Israel Fighting For Its Life
By Shai Gefen

The situation in Yesha is intolerable. Dozens of Jews have been murdered by terrorist shooting, and hundreds of others have been miraculously saved. The roads are impossible and impassable, but the army does nothing. * Shai Gefen gives us a picture of what itís like in Yesha, with protests and demonstrations by the settlers under the banner: Yisroel Omedet al Nafsha. * An interview with Chaim Didovsky, founder and director of the Kol Rina Agency, which was renamed after his wife who was killed on her way to teach in Kiryat Arba.

The shooting and terrorist activity on the main junctions of Yesha have become daily fare. Most of it, however, goes unreported until there are people wounded. When there are people wounded there is a brief mention, and only if, chalila, there is a tragedy does the media cover it Ė more or less.

Thousands of shooting incidents, if not more, are aimed at cars driving along the main junctions of Yesha. When Rabbi Binyamin Kahane and his wife were killed and their five children were wounded, their car was riddled with 60 bullets. That was newsworthy. The dozens of other times this happens when miraculously nobody is killed, the media is silent.

The army prefers not to react. The army spokesman just keeps repeating, "Tzahal is taking strong action in the area..." Not by far! After the murder of the Kahane couple, all the army did was destroy the wall behind which the terrorists hid.

The settlers feel abandoned. "Theyíve abandoned security here," said the head of the Beit El council, Uri Ariel, to Beis Moshiach. "The I.D.F.ís hands are tied and they are prevented from carrying out the important mission of getting the murderers off the roads. We have an absurd situation here in which the murderers feel free on the roads, while the settlers barely travel, and if they do, itís with great fear. Terror is widespread. The roads to Beitar, and even the Jerusalem-Modiim road, have become dangerous. Even cars traveling on Highway 1, by Shaar Hagai, have stones thrown at them, and the I.D.F. hides behind its armor and runs like in Lebanon.

"The Arabs get the message and understand that they have a free hand to attack Jews, so itís no wonder that hundreds of thousands of Jews live in daily danger."

Since the murder of Rabbi Kahane and his wife, things have heated up. The settlers realize that they must do something, and they can no longer rely on the security forces.

Since last week, there have been daily marches towards Yerushalayim. Every day a different yishuv organizes a march to Yerushalayim under the banner "Yisroel Omedet al Nafsha" (Israel is fighting for its life). This is a response to those who want to get the settlers off the roads.

The feeling is that the Israeli idea of security has fallen apart completely, and that the government leadership has decided, consciously or unconsciously, to abandon the area to murderers. The leaders of the settlers say that given no other choice, they will have to defend themselves. "Itís just not possible for Jewish lives to be abandoned and put in danger," they say. "Teachers go off to teach and donít return home. Children come back with amputated feet Ė and the situation isnít getting better."

A month ago, Chaim Dubinsky lost his wife, Rina, as she was on her way to teach in Kiryat Arba. A volley of bullets rained down on the vehicle taking her to school, and she died on the spot. The murders have continued since then; Rina was not the last korban.

Chaim Dubinsky, what are your thoughts and feelings about the situation?

I think the entire country is in a state of abandonment. Wherever you go, people are afraid and prefer not to leave their houses. The malls are empty. The buses are half-empty. The whole land is the frontline.

But in Yesha there seems to be a repeat of the policy in Lebanon?

The situation in Yesha is the worst, but you canít deny whatís happening within Israeli cities. We saw what happened the other week, and two weeks ago, on Jabotinsky Street in Tel Aviv, Netanya, and Chadera. Cars explode and dozens of Jews are wounded. The fact that nobody was killed is miraculous. People have to understand that the battle is not only against those living in Yesha. We are the frontline settlers of the country. If we werenít in Yesha, the shooting on the roads would take place in Petach Tikva and Kfar Saba. The entire inland would be one big front.

Can we stop this terrible situation?

It all depends on us and the strength we display. If we continue walking backward by reacting to terror by conceding more land, chalila, the situation will get worse. We must be stubborn and show our strength. Itís a difficult battle we find ourselves in now. Itís a fateful time for the Israeli people and the future of Eretz Yisroel.

What are the steps needed to stop the horror?

First of all, we need emuna in Hashem and bitachon. We must circulate freely throughout the country because itís ours, because Hashem gave it to us. If we give in and donít travel freely, then we lost the battle. Every concession to terror proves terror is effective, and then our situation becomes that much more difficult. They have to know that they wonít succeed in getting us out of here Ė with the emuna and bitachon in Hashem that we will overcome all obstacles.

