Ahead of Passover, Hebron Showdown Reminds Israel of Freedom

The Machpela House in Hebron has turned into a national event that is stirring souls, because symbolizes the dichotomy between Ehud Barak and his ilk, and between those for whom the words of the Haggadah are a binding guide for life.

I couldn't believe my eyes. "The IDF fears the Machpela House in Hebron will turn into a site of pilgrimage." What is there to fear? For what reason did the Jews establish a state if not to allow, among other components of sovereignty and independence, a pilgrimage on the Passover holiday to Hebron, the city of our forefathers, with the Jewish army protecting the welfare of the pilgrims?

Another fear, no less symptomatic: "In the IDF, there are fears that the house will turn into a symbol." Here once again is the spirit of the IDF on the festival of freedom 5772.

The head of the land section in the legal department of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, Major Kobi Avtzan, wrote to those who bought the Machpela House in Hebron that the decision to evacuate the house was "based on considerations of 'public order.'" And if "public order" was not enough for him, Avtzan added, "It is illegal to take the law into your own hands in all matters related to seizing land." Let us make clear what Avtzan is saying: Without a permit from the Civil Administration in the territories, you may not exercise your ownership of land. But does this regulation also apply to Arabs?

Instead of the Likud government's policy being that Israeli Civil Administration officers must aid the redemption of land and property in Judea and Samaria, as has been the policy throughout the entire history of Zionism, the "right-wing" government is taking advantage of the aforementioned discriminatory regulation, and preventing Jews from exercising their ownership of property.

And what about other rights, such as property rights? Defense Minister Ehud Barak and some senior commanders seem to have forgotten that the Israel Defense Forces is also the arm of the Jewish people, tasked with fulfilling our nation's historic rights in the heart of our homeland, while certainly following the law as well as its own moral imperative in the heart of the city of our forefathers.

Our hold on the Land of Israel has depended, for more than a hundred years, on struggles that do not even begin to compare with mere fears of "disruption of public order." And if the Palestinians try to disrupt public order because of the purchase of the Machpela House, the security forces must be there to prevent them from doing so. So simple, so elementary.

Something very basic has gone wrong in the way the senior political echelons identify and think. This error has been projected down to Major Avtzan. It has caused a lack of faith in the justice of our path, and it has led to low motivation amongst our defense officials. We have experienced the results of this continued failure in, among other places, the flight from Lebanon in 2000, the blood-soaked events called the Second Intifada - which lasted until Barak was replaced and his successors broke the yoke of terror - and in the fiasco of the Second Lebanon War. Yes, all these events were the result of the commander's spirit. And in this man's hands, which were even willing to hand over the Temple Mount to Yassir Arafat, Netanyahu has entrusted the campaign against Iran.

Barak exploited the IDF and the police for a political goal, and surprised and shook the right. But even this latest extreme trick will not bring the left back to him. He has lost the trust of the left and he has spat in the face of the Likud, which now understands that this man lacks morals and restraints, and that it must prevent Netanyahu from guaranteeing him a place on the party's Knesset list.

"In every generation," we will read tomorrow night in the Passover Haggadah, "every person must see themselves as if they had left Egypt." For this vision Jews have carried throughout all the generations the yearning for personal and national freedom. It is for good reason that the Machpela House in Hebron has turned into a national event that is stirring souls. It symbolizes the dichotomy between Barak and his ilk, for whom the messages of the Haggadah are just a mixture of words without any commitment, murmured - if at all - just as lip service, and between those for whom these words are a binding guide for national and personal life.