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“Any Prime Minister Who Harmed Eretz Yisroel
Found Himself Out Of A Job”
Knesset member Tzvi Hendel in an interview with Beis Moshiach
By Shai Gefen

Barak and Arafat met to speed up the political process. What is your reaction to this?

The meetings are simply intended to give the media something to talk about.

Are you saying that Barak is using the territories as a smokescreen?

There’s no question that that’s what’s motivating Barak – to speed up the political process in order to get the nation distracted from the extremely embarrassing topic of illegal campaign activities. 

Barak won his position through illegal means. He can’t just serve as prime minister as though nothing happened, while making political concessions he cannot undo. Even if he remains prime minister, he has to deal with the urgent issues at hand that have a consensus. These issues are the economy, the employment of 300,000 people out of jobs, and efforts to improve the standard of living for the million people who live under the poverty line, etc.

You wrote an urgent letter to Barak about this. What exactly did you write?

After the serious report of the national inspector, I did write to the prime minister. I mentioned that as a result of the serious findings of the inspector, Barak must take a number of steps in order to regain the public’s trust. I said he must stop the political process, which has far-reaching implications. I also said that those who worked on his behalf during his campaign hired thugs to intimidate other candidates and to enhance his position. There was violence, and there were threats against those who work for other parties. Someone suspected of buying his position with money, lies and underhanded tactics has no right to deal with sensitive topics that divide the nation.

An additional withdrawal from territories in Yehuda and Shomron is expected in the near future. Is it possible that Barak, who was so strongly opposed to giving the Golan, will still give away land to the Palestinians?

There was a massive effort to stop the withdrawal from the Golan. Before we mobilized, we were all sleeping on the job. But baruch Hashem, we woke up in time and managed to wake the nation up, too. A number of different protest actions were taken, the biggest of them being the huge demonstration in Tel Aviv. Many people in the government found that demonstration difficult to ignore. Barak also realized that the nation didn’t support him in giving away the Golan, so he toughened his position somewhat in the negotiations.

Syria realized this and stopped the process for now. They decided it would be useless to talk when, in the end, they wouldn’t get anything anyhow. The absurdity is that all these talks were only to please Clinton, whose party needs help in the upcoming elections. Barak realizes that public opinion in Eretz Yisroel will not allow the government to give away the Golan.

Barak links Lebanon with the Golan Heights, saying that if we return the Golan, young soldiers will not be killed anymore in Lebanon.

If we make an agreement with Syria about Lebanon, it has nothing to do with the Golan Heights. Syria wants to remain in Lebanon no less than it wants the Golan Heights. Syria’s economy is based on Lebanon, and it has nothing to do with the Golan Heights.

You managed to curb Barak in respect to the Golan, but in the meantime he is returning land from the center of our country.

First of all, we have to do what we can, and Hashem helps. That’s on the spiritual plane. On the practical level, we are definitely not forgetting the fight over Yehuda and Shomron. We are in the midst of a ridiculous process that will not lead to peace. Barak is working on all fronts, and our battle must be on all fronts, too.

Do you sense any awakening on the part of the people about Barak’s course of action?

There is a certain awakening. The nation sees that what they’re being sold as “peace” and “a new Middle East” is fraud. You would have to be lacking in faith and cynical not to believe that everything going on in the country these past few weeks are acts of G-d meant to halt the dangerous process Barak’s government is trying to implement.

What are you referring to?

I consider the recent disclosures about the campaign as a sign from Above. It’s just now, as things are about to be carried out, that we see from Heaven that it doesn’t pay to harm Eretz Yisroel. As believing Jews, we know that the Jewish people received this country from the Creator on a silver platter, and certainly not in order for us to return it to our enemies. If despite this a leader attempts to undermine Eretz Yisroel, he will pay the price. Our history teaches us that a prime minister who returned land did not complete his term. It began with Begin and has continued until Netanyahu. The Jewish people deserve leadership with greater faith in its destiny, but unfortunately, we haven’t arrived there yet. We must intensify our prayers for the speedy arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu.

Do you also regard the Weitzman affair as an act of G-d? Two days before it all exploded, the president said that if the nation voted against returning the Golan in a referendum, he would resign.

