A Voice from Hebron -- April 20, 1998


By Gary M. Cooperberg

I attended a funeral yesterday. It seemed as if we had a long respite from terror and death. All of the Passover holiday was quiet, and, despite all the threats from Hamas, no suicide bomber succeeded in wrecking havoc in our country. Then, like a bolt of lightning, Sunday morning jolted us out of our false sense of security.

Dov Dribben, z"tl, H"yd, twenty-eight year old son of Hebron veteran Eddie Dribben, was ambushed by eight Arabs as he was working alone, building his new home in the Judean desert near the Jewish community of Maon. Dov was a tall, strong man. He was married and the father of four little boys. He had been threatened by local Arabs in the past, but never backed down to them. His father had been a Texas ranger and taught his son how to fight, to ride a horse and use a gun. No one in his right mind would mess with Dov, or his father, Eddie.

When the Arabs saw Dov working all alone, they decided toattack. Dov was powerful and fearless, but not really prepared for sucha brazen daylight attack. All eight Arabs came at him. He got off one shot with his pistol, wounding one of his attackers before they were able to knock him to the ground. His gun fell from his hand and one of the Arabs picked it up and shot Dov mortally in the head. Two of his friends tried to come to his rescue, but both were shot before the Arabs ran away. One is still recovering in the hospital, and the other only suffered light wounds.

Dov Dribben was murdered because he was a Jew who chose to build his home on Jewish soil. He was guilty of fulfilling the Zionist dream on a personal level. He was murdered by Arabs who challenge Jewish sovereignty in Israel, and who are no longer afraid to express that challenge by cold blooded murder. When Eddie Dribben first came to Hebron in 1968, no Arab would dare raise his eyes at a Jew. Today they are not afraid to murder us. This is the result of a consistent policy on the part of Jewish governments not to react to insurrection. The so-called "intifada" showed the Arab that he could openly attack Jews with impunity.

The end result of this policy of cowardice resulted in the victory of the PLO over the Jewish state. Both Labor and Likud governments surrendered Jewish sovereignty to our enemies. This, in turn, had the exact opposite affect than achieving "peace and security." What it accomplished was to teach the Arab that terrorism works. We have taught the Arab that if he perseveres with terror, we will eventually give him everything he wants. Why then should we expect the Arab not to terrorize us?

In the month of Nisan Jewish Law forbids the reciting of a eulogy over the dead. Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Hebron, instructed us that Dov's murder is an exception to the Law. This tragedy was far more than a personal one. It was shared by the community and all of the Jewish people. It was a blow to the Jewish State and the Jewish people, and, as such, this young man, whose death was a sanctification to the Living G-d of Israel, deserved a eulogy.

Vows were made to continue the work on Dov's home and to enlarge the community to show our enemies that their evil deed willnever accomplish its goal to remove Jews from Jewish land. While our Prime Minister was entertaining Tony Blair in Jerusalem, implying further retreat from Jewish Land, for "peace", we all stood in silence as Dov's six year old son recited the mourners kaddish for his father. It is significant to note that not one member of the cabinet was present at the funeral.

This government continues to exploit the cliche, "Peace with security". But are we all so foolish as to assume that it is possible to have peace without security? And is security the only measure of peace? What happened to the Jewish dream? Where does Zionism appear on the Likud platform? This government, at best, is seeking a solution which would turn our homeland into a tiny ghetto where we are an imprisoned minority in our own homeland. Even should it succeed in achieving "peace and security" under such circumstances, is that really what we want?

Dov Dribben was murdered in cold blood because our government feels that it can achieve peace without respect. It feels that if we humble ourselves and compromise our principles that our enemies will refrain from murdering us. When will we learn that such behavior only invites our enemies to try and destroy us?

Peace is one of G-d's names. It is certainly a mitzvah to pursue peace and seek to turn our enemies into friends. But is that really what we are doing? Look around you. Do our enemies no longer hate us? Do the Arabs living in Egypt and Jordan love the Jewish State and truly feel friendship for her? Does Arafat appreciate the gifts we have given him and no longer seek our destruction?

We, in our haste to end war, have forgotten that the only real way to end war is by winning. . . not by surrendering. We have also forgotten that G-d is called a "Man of War" in our Torah, Exodus, XV, verse 3. King Solomon, the wisest of all men, stated in Ecclisiastes, Chapter three, "To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven; . . . a time of war, and a time of peace." Clearly, even here, we can see that the time of peace only comes after the time of war. We may not like it, but that is the way of the world. If we try and change it, we find tragedy. Our time of peace is definitely coming. But it will not come simply because we want it. It has a price which must be paid. It may well be that if we are truly prepared for war that we can avoid it. But it is certain that should we refuse to go to war for our homeland, that we will only invite our enemies to attack us with greater furor.

Dov Dribben, and so many other victims of Arab terror, were murdered because the Jewish leadership in this country has failed us. It has junked the dream of Zion and exchanged it for a dream that our enemies will stop murdering us. It has adopted a slogan for the jubilee celebration of our independence , "Together in pride and together in hope," in spite of the fact that it has clearly rejected both. We will never begin to achieve any sort of peace or security in this country until we are prepared and willing to fight for it. Dov Dribben died because he refused to accept surrender in our homeland. It is up to us now to take up his courageous stand and take back our homeland, restoring genuine Jewish pride and hope to our people.

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