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Not To Sit Quiet
Interview with Mr. Michoel Mattar, one of the founders of “Women in Green”
By Shai Gefen


Mr. Michoel Mattar, please tell us about your past.

I used to live in the U.S. I studied at a number of universities there and attained a degree in law. When I moved to Eretz Yisroel in ‘76, I did not continue practicing law; I got involved in building up the country. I built homes in Efrat, my own home in Yemin Moshe in Yerushalayim, Har Nof, etc. I brought all my children to Eretz Yisroel with me. Along with my wife, I established an organization called Nashim L’maan Atid Yisroel (Women for the Future of Israel), which we call Women in Green.

We came to Eretz Yisroel because we believe in what Hashem said in the Torah that the land is ours. The whole family believes this. When we came here, we discovered people who don’t know what it means to be Jewish, and we saw leaders who have no connection with the Jewish people. That is why we found it necessary to establish this organization.

When did you found the organization?

When Rabin went to the Oslo Accords in ‘93, we decided we had to do something. We were shocked that there are Jews who willingly and happily transgress the laws of the Torah by giving away parts of the Holy Land. Even Ben-Gurion at the Zionist convention of 1939 said that no one has the right to give away parts of Eretz Yisroel.

For the last seven years, our organization has worked on educating the public about the great danger in withdrawing from our land. Women in Green has already held hundreds of protests and is in the forefront in fighting for Eretz Yisroel.

How do you sum up the work of your organization?

We work on all fronts — whether by means of explanation or protest, parlor meetings or workshops — in order to explain our position. We have classes on the radio in Hebrew and English, and my daughter-in-law, Nadia Mattar, who runs the organization, broadcasts an hour-long program every week on Arutz Sheva. My wife teaches a class in English on the radio. We run ads in the English and Hebrew newspapers. Lately we have been paying to run caricatures in the Israeli papers as a means of advertising the absurdity of the “peace process.” So for example, we had a cartoon of Assad holding the Golan in his hand and shooting at Barak and Dovid Levy, who are running for their lives, with a caption that reads: “Everything could have been wonderful if only they didn’t lie to me.”

A few years ago, we led the fight on the hill near Efrat, when the Rabin government wanted to give it away to the Arabs. Thanks to our stubborn battle it remained ours, and later on they built a new community on that very hill.

What is unique about Women in Green?

Women in Green is an organization demonstrating total commitment to the struggle without compromise. There is a phenomenon here in Eretz Yisroel that astonishes me as an American. People here are afraid to say what’s on their mind. They are unwilling to fight for what they believe in, which is really a shame.

Women in Green has demonstrated just what a committed struggle is all about. Members of the organization have been arrested dozens of times, have gone to court countless times, but they don’t give up. There are still ongoing court cases against the movement of Women in Green.

We don’t miss an opportunity to express our displeasure with what is going on here. How can Jews rip apart Eretz Yisroel while we sit quietly as though nothing is going on? At every area of contention there are members of the movement on the scene, whether to force the opening of a “secure travel zone,” resisting giving back other territories, the battle for Yerushalayim, demonstrating for the Temple Mount, etc.

Last week when Barak gave the Palestinians the access road that leads to Yishuv Negahot, so that now people will have to rely on “favors” by terrorists, activists of Women in Green went to the yishuv in order to encourage the settlers and to protest this catastrophic move.

We held our annual dinner on Purim. There were greetings and blessings from Knesset member Rabbi Meir Porush, Rabbi Yitzchok Levy, Mr. Ariel Sharon, Mr. Silvan Shalom, and others. They all praised the organization working on behalf of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisroel.

How do you explain the utter silence of the Israeli Right in the face of Barak’s continuing withdrawing?

I say the following with great sorrow: People who believe in Eretz Yisroel and who have fought on its behalf in the past, today are afraid to openly express their views and to fight for what they believe. The Left has instilled fear and confusion and has planted despair among the Right. I include the Lubavitcher Chassidim, who we used to hear more from in the past.

I turn to you Lubavitchers as a soul friend, since we have fought side by side for years. This is a fateful moment for Eretz Yisroel. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, a giant of giants, the gadol ha’dor, understood the significance of withdrawal far better than the rest of us, and he expressed his views. Lubavitcher Chassidim must take part in this battle, a battle that has nothing to do with politics; it is a battle for the spirit of Eretz Yisroel. Will we be able to continue living here in the near future? Will Eretz Yisroel remain ours?

What are we waiting for? In the Torah it says that we are a holy nation and we were given a holy land, so we have no right to sit quiet.

What is your reaction to the fact that Barak has given back 6.1% of the territories of Yehuda and Shomron?

Unfortunately, Ehud Barak is a Jew who doesn’t believe in Torah values and who does things in opposition to Jewish morality and even common sense. No matter how you look at Arafat, he is a murderer. His men murdered children in Maalot, and hundreds of Jews have been butchered by his direct order. This is the man Barak is collaborating with!

