Only We Had Listened To The Rebbe
with former Director of the Office of the Prime Minister, Yossi
Ben-Aharon, an expert on Syria, appointed by the Shamir government
to lead the talks with Syria at the conference in Madrid.
months have passed since Barak announced the opening of
negotiations with Syria. Again there is talk of returning the
Golan to the Syrians. What is your opinion of all this?
cannot define the situation better than it is described in the
resolutions the Arab foreign ministers accepted when they convened
in Lebanon under the auspices of the Arab League. The purpose of
the convention was to express solidarity with Lebanon in the wake
of I.D.F. action taken there after the repeated attacks on our
prevailed in forcing its opinion on the other foreign ministers
gathered there by showing that it must continue to use southern
Lebanon and the Hizballah as leverage in order to force us to
agree to solve the problem in Lebanon by withdrawing from the
Golan Heights. Or perhaps we could be pressured into a more
comprehensive accord, as a result of which we would leave both the
Golan Heights and southern Lebanon, in exchange for which we would
receive a worthless piece of paper.
foreign ministers of the Arab League made declarations the likes
of which we haven’t heard in recent years. Is this Syria’s
All the pundits claim that Syria is working to get Israel to
withdraw from the Golan Heights before withdrawing from Lebanon,
and they say that Syria will not allow any other solution.
son, Bashar, is quoted as saying that Barak is too weak to achieve
peace. Should we find this encouraging?
a well-known tactic in the Arab world, which sadly enough, we do
not understand. The buyer continuously attacks the seller until he
achieves what he wants in the negotiations, just like one does at
the fish market. This is the Middle East market.
we don’t know how to play their game, and I see how the prime
minister submits to them without getting anything in exchange. The
prime minister’s office even preferred not to publicize what the
Syrian Foreign Minister A-Sharreh said when he appeared before a
group of Arab writers in Damascus.
did he say?
appeared before a group of journalists in Damascus and made some
grave statements showing where Syria is headed. A-Sharreh heaped
calumny on Eretz Yisroel. He explained that Syria is firm in its
commitment to oppose Israel. However, since Israel has
“priorities,” therefore, at this stage, as he put it, we
[Syria] have to shift the opposition to other fronts, such as the
economic, social, and religious arenas.
answer to a question from one of the journalists at this meeting,
as to the platform of the ruling Baath party, A-Sharreh said
explicitly that he was loyal to the party’s platform, which
includes a strategy of “conquest in stages,” the first step of
which is to return Israel to the lines of June 4th 1967. He also
said that he is aware that he cannot destroy Israel militarily at
this point, because of its American weapons as well as its nuclear
arsenal. However, he will proceed with the strategy of “conquest
in stages” towards the destruction of Israel until all of
“Palestine” is liberated.
what the Israeli government is hiding from the public so too many
questions will not be asked, so that its talk of “peace” will
Assad at all interested in accepting the Golan in exchange for a
process designated as “Peace?” As an expert on Syrian
intrigues, what do you think?
a major question. Assad wants certain things. He wants the entire
Golan Heights. He wants us to leave Lebanon in exchange for
something he can present as not being a compromise for Syria, or a
concession in regard to any of its principles. He also wants
assurance that his country will not be invaded by Israel,
economically, socially, or by tourists; and that the Israeli
ambassador will be placed in some forsaken part of the country. I
think that if he gets what he wants, if all this will be part of
his so- called “concessions,” he might well agree to Barak’s
they also discuss Syrian concessions about Chermon, so that
Israeli soldiers can keep a lookout from there?
Minister A-Sharreh stated explicitly that Syria would not agree to
any Israeli presence in the “early warning zone,” whether
overt or under cover, on Mt. Chermon. A-Sharreh denied everything
promised to Netanyahu, and they have already announced that they
will not accept any Israeli involvement in anything having to do
with the makeup of the Syrian army.
also went back on their agreement to demilitarize and said that if
there would be a demilitarization, it would have to be on both
sides of the border. In other words, we would have to strip
ourselves of the ability to defend ourselves, all the way until
Teveria and Tzfat – never mind the fact that the Syrians will be
on the banks of the Kineret or within ten meters of it.
agrees to these conditions has to have his head examined, since
this involves not only a total capitulation and withdrawal, it
signals the position of a beaten nation with a morally bankrupt
led the negotiations with the Syrians at the conference in Madrid.
At that time, were the negotiations handled any better?
happened then and what is happening today are worlds apart. At
that time, we did not agree to discuss borders until they ceased
talking about “conquest in stages” and until they stopped
educating their schoolchildren to hate Jews and Eretz Yisroel.
mention hate for the Jewish people. Syrian propaganda is saturated
with anti-Semitism. Do you find it reminiscent of Nazi
opinion it is even worse than the Nazis. To the best of my
knowledge, even in Nazi Germany they didn’t teach hatred for
Jews in such a comprehensive manner as they do in Syria. Even the
third or fourth grade math books in Syria teach hatred for Israel.
