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.
This past weekend, one of the genuine triumphs of American foreign policy in the past decade was officially reversed. When Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Harriri went to Damascus to pay tribute to his country’s Syrian overlord, the 2005 Cedar Revolution was buried. Less than five years ago, American pressure, which encouraged those forces in Lebanon that longed to be free, helped bring about the withdrawal of the Syrian troops that had occupied that country since the 1970s. Syria had overreached when it sponsored the assassination of Harriri’s father, Rafik, who preceded him as prime minister. That, combined with the increased influence in the region of the United States in the wake of the overthrow of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, had convinced the Syrians that they must retreat.
But although the Syrian army has not returned, it now doesn’t have to. Hezbollah, the potent terrorist force that serves as a proxy for both Iran and Syria, has effectively strangled any hope of Lebanon’s escaping the grasp of those rogue regimes. Syria’s influence is once more unchallenged in Beirut. Rather than witnessing an international tribunal arraigning Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and his underlings for the murder of his father, as well as the transformation of Lebanon into a genuine Arab democracy, Saad Harriri has been compelled to swallow the humiliation of fawning on his father’s murderer.
What changed? According to the New York Times, the failure of Harriri to maintain his country’s independence is due to one major difference between 2005 and 2009: “since then, the United States and the West have chosen to engage with Syria, not isolate it.” As a result, those who thought they had the West’s backing for resisting the thugs of Damascus have been forced to swallow their pride and swear loyalty to Assad in order to save their lives.
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!"