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.
While Fatah and Hamas have been complaining and crying over the past week about the torching of a mosque in the West Bank village of Yasuf -- an act allegedly carried out by extremist Jewish settlers – where were Hamas and Fatah when Palestinians set fire to and damaged synagogues in Gush Katif following the IDF pullout from the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2005? Where were Hamas and Fatah when Palestinians repeatedly set fire to Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus over the past decade?
Of course arson is a despicable and abhorrent assault on a holy site that requires all those who care about coexistence, peace and tolerance in the Middle East to strongly condemn it, and there should be no justification for any attack on any holy site, be it a mosque, church or synagogue.
But those who remain silent or condone attacks on other people’s holy sites and religious symbols should be the last to raise their voices when a mosque is vandalized.
Similarly, those who have denied other people’s religious and historic ties to holy sites and lands should also keep their mouths shut.
Why hasn’t any Palestinian party of leader ever condemned acts of vandalism against Jewish cemeteries? Where were they each time a Jewish worshipper was stabbed or killed while on his way to a yeshiva, the Wailing Wall or the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron? How come we didn’t hear the voices of Hamas and Fatah when Palestinians hurled stones at Jewish worshippers visiting Joshua’s Tomb in a village in the northern West Bank?
And where were Hamas and Fatah when Palestinian demonstrators repeatedly hurled firebombs and stones at Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem [a site which even Muslims consider to be holy, referring to it as the Bila bin Rabah Mosque]?
Unfortunately, assaults on Jewish holy sites have often been hailed by many Palestinians as acts of heroism against “legitimate targets.”
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!"