Editor's Note: The Freeman Center salutes the Women in Green. We thank them for their patriotism, their Jewish spirit, their intelligence, and their sense of humor. Kol Hakavod and Yasher Koach in the New Year. Am Yisrael needs you!

Reprinted from The Jerusalem Post of September 17, 1996

Jewish Nationalism Is Alive and Well

By Ruth Matar

The pronouncement by Shimon Peres that he is happy that the national camp is dead in Israel, is a bit premature. True the Maccabees are literally dead. True King David and King Solomon are literally dead. True the heroes that fell in the 1948, 1967 and 1973 wars are not here to tell us what they were fighting for then, and for whom. But the spirit of these Jewish heroes is very much alive today, even if Mr. Peres would have it otherwise. Yes, Jewish nationalism still has some meaning and content, even though it seems to be irrelevant to Shimon Peres, and his poodle Yossi Beilin.

The fact of the matter is that one of the greatest sources of Jewish Nationalism is Judaism itself, and that is why Mr. Peres has been conducting outright psychological warfare against this religion. His New Middle East has no place in it for a vibrant and meaningful Jewish State, and so his solemn announcement that Jewish nationalism has disappeared is merely just his way of saying that such an absence of Jewish nationalism is absolutely necessary for his "Utopia" to work. Unfortunately, what would fill the void left if Judaism would depart from our midst was revealed by that Israeli phenomenon, Aviv Gefen, the effeminate, lipstick wearing "pop" singer who purportedly has a huge following among secular Israeli Jewish youth. That empty shell, and pagan philosopher of the "new era" which would replace Judaism, has come up with the sagacious advice which epitomizes Peres' aftermath of the death of Jewish nationalism. Gefen calls for Israeli youth to pack their bags and leave Israel, now that we have a Prime Minister who actually identifies with his Jewish Heritage, and his ancestral and historical homeland in Judea and Shomron.

Gefen apparently has been forgiven by his new admirer and friend Leah Rabin. Not long before Yitzhak Rabin's death, Gefen wrote a song where he clearly depicts Rabin as a an outright drunkard. His frank and accurate observation is now being overlooked by Leah Rabin; after all, Gefen was singing the "Peace Song" on the evening of Rabin's assassination, so he can't be all that bad. Peres was not here in the country at the time Gefen made his recent remarks. He was abroad lecturing his stale vision that had been thoroughly rejected by Jewish voters; (as he himself was for the fifth time.) But even Peres would have been disapproving and would have found the Gefen call to abandon Israel a bit much. Yet Gefen is the direct outcome of what Israel is without the controlling force of Judaism at its center and core. It is not simple nationalistic phrasing when our sages wrote that: "The Land of Israel without the Torah is like a body without a soul." If you are deeply identified with your ancestors Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, you could not, as Peres did, sign an agreement which would give up your ancestor's home Hebron to the Arabs.

However, only a person who has no sense of history, and possesses little faith, could justify his shortsightedness by arguing that we must abandon Hebron because the Arabs at this stage in our long history, heavily outnumber the Hebron Jews. There are few People on this Earth who can point with pride to the actual burial place of their illustrious forefathers, as can the Jews of the world. Moreover, these Jewish giants of moral and ethical and spiritual behavior lie buried under an imposing structure which the Jews built more than two thousand years ago, which still stands today in Hebron. When you have no nationalistic feeling, you are capable of abandoning, as Peres did via Oslo, Jericho, Shchem, Bethlehem and Hebron, and to say what Gefen said, calling for his many fans to quit Israel.

That is why the nationalist camp, which prominently includes Women In Green, decided to mount a vigil for Hebron in downtown Jerusalem to help firm up Prime Minister Netanyahu's view of Hebron as an ancient Jewish City where the Jews have an historical right to live and freely settle and to grow, without fear and intimidation. Women In Green were there in great numbers, giving out car stickers to the many passing vehicles. We had produced these car stickers which read in Hebrew: "Hebron the City of the Patriarchs, Is ours forever" It is quite a ludicrous situation where certain callous segments of the world community are mounting pressure on Netanyahu to turn over large segments of Hebron to Arab control, and thus expose the Jewish Community once again to the extinction that the Arabs perpetrated against it in 1929.

At the opening ceremony of the vigil there were many prominent speakers, including former Knesset Member HaEtzni, Knesset Members Ze'evi and Rav Benny Alon, Author Moshe Shamir, Nadia Matar and others. Parts of Nadia's short talk was picked up on Israeli Television that evening which gave her an even wider audience for the important "nationalistic" comments she made. The Jerusalem Post reporter who wrote up the event, observed that of all the speakers Nadia was the most enthusiastically received. No, Mr. Peres, Jewish nationalism is not dead. It is alive and well in Jerusalem, and amongst the great majority of Jews everywhere.

Ruth Matar is the founder and co-president of
Women for Israel's Tomorrow (Women In Green)
P.O.B. 7352, Jerusalem
Tel. 02-249887 Fax: 02-245380

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