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This morning Israeli internet viewers who frequent the Ynet site were shocked to read the headline story, complete with a picture, labeled "Disclosure:" Operation in the Kasba –– IDF chaplain and soldiers put up Mezuzah.
A second head line reads: A group of IDF soldiers, and an army Rabbi, together with several civilians, went, in the middle of the week, to the Kasba of Hebron. The target: Operation Mezuzah. In the heart of this tense and sensitive area, they hung a Mezuzah, in accordance with the request of a New York Rabbi. Shalom Achshav (Peace Now): "What are soldiers doing participating in an illegal, political ceremony?" The army: "The Mezuzah was removed."
Later in the article, Shalom Achshav is quoted as demanding that the IDF Rabbi and soldiers be court-martialed for participating in the 'illegal, political ceremony.' "The army has been transformed into the army of the 'settlers.' Instead of protecting the settlements they are assisting the settlers to expand them (the settlements). Later, MK Avshalom Vilan from the Meretz party called on the Chief of Staff, Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi to conduct an investigation and treat the incident in the strictest judgment because "a uniformed army Rabbi who cooperates with the lawless disgraces the IDF and should be punished accordingly."
First, the facts: The site where the Mezuzah was hung, called "Sha'ar 5" (in English, Gate 5) is an arch adjacent to the entrance to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood in Hebron. It leads from the Kasba into the main (and only) road used by Hebron's Jewish community. The gate hasn't been used for a number of years; it is closed to both Jews and Arabs. A number of years ago, during Chol HaMoed Succot, an Arab terrorist shot at a group of Jews next to this gate, killing Rabbi Shlomo Yitzhak Shapiro from Jerusalem and wounding several of his children. Following that attack two Mezuzot were hung in the area: one at Gate 5, and another at an adjacent gate, renamed The Shapiro Gate, in memory of the murdered man. The Mezuzah hung on Gate 5 was stolen and undoubtedly destroyed by Arabs in the area.
A short time ago, a visiting Chabad Rabbi from New York, passing by the site, asked why there was no Mezuzah there. Being told the story, he suggested that another Mezuzah be hung there, to replace the stolen one. A few days ago, Hebron's Chabad representative, Rabbi Danny Cohen, with Yossi Nachshon from Kiryat Arba, together with the area's new army chaplain, and several Hebron residents, replaced the stolen Mezuzah with a new one. The site, at Gate 5, is not (G-d forbid!) actually inside the Kasbah, rather it borders the Kasbah and entrance into the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Two soldiers who are stationed at that very site, 24 hours a day, were also there because they guard there. They later participated in a group picture at the site.
Unfortunately, for reasons still unclear, the Mezuzah was removed, as I'm told, at the order of Hebron's military commander, who is now, according to media reports, 'investigating the matter.'
That's the whole story.
But not really.
THE STORY IS much more serious than the above-written brief paragraphs.
Shalom Achshav and a Knesset Member have declared that hanging a Mezuzah is an 'illegal, political activity.'
What exactly is a Mezuzah? A small piece of parchment, on which a scribe, using a feather and special black ink, inscribes the words which are the heart of Judaism and the belief in one G-d: Shema Yisrael, HaShem Elokenu, HaShem Echad, followed by the verses we repeat twice daily, which begin, V'ahavta et HaShem Elokecha, becal levovcha, becal nafsehcha, becal meodecha –– And you shall love the L-rd your G-d, with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your being.
The Jewish people were commanded, as we read in the Torah, upon the Exodus from Egypt, to hang such a Mezuzah on the doorposts of all doors, and gates, in order to remind Jews, wherever they are, be it inside or outside, when they should enter or exit any place, that they are G-d's people, and that we should remember His commandments at all times.
Many people, almost unconsciously, have a habit to kiss the Mezuzah as a sign of respect when entering or leaving a house. Even people who are not outwardly religiously observant frequently touch or kiss the Mezuzah casing. This is one of the most common, basic of all Mitzvot –– positive precepts, practiced by Jews, certainly in Israel and also around the world. Many people, religious and non-religious, when facing a serious illness or crisis, have their Mezuzot 'checked' by a certified scribe, to ensure that it is 'kosher,' that no letters are rubbed out or missing. A mezuzah is, perhaps, the most simple, yet sublime symbol of Judaism, so small, yet representing the essence of Jewish faith.
