Published in The Kansas City Jewish Chronicle
I am an Israeli, who practices law in Kansas City. In June, I visited my family in Israel and I was surprised to see a country in an economic boom on one side, but with emotional despair, fear and helplessness on the other.
So many people told me they were afraid of the “peace process” and what the future would hold for their physical safety. During my stay, newspapers conducted surveys which confirmed this fear. When I probed for the reasons for this fear, the Israelis mentioned the following:
- Mistrust in the Rabin government’s assurances that a united Jerusalem would stay forever with Israel. They point to the Peres letter to the foreign minister of Norway that was given to Arafat, reassuring the PLO that the existing Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem would be allowed to function and should be encouraged to evolve. One newspaper report revealed that there are still 600 secret letters between the Rabin government and Arafat. No- body knows what was secretly promised.
- Distrust of Arafat, the PLO leader. Many still see him as a terrorist that did not reform. They point to his statements concerning Jerusalem as the future capital of “Palestine” and his call for “Jihad” to free Jerusalem as reflecting his true intentions. His actions just last week in bringing with him to Gaza the two masterminds of the “Maalot Massacre” in which 22 young Israeli students were murdered by the PLO will just reinforce this mistrust.
- Most Israelis were happy to get rid of Gaza, but thought that in the process they would not have to see Palestinian Arabs from Gaza working among them. But the Rabin government still allows 20,000 to 50,000 Palestinian Gazans to work inside Israel, scaring Israelis with potential terrorist act. Furthermore, Having thousands of former terrorists wearing Palestinian police uniforms and equipped with weapons is seen here as a ticking time bomb, ready to explode against Israel. This week Palestinian police at the Gaza border shooting at Israeli soldiers reinforced this fear.
When I asked why the Israelis didn’t go to the streets and demonstrate, they said that they feel it would be useless because the government, which has a solid 61 –seat majority in the Parliament will close their ears and not care. They believe only a new election will stop the process. So they sit and wait, wishing that Rabin would wake up and also wishing the American Jews would stop being a rubber stamp of the Israeli government policies and talk loud about their doubts and fears.
The explosion of building housing Jewish groups in Argentina this week shows that a perceived weak Israeli government endangers every Jewish community in the world. As Jews, we have the same destiny. So please, speak up!