The following question appears there: If there was a Jewish
division of soldiers and you succeeded in killing seven of the
seventeen men, how many would remain? Even the Nazi-run schools
did not teach math to a child in third grade with examples of
have monitored Syrian anti-Semitism a great deal. What can you
tell us about it?
I have kept up on it a great deal. We had, on our part, an
intelligence apparatus, which among other things, acquired all
Syrian textbooks from first through twelfth grades. What we
discovered was frightening. Hatred for Jews is woven throughout
their books, in all subjects and at all age levels. Jews are
presented as a corrupt nation, and they state it is a sacred duty
to purify Palestine of a Jewish presence.
conference in Madrid, I presented their school books to them in
the original Arabic, and asked them, “Is this what you mean when
you ask for peace?” I’d like to add that the Syrian Defense
Minister, Mustafa Tzalas, published a book called Matzos Tziyon,
in which he relates the entire blood libel that took place in
Syria 160 years ago. It claims to prove the story that back then
Jews actually killed a Christian for his blood. At the beginning
of the book it shows a picture of how two Jews are slaughtering a
Christian, with his blood dripping into a pot. I showed this book
to the Syrians as well, and asked them whether they are calling
for peace while a book like that is sold in Syrian bookstores.
the Israeli government know about this?
Prime Ministers, Rabin, Peres, and Netanyahu knew about it, but
ignored what was going on in Syria, as though to say Syria loves
Jews and has no anti-Semitism or hatred for us.
the Syrians depicted Rabin himself and other heads of state with
Nazi symbols. I don’t know what’s happening to us, but I have
no explanation for how our leaders’ eyes are blinded. They seem
to have lost their minds.
weeks ago, Barak said that Shamir also agreed to withdraw from the
that four prime ministers opened the door to withdrawal from the
Golan in one form or another. That’s all. Shamir never agreed to
withdraw from the Golan, and it’s a shame that a man like Barak
is attempting to ride the coattails of men far better than him.
do you explain the despondency within the nation? There’s a
sense of hopelessness here.
to people and circulate in the streets of our country. The wisest
of all are the simple people, who say, ‘How did we fall to such
a state?’ There’s a very bad feeling among the people I am
meeting. This nation has endured so much. Enough blood has been
spilled al kiddush Hashem, as our young men fell defending
Eretz Yisroel and the Jewish people. We must cry out to Heaven
about what’s going on here. Why don’t they listen to what the
people have to say?!
voted for Barak, a man with a military and security background who
seemed to know who he would have to deal with. Now he is exposing
the Jewish people to danger regarding their very existence!
say that Assad honors treaties.
president of our country said that Assad is a brave man whose word
can be relied upon. I’m sorry to have to say it, but our
president doesn’t know what he’s talking about, and you
can’t take what he says seriously. If you examine Assad’s
history, you will see that this high praise doesn’t fit. He
broke international treaties with his neighbors numerous times. He
is not impressed by the praise heaped upon him by the Israeli
Left, including from the prime minister, who doesn’t pass up an
opportunity to laud him.
do you think of the government’s decision about withdrawing the
I.D.F. from Lebanon until July?
prime minister thinks he’s being clever about the Syrians, who
are actually using southern Lebanon as leverage to achieve their
goals. Barak is trying to turn this around and use it as a threat
against the Syrians, so that if they don’t come to an agreement,
he will take away their leverage, which is southern Lebanon, by
carrying out a unilateral withdrawal. This approach, however, is
the ultimate stupidity, because the Syrians are already prepared
with the option to continue to attack us, r’l, even if we
unilaterally withdraw from Lebanon.
people in Lebanon are already saying that a unilateral withdrawal
will be a blow to peace because it will not provide a solution for
the Palestinian refugees in Lebanon. Perhaps the Hizballah in
Lebanon will stop attacking, but they will reactivate the
Palestinian protest groups against the settlements in the north.
They will explain that war against the Israeli occupation is
legitimate as long as the Israeli government doesn’t allow the
refugees to return to their homes in Yaffo, Ramla, and Lud. This
would be exactly the same scenario as back in ‘82.
whatever Barak is trying to achieve with his threats to the
Syrians, in the guise of a decision to unilaterally leave Lebanon,
is insignificant. On the contrary, they [the Arab League] will
continue to undermine us, as demonstrated by the resolutions
adopted by the foreign ministers of the Arab League last week.
suggested a target date for leaving Lebanon, apparently based on
how much time Clinton has left as president. Are these the actual
motives that drive him to initiate these “processes”?
authoritatively say that Barak doesn’t understand how the
American government operates. He doesn’t realize that all
Clinton wants is to be able to demonstrate that he achieved
something before he concludes his term in office. As his final
achievement, Clinton would love to have Barak, Arafat, Assad,
Mubarak, and King Abdullah standing together at the White House.
