n 1968, Yasser Arafat assumed
control of what would become
the most powerful terrorist
organization on earth. He had
already learned his craft over the past
four years since the founding of the
Palestine Liberation Organization
(PLO) in 1964 under the tutelage of
his Soviet handlers.
He received training and funds for
his enterprise, which he stated so
eloquently to his followers as the
overthrow of the State of Israel. The
mission was clear and unambiguous:
to drive the Zionist occupiers into
Neal Elyakin, a Washtenaw County
educator, is vice president of the
Michigan Jewish Conference and a
founder of the Michigan Chapter of the
Israel Defense Forces.
His uniform bore a patch of the
entire State. of Israel with the word
Palestine in Arabic over it. This is
the same patch he wears today. From
then to today, Arafat has been the
undisputed leader of the cause, the
embodiment of the struggle against
the oppressors, the one single address
for the world regarding the
Back in 1970, the Kingdom of
Jordan, tired of the battles and blood
as a result of Arafat's terror campaign
against Israel, kicked him out of
Jordan along with many of his fol-
lowers. King Hussein even went as
far as to inquire as to how Israel
might help oust the Arafat camp, but
ultimately, this help was not needed.
Arafat landed in Lebanon, a coun-
try in transition, eventually spiraling
into civil war in the mid 1970s.
With Arafat now entrenched there,
he launched terror raids into
worked to ensure that there
Israel from southern
was minimal resistance to his
Lebanon. The Soviet Union
politics and his methods.
continued to provide massive
Several subgroups of ter-
funding support to Arafat
rorists emerged in the 1980s
during these years, providing
and 1990s with different
artillery, missiles, guns and
names: Fatah, Popular Front
ammunition, as well as
for the Liberation of
money directly to Arafat.
Palestine, the Tanzim, the
Fast forward to 1983.
Islamic Jihad, Hamas, the
Community Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades
Arafat is once again expelled,
this time from Lebanon after
and others. Each one has
the Israeli invasion. He ends
loyalists; each one has trust-
up in Tunis, unscathed and with
ed leaders and maniacal followers
many more followers.
ready to die and kill for the cause.
By this time, Arafat was fast
Each one is completely loyal to and
becoming that single address for the
under the direct control of Arafat.
Palestinian people as well as many of
the Arab countries and other coun-
tries that support the Palestinian
point of view.
Many pundits, politicians and writ-
Upon his return to Ramallah in
ers, including many Arafat followers,
1994, his loyalists and his followers
have been theorizing as to who
University's Program on Conflict
The head of a Druze village offered
us home hospitality as he told us about
the Druze goals: to remain united and
loyal to the State of Israel.
the Shoah, we walked through
the Valley of the
Communities, a quarry of
with names of thousands of
communities devastated in the
Holocaust. Survivor Rina
Quint told her heart-wrench-
At Hadassah-Neurim, a
youth village, we sat in a class-
room of students originally
from the former Soviet Union Hadassah National Travel Chair Annette Meskin
and Ethiopia, as well as native of Detroit led Hadassah's Renaissance IV Mission
Israelis. Boys and girls come
to Israel. She's shown at Hadassah Medical Center
to Neurim from troubled
with terror survivor Kenny Sachs of Bayonne, N.J.
homes where poverty, sub-
stance abuse and violence put
into the planning and construction of
them at risk. At Neurim, they learn
the new Center of Emergency
how to live and function in society.
Medicine at Hadassah Ein Karem. The
At Hadassah College of Jerusalem,
entire emergency center will be able to
we were treated to a gourmet meal
serve as a bomb shelter and safe haven
served by the culinary arts and hotel
in the case of chemical or biological
management students and toured this
diversified college. We spent Shabbat
We met Kenny Sachs, an Israeli sol-
with many of Young Judaea's Year
dier, who told us his story: A terrorist
Course students, hearing how they
dressed as an Israeli soldier attacked his
were getting acclimated to Israeli life.
barracks and shot and killed several of
his fellow soldiers and wounded Sachs.
He shared a poignant comment by his
brother, who feared he would have to
We visited Hadassah's two major med-
name his newborn son after Kenny.
ical facilities in Jerusalem.
Please see for yourself what a won-
At the Hadassah Hospital campus
on Mount Scopus, we remarked on the derful and vibrant country Israel is.
And stay informed, be open and be
obviously very observant Jewish order-
outspoken about your support of it.
ly wheeling an obviously Arab patient.
Feel The Vibrance
rganizing a group from
around the United States to
spend Sept. 14-21 in Israel
seemed like a crazy idea just
before the High Holidays. But
Hadassah, the 300,000-member
Women's Zionist Organization of
America, is committed to bringing as
many people as possible to the Jewish
homeland this year through its renais-
Going to Israel at this time in histo-
ry is a mitzyah; but you'll discover that
you gain much more than you give.
Israel is a breathtakingly beautiful
country with a wealth of history,
ancient and modern, beautiful art,
amazing shopping, exotic restaurants,
wonderful people and so much more.
From the minute we stepped on the
plane until we arrived back in New
York, we were greeted with: "Shalom,
shanah tovah, so glad you could come
to be with us."
We toured from Beersheva to Haifa,
visiting historical sites and Hadassah
projects in Israel, and spending time
with Rabbi Shlomo Riskin in Efrat;
Rabbi Danny Gordis, director of the
Mandel Fellows; and Dr. Gerald
Steinberg, director of Bar-Ilan
Annette Meskin of West Bloomfield,
past president of the Greater Detroit
Chapter of Hadassah, is Hadassah's
national travel chair.
We were one of the first groups in
years to visit the Temple Mount and
see the ancient site of the Temple. The
tour guide was the Muslim Wakf
Authority head. His family has benefit-
ed from Hadassah medical services and
he wanted to show his appreciation.
When we boarded a bulletproof bus
and drove through the famous tunnel
route to the Gush Etzion city of Efrat,
we got an insider's view of what it
means to live on the Green Line.
Instead of a stereotype of what settle-
ments looked like, we saw a beautiful,
planned, developed city — one of four
communities on the hills of Etzion.
From the top of the hill, we could see
Bethlehem and witnessed that commu-
nity's sprawl across the countryside
(which is not internationally criti-
Elsewhere on the trip, we visited the
Atlit detention camp, where Jewish
survivors of the Shoah, trying to get
into Israel illegally (before the state was
born) were captured by the British and
kept behind barbed wire fences until
they escaped to the kibbutzim in the
area of Mt. Carmel.
At Yad Vashem, Israel's museum of
We reflected sadly on the impressive
security considerations that have gone