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June 15, 1984 - Image 41

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1984-06-15

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Friday, June 15, 1984 41

Shifra Blass' home settlement of Ophra, a Gush Emunim stronghold, is surrounded
by Arab neighbors.

members and other settlers in the
Yesha settlements. The exposure of
the Jewish terrorist underground
and the roundup of over 20 of its
members set off a frenetic series of
internal debates among them. And
there seems to be some uncertainty
as to who among Gush leaders is in
favor of what.
What is the official position that
Shifra is in charge of propagating?
The position of Yesha is that if
the crimes for which the people were
rounded up are proven to be true, we
denounce categorically the plans and
the attempts to carry them out. We do
not feel responsible for providing
legal aid for the planners of mass
"The declared position of Gush
Emunim is somewhat different," she
explained. "That position is predi-
cated on the belief that eveyone is
entitled to a legal defense. Practi-
cally speaking, none of us could raise
the money needed to pay for the
lawyers of the caliber needed for such
a defense. Without such lawyers
there is a good chance that a the ac-
cused could be railroaded.
"There are dissenting voices,
even from these two different posi-
tions," she added. "One argues, in re-
gard to the attack four years ago on
the three Arab mayors, that the vic,
tims involved were not 'innocent.' _
"These people say that the
Shabak had asked for the deportation
of the pro-PLO mayors as fomentors
of the agitated atmosphere in the ter-
ritories that had led to stepped up
stonethrowing attacks on the settlers
and on buses carrying children to and
from school.
"As a body," Shifra said of the
Yesha Council, ,"we do not accept

Rabbi Levinger's rationalizations for
the various underground activities."
Atthe end of one of the marathon
Gush Emunim meetings which was
held this week at Yad Shapiro, what
Shifra 'described as "a dissenting
voice" became the motion that was
backed by a majority.
The proposal by Eilon Morch
Gush firebrand Benny Katzover, a
long-time ally of Rabbi Levinger's,
pointedly emphaSized the difference
between "innocent Arabs" and the
mayors who were the victims of the
bomb attack.
The resolution also reiterated
Levinger's thesis that the govern-
ment's failure to take harsh actions
against the Arabs undermined secu-
rity in the territories and was a con-
tributory factor of "individuals" tak-
ing the law into their own hands.
The Gush majority also decided
to extend all necessary aid to the
families of the 36 persons arrested
and to pay for their legal counsel.
The resolution was opposed by a
vociferous minority, mostly from the
pre-Gush Emunim Etzion Bloc set-
Blass recalled that the security
situation took a turn for the worse
four years ago. "As a mother of chil-
dren, I'wrote a personal letter to the
prime minister, Menachem Begin,

In the wake of the arrest
of their leader, Gush Emunim
settlers are shocked
and confused.

sacre of students at the Islamic Col-
lege in Hebron, and the series of less-
extreme acts should have aroused
such suspicions.
But there seems to be a pattern
in such extreme, true-believer
movements like Gush Emunim.
The ruling messianic philosophy
of the Gush is derived from the
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Mandatory
Palestine, Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak
Kook, as interpreted by his son Rabbi
Zvi Yehuda Kook, who until his
death recently was the head of
Yeshivat Harav in Jerusalem.
Rabbi Avraham Kook was so
unusual an Ashkenazi rabbi as to
have seen in the atheistic, left-wing
pioneers of the 1920s and 1930s holy
harbingers of the messiah, represen-
tatives of the athalta degeula (the be-
ginning of the redemption). His pos-
iton, which made him anathema in
the eyes of most other ultra-Orthodox
rabbis, provided the ideological basis
for the 40-year political partnership
between the Orthodox Zionists of
Poalei Mizrahi (later the National
Religious Party) and Mapai (the pre-
cursor of today's Labor Party).
Gush Emunim- was -in out-
growth of the Bnei Akiva youth
movement in which many of the sons
and daughters of that older genera-
tion had been raised. For them the
outcome of the Six-Day War and the
takeover of the ancestral territories
of Judea and Samaria were nothing
short of miraculous.
In an interview several years
ago, the then spokeswoman of the
Gush, Daniella Weiss of Kedumim,
told me, "For us there was no ques-
tion but that the liberation of those


Continued on next page

4, W.:


• ,

and all I got back was a standard
reply from his secretary, Yehiel
There was growing trepidation
among the settlers for their very
lives, and the safety of their children.
But there's a world of difference be-
tween such understandable fear and
the determination to take revenge for
every Arab stonethrowing incident.
"Look at the numbers. There are
thousands of us in the settlements,
and nearly all of the men, because we
are Gush Emunim, not only are not
draft evaders but have served in elite
and other fighting units of the armed
forces. Had the entire movement de-
cided on a course of clandestine
armed action against Arabs,
thousands would have been capable
of such activity. But the fact of the
matter is that only 20 or so have been
detained on suspicion of such activi-
"It is fully justified to speak of a
very small fringe succumbing to such
temptations. The majority did not
succumb, did not condone such acts,
and did not even know of them."
It's a reasonable argument. But
it is also reasonable to believe that
the majority did not know because
they did not. want to know what they
may have suspected. Surely the at-
tack on the Arab mayors, the mas-

-T., 3


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