My argument is not with Arafat or this government, which was established in order to continue the policy of withdrawing. What hurts me most is Jews who believe in G-d and the Torah who sit quietly and do nothing.

I repeat, in my opinion Chabad must lead the battle and do what it has to do. How can you remain quiet when every day the Arabs humiliate us and do what they please? They block traffic in Gaza, mock our Israeli soldiers, and threaten the settlers with weapons.

Is your work focused only in Eretz Yisroel?

No. We have 25 branches in the United States. There are good Jews who care about what is going on in Eretz Yisroel and who see themselves as full partners in the battle for Eretz Yisroel.

Nadia went on a lecture tour around the U.S. When we meet Jews, we tell them that we represent the majority of the Jews in Israel, who absolutely oppose these accords that endanger their future. We explain how, unfortunately and to our great shame, our leaders are weak, shortsighted individuals. These leaders cave in to any pressure from the U.S., but it certainly doesn’t reflect the opinion of the nation as a whole.

How do you explain the leaders’ continual withdrawal and capitulating despite the fact that a majority of the country opposes the “peace process”?

I think it is a problem of our own making, in that Jews who are believers enable the non-religious public to run the show. Look at what is going on today in Yerushalayim. The Temple Mount, the holiest place for the Jewish nation, the place where the Jewish people yearn to see the rebuilding of the Beis HaMikdash by Moshiach, has been given over to Arab rule!

Maybe the biggest problem is that they put the Right into power. After all, it was the Right that gave back the Sinai and Chevron, and Netanyahu who signed the Wye Accords, which they are fulfilling today.

Netanyahu was a tremendous disappointment. When he rose to power, we thought he would stop the political process. His actions defeated his government. He moved slower than Rabin and Peres, but he was going in the same direction. The problem with our leaders is that they don’t have Jewish sentiments. They operate without Torah. Without Torah, you lose your human and rational conscience. We see this on a daily basis. There is also a lot to correct in the Israeli mentality, which leans more towards Bolshevism and less towards democracy.

We have a problem in that the media is primarily under the power of the Left. They try to strangle the battle against withdrawal, and they sow despair. This is why we have begun a massive publicity campaign in the papers with paid advertisements.

But Barak still declares that Yerushalayim will always remain ours?

Proclamations are one thing and actions another. At the same time that he makes his bombastic announcements, he is in the process of dividing Yerushalayim, and the Temple Mount is not in our possession. In recent months, the entire world saw this. The destruction the Palestinians are causing is unbelievable. Barak intends on giving large portions of Yerushalayim to Arafat. The problem is that we remain quiet. We must cry out and protest and not wait until it’s too late!

Do you still think there’s a chance to stop the withdrawal?

Of course there’s a chance. We have fought many battles and won. Just recently, when Barak wanted to include Anata on the outskirts of Yerushalayim in the withdrawal he carried out at the time, upon hearing a hue and cry, Barak backed down.

While talking about the fight over Yerushalayim, I’d like to mention the huge parade we organize every year on Erev Tisha B’Av around the walls of Yerushalayim. Tens of thousands of Jews participated in the last parade, though we ran into great difficulties at first. The police didn’t want to give us a permit, so we had to appeal to the courts, which finally approved our march.

The other week you won a court case against the Organization of Reform Rabbis for Citizen’s Rights. What was that about?

It began a few months before the murder of Dov Driben (may Hashem avenge his blood) in Chavat Maon a few years ago. Those “rabbis” showed up there and spoke with the Arabs against Drebin. They were actually the ones who incited the Arabs against the Jews and a few months later, he was murdered. Women in Green publicized a scathing pronouncement against those “rabbis,” which said they were responsible for Drebin’s murder.

The “rabbis” responded with a libel suit and the district court found them innocent and fined us 30,000 shekel for not apologizing. We decided to appeal the decision before the Supreme Court, headed by Aharon Barak, who found us innocent and refused to accept the libel suit. The Supreme Court also instructed the “rabbis” to return the 30,000 shekel to us.

By the way, Aharon Barak said something interesting. He said that Israel needs an organization like Women in Green! This is despite the fact that the organization severely criticizes the Supreme Court. We describe that as “the evil angel being forced to answer amen...”

The Arabs recently declared Earth Day, and the disturbances were primarily by Israeli Arabs. What is your view about Israeli Arabs?

Unfortunately what’s going on here is almost a natural progression. You must understand that there is no vacuum in these areas. When we are tired and try to placate them, it displays weakness and the Arabs take control. People think that if you give the Arabs more and more there will be peace. We know that there won’t be peace and there will be no end to things like this, because they are interested in carrying out the Final Solution, r’l.

