Waiting To See Which Sharon Weíll Get After The Elections
Interview by Shai Gefen

An interview with Lieutenant Colonel (Res.) Meir Indor, director of an organization that helps those devastated by terrorist attacks * He analyzes Israeli ideology which is crumbling in the face of the Intifada El-Aksa

Meir Indor was born in 1948 and achieved the rank of major general in the army reserves. He was considered an outstanding soldier while serving in the army. He served in the Rimon Special Unit and was wounded while serving in the south of the Gaza Strip. He served as an instructor and trainer in various branches of the army. In 5750 he was promoted to the rank of major general. Indor initiated many projects in the army, including a fund to train volunteers from abroad Ė Project Israel. After the first Camp David agreement, he and Yehuda Chazani, aíh, established the yishuv Atzmona in Gush Katif. He also established the Chevron Fund in the United States and then founded the organization to help victims of terror, which he runs to this day. He is considered one of the senior experts in the military and security arena.

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Four months have passed since the outbreak of the El-Aksa Intifada. Dozens have been killed and the country is under siege. What have you learned from the situation at present?

I have learned that the security strategy that developed in response to the Intifada has utterly collapsed.

It is two years now since the death of my friend, Shlomo Baum, aíh, one of the founders of Unit 101. Shlomo always maintained that this ideology would prove false. In a memorial for him, another friend of ours, Colonel (Res.) Moshe Leshem, read a paragraph from an interview that Shlomo had held with Channel 7, containing his warning about what would happen, which unfortunately came to pass.

I must tell you an interesting story that happened with Major General Meir Dagan six years ago. Dagan was part of the staff at general headquarters in the capacity of chief of army reserves at the time. I had a debate with him in which I said that I had solid intelligence information that the agreement with the Palestinians wouldnít work and that I was ready to tell it to him.

I quoted the Chazal which says, "Halacha hi bíyadua shíEisav sonei líYaakov" (It is a known law that Eisav hates Yaakov). I explained the significance of the wording of "it is known" and it is a "law." It is generally "known," but if there are times in which it looks as though thereís a change in the situation, remember Ė itís a "law."

I told him the Rebbeís position, based not on the sanctity of the land, which is what the religious Zionists base their position on, but on the Gemara brought down in halacha about gentiles who besiege border cities. Even if they come only wanting straw, you go out to them with arms so that they do not conquer the land. I asked Major General Dagan at headquarters: Why does the halacha discuss a situation in which gentiles merely ask for straw? Why doesnít it mention something more reasonable, like matters of life and death? I explained that Chazal established a law for generations that even if you think there is no problem now, the halacha says you are still forbidden to concede to them and you must go out against them even on Shabbos, so that the land isnít easily conquered.

How did he react?

He tried to wiggle out of it, but was unsuccessful. Anybody with eyes can see how realistic this halacha is today.

Two weeks ago I met the writer, Chaim Guri, and I told him about this conversation I had had with Dagan. Guri was very impressed and asked me to quickly send him the source of the halacha. After all, the halacha gives us a clear indication as to what the gentileís intentions are, even when he seemingly comes for inconsequential items like straw.

This is the first rule of security. Unfortunately, seven years have gone by since the signing of the Oslo Accords, and this halacha is more true to life than ever. The halacha guides us accurately, as none of the architects of the agreements did.

What was the basis of the failed ideology?

Something happened here the likes of which never happened anywhere else. They gave arms to a large group of people. Their premise was that these people are not our enemies. It was as though we have shared interests and a common goal. Even they realized that as soon as we have opposing concerns, itís a sure recipe for disaster.

Another thing was clear, too Ė that it is impossible to separate the two populations. At the time they said they would have joint patrols. What actually happened? It all fell apart. On these joint patrols, the Palestinians cocked their weapons at the soldiers. A soldier who said he didnít want to sit with a Palestinian who mocked him in this way was forced to do so and was threatened with jail. Do you understand? The soldier! Not the Palestinian who cocked the weapon! Joint patrols are just a symptom of the strategy that has failed.

Did you anticipate the El-Aksa uprising?

I was sure it would happen, though I didnít know when. It was obvious. I told Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer: You are making roads and walls despite the fact you know it doesnít work. You cannot divide the country. The government gave them weapons, but when they finally realized that we donít have common interests, it was clear that it would all fall apart. After giving our enemies arms, what else would you expect?

