Hebron­Past, Present and Forever - January 8, 1999

CLUCKING AWAY

By David Wilder

This morning, on my way into a Kiryat Arba supermarket, I was greeted in a most unusual manner. Two men, speaking outside, saw me and started yelling at me: "You really fY.. this one up good, didn't you Wilder!? Now, instead of Netanyahu, we are going to get Ehud Barak and Yossi Beilin." I looked at them, somewhat surprised, and asked, "Me, I brought Netanyahu down?" "Yeah, you and those others in Hebron and the leadership of the right ­ you always said, Bibi must fall. Now see what you've gotten us into."

So, what's the answer? A friend told me the following story: A king's son once decided that he was a chicken. He took off his clothes, got down on his hands and knees under a table, and starting eating crumbs off the floor. The king brought all his doctors to try and convince his son to stop being a chicken. To no avail. Finally a famous doctor arrived from a far away country. He promised the king that he could cure his son. The king promised him rewards of gold and silver should he perform such a miracle. With that, the doctor removed his clothing, stooped down on his hands and knees under the table, with the king's son, and too, began eating crumbs. The king's son looked at his companion and asked him, "who are you?" "I too am a chicken," said the doctor, and for several days they ate together crumbs from the floor.

After some time the doctor suddenly put on his pants. "And what is this?" asked the king's son. "Oh, don't you know. There are chickens who wear pants." The king's son mimicked the doctor's actions. After a few more days the doctor put on his shirt, as did the king's son, and so it went until one day the doctor sat in a chair, saying that there are chickens who sit in chairs, and a few days later began eating with a fork and knife. So, in the end, the king's son remained a chicken, but he acted like a human being.

What is the moral of the story? A few years ago a man named Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed, "I represent the Israeli right." A little while after being elected Prime Minister he shook hands with Arafat, saying, "the right too can shake hands with Arafat." Then he abandoned 80% of Hebron, saying, "the right can give away Eretz Yisrael too." Then he went to Wye continuing to say, "the right can be like the left, but still be the right." And there is no doubt that given the opportunity, under the circumstances, he would have continued implementing Wye right down to the last comma and period.

How can we be so sure where this government would go? A few nights ago on Israeli television's Channel 1 news, it was reported that secret negotiations are underway between Israel and Arafat concerning reopening of the Arab market outside the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and the total reopening of "Shuhada" ­ King David Street, leading from the Avraham Avinu neighborhood to Beit Hadassah. This, in order to receive assurances from Arafat that our Arab neighbors will not 'cause disturbances' as a result of the new construction at Beit Hadassah and Tel Rumeida.

In any other language, this is called a bribe. The Arabs say, "we won't break the law, riot, shoot, throw firebombs, or knife anyone because you are building. Just give us the marketplace and the street." This, coming after another terrorist attack in Hebron earlier this week, which left two women injured, one critically. And Netanyahu and his Defense Minster are willing to pay the bribe?! This is the Netanyahu administration. This is the reason Binyamin Netanyahu had to fall.

No, Bibi Netanyahu ­ we will not follow your act ­ you do not really represent us. You are not a true lover of Eretz Yisrael ­ you have proven that you are not a genuine representative of the Israeli right. We will not follow you wherever you go. So, where do we go now. There is an ideal, and then there is practicality. Ideally, the Prime Minister should not be Netanyahu. Practically, we may get him back. We may even have to vote for him, if not the first time around, then during the run­off election. We may hold our noses and try to keep from being sick when we cast our ballots, but there won't be any choice.

What will be the secret ingredient that may bring us victory? One word: unity. Whichever of the two major blocks, left or right, succeeds in unifying, they will win. If the Israeli right, today led by Benny Begin forms a block, including Moledet, the NRP and other rightwing factions, thereby receiving a large number of mandates in the next Knesset, they may very well determine the policy platform of the next government, regardless of who is elected Prime Minister.

So far it is a free­for­all. The left is divided. So is the right. Meridor, Shahak, Barak, all represent the same political ideology. But the right has yet to make an intelligent move to pull the forces together. Next week Dr. Irving Moskowitz, leading a large delegation including Dr. Joseph Frager, is arriving in Israel to study the situation and help pull the right together. If Dr. Moskowitz and his delegation succeed in impressing the heads of the major political factions that they have no choice but to work together, there is a VERY GOOD chance that we will be victorious.

The truth is that we really don't want Barak, Beilin, or Shahak. However Bibi must know that if he wants to be a chicken, eating crumbs off the floor, he cannot disguise himself, claiming to be something else. If he wants to cluck around, that is his prerogative. But he cannot make believe that his clucks are actually intelligent speech and try to sway us to act accordingly. Arafat is Arafat, Eretz Yisrael is Eretz Yisrael, and Hebron is Hebron. Nobody, however hard they try, will ever be able to persuade us otherwise.


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