Question: Your book, A Cup of Trembling, seems prejudiced against the Arabs. You make much of Arab terrorism but never mention the acts of terrorism by Israelis. And surely the takeover of such large amounts of Arab land by Israel is an act worse than terrorism! What about the murder of 49 peaceful Muslims in the mosque in Hebron?
Response: You should go back and read the book again more carefully. Every piece of land that Israel has taken has been for strategic reasons in self-defense against an enemy that has sworn its total extermination. If the Palestinians had been content with the 82 percent of Palestine they were given by the United Nations in its partition of that land in November 1947, they would have been living peacefully in their “Palestinian state” for the last 48 years. Instead, as soon as Israel declared its independence in May 1948, the regular armies of five Arab nations attacked the Jewish settlers with overwhelming force to take over the 18 percent of Palestine that the UN had allotted to them.
The Arab High Command told all Arabs to “get out” because they were going to drive the Jews into the Mediterranean, after which the Arabs could return to their own lands and take over that of the Jews as well. Please consider that the entire land of Israel (before they started giving land back) was 1/6 of 1 percent of the land the Arabs own. The Arabs have the oil, the wealth; why must they insist upon taking over this tiny, postage-stamp piece of land, too, and leaving nothing for the Jews? That is their goal!
I do not whitewash everything Israel has done. There is a huge difference, however, between the continual cries for the extermination of Israel that one hears blaring from radios in homes and in streets and sermons in mosques and media day and night throughout the Arab world, and the simple request to be left in peace that emanates from Israel. Never have I heard from Israel any cry for the takeover of Arab lands or for the extermination of Arabs. A huge difference indeed!
Furthermore, whereas the Israeli leadership doesn’t even believe the biblical promises of that land to the Jewish people and therefore never has tried to enforce them, the Arabs persist in the most outrageously false claims to the land and are determined to enforce them with violence. Although the Koran itself (we give you the references in A Cup of Trembling) says the land belongs to the Jews, the Arabs insist today that the Jews have no claim upon any of it but that it always belonged to the Arabs. One could not ask for a more blatant lie.
We could give scores of examples of how unconscionably absurd are the Arab’s claims (Arafat’s insistence that Jerusalem was always an Arab city, telling crowds of Arabs in Bethlehem celebrating the PLO’s takeover of that city just after Christmas that Jesus was a Palestinian freedom fighter, etc.). But you ask about the massacre at Machpelah, so let’s just use that as an example. The cave of
Machpelah is located in Hebron. The Arabs are currently trying to rid Hebron of any Jewish presence and deny any Jewish historical claim. In fact, Hebron is where David was first crowned king and was his capital for the first seven and one-half years of his reign (2 Sm 5:1-5). David was not an Arab! He was a Jew of the tribe of Judah and there was no Arab presence in Jerusalem until modern times; and even then the Jews always outnumbered the Arabs.
It was at Hebron that Abraham bought the cave of Machpelah to bury Sarah. Yet, Muslims built a mosque there and claim the cave as theirs. The cave of Machpelah is the burial site of (in addition to Sarah) Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob, Leah. Neither Arab nor Arab ancestor was buried there. Ishmael, from whom the Arabs claim descent, was buried many miles away. The cave obviously belongs to the Jews, being the burial site of their ancestors. The Arabs have no legitimate claim upon it, yet they insist that it is theirs!
The murder of 49 Muslims in the mosque at Machpelah was a heinous crime and it was condemned officially by the Israeli government and almost universally by all Israelis. It was the spur-of-the-moment isolated work of one deranged Israeli acting alone. In stark contrast, Arab terrorism (which takes place almost daily in Israel and around the world) is the carefully planned work of thousands of members of scores of organizations which are supported by billions of dollars in aid from Arab / Islamic countries. The terrorists are dedicated to the extermination of Israel, they make terrorism their profession, and rather than being condemned (as was the lone gunman at Machpelah), they are hailed as heroes, with streets named after them and songs sung in their honor throughout the Muslim world. Again, a huge difference!