But the architects of Oslo said at the time that if they shot at us, the army would re-enter Gaza and the deal would be off?

Rabin said that at the time. I remember that Major General Rothschild, who made an appearance in America at the time, said it too. I asked him a simple question: How would the army enter? Werenít they afraid they would be shot at? How would they retrieve the weapons? I asked him these questions and he had nothing to say.

Even after the Tunnel Episode in 1997 in which 16 soldiers were killed (may Hashem avenge their blood), General Yanai said that if it happened again, the army would go in. Immediately security pundits warned that if we would try to enter and take over, many soldiers would be killed. Thatís the end of that. There was an idea that the I.D.F. could go in and take over, and that fell apart. That was the premise on which the Oslo Accords were signed.

And then?

They came up with something new, a new ideology. After the idea of re-conquering was abandoned, the idea of joint patrols failed, they found something else. Itís a new word for those who fantasize about peace: hafrada (separation) Ė they are there, and we are here.

Why isnít this feasible?

If it were possible to make a hafrada, it would have been done a long time ago. They set up walls at the tunnel road, but do you think the Arabs donít get through? They simply tear down the walls and come to work. Everybody knows hafrada is a joke.

Binyamin Ben Eliezer himself said hafrada is impossible to implement. The terrorists know that there is nothing to back up all the talk of hafrada. Could you possibly make a wall to separate between Kalkilia and Kfar Saba? Itís ridiculous. Do you think thereís any problem with going over the walls, circumventing the roadblocks, and driving via dirt roads? Why doesnít the government renew the Green Line? The real answer is because it just isnít feasible.

In the army we learned that in order to make a barrier, a wall isnít enough. You have to have the option after terrorists cross the fence to be able to chase after them before they carry out their plans, just like they did when the Jordan Valley was called "pursuit country." We donít have this option in Kalkilia, which borders Kfar Saba. Whatís to stop a terrorist who wants to cross over? Anyway, why should he cross over when he can shoot from the other side?

But you can shoot back!

It sounds funny, but take Gilo, for example. Israel hasnít dared shoot back and finish them off once and for all. You can sell this nonsense only to fools.

Doesnít the Left see whatís going on?

Unfortunately, there are people who see the topic of peace as a Messianic topic. They donít respond logically to it. Some of them are emotional dreamers, who are joined by collaborators with the enemy.

What do you suggest?

We have no choice but to keep them on a short leash, to grasp the head of the snake. The situation is not a simple one. Reality is cruel.

What do you say about Ariel Sharon, who promises "peace with security?"

I read Sharonís agreement. He says he will make a hafrada the length and the breadth of the land and will provide a solution. Iím telling you that if Sharon intends to give the Palestinians Area B and turn them into Area A, thatís very serious. It shows that he too does not understand what will happen here, and that even he, Mr. Security, has to go back to school and learn the security lesson of the halacha, "It is known that Eisav hates Yaakov." He once knew that halacha.

Is war inevitable?

I donít think we need a big war, but those who donít want a big war have to make a little war right now. If we donít do what we have to do now, weíll get something big in the end.

What do you think the military explanation is as to what has been going on here the last four months?

You donít need to be a military expert to see whatís happening here. You just have to be honest. Thereís a one-sided war going on. They send out military details, they kill and attack us, and we do nothing. We donít have military details that go to them and do anything.

There were some liquidations of senior Palestinians.

There were, but very few. They did not enter Area A. When they shoot from a range of hills, we should take over the range and put ten soldiers there. If they continue to shoot at the soldiers, we should put soldiers on another hill. If need be, capture it all. Thatís what a normal country does. You have to remember that Yehuda and Shomron were in Arab hands in the past, and we captured it because they attacked us. It didnít work otherwise, even when the Jordanians ruled. It certainly wonít work when we transfer the area to "even more righteous individuals."

To whom are we entrusting our security? I must say that my opinion of Barak was always negative, even back when he served in the army, when we worked together. He was always a good talker, not a serious person.

Whatís happening with the army? Do they not want to win?

Apparently. Since they educate the ranking officers in Tel Aviv University instead of in the beis midrash in Kfar Chabad, maybe they know how to attack but their heads are all wrong. They think: why get all riled up? Letís sign a peace treaty and everything will be alright. Thatís what some professor taught them. They derive their ideology from professors on the Left.