They thought they would give them land in Yesha and it would be quiet here. What did we see? After 400 families returned from Egyptian camps to territories under Palestinian control, one of the senior Palestinian leaders in Gaza clearly stated, “As far as we are concerned, the Palestinian people have the right to return to Yavne, Lud, and Ramle!” This was broadcast throughout the media.

They state their intentions very distinctly, and mean what they say, while we seem to have no limits. Each day we offer more sacrifices and take another step in the direction of utter dissolution. The Arabs are explicit. They have goals and are working to achieve them.

Do you think that the failure at the talks in Geneva is a good thing?

I don’t think it was a failure. It was a strategy designed to prepare the public for withdrawal from the Golan; making a show as though Israel stood strong. I’m sure they will renew negotiations.

See what’s happening in Lebanon now? Barak spoke about a unilateral withdrawal, and there were organizations that supported this and everybody was sure there would be peace and quiet. Now the assistant secretary of the Hizballa announced that there wouldnbe quiet in Israel even after Israel leaves southern Lebanon. He explained that they were fighting for the Palestinian problem, the Golan and Yerushalayim, and they would continue the battle; except now the katyushas will be within range of Chaifa and Acco. In Lebanon they have already threatened us with missiles all the way to Tel Aviv. Whoever wants additional proof that withdrawals and capitulations are no recipe for peace but, ch’v, for a terrible war, can see this in the most recent negotiations. The winds of war are blowing from just those places where we were going to capitulate, and nevertheless, the government has decided to leave Lebanon.

What do you say to people who point to American and international pressure as being insurmountable?

The United States has its own agenda. They want oil and they want quiet in the Middle East. They couldn’t care less for the future of the Jewish nation in Eretz Yisroel. The U.S. always looks out for its own interests first. We too must look out for ourselves. Therefore, if we know that this process will lead to the endangerment and destruction of six million residents here, we must say no.

Let me state clearly: a country that doesn’t look out for its own vital interests because of some pressure or another, is in deep trouble. Which victorious country in the world was ever coerced into conceding land? We are the only ones in the world who take strategic territory and hand it over to our enemies. We are the ones who established the Palestinian terrorist army, which today is a mighty army of soldiers armed with sophisticated weapons. The very weapons we gave them could, ch’v, be used against us! We are about to offer our water sources to the Syrians. In short, total chaos. Who ever heard of such a thing?

I want to add something. We in Israel have always relied on the U.S. and see them as our supporter. Yes, today the U.S. is a world power, but who will guarantee that this will continue? Can we count on it? We know that chesed l’umim chatas (the kindness of the nations is a sin)! What we do know is that the Jewish people, the Torah, and Hashem are eternal. We will only be successful if we act according to the Torah’s dictates.

The Arabs do not respect us for giving them land. On the contrary, the more we give them, the more they want and the greater their chutzpa. They spit at our faces and humiliate us. They despise the very ones who give them land. Whoever thinks they respect this and see it as an overture to peace is gravely mistaken.

As someone who moved here from the U.S. and sees what’s going on here, aren’t you broken?

Despite what’s going on here, I strongly believe that this land is ours. It is an eternal land for the eternal people. I certainly don’t regret moving here, but if you look back on our history, it was always a minority of the people who kept the faith. It was always the minority who fought on behalf of the Jewish people until we were finally saved.

The Jewish people have faced difficulties many times before. “In every generation they arise to destroy us,” but as the Hagada continues, “Hashem rescues us from their hands.” Although only a minority is waging the battle, I have no doubt that in the end we will be victorious.

Why is your organization called Women in Green, rather than Men, who are typically the ones who wage war?  

As you know, the Exodus from Egypt came about in the merit of the righteous women, and in every generation there were women in whose merit the Jewish people were saved. The daughters of Tz’lafchad loved Eretz Yisroel and wanted a share of it, and all the Jewish women in the desert loved Eretz Yisroel and merited to enter it, unlike the men.

We see that today, erev ha’Geula, in a time of such concealment and danger, victory will come about through the women who insist on rescuing Eretz Yisroel and who refuse to compromise even when the situation seems hopeless. In the merit of these women, Moshiach will come.

I am sure that if we heard the Rebbe speak today, the situation wouldn’t be what it is. We must be strong and overcome all obstacles, and act on our beliefs without fear. If our voices are heard, I am sure we will succeed. At a time like this, it is Chabad who can breathe life into us and provide the missing dimension – the fire and faith in the battle to save Eretz Yisroel, with Hashem’s help.


No matter how you look at Arafat, he is a murderer. His men murdered children in Maalot, and hundreds of Jews have been butchered by his direct order. This is the man Barak is collaborating with!





The Left has instilled fear and confusion and has planted despair among the Right. I include the Lubavitcher Chassidim, who we used to hear more from in the past.




My argument is not with Arafat or this government, which was established in order to continue the policy of withdrawing. What hurts me most is Jews who believe in G-d and the Torah who sit quietly and do nothing.


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