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 in Damascus, just days after the highest ranking visit from a U.S. official in years, Syrian President Bashar Assad hosted a state dinner for his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmedinajad. Welcoming Ahmedinajad so close on the heels of the U.S. diplomatic good will gesture was a pointed Syrian slight to the Obama administration, but the icing on the cake was Assad’s other guest of honor at the feast: Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah.
For Damascus and Tehran—the last two U.S.-designated state sponsors of terrorism in the Middle East—Hezbollah has long constituted a strategic asset and a point of pride. More recently, the organization successfully worked to broaden its appeal throughout the region. And indeed, after the Shiite terrorist organization fought Israel to a standstill in 2006, Hezbollah’s stature in the Arab world skyrocketed. Not only was Nasrallah the most compelling Arabic orator, Hezbollah became the most positive personification of Shiites in the largely Sunni Muslim region.
That was 2006. Today, while Hezbollah remains a formidable “resistance” force, in the past two years, a number of setbacks have tarnished the organization’s carefully cultivated image in Lebanon and the broader Arab world. Hezbollah’s military prowess may not be in doubt, but now for the first time, Lebanese and other Middle Easterners are starting to question the organization’s once unscrupulous morality. Nearly three decades after its establishment, the resistance has institutionalized and bureaucratized, and Hezbollah is starting to resemble other, corrupt Lebanese organizations.
The problems of the Party of God, Hezbollah's English translation, started in May 2008, when the militia violated its cardinal rule and turned its weapons—allegedly intended for use against Israel—on Lebanese citizens, when the organization invaded Beirut. Continuing this trend, three months later the militia opened fire (accidentally, Hezbollah says) on a Lebanese army helicopter, killing the co-pilot. Then, in November 2008, a 49-member Hezbollah cell was arrested in Egypt, accused of plotting attacks against Israeli tourists and Suez Canal shipping. (Nasrallah responded to the arrests by publicly calling on Egyptians to topple their government).
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!"