Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The lubavitche rebbe to sharon:

Renewal Of Jewish Settlement In Hebron
Free Translation—Unedited
September 5, 1968Brooklyn, New YorkTo: General Ariel Sharon
Greetings and Blessings.
I gratefully acknowledge receipt of your letter from the 24th of Av. It arrived a bit late, and I apologize for the delay in answering.
Regarding the substance of your letter, as we discussed at length when you were here — I am in full agreement with you concerning the liberated territories. Unfortunately, however, I do not agree with you that a shift in public reaction (at this time) in our Holy Land would influence those in power to change their position. According to my information — from sources which have been reliable until now — there is no evident change of intentions in these circles. I could only wish that there were a shift in public opinion which would cause at least a change in the government’s unofficial stance. Yet what is actually happening, is the preservation of the Arab character of the Old City of Jerusalem (with the explanation that we must maintain the status quo, just as part of the city looked when we conquered it last year — since it would defy “justice and honesty” etc. to take advantage of the conquest to force something upon the residents who were there until then!) The consequenses of this position in day-to-day life are obvious — especially considering that they believe that they have fulfilled their obligation to the Jewish community by partially populating the environs of Jerusalem with Jews.
Of course, I am writing you all this unofficially and privately, because it is not my place to speak about faults of Jews, and especially those who have it within their capability to achieve wondrous things in the said areas, and for various reasons are not doing so.
It is also understood that I am not writing this in order to accuse anyone, for what would such an accusation help? I only mean to express my anguish, at least in writing, to you and to those who you estimate might benefit from knowing the content of these few lines.
If the above is true regarding Jerusalem, then the situation is even worse concerning Hebron, where mainly Arabs dwell.... The Arab community there is grounded, developed, and according to the rumors, it is also organized, all of which only confirms the attitude mentioned above. Despite this, I investigated the possibility of opening a Yeshivah. I received a clear answer — saying that “it would be better for me” to explore possibilities of a Yeshivah in Jerusalem than one in Hebron. Within the inner circles of settlers (contrary to the view of those in charge) there are many Chabadniks (some who are open about it, and others who are unknown). I am sure you are also aware of the situation of the settlers there — who are not far from being prisoners. The reason given is also similar to the one stated, being based upon “justice and honesty,” and the common denominator of all these phenomena is: What will the “greater world” say, etc., as we discussed when you were here.
And for example, if there should be some quarrel between an Israeli youth and an Arab youth in Hebron; since the Arab youths would outnumber the Jews there, it is possible that the Jewish youth would be beaten up, etc. On whose side, in your opinion, would the Israeli military police stand in that situation — especially if the Mayor (who, it would appear, had a part in the riots and pogroms of 1929 against Jews in Hebron) were to come and make a commotion about the “provocation” by the Jews.
This is also the reason I asked you when you were here about the circumstances, and the reason for the manner in which Jerusalem was captured last year, where many, of the best Israeli soldiers fell in battle, completely disproportionate to the number of deaths on all the other fronts.
Incidentally (and maybe not incidentally) you still owe me an answer on this (and when you were here, we agreed that you would investigate and give me an answer). The information I have received on this — as I said, from a source who has been reliable until now — and as I said in our conversation, there was an uncontested order from above regarding this.[106] I wish I would be proven wrong. However, in our conversation, there was much room left for doubt.
I would like to add, that my asking about this did not (G-d forbid) stem from pointless curiosity about a painful subject. Rather, it was to demonstrate the thought process of those who issued that order, because many of them are still in charge. Unfortunately, and perhaps to our embarassment, they have not changed their outlook, since even then it was forseeable that this would cause more fatalities. From this we can understand the present situation in Jerusalem and Hebron.
Without a doubt, I have not, G-d forbid, given up hope that the situation will change. But until then, there would be no benefit or practical advantage to issuing a call for people to settle Hebron. For there would be bitter clashes between the people in charge (whom we have been discussing) and even such people who would not answer the call (to move to Hebron), but would be moved to think in that direction — and all the more so those who might answer the call and go to live in Hebron. The confilct would be to the extent that the government would issue laws against those who would go to settle. This would reveal to the world — not just the Jewish world, but even to the gentiles — that those who make the decisions are bent on making it difficult for the settlers, and even worse than “difficult” — they would humiliate them and strengthen the morale of the enemies of Israel.
I do not despair concerning all this. But it is not a shift in Jewish public opinon which will affect change, but rather the mistakes of the Arabs and their supporters. So it was in the past, when such mistakes last year forced the “pursuers of peace” to finally agree to provide security, naturally leading to a pre-emptive war. I hope that in the future it will be easier, and will not G-d forbid injuriously affect lives or even property of our brothers, no matter where they live.
It is amazing to what extent the label which was given to the Children of Israel in our Torah, “a stiff-necked nation,” has not only endured until this day — but has been used by some for the opposite of the Torah and vital interests of the Jewish people. An example from the most recent weeks: the Algerian hijacking of the El-Al plane, when everyone clearly saw the reaction of even those who are supposed to be among the “friends of Israel.” Yet despite all this, they congratulate the nations for finding a solution which was supposed to be an “ethical victory.” Even if you could find reason to say that they were forced to agree to the extortion (to save lives), yet what obligates them to crown the architect of this deal as a Man of Ethics and totally righteous, and an example for the Masses? It would seem that there is no way to fathom a stiff-necked nation. This stubbornness expressed itself so strongly in the form of believing in the kindness of the nations (despite the message from our Prophets and Seers that the kindness of the nations is veiled sin), that even the invasion of Czechoslovakia[107] did not weaken this spurious belief. Even though it would seem that the episode in Czechoslovakia has nothing to do with the subject of this letter — the inner significance is relevant, because it demonstrates the sentiment of some of those who decide the policy-making-process in the Holy Land, a process which expresses itself in deeds, grievous and painful acts which also cause much worry for the future (the near future at least — until they do away with their attitude about these matters).
We should end off on a positive note: I thank you for the warm greetings which you brought me from your visit to Kfar Chabad. According to the reports and information I have received from there, you spoke from your heart and with warmth, and strengthened and encouraged them. Everyone is in need of this, including them. Especially now, during these eventful times in the “Land upon which G-d’s gaze is affixed from the beginning of the year until the end of the year,” as it states in our Torah. When, on the other hand, the enemies who surround the land, see the government in our Land exhibit more and more weakness — a government who believes that they must deal with the Arabs with silk gloves and great care — and should there be a quarrel between an Arab and an Israeli, the first thing to do is to check what the reaction will be in the capital of one country or another, and only then decide what to do. So the Arabs constantly allow themselves the luxury of creating more and more disruptions, and all the more so, disturbances, and eventually terror.
And as we approach the New Year, as the well-known saying goes, may it be G-d’s Will that this year end, together with all the undesirable things which occurred in it (they should totally and absolutely disappear) and next year, and in the final days of this year, may the blessings begin, including the crucial change in the government’s posture, without having to wait for unwished-for incidents which would force the change. After all, we have seen miracles from the All-powerful G-d in the recent past, and He is able to affect miracles in any fashion — or as the traditional saying goes, with “good that is manifest and revealed.”

With respect and Blessingsfor an Inscription for a Good and Sweet Year,to You and all your Family,

Signed: Menachem Schneerson/


P.S. As I mentioned above, due to the painful points raised in this letter, it is written to you privately. You have permission to show or describe it to whomever you feel it would benefit. I will close with the hope that in accordance with the openness of this letter, you will respond in a likewise fashion to all the points raised in it. This is in addition to an answer to my question and others, which I hope you will be able to investigate and answer upon your return to Israel.

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