For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Last week opposition leader and former foreign minister Tzipi Livni published a very odd op-ed in The New York Times. She regurgitated Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's position that there is a difference between democratic processes - like elections - and democratic forces, which are dedicated to liberty and freedom. The latter need democratic processes to rise to power and secure their freedom. But both democrats and tyrants can and do make good use of democratic processes, like elections, to gain power.
Livni's article was strange for two reasons. First, throughout her tenure as a senior minister in both the Sharon and Olmert governments, she never distinguished herself as a champion of democratic forces, either in Israel or in the Arab world. As justice minister under Ariel Sharon in the lead up to the mass expulsions of the Jews from their homes and communities in Gaza and Samaria in August 2005, Livni oversaw the enactment of draconian, patently unconstitutional restrictions on the rights of her political opponents to demonstrate their opposition to the government's policies. She approved moves that prohibited lawful protests, arrested without charge and held without bail thousands of lawful citizens simply on the basis of their political convictions and curtailed the freedom of movement and property rights of tens of thousands on the basis of their political views by interdicting private buses and cars on highways and expropriating property.
As for the Arabs, in 2005, Livni had nothing to say in favor of the Lebanese March 14 movement which successfully forced the Syrian military to withdraw from Lebanon. Far from supporting these champions of democracy and freedom, Livni held her tongue and was identified with the Israeli view that we were better off with Syria in charge than with the instability wrought by freedom. By the same token, she also had nothing to say about Syrian dissidents rotting in Syrian prisons for advocating freedom.
Throughout her tenure as foreign minister, Livni never had a word to say about the democratization of Iraq. She never took the time to defend Mithal Alousi, the Iraqi liberal democrat whose sons were assassinated in retribution for his visit to Israel and his outspoken championing of peace between Iraq and Israel.
She never said a word to encourage Egypt's democracy forces or to distinguish between Egyptian liberal opponents of President-for-life Hosni Mubarak's regime and the Muslim Brotherhood.
Finally, and most importantly, Livni never discussed or evinced the slightest interest in democracy among the Palestinians. She did not oppose the Bush administration's decision to permit Hamas to participate in the 2006 Palestinian elections. She never seriously objected to Fatah repression of liberal forces in Palestinian society. She never even credibly objected to the rampant anti-Jewish propaganda put out by Fatah-controlled media, mosques, schools or universities.
LIVNI'S DECISION to pen an article for a major American newspaper about an issue she has never championed was all the more bizarre given the current focus of US-Israel relations. As her article was hitting the presses, the Obama administration had already begun openly denying the existence of one of her self-proclaimed great achievements in office. In recent years, Livni has repeatedly claimed that as justice minister in Sharon's government, she played a central role in convincing the Bush administration to agree to support the permanent retention of Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria as part of an eventual peace deal with the Palestinians.
The agreement with the administration was publicly announced in May 2004 by then president George W. Bush at the White House following his meeting with Sharon and published in a public letter from Bush to Sharon. Bush's letter recognized that Israel would not return to the 1949 armistice lines and that major communities and blocs of settlements in areas within its domestic consensus like the Adumim bloc, the Ariel bloc and the Etzion bloc would remain under Israeli control in perpetuity. The same is true for areas like the Jordan Valley which are essential for ensuring that our borders are defensible. Full Article .....
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"