scene of visits by great Haredi rabbis, among them: Rabbi Shlomo Zalman Auerbach ZT"L, the Halachic giant of this generation, as well as the Gaon Rabbi Ben Zion Abba Shaul ZT"L, the Rebbes of Karlin and Arloy and others.
Baruch was part of many struggles in the Cave of Machpela that strengthened the Jewish hold there. He promoted the Cave to those who were unfamiliar with it and organized all activity there. As a result of all his efforts, 8 new Torah scrolls and a lot of equipment were brought into the Cave.
Baruch established two Kollels, which contributed greatly to the Cave's revival.
Together with Israel Bermeson, he set up a system of welcoming guests to Hebron, where hundreds of people are hosted every year. Baruch's home itself has become a lively center for welcoming guests.
He is personally involved in caring for the needs of IDF soldiers and the needy population of Kiryat Arba and Hebron.
He set up a Rabbi Zilberman-style Talmud Torah, which he still directs. He renovated the burial places of Yishai and Ruth and put up a synagogue on the site. For years Baruch handled all Chabad matters in Hebron, rescusitating their heritage in the city.
He made people aware of the Chabad Ashkenazi cemetery in Hebron and the grave of Rebbetzin Menucha Rachel Slonim.
Thanks to his wisdom, the transfer of the Chabad plot of the cemetery to the Palestinians as part of Oslo 2 was avoided.
For years, Baruch handled the restorations there. For a month and a half he conducted a sit-down strike there, in protest over the lack of security. He started an on-site Kollel, which led to a permanent Jewish hold there. In order to continue handling Chabad matters in Hebron, two years ago Baruch helped Rabbi Daniel Cohen to get settled in Hebron and to take on responsibility for Chabad property there.
Baruch served as a member of the Kiryat Arba local council and of the Society for the Development of Kiryat Arba, and as a member of the administration of Jewish settlement in Hebron.
His connections with the Haredi public:
Out of faith and the recognition that the religious and ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) public must unite in order to establish a joint enterprise to protect the sanctity of Israel and the future of settlements in Yesha, and in order to prevent anti-religious parties from gaining power, Baruch understood that the way must be forged in a Haredi direction. Baruch himself leads an exemplary Haredi lifestyle.
For years he was active in public Haredi struggles. He was an active participant in the struggle against autopsies, for closing roads on Shabbat, for the "Who is a Jew" law, and actions against the Reform movement, missionaries, abortions, etc. For years, for every problem arising in the Haredi public, Baruch worked behind the scenes to solve the problem, and to help, which increased his credibility and opened doors among Torah giants and rabbis who saw him as a faithful emissary for the issues that were important to them.
Baruch's special treatment of the Haredi public led them to make frequent visits to Hebron and to assist settlement in Yesha. Thus, for example, thanks to his connections, Baruch worked hard in the Haredi sector to prevent Shimon Peres from being chosen as the President of the State of Israel, and for the rise of Moshe Katzav. In 2000, instructed by the rabbis, he greatly helped to get the Tal Law passed in the Knesset. He also worked hard to promote Haredi settlement in Yesha.
He is considered by the Yesha Establishment and the right-wing parties as an expert on the Haredi sector. Many attribute the right-wing tendencies of the Haredi public in recent years to, among other things, Baruch's activities in this sector of the public.
Charity and Hessed activities:
Baruch runs a large charity fund, together with Adir Zik and Israel Bermeson Z"L. He distributes financial aid and supplies to hundreds of families. This is in addition to his activities in welcoming guests to Hebron .
Activities on behalf of Soviet and Syrian Jews:
During the '70's he was very active on behalf of Soviet Jews and Prisoners of Zion. His work on behalf of Natan Sharansky, Yosef Mendelevitch, Yaakov Levine and others, is especially memorable. All of them are grateful to him to this day. A number of times, Baruch was arrested by the authorities for these activities. He also worked for the freedom of Syrian Jews.
He participated in active struggles against extradition of Jews to non-Jewish authorities. He began with the struggle against extraditing William Nakash. From being one of the founders of "The Committee to Free Jonathan Pollard" until today, he is still active on this issue.
"A Helping Hand to our Sisters"
For 25 years, Baruch has been the director of operations to get Jewish girls out of Arab villages. He has succeeded in rescuing about 300 Jewish women from Arabs. He considers this his personal mission that he received from his teacher and rabbi, Rabbi Meir Kahane HY"D. With every case of assimilation that comes up, he tries to drop everything to take care of the problem. Numerous institutions around the country constantly turn to Baruch for his help in solving assimilation issues and the kidnapping of girls to Arab villages.
The voice of the territory:
In 1997 Baruch, together with Haim Didovsky, set up the news agency "HaKol M'haShetach" (The voice of the territory), for the purpose of fighting against the media's tendentiousness. "HaKol M'haShetach" can give itself a great deal of credit for its achievements in being an effective mouthpiece for anything connected to Yesha and the struggle for Eretz Israel. Later the name was changed to "Kol Rina", in memory of Rina Didovsky HY"D, who was violently murdered on her way to Kiryat Arba.
Elections to the Knesset:
In the elections of 2003, MK Michael Kleiner, the chairman of the Herut movement, decided to add Baruch Marzel to his list, who would bring electoral power to the party. Baruch had many doubts about this, but after he was convinced that on the political map there was no other party that faithfully represented the issues of Eretz Israel, he decided to run as number two on the list. The Leftist parties and the chairman of the Central Elections Committee, Judge Mishael Cheshin, tried very hard to ban Baruch from running for the Knesset. After a long and exhausting struggle, the High Court of Justice finally allowed Baruch to run.
In spite of the short time until the elections, Herut succeeded in getting about 40,000 votes, but didn't reach the minimum threshold.
The Haredi parties and the National Union, fearing Herut's power gained by including Baruch, fought together against the party and invested a lot of capital in the campaign against Herut. Many complaints from all over the country came in about phony votes and about canceling votes of the party.
(The material is based on data from the newspapers "Ma'ariv", "Yediot Achronot", "HaAretz", "HaShavua", "Makor Rishon", "Nekuda", and the Yesha Archives.)


At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any Israeli who doesn't vote Marzel these coming elections is a suicidal "yehudon." And if he is from the "Machane Dati Leumi" then he is also a traitor.


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