Yesterday, in the midst of voting here in Hebron, reporters asked me several questions which I'd like to share with you.
Question: Do you have any sense of vengeance or anger when you cast your
Answer: No. There is no vengeance - we don't believe in vengeance. I don't feel anger either. True, there is a great deal of frustration. The last four years have been very difficult - we have lost many friends to terrorist attacks as a result of the Oslo Accords. We want to change the government - but not as an act of vengeance.
Question: Is this election going to determine the fate of Hebron?
Answer: No. Hebron's fate was determined 3,700 years ago when Abraham purchased the Caves of Machpela, and later when King David founded the Kingdom of Israel in the city of the Patriarchs. Hebron was here before Bibi and Peres, and will remain here after both Bibi and Peres.
Question: How will a Netanyahu victory affect you?
Answer: We don't live under illusions that all the problems we face will be immediately solved. The situation here is very complicated. But the current policies will end, and a pro-Eretz Yisrael policy will replace it.
Question: What should Netanyahu's immediate goal be, should he win?
Answer: He has to unify the country. There is a tremendous gap between two segments of the population - each with a very different list of priorities - with a different outlook on life in Israel. There has to be some kind of national reconciliation.
Almost all the votes have been counted. On the face of it, Bibi's victory, (a true miracle), is so miniscule, that it cannot be viewed in terms of a mandate - it seems that the nation is almost evenly divided. But only if examined superficially. A closer look reveals an amazing statistic. Netanyahu won 11% more of the Jewish vote cast throughout the country. Peres won somewhere in the vicinity of 95% of the Arab vote. In other words, the significance of these numbers is that without the Arab vote, Bibi won not by .7%, but by over 11%. Translated, that means that over 60% of Jewish Israelis proclaimed NO to the Rabin-Peres-Arafat confederation. The remaining 40% cannot be ignored, but a 60-40 majority is certainly more significant than a .7% victory margin.
The Arab vote reached unparalleled proportions: Over 77% of those having the right to vote cast ballots (as opposed to almost 80% of Israelis who voted). Towards late afternoon a major push within all the Arab towns and cities, initiated by the Labor Party with full Arafat backing, brought out thousands of Arabs who had never voted in the past. This effort also gave them 9 seats in the 120 member Knesset.
A couple of months ago an Arutz-7 commentary asked the pointed question: Who will determine the fate of Israel? Even then it was clear that the Arab vote would most likely be instrumental - and possibly even determine the outcome of the elections. Yesterday Labor leaders made no secret of the fact that the Arab vote would probably push Peres over the top. And they were proud of it. Last night, at about 1:00 am, with Peres still leading in the poll and in 'real results," commentators, comparing the religious vote, which went overwhelmingly to Bibi, to the Arab vote, explained that in order for the two populations to neutralize each other, Bibi would need at least a 10% margin over Peres in the Jewish vote. At that time he had about 6% lead in the Jewish sphere - and they exclaimed that he wouldn't reach 10%. Today, we see that he took 11% - and the additional 1% is the margin of victory.
Almost all Israelis, both right and left, believe in human rights and in democracy. But one of the goals of Zionism (a term the present Minister of Education wanted to erase from the Israeli lexicon) was, and still is, the right of the Jewish People to determine their own fate in the Land of Israel. For 2,000 years our fate has been decided by non-Jews, most of whom didn't seek our betterment. We were chased from country to country, exiled, murdered, forced to convert, forced to assimilate. And of course the greatest blow was that of 50 years ago - the rejection of the assimilated Jew by the peoples of the world. The attempted extermination of the Jewish People by Nazi Germany was wholly ignored by the 'free world' and the allied forces. FDR's reluctance to lift a finger to help the Jews is documented.
The last four years have seen a continuation of the same pattern. The Rabin-Peres government preferred the Arabs to the Jews. Arabs were the friend - Jews turned into the enemy. Major decisions concerning Oslo and the Golan passed only because of the Arab vote - there wasn't a Jewish majority. And it almost happened again. The left made a knowing effort to subvert a Jewish majority. However this time it seems that they didn't succeed. Thank G-d.
I personally have nothing against Arabs. They are people, just like the Japanese, Chinese, English, French, etc. But just as I am not prepared to have any of those nations determine my fate, I'm willing to let the Arabs do it, especially when I know that their goal, is to create a Judenrein State in the Land of Israel. I don't think they care whether we live or die - but they don't want us here. And they will do anything possible to remove us, or to chase us out.
Just as I personally didn't come back to Israel to have my fate decided by a foreign people, neither did the Jewish People come back to Israel to have our national existence be determined by others. The Jewish People returned to Israel in order to be able to determine its own fate. The concerted effort by Peres-Meretz-Arafat to enable a 'left' victory by using Arabs to defeat a Jewish majority is diametrically opposed to the initial concepts of Zionism initiated by Labor's predecessors.
The real victor of the 1996 elections is the Jewish People, who have thwarted an attempt, led by Jews, to allow our enemy to determine our fate, not by bullets, but by ballots. They almost succeeded, but the strength of Israel - the 'eternal Israel which will never concede' refused them their victory - a victory which could well have proven more dangerous to the continued existence of the Jewish People than any battlefield success. Mazal Tov to the Jewish People - past, present and forever.
Presented by The Jewish Community of Hebron, POB 105 Kiryat Arba, Israel 90100.