Tuesday, April 12, 2005
MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad: We Need to Try Something New.
MK Eldad is the son of the late Yisrael Eldad, one of the founders of the Lechi (Freedom Fighters for Israel), a group that fought underground in the 1930’s and 40’s to liberate the Land of Israel from British rule. The current MK is loyal to his father's tradition.
He was one of four Knesset Members who arrived at the entrance to the Temple Mount this past Sunday, hopping to be allowed to enter the holy site. "This is our right as Jews to be on the Temple Mount," he told one reporter who insisted that the visit of Jews to the site was a provocation. "They blocked us for years and eventually they opened the site, but now they are once again giving in to terrorism. We must insist on our rights to visit and pray as well on Judaism's holiest site."
Asked by a reporter how PM Ariel Sharon could prevent Jewish MKs from visiting the site when he himself did so while Ehud Barak was Prime Minister, Eldad said, "The fact is that you can't believe a word this man said. He never meant a single word he uttered. Everything is manipulation with him."
Israel National Radio's Eli Stutz asked MK Eldad what he would tell US President George W. Bush if he were visiting him at his Texas ranch instead of Prime Minister Sharon. Eldad, unflinchingly, answered: "Release Pollard now."
"That's a short meeting," Stutz said, but Eldad stood his own: "I don't want Bush to intervene with regard to the shelling of Gush Katif; at is the Prime Minister's job. I don't want Bush to intervene in uprooting settlers and driving Jewish people from their homes. I want him to deal with his business of releasing the Israeli spy being held in the United States. If this were the topic of discussion between Sharon and Bush, it would justify the travel, but if not, it's just an empty show."
The son of an immigrant from Podvolochisk, Galicia, Eldad believes in Aliyah [immigration to Israel] as a precursor and postscript to the issue of combating the withdrawal from Gaza and the northern Shomron. "This is the only place for the Jewish people to live," Eldad claims. "If all the Jewish people were here, we wouldn't have such a government that surrenders to terrorists. If the strength of the Jewish people was united here, we wouldn't have to rely on a man like Ariel Sharon to lead us."
Eldad is not waiting, though. Immediately following his attempt to open the Temple Mount to Jews, he embarked on a march from his new home in Sa-Nur - one of the four Shomron towns slated for destruction - to Gush Katif.
"The idea is," he explained, "that when about 10,000 settlers cannot fall asleep at night because they can't help but envision the terrible things planned for this summer - not knowing what will happen with their children and the graves of their loved ones and what will happen to their homes - one is not allowed to go home and run business as usual and sleep quietly in his bed like nothing is going to happen. I think when we feel this terrible disaster coming toward us, we can't just sit down and wait until it happens."
Eldad moved to Sa-Nur last week and now lives in a house there. "It is a wonderful region," he told Israel National Radio. He walked from Sa-Nur to Mevo Dotan Monday, meeting in the evening with the residents. Although Mevo Dotan is not among the towns slated for evacuation under the disengagement plan, Eldad says the residents are being "dried up" by the government. "The government just wants them to die spontaneously, but not to kill them," Eldad says, describing the fact that the government has not allotted the town any funds for development and is not allowing them to build.
Eldad continued walking today, reaching the town of Shaked today. He has already been joined by dozens of residents, touched by the fact that he came to speak with them. He hopes thousands more will leave their homes during this period to stand up for what is right.
The march was originally banned by the IDF Central Command, for security reasons, but was reinstated after Eldad's strenuous protests.
"I think all the old ways didn't give us results," he said. "We need new ways. Start walking. If we can awaken thousands of people to walk through the country, it might change something in the hearts of the people of Israel."
The ban on Jewish entry to the Temple Mount on Sunday is "just another symptom of the State of Israel's surrender to the Arab threat," Eldad told Israel National Radio's Yishai Fleisher. "Once we surrendered to terrorism in Gaza and northern Samaria, it is natural that now it doesn't even take terror to elicit a surrender. Now threats are enough. A few Arab MKs and Arab leaders have the audacity to threaten, and it's enough for the police of Israel to say, 'If Jews are on the Temple Mount, it will be a risk to the security of Israel, so we must reduce the friction.' If there is truly a threat of violence, then close the Mount altogether!"
The police, Eldad maintains, could easily come up with a solution to allow Jews to pray on the Mount. "A plan like in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron - where some hours are allotted for Jews to pray and some for Arabs - is the way to go if they really aim to reduce the friction," Eldad said.
MK Eldad believes that the State of Israel has lost its way and still believes that the Arabs can be placated through surrender. "There was a soccer game yesterday between HaKoach and an Arab team, B'nei Sakhnin," Eldad said. "They did not play Israel's national anthem because they feared it might be a 'provocation.' The head of Hamas is on the Temple Mount right now, but he will not even be arrested on his way out because it would be a 'provocation.'"