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The Last Remnant of Jews

September 20, 2001
© 2001 The Temple Institute, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved

"I have issued strict instructions for a total commitment to the cease-fire." So said Yasser Arafat on Rosh HaShana, a full year after his forces destroyed JosephÕs Tomb in Nablus. A year in which near-daily casualties have been inflicted upon the people of Israel, and a year during which Arafat has already declared five previous cease-fires, each one lasting less than a week. But this morning, less than two days after this last declared cease-fire - two days that were marked by unrelenting attacks by Palestinians on Israeli forces and civilians - another Israeli has beenÊ murdered. Today, the third of Tishrei, while the Jewish people observe the Fast of Gedaliah, 26 year old Sarit Amrani, mother of three, was shot dead before her childrenÕs eyes. Her husband Shai, 32, was seriously wounded, suffering bullet wounds to the neck and chest. His condition, listed as critical, continues to worsen at this hour. The coupleÕs three children, also in the car, were unharmed. The attack, in which the family were fired upon by a passing Palestinian truck, took place on the road connecting the Arab and Jewish communities of Tekoa. The terrorists fled in the direction of nearby Palestinian Authority-controlled Bethlehem. Please note that although America has invited Arafat to join its anti-terror coalition, to free the world from terror, Fatah, associated with Palestinian Authority Chairman Yasser Arafat, has claimed responsibility for this morningÕs terror attack. Yes, you are reading this right.

IsraelÕs nobel laureate, the amazing Shimon Peres, will not meet today with Arafat. We are sure that he is disappointed. After all, Peres says that since ArafatÕs announcement there has been a "very large decrease" in the violence. Sarit AmraniÕs children must find that very reassuring. ItÕs only one more family torn asunder; our daily quota. President Bush recently said: "We take his [ArafatÕs] words very seriously that he is interested in doing everything he can to reduce terrorism in the Middle East. That was a very positive statement he made." President Bush, this woman was murdered by ArafatÕs organization. What have you to say? And while America continues to weigh her options and plan her retaliatory moves, President Bush and Sec. of State Powell still urge Israel to return to negotiate with her anti-terror coalition partner, Arafat, who gave blood for victims of terror in America last week, and just killed another Jewish mother this morning.

Today is observed as a day of fasting by the Jewish people because in the period following the destruction of the First Temple, the Jewish governor Gedaliah ben Ahikam was murdered on this day. King Nebuchadnezzer destroyed the First Temple and exiled most of the Jewish people to Babylon. But he allowed a small remainder of Jews to stay in their land. The king appointed the righteous Gedaliah to govern over this remnant. When the Jews who lived in Moab, Amon, Edom and other lands heard that the Babylonian king allowed a remnant for Judah in her land, and appointed Gedaliah over them, they returned to the Land of Judah and were permitted to work their fields. They experienced some respite. However the King of Amon was jealous of this remnant of Judah. He dispatched Yishmael ben Netanya to kill Gedaliah. Although Gedaliah had been warned of YishmaelÕs plot, he refused to believe, not wishing to take heed of evil speech. He received Yishmael with honor, but the latter killed him and most of the Jews who were with him, as well as the Chaldeans left there by the Babylonian king. Fearing the kingÕs revenge, the remaining Jews fled to Egypt, and in this manner the last remnant was scattered and the land became desolate.

One year ago on this day, the Fast of Gedaliah, we wrote about the obvious parallels between then and now. "We are all the last remnant of Jews left in the Land of Israel. Our enemies attempt to scatter us, and to make the land desolate. Arafat gave the orders for this wave of murder and destruction; Arafat could call it off if he so chooses." So we wrote one year ago, at the beginning of this war. Now, a year later, the message does not remain the same: it is more pertinent, more insistent, and more urgent than ever. Visit the Israel Foreign MinistryÕs websitewww.israel.org/mfa to view pictures and biographies of nearly every Jew who has been killed during this past year. In Israel, the terror that America so rightly abhors, and so justifiably vows to blot out, continues every single day. Another family has been devastated today, and forever torn asunder. How should we respond? How would you respond?

With blessings for an inscription in the Book of Life for all,
Rabbi Chaim Richman
THE TEMPLE INSTITUTE
www.templeinstitute.org

PO Box 31876 Jerusalem, Israel 97500

 

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