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>Israel Faxx
>JN June 13, 1997, Vol. 5, No. 106

Arabs Burst Into Morag

By Al Pessin (VOA-Jerusalem)

Palestinian demonstrators and Israeli troops clashed Thursday at a settlement in the Gaza Strip where Palestinians have been holding a protest vigil against what they say is an attempted land grab by the settlers.

Israeli troops moved in on several-hundred Palestinians at a tent protest camp Thursday, when they began to tear down a fence settlers built two-weeks ago.

The soldiers fired tear gas and rubber bullets, wounding two demonstrators and dispersing the crowd, with some help from the Palestinian police. One Palestinian man reportedly died of a heart attack after being overcome by tear gas.

The controversial fence connected the housing compound of the Morag settlement to a separate area where some of its greenhouses are located.

Protesters say the settlers were planning to fence-in the entire area between the two compounds, effectively doubling the size of the settlement. Settlers say they own the land in question, but had no such plan and were only trying to stop theft and vandalism at the greenhouses.

SPECIAL INTERVIEW: Menachem Brod, Chabad Spokesman

By Arutz-7

ARUTZ-7: One year ago, you announced for the first time that Chabad had decided to take to the streets and go all-out in favor of the candidacy of Benjamin Netanyahu for Prime Minister. Are you at peace with that decision now, one year later?

MENACHEM BROD: Most definitely yes. Everyone can imagine to himself what would have happened if Shimon Peres would have been elected, with his positions, and with his staffers -- it is easy to estimate where we would be now.

A7: Within Chabad, are there those who regret the decision, or who have claims against those who made the decision?

MB: I wouldn't say that there are feelings of regret, but rather that there are those who are having a difficult time with two things: First of all, that there was a price, which we knew in advance, and secondly, that Netanyahu is not exactly perfect. These two things together were taken into account by the rabbis who made this difficult decision. It was difficult because we don't usually deal with political issues. In this case, though, we saw that there was a very fateful question of the peace and security of 4 million Jews in Israel, may they multiply, and the Oslo process was about to -- and still may -- bring a catastrophe upon them.

A7: How are the relations between Chabad and the Prime Minister these days?

MB: They are complex. On the one hand, we have close relations, but on the other hand, we have criticism... We used to meet with him fairly frequently, but of late there have been less direct contacts, particularly after the grave decision to transfer Hebron. It must be understood that the elections were the beginning of a process, not the end. There was a train speeding off the cliff, and we had to do what we could to stop it. We succeeded in slowing it down, but it is still headed in the same direction, and we have to work hard to try to turn it in the other direction, in the direction of building and strengthening the hold of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel.

A7: Next time, will you also come out in support of the nationalist party candidate?

MB: We all hope that we will not have to. As I said, this is not Chabad's line, but to predict in advance exactly what we will do, I can't say.

A7: It could be that Ehud Barak will ask for your support.

MB: Look, we believe in the soul within every Jew, and Ehud Barak is a good Jew too. It's not a personal matter of Barak or Netanyahu, but rather a question of the path. Peres and Netanyahu represented different paths. If Barak proposes a path [that we can support] and there are reasons to believe him, then we'll consider it.

Heaven's Gate

A famous rabbi goes to Heaven to meet his Maker. He sits in the waiting room hour after hour, waiting for his sins to be weighed against his good deeds. The line moves very slowly. All of a sudden, he sees a new fellow come in, go straight to the head of the line, get weighed and sent straight to Eden.

Now the rabbi, who has been very patient, gets up, dusts himself off, and goes to complain. "Who was that fellow, that he got such treatment, while I have been sitting here for hours?"

"Why, he's an Israeli bus driver."
"What?" the rabbi says. "How could it be that a man like that waltzes right in, immediately gets weighed and sent right through the Pearly Gates, while I, a famous rabbi, the leader of a large congregation, am kept waiting for hours in doubt?"

"Well," the angels tell him, "it's really quite simple. When you get up to make a speech, you cause hundreds of people to fall asleep. But when an Israeli bus driver sits down to drive his bus, he causes 40 people to pray.

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