By David Wilder
Ariel Sharon is dying. He had many positions, and many titles. I will remember him as a monster.
When elected to the office of prime minister in March of 2001, the Second Intifada, or what we call the Oslo War, was well under way. Terror attacks, shootings, and the like had begun. In Hebron, Arab
terrorists had taken positions on the hills surrounding the Jewish neighborhoods and were shooting at us like ducks in a pond. Great for target practice, but not when the targets are men, women, and children, in their homes, cars, or just plain walking down the street.
Sharon could have stopped it. He didn’t. It continued for almost a year and a half, here in Hebron. Only after the Passover Massacre in Netanya and the killing of five-year-old Danielle Shefi at Adura, just outside of Hebron, did he finally put an end to the nightmare. He was prime minister when most of the more than 1,500 Israelis were murdered during that war. He could have stopped it. He didn’t.
But that was just the beginning.
The expulsion from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron, abandoning the southern tip of Israel to Hamas, brought over 13,000 rockets into Israel, into Ashkelon, Ashdod, and Tel Aviv. To this very day.
Actually, Menachem Begin set the precedent, with Ariel Sharon as his right-hand man, implementing the expulsions from Sinai. There Sharon learned that it is possible to forcibly remove Jews from their homes, destroy Jewish communities, and abandon land to our enemy.
It is written about Omri, an evil king: “‘Why did Omri, Ahab’s father, receive the kingdom? For adding one city to Israel’ (Sanhedrin 102b). Go and learn the strength of the mitzvah of building a settlement in Eretz Yisrael, until even though it is said about him, ‘And Omri did evil in the sight of the L‑rd and more than all of those before him’—despite this he was awarded the kingdom because, in the future, he was to build one city in Israel” (Maharsha).
An evil man was granted the kingdom in order to allow him to add a city to Israel, to buy land and make it a part of the state. What, then, is the punishment of people who remove cities from Israel, abandoning the land, expelling the people, endangering the population?
What happened to them? Begin, the hero of Jewish underground, the leader who destroyed the Iraqi nuclear threat, secluded himself for years following his resignation as prime minister, unseen until his dying day. Rabin was assassinated. Olmert, one of the primary initiators of the Gush Katif catastrophe, has undergone numerous trials on charges of corruption, facing disgrace. Katzav, who as president refused to oppose the Gush Katif expulsion, was imprisoned following conviction for rape—he went from the president’s mansion to a jail cell. Ariel Sharon has been suffering the worst kind of hell, neither here nor there, not dead, not alive, for the past eight years. Some 8,600 people were expelled from the Gush, a year for every 1,000 people. And one can only imagine what he will face when trying to enter the gates of heaven.
It is written that there is a “place” somewhere between this world and the next, called in Hebrew “Kaf HaKelah.” This is a kind of nether-land—not here, not there. It is written that here, souls who have so greatly sinned in this world float around, not being in this world or the next, a kind of horrible limbo. Usually, for such deserving souls, this aspect of punishment happens following a person’s death. In Sharon’s case, it began before then.
There is a story, told now for years, about how a famous rabbi cursed Ariel Sharon, saying he should receive a blow on his head. People approached the rabbi and expressed their opposition to this curse. So, the rabbi then blessed Sharon, saying, “He should live a long life.”
It seems that both the “curse” and the “blessing” were achieved.
So what is the lesson for the future? This is what I ask the present prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, as he seems to be negotiating away our land, Eretz Yisrael. Be it Hebron or Shilo, Gitit in the Jordan Valley, or the Arab villages of the Mishulash—on the eastern Sharon plain, bordering Samaria—this is all our land. It is clear that, at present, there are at least two parallel sets of discussions going on: those led by Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and those being led by Netanyahu himself, seemingly with Abbas, a.k.a. Abu Mazen. The U.S. is pushing, but Israel doesn’t necessarily have to budge. That’s up to us; it is up to our prime minister, foreign minister (who today came out publicly in favor of an agreement), defense minister, and the others.
What will be in store for them, what will be their fate, should they choose to walk in the footsteps of Ariel Sharon? It is difficult to fathom their blindness, how and why they reach such depths of absurdity—to even speak of such concessions, of such abandonment, of such expulsions, again.
One thing is very clear: Secretary of State John Kerry, representing the United States, is pushing very hard, harder than any of his predecessors in recent history. We can only imagine the types of pressure he is applying on Netanyahu.
I can only say: Bibi beware. Don’t fall into the potholes left to you by Sharon. And to the others, who can join him, or leave him, can support him or bring him down, your fate, too, is hanging in the balance. v