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.
On Saturday, Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri traveled to Damascus for a meeting with Syrian president Bashar Asad, the man widely believed to have ordered the assassination of his father, former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri. The 2005 murder sparked the Cedar Revolution, a mass protest movement that resulted in the end of the thirty-year Syrian military occupation of Lebanon, and swept the pro-West March 14th coalition to power. Although March 14 again triumphed over the Iranian and Syrian-backed Hizballah-led opposition in elections this past June, Washington's allies in Beirut are now facing a crisis. Hariri's trip to Damascus represents the return of Syrian influence to Lebanon, and perhaps, the end of the Cedar Revolution.
Six months ago, March 14 appeared to be in good shape. The underdog coalition had defeated Hizballah at the polls, and seemed well positioned to form a government. But the process dragged out for months as the opposition held out for preponderant influence in the cabinet. In the end, facing the specter of Hizballah violence, Hariri ultimately succumbed to pressure and acceded to opposition demands.
The composition of the cabinet--in which Hizballah wields veto power over government initiatives--was a political defeat for Hariri. Worse, facing continued pressure from Hizballah and its allies, Hariri was compelled to make an equally loathsome concession on the Ministerial Statement, the policy guidance for his incoming administration. In contravention to United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701--which stipulates the "disarmament of all armed groups in Lebanon"--Hariri was forced to accept compromise language legitimating Hizballah's weapons.
Even more damaging, during the process of forming the government, Hariri was forced to accept the condition that he would travel to Damascus to meet Asad.
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!"