You had a tragedy in your family a month ago. Since then, other terrible tragedies have taken place which have destroyed families. How do you handle the situation?

"All is in the hands of Heaven, except fear of Heaven." I believe with perfect faith that my wife Rina (may Hashem avenge her blood!) was an atonement for the Jewish people. My wife was murdered when she was refined and pure and on her way to teach Torah to children. She died with a misas neshika, and even her head covering remained on her head.

We live in Yishuv Beit Chagai, a yishuv which was established after the terrible slaughter in Beit Hadassa in Chevron, in which three young boys were killed: Chanan, Gershon, and Yaakov, the first letters of which spell Chagai. In the wake of that terrible tragedy, we continued to build Eretz Yisroel and did not flee. This is how we educate our children to continue in the way of their mother: to live with strength and faith in Eretz Yisroel.

What do you have to say to Barak?

I have nothing to say to that man. While I was mourning for my wife, who was murdered, the prime minister didnít even find the time to call and console me, even though he served as minister of education and my wife was murdered on her way to teach.

Yet the prime minister found the time to meet with bereaved Palestinian families, when those Palestinian families lost their children on their way to murder Jews but did not succeed in carrying out their plans. The prime minister met with them, but he couldnít look at us or pick up the phone.

You have chosen to demonstrate a different way?

Yes. I took my six children, with the youngest being a year and a half, and I stood with them outside the prime ministerís office. Nobody bothered to come out to me, except for policemen, who asked me when I would be leaving.

You see the incredible thick-headedness, the cynicism of our leaders, and you tremble about whatís going on here! The Jewish people is abandoned in its land. People donít return home. The entire country has become one big arena of terror, and thereís no response, or if there is, itís minimal. This man has no moral right to be prime minister. A man who meets with the parents of bereaved Palestinians, yet canít pick up the phone to call a bereaved Jewish family?!

I say to Barak, look at how youíve made the security situation deteriorate. What happened to us as a result of your running amok for the good of the Palestinians? How much blood and smoke rises up from around the country because of your concessions at Camp David?

The Army Chief of Staff went to your house to inform you that the murderers were caught. Did you tell him what you felt?

General Mufaz came for nichum aveilim and to tell me that they were caught. I told him, "I beg you to do everything to ensure there will be no more orphans. But I know that, unfortunately, with this approach, there will be more orphans." I told him that over a month ago. When I see whatís going on these days, I knew what would happen.

Are the hands of the I.D.F. tied?

I told Mufaz, "They tell you to fight the terrorists without undermining the Oslo Accords. Thatís a very narrow framework to work in, and thereís no way you can win." I gave him a little example from our yishuv. Thereís a house across the way, from which they shoot towards the yishuv. The army brought two giant bulldozers to destroy the house, but then an order came not to destroy it. When the bulldozers turned tail and left, the shooting began again.

The general and the officers with him cried with me. I felt that they experienced what I felt. They had nothing to say. There was a thunderous silence. I would say it was a deafening silence.

In recent years youíve been running the information agency of the settlers, HaKol MeiHaShetach. You changed the name to Kol Rina. What was the reason you established the agency?

Our goal was to present precise reports. Itís no secret that unsympathetic journalists distort the reality, and by founding this agency, we do our best to bring balance, to report the positions of those loyal to Eretz Yisroel and of the religious population.

Are you successful?

In some respects weíve had good success; in some respects less. But we have definitely managed to affect the agenda of the mainstream journalists. My wife Rina helped me tremendously with this, so I saw it as her last will and testament to continue with this work and to change the name to Kol Rina.

In conclusionÖ

Those loyal to Eretz Yisroel must unite and do all they can to stop this bloody crusade in Eretz Yisroel. The Jewish nation cannot continue to tolerate this situation. In just the last three months there were hundreds of new orphans! Itís frightening when an entire leadership stands powerless in the face of terrorist gangs and continues to make concessions. Where are we? Whatís happening here?

Every Jew must cry out. We must realize we are all in the same boat, and we must not allow this situation to continue.


I believe with perfect faith that my wife Rina was an atonement for the Jewish people. My wife was murdered when she was on her way to teach Torah to children.





After the murder of the Kahane couple, all the army did was destroy the wall behind which the terrorists hid.



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