Yet the act of hanging a Mezuzah in Hebron, according to Shalom Achshav and a Knesset Member from Meretz, is an 'illegal activity, which has disgraced the army. Soldiers participating in such a ceremony must be court-martialed.
Ah, they will say that hanging a Mezuzah at the entrance to the Kasbah is a provocation. First of all, a Mezuzah hung at this very spot decades, if not hundreds of years ago. This is not the first or second time a Mezuzah decorated this archway. The ancient Jewish quarter, initiated in the year 1540, extended at least to "Gate 5," actually an ancient archway leading between the Jewish Quarter and the Kasbah. The Kasbah contains much Jewish property, which is, unfortunately and incomprehensibly, inaccessible to Jews at present. Jews lived in the area called the Kasbah well over a hundred and fifty ago, prior to the 1929 riots and massacre. There is a house, purchased by Hebron's Jewish community over 25 years ago, which was discovered, after the purchase, to have originally been a Jewish home. The proof: the mark of the Mezuzah on the doorpost.
Aside from this fact, an Arab terrorist murdered a Jew at this very location five years ago. The terrorist's purpose was to deny Jewish legitimacy in Hebron; his aim: to kill and maim, in hopes of chasing out the holy city's Jewish residents. What better an expression of our eternal faith than a Mezuzah at the site of such a brutal act of violence and terror!
AND LET'S KEEP IN MIND who is making all the noise: Shalom Achshav, Peace Now. This organization flies the flag of our enemies, while viciously opposing Jewish residency in Eretz Yisrael. Championing the 'rights' of Arab terrorists, they revile Jewish rights, and have proven themselves, in this case, anything but Jewish.
What exactly is Shalom Achshav? According to an Arutz 7 (IsraelNationalNews) report, posted today,
"The Peace Now movement is suspected of setting up a financial scam to mask the European sources of its funding for its reconnaissance work against Israeli Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.The Non Profit Associations Registrar suspects Peace Now of operating a front organization for improper collection of funds...In addition, Some of the organization's donors ... include the British government, which donated more than 500,000 shekels, Norway (800,000 shekels) and the European Union, which donated 451,000 shekels earmarked for Peace Now's ongoing "settlement hunting" activity: the documentation of construction activity by Jews in Judea and Samaria."
But now Shalom Achshav has outdone itself. They have shown their true face. Not only are they anti-Eretz Yisrael; they are anti-Jewish. Describing the hanging of a Mezuzah as 'illegal' and 'political' they have moved out of the realm of Judaism. They are apostates, in Hebrew, kofrim, rejecting the basic tenets of Judaism. Had a Mezuzah been removed, such as this one was, in any other place in the world, the perpetrators would be labeled anti-Semites. That is what this organization is: Jewish anti-Semitism, coordinated with and funded by European governments who prefer to kowtow to Arab oil blackmail, without any regard for Jewish human rights, Jewish religious rights or the continued existence of the State of Israel.
However, in this case it's not the foreigners who are the problem. The real sickness comes from within, from Jewish self-hate, people who, when they look in the mirror, are so disgusted at their true identity that they will do anything to flee from themselves. They have declared war on their land, their people, and their faith. There is nothing that can remotely associate them with peace, because peace is a Divine gift, as we say, "Making peace in the heavens, He will make peace amongst us..." These people are cowardly fighters, warring against themselves and their very essence. Their organization should be named, not Peace Now, rather War Now, for this is their true nature, warring against their very brethren. Jewish anti-Semitism at its best.
David Wilder is spokesman of The Jewish Community of Hebron. You can contribute directly to The Jewish Community of Hebron, POB10, Kiryat Arba-Hebron 90100, firstname.lastname@example.org, 972-2-9965333 or write to The Hebron Fund, 1760 Ocean Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11230, email@example.com
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