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.
Hizbullah has been terribly excitable in recent weeks. It has threatened, condemned, demanded, and warned, all suggesting the party is not quite relaxed about the prevailing political situation.
First it was the party’s ambiguities about the ships to be sent from Beirut to Gaza; then its tough position on the offshore oil dispute with Israel. Then it was Hizbullah MP Kamel al-Rifai promising that the party would soon “confront American defamation campaigns” and prepare a list of individuals, parties and clubs collaborating with the US. And this week villagers in the south, in actions very likely orchestrated by Hizbullah, blocked roads and attacked UNIFIL vehicles. This came after an Alfa employee was arrested allegedly for being a Mossad spy, allowing Hizbullah to caution that Israel controls the Lebanese telecoms sector.
Hizbullah’s message is clear: the enemy is everywhere. For a party that needs enemies to survive, this is understandable. However, there is something deeper at play, a malaise with the fact that the situation in Lebanon and the Middle East is not to the party’s liking.
Hizbullah appears to have been put out by the Turkish reaction to the Gaza flotilla incident a few weeks ago. While many in the West saw only Ankara’s hostility against Israel, the perspective from the region was different, and played itself out against a backdrop of Arab fears of Iran’s rising power; or less subtly, Sunni Arab fears of Shiite Iran.
The Palestinian issue is at the heart of the so-called “resistance agenda,” which Hizbullah claims to embody best. Since 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has used the Palestinians as a battering ram to enhance Iran’s legitimacy among the Arabs, while delegitimizing the Arab’s own passive regimes. But now Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has stepped in and the Arabs, their sectarian impulses kicking in, have elected Turkey as their foremost champion.
Turkey’s push on the Palestinian front may lead in several directions that Hizbullah finds worrisome. For starters, Erdogan has arrogated the right to speak in the name of Hamas, recently declaring that the movement is not a terrorist organization. Given Turkish influence over Syria, which hosts Hamas’ leader Khaled Meshaal, this throws a new variable into Hizbullah’s relation with the Palestinian Islamist movement.
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!"