It’s unpleasant for me to speak about Weitzman, but we knew his views even before that. You have to remember that he paved the way for Camp David. I began impeachment proceedings against him when he opened his mouth against the Golan in an unprecedented manner. This was before the revelations of the Weitzman-Sarusi affair. Hashem arranged things faster than we imagined. Weitzman had announced that if there would not be a majority in the referendum about the Golan, he would resign from the presidency. Now that we know about his improprieties, in the end, he will have to resign for other, less honorable reasons.

However, we cannot rely solely on these acts of G-d. I think that our role now has to be to get the nation involved in the topic of Eretz Yisroel, to get them to understand the great danger in returning any land. If we are united in this task, we will succeed.

People are talking about a “Million-Man Demonstration” in order to prevent giving Yerushalayim to Arafat. What’s happening with that?

Yes, we are discussing a few demonstrations the likes of which have never been seen before, demonstrations that would include ultra-Orthodox, Orthodox, as well as the non-religious; all will unite around a single goal. I thank Rabbi Menachem Porush who is leading the organization of this enormous demonstration.

None of us anticipated such a speedy decline, where they are already talking about giving up parts of Yerushalayim to the P.L.O.

There’s no explanation for this other than a total loss of direction. The craziest thing of all is that the “peace process” is being conducted so hastily for no apparent logical reason. The Palestinian authorities continue with their deep hatred for the Jews. In their schools, they continue to educate their children to hate the Jews and to kill them. The Palestinian media continues their incitement against the State of Israel. They do not stop their war against us in all possible ways for even a moment!

How crazy can you get? We began this ridiculous course and don’t look left or right. We don’t care what the other side does, and we try to convince ourselves that it’s rain and not spit! It’s a total loss of control and we may not allow this government to continue to exist.

How bad can things get?

As soon as you lose your way, there’s no telling what can happen next. We are talking about Yerushalayim, but they are already speaking about other matters. They have already discussed giving the Palestinians parts of the Negev. Certain settled areas will never be returned to the Palestinians such as Maale Adumim, Ariel, Gush Katif, and Gush Etzion. Instead of that, they are offering an alternative, and one of Peres’ ideas was to give them land in the south. This was mentioned in the Beilin-Abu Mazan document.

*Today, everyone’s talking about greater Jerusalem, but as we speak, Har HaBayis is being profaned by our enemies, yet no one is saying anything!

That’s not quite accurate. A demonstration of thousands of people of Zo Artzeinu took place two weeks ago, which I attended. There’s definitely an awakening about this topic. A few weeks ago there was a large demonstration on Har HaTzofim. Unfortunately, since we are fighting on a number of different fronts, it’s hard to fight them all with the same level of energy. The people are confused by this abnormal situation, but I believe we will succeed.

It’s hard to say this but it’s a fact: The Arabs today are in the position we were in 50 years ago. They are idealistic, and they do their utmost on every front. We on the other hand are tired. They speak about “peace” and don’t tell the nation the truth, fearing that the truth will ruin the concept they are trying to sell us.

The leaders of the Right have the responsibility to wake up and inspire people on all these fronts. Sometimes you succeed more, and sometimes less, but G-d willing, we will be victorious. We must remember that the truth is with us, and despite ups and downs, in the end, with G-d’s help, we will succeed.

Mr. Hendel, you served for a number of years as head of the Council of the Gaza Strip. You personally experienced the beginning of the era of the Oslo Accords. What’s happening today in Gaza?

If we would learn from the past, we wouldn’t be in a situation in which we humble ourselves before the Palestinians. What’s happening in Gaza is scandalous and shameful. The Palestinians degrade our soldiers day in and day out. Nearly every week there are altercations between the Israeli soldiers and the Palestinian soldiers on their joint rounds, and in these instances, the Palestinian soldiers have pointed their weapons against our soldiers. It’s simply frightening to see.

Every day they try to make life difficult for the Jews in Gaza, and push themselves forward another dunam and another road. The Palestinians have no intentions of peace, and they are preparing for all-out war. As soon as they feel they have nothing to lose, they will begin a war in order to get additional parts of Eretz Yisroel.

Many people will say that there goes the Right again, frightening and threatening us and not giving peace a chance.

