Letter To Menachem Begin

Dear Prime Minister,

Yesterday, I received a copy of your government's notice ordering me to appear in the court in Beersheba to answer their request to the court to place me in prison
before trial until the conclusion of my trial on the "crime" of entering a Jewish building in Hebron and demanding that you return it to its Jewish owners.  Since I believe that you have betrayed both ideals and idealists who supported you for decades, I think it important that I review the facts in the case.

Hebron is the city of the Patriarchs and mothers of the nation. There, lived and died, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. It is next to Jerusalem, the holiest of cities. In 1929, an Arab pogrom raged through the town taking the lives of nearly 70 Jews (more than Kishinev) and all the rest fled in fear, leaving behind their property and wealth. There was -
and is - much Jewish property there including vast amounts owned by the Lubavicher Rebbe (whose silence over the return of this is more than puzzling to me), as well as a large building known as Hadassah.

This building is owned by the Sephardi community that once lived in Hebron and it housed a synagogue, a house of learning as well as a hospital. From the time of the pogrom, 49 years ago, it has been out of the hands of its rightful owners. For nearly half a century, Jews have not been allowed to live in Hebron. Under the colonial-imperialist rule of the British until 1948, that was understandable, and how many times did a man named Begin invoke the name of Hebron as he dreamed of the day of liberation? Even under the Labor government policy from 1967 until last year, there was expectancy that the likes of Rabin and Peres and Eshkol and Golda, would not allow Jews to regain their rights because they feared the reaction of the gentiles. And what a magnificent speech you gave in the Knesset following the Arab desecration of Torah scrolls in 1976! And how you blasted the Labor government and I quote: "It was your policy of timidity in Hebron that led to this thing!"

Mr. Begin, as one who was in Betar and a follower of yours as a youth; as one who listened and read what you had to say for decades; as one who shared with so many others the belief that you would produce a radical,
Jewish change in Israeli policy - I say with a heavy heart: You have betrayed ideals and people.

Who would have imagined that Menachem Begin would refuse to return Jewish property to people who have legal, valid claim to it? Who would have dreamed that Menachem Begin would order the arrest of Jews by Jewish soldiers (who use tear gas) for the "crime" of demanding an end to the same British White Paper Judenrein policy that a younger Begin fought against? Who would have believed that Menachem Begin would order Meir Kahane arrested for entering Hebron; would serve him a military order barring (!) him, a Jew, from entering the city, and then ask that the notorious 1936 British Emergency Regulations be used against Kahane, so that he be placed in prison before trial!

I add all this to your order barring Jewish settlements; to the arrest of the Jericho settlement group last Sukkot when it tried to settle there; to the offer of autonomy to the Arabs of Judea and Samaria; to the offer to give up all the Sinai; to the offer of citizenship to Arabs of Judea and Samaria; to the lies and fraud of Shiloh "archaeological" group. I am ashamed and I say to you: We who sit here in Israel watch the state disintegrating. Your foreign policy is a disastrous failure as you fail to satisfy Carter with your evasions and maneuvers while at the same time you desecrate the Name of G-d by refusing to declare Jewish sovereignty over all the Land and to allow unlimited Jewish settlement. Inside Israel, the strikes, the economic convulsions, the splits and loss of morale are there for all to see. There are those who ask me not to attack you since you are "the best we have." I wonder.

I wonder where the basic difference is as you arrest Jews in Hebron and continue to guard the Hadassah building as "Jordanian government property." But more than that I wonder if you are in a way, not worse for Israel, in the following sense: At least when Labor was in power, there was the hope of a truly Jewish opposition that might some day reach the seat of government. Today, you are the seat of government and you behave as Labor did! Thus,
we have neither a decent government nor opposition and all your followers are silent as you do the things that would have brought them into the streets had they been done by Yitzchak Rabin!

Before you destroy the life you built up over sixty great years, and before you drag Israel into disaster, I ask you to think, think carefully and return to what you once were. And know that if Menachem Begin will not be Menachem Begin, Meir Kahane will be Meir Kahane. May G-d show you wisdom and may you return to the path of Jewish pride.

With Love of Israel,
Meir Kahane

By Rabbi Meir Kahane
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