THE SYRIAN SNAKE CEREMONY

By Prof. Paul Eidelberg

Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who opposed withdrawal from the Golan Heights when he was Israel's Chief of Staff in 1995, has committed himself and his seven-party coalition government to evacuate the Golan and thereby abandon its 18,000 Jewish residents. This represents an extraordinary metamorphosis as regards the Labor Party's attitude, but also of Jewish public opinion, which now seems to be evenly divided on the Golan issue.

In various opinion polls conducted prior to the June 1992 elections, an overwhelming majority of 80 to 90 percent of the public voted against any withdrawal from the Golan Heights. Moreover, the Labor Party's official platform proclaimed: "Israel sees in the Golan Heights an area of great importance for its security, its safety and the ensuring of its water resources, even in times of peace. Consequently, in every peace agreement with Syria and in the security arrangements, Israel's settlements and military control will be maintained on the Heights--on which Israel's jurisdiction, law and administration have been applied."

In fact, just hours before the election, Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin told a Golan audience: "As for the future, it is inconceivable that even in peacetime we should go down from the Golan. Whoever even thinks of leaving the Golan wantonly abandons the security of Israel."

Reneging on campaign pledges regarding taxes and health care is one thing; reneging on a campaign pledge involving the very borders of the state is quite another. The more so when one considers Israel's legal and historical claim to the Golan Heights, which it regained in a war of self-defense.

Yet Ehud Barak, President Clinton's "little toy," has decided to make a mockery of that war, won with Jewish blood and tears. Whether this decision will be vetoed, as it were, by a public referendum, remains to be seen. But the mere prospect of abandoning 18,000 Jewish residents on the Golan cannot but fill any thoughtful Jew with dread.

_To withdraw from the Golan, a mere 45 kilometers from Damascus, is to abandon the one geostrategic asset that has deterred Syria from going to war in almost 27 years.

_To withdraw from the Golan is to make Syrian aggression pay.

_To withdraw from the Golan is to dignify a ruthless tyrant.

_To withdraw from the Golan is to perpetuate a barbaric regime as well as the misery of its seventeen million inhabitants. This, in the name of "peace," a word that has become an obscenity to anyone with stitch of moral or intellectual integrity.

To grasp the nature of Syrian barbarism, let me take you back to a ceremony which that regime celebrated on the tenth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War. I watched that ceremony on Israel television, clips of which should now be shown throughout Israel. In that ceremony - and now I turn to its description in the October 21, 1983 issue of the JERUSALEM POST MAGAZINE -

"Syrian militia trainees [male and female] put on a show for Syrian president Hafez Assad. Martial music reached a crescendo as Syrian teenage girls suddenly bit into live snakes [some four or five feet long], repeatedly tearing off flesh and spitting it out as blood ran down their chins. As Assad applauded, the girls then attached the snakes to sticks and grilled them over fire, eating them triumphantly. Others [militiamen] then proceeded to strangle puppies and drink their blood."

The reader can judge for himself what the snakes, the puppies, and the blood represent. TV Clips of that ceremony should be sent to Prime Minister Ehud Barak, President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Madeline Albright, and to Jewish leaders in the United States.

If not otherwise available, the JERUSALEM POST report of that ceremony should be translated into Hebrew and Russian and distributed throughout Israel and the Diaspora.

Finally, the TV clips should be shown in the Knesset, and those opposed to Israel's withdrawal from the Golan Heights should declare:

"WE SHALL BRING THIS GOVERNMENT DOWN IF IT ABANDONS OUR JEWISH BROTHERS AND SISTERS ON THE GOLAN TO THE BUTCHER OF DAMASCUS!"



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