Soldiers detain a Palestinian teenager in Hebron, April 2010
Soldiers detain a Palestinian teenager in Hebron, April 2010 Photo by Ma'an
Text size

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar should recite the appropriate blessing over his new initiative.

"Every student should visit the city of the patriarchs to become familiar with the roots from which it all began," he declared, in the spirit of his rabbi and teacher, Ariel Sharon.

If only someone could clear the darkness from the eyes of that great master, that he might be blessed in seeing the realization of his spiritual legacy - the legacy of a muscle-bound Judaism! And the city of Hebron rejoiced yesterday over the great boon the minister has given its residents and leaders.

We, too, wish to join in the blessings and thanks. The energetic minister does well to send Israel's schoolchildren to every contentious site in which Arabs are dispossessed and thrown into the street. The experience gained by Sa'ar when he joined forces with the Elad organization in East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood will put him in good stead in his joint venture with the Rabbi Levingers and the Baruch Marzels of Hebron.

As our contribution to this educational effort, we recommend that the tours of Hebron be conducted in the framework of Bible classes. That, in our view, is the correct framework for them. Let students throughout the land know the wellspring from which our brothers the oppressors and torturers draw their effrontery and their spirit of strife.

We're all in favor; for everyone who visits this terrible place will learn an important lesson about a famed ancient city - not Hebron perhaps, but Sodom. That is the accursed city God destroyed completely when not even 10 righteous men could be found in it. Modern-day Hebron is what Sodom was then: Anyone who visits that city and learns about the lives and fate of its Palestinian residents will be beside himself with shame and horror.

Our lot is not with the settlers of that place, and neither will the lot of our children and grandchildren be: There's a limit. If the entire occupation is a revolting spectacle, the regime in Hebron is its essence, its crowning jewel.

An anonymous committee calling itself the National Parents Committee also welcomed the minister's decision, voicing concern only about the safety of the touring children. Don't worry: A lesson is a lesson, an experience is an experience, and life experience is a value in and of itself. In Sodom, too, wayfarers did not always emerge unscathed.

If Hebron is the city of the patriarchs, and yet it looks and sounds the way it does, it's no wonder we sometimes entertain ourselves with thoughts of becoming orphans. Our Judaism ceased to dwell here long ago.