Itís possible that there are good people in the army, but their thinking is way off. Iíll give you an example. Itís said that when the British went to fight in the Falklands, they sang songs of hate against the Argentineans on their way over. You canít win a war singing songs of peace, but we talk about peace and sell people dreams, as though any minute now there will be peace. How can we win this war when they sing songs of peace in the background, when it all revolves around the illusion of everything being alright if we stand with Arafat on the White House lawn?

The settlers in Yesha are living in intolerable conditions. What should be done?

In the meantime, of course, weíve got to do everything we can until things calm down to protect ourselves. Itís a very difficult situation. The nation cannot remain silent. We must move Heaven and earth. Pressure must be directed towards the government. We should not have to travel abroad to buy protective vests. The army and the government must do all they can to protect its citizens. We canít back down from this demand. Everything must be done so that the government is released from all the agreements, which have shown where they have led us. We cannot rely on a government like this.

Do you rely on Ariel Sharon?

No. I support him, but Iím waiting to see which Sharon weíll get after the elections. If we get the Sharon who cleared out Yamit Ė and we havenít forgotten that Ė weíll get rid of him. I hope that we get the Sharon with Mutty Braun at his side, the Arik of the 70ís, the man who wiped out terror. If Sharon continues with this perverted peace process, heíll simply disappear like Barak. Those who try to dismantle the nation donít last. We saw what happened with Shamir, Peres, Rabin, Netanyahu, and now Barak.

I suggest to Ariel Sharon that he not try to copy his predecessors. If he attempts to unify the nation, wonderful. If he takes the path of concessions, it wonít be good for him. Whoever gave away land, fell. And Sharon, with his security record, will be in trouble if he tries the same.

How does your organization, which helps those who suffered from terrorist attacks, deal with the present situation?

We carry out this holy work by visiting the homes of the bereaved. We have male and female volunteers who deal with very difficult situations. Each family that has experienced a tragedy is devastated. People who have already suffered a tragedy like this go to visit the new victims to comfort them. They share the pain through their own bitter experience. We make memorials for those who were killed and who are simply forgotten. These were Jews who died al kiddush Hashem. The government ignores it all. No government representatives come to visit. Itís just appalling.

Have you developed any special plans in recent months?

Certainly. We have a lot of work to do. We have additional workers to help these families. Our hands are full and whoever can help is urged to do so. On the one hand we must wrestle with national issues, demand security and the cessation of concessions, and on the other hand we must personally assist these families. Wounded souls need to heal. We try our best.

Have you tried meeting with the prime minister?

We tried, but he doesnít want to meet with us. He meets with others, though, with those who support his position, but not with us. Statistically, a Jew is killed every 60 hours. There are hundreds of orphans and bereaved parents. Barak meets with Yitzchok Frankel, who sits in a tent with the parents of terrorists. With us, with bereaved families, parents and siblings, he isnít willing to meet.

In conclusionÖ

The Jewish nation always had elements working against us, whether for money or other reasons. I donít think there are overnight solutions. I donít believe in political solutions. Itís not only the government who decides everything. People must wake up. If we are strong and take hard-line positions, the government will look different.

It all begins with education. Was I born this way? I was educated this way. All of us, including the believing public, have to wake up. To our surprise we see that itís Yerushalayim which has revealed a warm spot in the hearts of many. We saw the huge rally for the Temple Mount. Even the writer A.B. Yehoshua, leader of the extreme Left, speaks against the right of return Ė thatís progress, too.

There is a sort of awakening and this is expressed in Barakís dismal ratings in the polls. Those on the Left have also been thinking things over, but what must actually happen, and I repeat this again and again, is this: We must take the guns back. We must dismantle their radio stations. If we donít do this, weíll have a big war. A smaller confrontation is better than all-out war under difficult conditions. Who knows how that will turn out? We must guard the spirit of faith and, with G-dís help, we will be victorious.


If we get the Sharon who cleared out Yamit Ė and we havenít forgotten that Ė weíll get rid of him. I hope that we get the Sharon with Mutty Braun at his side, the Arik of the 70ís, the man who wiped out terror.





The Palestinians cocked their weapons at the soldiers. A soldier who said he didnít want to sit with a Palestinian who mocked him in this way was forced to do so and was threatened with jail.


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