My answer, many times over is, how can you not bring children to Hebron? In all seriousness, wouldn’t it be safer for the settlers to treat Hebron like Shechem? You never had people living in Shechem, endangering their children. There were just students who came in to study there at the holy site. Why endanger Jewish children just to make a political point, when you could work and study in Hevron, and not subject your children to walk the streets where Arab terrorists tread?
Being that this question was seriously asked, I think it deserves a very serious answer. Let’s start from the end: not subjecting my children to walking the streets where Arab terrorists tread. OK – not in Hebron, but where? Last week a terrorist exploded in Dimona. Only a miracle and a very quick policeman prevented the second terrorist from exploding too. – Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Beer Sheva, Hadera, Afula – where no – where in the State of Israel can a Jew walk ‘safely,’ without being targeted by terrorists? I am unfamiliar with such a place. Wherever we go, we are in their sights.
So, there are then two possible solutions: not to live in Israel, which I do not view as an option, or to live normally and naturally in our homeland, in our cities, in our homes. Hebron is the first Jewish home, the first Jewish city in Israel. What could be more natural for a Jew than to live in Hebron?!
Now let me return to the second point, about ‘making a political point.’ I am not, nor or are any of the other Jews living in Hebron, to the best of my knowledge, making a ‘political point,’ as such. I live in Hebron, following in the footsteps of thousands and tens of thousands of Jews who lived in Hebron throughout the generations. I live in Israel, not for political reasons, rather for religious reasons. A Jew is commanded to live in Eretz Yisrael. This is where G-d wants us to live – He created us, the Jewish people, to live in our land, in Eretz Yisrael. He didn’t limit us – live only where there are lots of other Jews. When Abraham wandered the Land he was all by himself. When he bought Ma’arat HaMachpela there weren’t too many others like him in the neighborhood. Yet that didn’t prevent him from living here, or from purchasing the Caves of Machpela for the Jewish People for eternity. Jews are commanded to live all over Israel, even….. Tel Aviv. But Tel Aviv isn’t mentioned in the Bible. Hebron is, numerous times. It is called by our sages, one of the four holy cities in Eretz Yisrael. This has nothing to do with politics – it has to do with Torah. And almost the last point – comparing Shechem to Hebron – treating Hebron like Shechem.
There was an international agreement about Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem. Arafat signed it. The United States guaranteed it. But the above photos show what happened to Joseph’s Tomb. BECAUSE Jews DID NOT live there. Had Jews lived in Shechem I have no doubt that just as we have access to Ma’arat HaMachpela, so too would we have access to this holy site.
For 700 hundred years this is the way it was for Jews in Hebron. They could pray at the 7th step, outside Ma’arat HaMachpela, the 2nd holiest site to Jews in all the world. And today?
Hundreds of thousands visit Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela annually. Only because there are Jews living in Hebron. The Arabs tell us straight out: Should they ever, G-d forbid, control this site, we will not be able to worship here. So, what do we choose – this photo or one of the above? And the last point: Children. The question is focussed on children: how can you bring children to Hebron? My answer, many times over is, how can you not bring children to Hebron? You know, there are problems with kids all over the world. But in Hebron, we don’t have problems with drugs, prostitution, and other such epidemics. Our children, when they finish their military service, don’t travel to India or Thailand searching for their guru, because their guru is in their backyard – they pray there every day and every week – Avraham, Yitzhak, Ya’akov, Sarah, Rivka, and Leah – at Ma’arat HaMachpela. We too have problems with youth, who doesn’t. But our kids don’t live for a ‘bigger house’ or a ‘bigger car.’ They live ideals, they grow up on ideals, and they escort these ideals into the future. Our kids continue living in Hebron, or in other communities in Judea and Samaria. Some, the really dedicated ones, make their way to Ramat Gan and Tel Aviv, to bring some of the idealism of Hebron to the Big City, where idealism is usually translated into how many vacations have people taken outside Israel. These kids, the ones from Hebron, from Gush Katif, from Yehuda and Shomron, these kids are the future leadership of the Jewish people in Israel. They live faith, they have nerves of steel, and they won’t let the White House, or anyone else bully them into betraying their beliefs. Watch and see. They are our future. Is is dangerous? Perhaps. More dangerous than elsewhere? I don’t know. But I do know that if we don’t live our ideals, if we abandon our homeland, our cities, there is no such thing as a vacuum. And those who fill the vacuum we leave have no intentions of stopping in Hebron, or Beit El or Elon Moreh. They too have ideals, which they hope will lead them to Haifa, Tel Aviv and Beer Sheva. If we continue living where we are today, that won’t happen. So, briefly, that’s why we live in Hebron, and refuse to treat this holy city as was Shechem. We prefer our presence at Ma’arat HaMachpela to the kinds of pictures of Arabs dancing on the ruins of Kever Yosef. And above and beyond that, we really truely love Hebron. We will never abandon our Saba and Savta, our Grandma and Grandpa, here in Hebron