He would make a great show of it and announce the end of the
controversy, and all at the expense of the State of Israel. Woe to
such an achievement. Barak thinks that the president would give
him everything in exchange for that, to the tune of tens of
billions of dollars.
the problem with accepting such sums of money?
sheer fantasy. First of all, Congress won’t quickly allot such
large sums of money. Secondly, it’s all conditional on Syria
receiving the same amount. Just imagine Israeli representatives
and the Israeli lobby petitioning Congress to give huge amounts of
money to the Syrians, who never received such sums before even
from the Russians... With his brand of politics, Barak is leading
us to a Holocaust that will threaten the Jewish presence in Eretz
Yisroel. I say this with full authority.
you work on Congress before to make sure they did not agree to
place American soldiers in the Golan as part of the peace process.
right. Among other things Clinton promised or led people to
believe was his demand that the U.S. be able to send American
troops to Chermon and other lookout points in order to ensure the
demobilization and arms limits. We explained to Congress that
sending American troops to Israel would not only not
contribute towards favorable ties between the two countries, but
would be detrimental. For if an American soldier would be murdered
by terrorists, Americans would oppose the Israelis, rather than
your opinion, is Barak simultaneously working on withdrawing from
Yerushalayim and the Golan?
afraid so. I listened closely to what Defense Minister Efraim Sneh
had to say, as well as to Minister Yossi Sarid, and unfortunately
to Knesset member Michoel Eitan of the Likud. When you put
everything together, you have to conclude that they are talking
about giving away the three villages, Torodus, Azaria, and Aram,
which cut off Yerushalayim on the east, north, and to some degree
in the south, as well.
from this, we know of the intent to implement a plan proposed by
Teddy Kolleck to divide Yerushalayim into sections, which in other
words means dividing Yerushalayim. When you look at the map, you
see that this plan creates an Arab territorial strip from the
villages surrounding Yerushalayim until the Temple Mount, from all
directions. That will leave only a corridor from the city to the
west in the direction down to Tel Aviv, and one other route that
turns east in the direction of Yericho and Yam HaMelach. Both
sides will be Palestinian-owned. If these plans are implemented, chalila,
Yerushalayim will go back to the situation it was in before the
Six Day War, a divided city.
Shlomo Ben-Ami says that “let my right hand be forsaken” does
not refer to the neighborhoods of Abu-Dis and Azaria.
He is a
professor of sociology and history, but he doesn’t understand
Jewish history, and he surely doesn’t understand Judaism.
Yerushalayim is a metropolitan area that is dependent on the
surrounding areas, and needs them to be secure. Without being
approachable from all directions, the city will revert to a state
of siege, as it was before the Six-Day War.
do you, a man of the Right, view the crumbling of the Right? Is
what Michoel Eitan said just a symptom of what’s happening to
ago resigned from the Likud, after once being a member. I recently
wrote an article in which I said that whoever betrays Eretz
Yisroel, no matter if he is from the Likud or anything else,
cannot be forgiven. Thus, I oppose a plan to put Netanyahu back
into the Likud leadership and to allow him to lead the Nationalist
decade ago, anyone who spoke about returning the Golan — not to
mention dividing Yerushalayim — was considered a far Left
extremist. How have we reached the stage we find ourselves in
over the years, the various governments have misled the public by
way of the media. They brainwash the public with the subtle
message, “It’s a painful price to pay, but it’s worth it, in
order to end a hundred year quarrel.” They say it will mean the
end of war and the dismantling of the army and real peace. The
truth of the matter is that it’s all lies. Sometimes they even
admit that things won’t really be that way, but they sell it to
the public anyway.
resolutions of the Arab foreign ministers are resolutions we are
familiar with from the ‘50s and ‘60s. It’s the same hatred,
and it shows that peace is not around the corner. Despite their
frightening talk, our leaders simply do not react.
can you tell us of your connection with the Lubavitcher Rebbe?
the merit to see him personally when I was in Washington after the
Six-Day War. Since then I had been to see him a few times. A few
of those times it was yom tov sheini shel galuyot on
Simchas Torah. I remember that after the war, the Rebbe questioned
us about the war, and he displayed an amazing expertise in
military strategy, asking us various questions as to how the war
Shamir served as prime minister, we corresponded regularly with
the Rebbe. Since I was involved in writing these letters, I had a
connection to the Rebbe.
do you think of the Rebbe’s vision concerning Eretz Yisroel?
we listened to him back then. Throughout the years, the Rebbe
always saw the situation clearly. He was 100% right about it. We
must do what is best for us, but our leadership is lacking the
backbone and the brains. If we had listened to the Rebbe, the
situation would be far better.