The maps on Arafat’s office walls and in the textbooks used in their schools call all of Eretzmm Yisroel, Palestine. They have not given up on any of our land, which is why they have been stockpiling weapons in prodigious and frightening amounts, while building spacious bunkers in Gaza. Why are they building all those tunnels connecting Gaza and Egypt? Why are they always smuggling weapons from Egypt to Gaza? When I warned the chief of Central Command about this in the past, he laughed at me. Today, in his position as director of the Ministry of Security he’s not laughing anymore. He knows the bitter truth.

Is the nation moving towards the Right?

The polls and local studies show that most of the people don’t believe in this process called “peace.” I maintain that Barak won not because of the “peace” he promised, but because of the new voting system. This new system corrupts the ballot. So, for example, the Shinui party, which is led by Tommy Lapid, received 6 seats. Most of them came from the Right, which is how he always presented himself, but it’s a Leftist party.

Most of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisroel hold the position against withdrawing. This is the real reason why the government doesn’t want a referendum of the people. Barak knows that it would be hard for him to win the referendum. The fact is that after that huge demonstration, things changed. The Syrians did not send another delegation to Washington, and even Barak began to hesitate.

You entered the Knesset again two months ago. It seems as though the HaIchud HaLeumi party has no influence, and is not heard at all.

We try to do what we have to do. Naturally, it would be preferable if we had a government of the Right, where we would have greater influence. We are in contact with the Yisroel Beiteinu party, to enlarge the representation of the Right and to fight together for these fateful issues of the day.

In addition, we are planning many projects to raise consciousness here. Right now, we are working on getting a million people to visit the Golan and Yehuda-Shomron. Prior to the referendum, we have started a door-to-door campaign to have people sign a petition saying that they oppose any agreement that leads to the dismantling of settlements. The response has been great, and we hope to sign up the majority of the nation. All these activities are being done at the same time as the usual parliamentary procedures, with an emphasis on social issues.

Members of the Knesset belonging to Ichud HaLeumi recently visited Chevron. What did they see there?

If you need additional proof as to where these dangerous talks are leading, just go to Chevron. We were in the neighborhood of Tel Romeida. The Israeli army wants to erect a giant cement wall in order to close in and fortify the Jewish community, thereby placing them in a ghetto.

We visited there along with members of the Yisroel Beiteinu party. I can say that we succeeded in preventing the erection of a dangerous ghetto. The shame of it all is that the Israeli army keeps on trying to place the Jewish community in Chevron in bunkers and armored trailers, while the Palestinians do whatever they please.

I asked one of the officers what would happen when a child leaves for school or when parents go to work – would they surround them with a moveable wall?

It’s sad to see that the policy is one of passivity and avoiding reality. We lost our Jewish pride. Instead of dealing with the trouble-making Palestinians, the army is dealing with Jews and trying to hamper them. It’s too much to take.

The Chevron Accord is a classic example of what will happen throughout the country, and it all depends on us. If we want to, we can halt this dangerous process. The people must wake up from their complacency and dreams and visions of a “new Middle East.” If there would really be a “new Middle East,” like Peres is trying to sell us, I could understand it; we would live in peace and brotherhood like in Switzerland. But none of the Arabs want it.

In conclusion, one of your outstanding accomplishments is the law legalizing the Arutz Sheva broadcasting station. What’s happening with that today?

It’s currently before the Supreme Court. The Minister of Justice tried to pass another law in order to abolish the law I initiated. Three weeks ago the Minister of Justice, Yossi Beilin, said he gives up. In the meantime, I am preparing a suggestion for a new law in the eventuality that my earlier law falls through in court.

You cannot censor an entire community. I say with certainty that the Justice Department wants to close down Channel 7. We were witness to that only a few weeks ago when they raided the offices of Channel 7 in Beit Eil. I suggest to all those who tout democracy, who believe in freedom of expression, to leave this crooked communist road, in which the voice of hundreds of thousands of citizens is censored under the guise of law and order.



The absurdity is that all these talks were only to please Clinton, whose party needs help in the upcoming elections. Barak realizes that public opinion in Eretz Yisroel will not allow the government to give away the Golan.




The Jewish people deserve leadership with greater faith in its destiny, but unfortunately, we haven’t arrived there yet. We must intensify our prayers for the speedy arrival of Moshiach Tzidkeinu. 




Most of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisroel hold the position against withdrawing. This is the real reason why the government doesn’t want a referendum.


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