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.
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Shragai - Barak's misuse of the law
05 April '12..
Three years ago, in March 2009, Defense Minister Ehud Barak marked the 29th anniversary of the death of Yigal Allon, fondly reminiscing about the renowned Israeli general and politician and praising his accomplishments. It is just that there is at least one major difference that separates Barak from Allon: Allon was an enthusiastic advocate of Hebron settlers. Barak has become their chief prosecutor.
During Passover 1968, Allon helped Rabbi Moshe Levinger's group transform their settlement in the Park Hotel into an anchor from which sprouted Kiryat Arba and the Jewish community in Hebron. On Passover eve 2012, as Levinger's children were trying to recreate that historic Passover Seder, Barak forcefully evicted them from the house across from the Cave of the Patriarchs.
The rule of law, with all due respect, is only an excuse. Dozens, and even hundreds of Arab homes around Beit Hamachpelah (as the disputed house is known, thanks to its proximity to the Cave of the Patriarchs – Ma'arat Hamachpela in Hebrew) were built without permits. This is of no concern to Barak and his legal team. At the heart of the matter are the enormous gaps between Barak's worldview and that of the majority of the other ministers (from Shas, Likud, Yisrael Beitenu and Habait Hayehudi) regarding the Jewish settlement enterprise, which includes Hebron.
Barak is acting on this issue in a completely contrarian manner. He barely authorizes construction in settlements, even in the major blocs, and the gaps between his viewpoint and that of the other ministers is particularly apparent with regard to Jerusalem. Barak, it should be remembered, is the man who broke the Jerusalem taboo at the 2000 Camp David negotiations, agreeing to divide it. This includes dividing the Old City and the Temple Mount.
Such deep differences in basic worldviews cannot help but be manifested, and perhaps it is time to consider, as several ministers demanded on Wednesday, stripping Barak of his authority over Judea and Samaria settlements and entrusting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with it instead.
For the time being, however, the Likud and Netanyahu are Barak's hostages, as additional issues under Barak's jurisdiction are under examination: the future of the disputed Beit Ezra in Hebron, the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El which is slated for possible evacuation, the outpost of Givat Assaf and the settlement of Amona.
Technically it is Barak who has the authority to decide on all these issues, but he must not be permitted to make such pivotal decisions alone. The entire government should be involved in shaping the policy on these issues, and Barak should merely be the executor. If that is something that he cannot see himself doing, then he should hand the reins over to someone else.
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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!"