The Ideology Behind Hebron Massacre 
By Prof. Israel Shahak

 It is wrong to assume that the mass murder in Hebron stemmed only from the opinions of a small group of extremists on the fringe of the Israeli political spectrum, the supporters of the late Meir Kahane. 

 The ideology which inspired the killings is the same as that of the  "Jewish Underground" of 1984. The members if this movement, who  attempted to blow up the mosques of the Temple Mount, were caught red-handed while fixing bombs, timed to explode exactly on  the beginning of the Sabbath, to nine Arab buses, so as to avoid the killing of any pious Jew. Daniel Ben-Simon (Davar, 27 February) quotes,for the first time, the real aims of the "Jewish Underground", and compares them with the better known aims of Kahane. 

While interrogating one "Jewish Underground" member, the Shin Bet were stunned by the downright Satanic idea underlying the plan to demolish the mosques on the Temple Mount. As the man explained to his interrogators, "the demolition of these mosques would have infuriated all the hundreds of millions of Muslims in the world. Their rage would inevitably have led to a war which in all likelihood would have escalated into a world war. In such a war the scale of casualties would be formidable enough to promote the process of Redemption of the Jews and the Land of Israel. All the Muslims  would by then disappear, which means that everything would be ready for the coming of the Messiah." 

On the other hand, says Ben-Simon, "in one of his 12 books, Kahane justified the extermination of the Arabs as the surest way to bring about the "True Redemption of the Jews". The Redemption can occur in all its splendour, even right now, if all Jews resolve to  keep the Commandments of the Lord. But the Redemption can also 
proceed through tragedy if the Jews refuse to obey the Lord. The difference is that True Redemption implies that the Jews cast away their fear of the Gentiles and fear only the Lord; which in turn means that they expel all the Arabs from the Land of Israel. So in order to bring on the Redemption we should expel all the Arabs." 

The Philosophy of Gush Emunim 

The sympathy which Baruch Goldstein enjoys among the Gush Emunim, whose influence is more pervasive than that of the Kahanists, can only be explained by a shared ideology. However, Gush Emunim leaders enjoy Rabin's friendship and strong influence in wide circles of the Israeli and diaspora Jewish communities. 
Therefore it is their version of this ideology which is more important. Gush Emunim's thinking assumes the imminence of the coming of the Messiah, when the Jews, aided by God, will triumph over the Gentiles. Consequently, all current politicl developments call be interpreted by those in the know as destined either to bring this end  nearer or postpone it. Jewish sins, the worst of them being lack of 
faith in Gush Emunim ideology, can postpone but not alter the predestined course of Redemption. The two world wars, the Holocaust and other calamitous events of modern history serve as stock examples of such a curative punishment for Jewish sins.Such explanations can go into a lot of specific detail. The rabbi of  Kiryat Arba, Dov Lior (who attended Goldstein's funeral and praised  him), blamed Israel's relative failure in its 1982 invasion of Lebanon on the lack of faith manifested through signing a peace treaty with Egypt and "returning the inheritance of our ancestors [i.e Sinai] to 
strangers". I will proceed to quote from two English-language books on the subject: For the Land and the Lord, Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, By Ian Lustick (Council on Foreign Relations, New York 1988), and the chapter on nationalist Judaism in Yehoshafat Harkabi's Israel Fareful Decesions (I.B.Tauris, London 1988, reviewed in MEI 331). 

The fundamental tenet of Gush Emunim's thinking is the assumption that the Jewish people are "peculiar". Lustick discusses this tenet in terms of their denial of the classical Zionist claim that only by undergoing "a process of normalisation", by emigrating to Palestine and forming a Jewish state there, can the Jews become like any other nation. But for them this "is the original delusion of the secular  Zionists", because they measured that "normality" by applying non-Jewish standards. According to Gush Emunim, "Jews are not and cannot be a normal people", because "their eternal uniqueness"  is "the result of the covenant God made with them at Mount Sinai". 
Therefore, according to Rabbi Shlomo Aviner, one of their leaders,"while God requires other normal nations to abide by abstract codes of 'justice and righteousness', such laws do not apply to Jews". Harkabi quotes Rabbi Israel Ariel, who says that "a Jew who kills a non-Jew is exempt from human judgement, and has not violated the prohibition of murder". The Gush Emunim rabbis have indeed 
reiterated that Jews who kill Arabs should be free from all punishment. Harkabi also quotes Rabbi Aviner, Rabbi Zvi Yehudah  Kook and Rabbi Ariel, all three of whom say Arabs living in Palestine  are thieves because since the land was once Jewish, all property to  be found on that land "really" belongs to the Jews. In the original          Hebrew version of his book Harkabi expresses his shock at finding  this out. "I never imagined that Israelis would so interpret the concept of the historical right." 

 All we need is war 

Let me omit the many other horrifying facets of Gush Emunim ideology except one comment of Harkabi which I find particularly prescient. Proponents of the view that due to God's help Israel is stronger than all other nations hold that "Israel need have no fear of future wars, and can even provoke them at will. Rabbi Shlomo Aviner wrote:'We must live in this land even at the price of war. 
Moreover, even if there is peace, we must instigate wars of liberation in order to conquer it."  It must be borne in mind that, for Gush Emunim, the "Jewish heritage" to be "liberated" is much greater than just Palestine. Rabbi Ariel was far-sighted enough to publish an atlas in which all the lands to be "liberated" (according to diverse rabbinical interpretations) are clearly marked. All the areas west and south of 
the Euphrates (i.e. including Kuwait) are included, and Ariel also shows rabbinical "interpretations" even more far-reaching than this unanimous view. Suppose Gush Emunim were ever able to use Israeli nuclear power. It is not difficult to guess what purpose it would be used for. 

 Harkabi and Lustick make it clear that Gush Emunim assumes that the reason for Arab hostility towards the Jews are theological in nature. Hence the conclusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict cannot he resolved politically. Lustick quotes a prominent rabbi, Eliezar  Waldman, then a Knesset member, now the director of the main     yeshiva in Kiryat Arba, who said "that by fighting the Arabs, Israel carries out its divine misssion to serve as the heart of the world" and  to save it, "while Arab hostility springs like all anti-Semitism, from the world's recalcitrance" against being saved by the Jews, or even from Arabs seeding "to fulfil their collective death-wish". 

Gush Emunim's plans for governing non-Jews in Israel are also based on "theological" principles. According to Rabbi Aviner; "Is there a difference between punishing an Arab child and an Arab adult for disturbance of our peace? Punishments can be inflicted on  Jewish boys below the age of 13 and Jewish girls below the age of 12...But this rule applies to Jews alone, not to Gentiles. Thus any Gentile, no matter how little, should be punished for any crime he commits." From this dictum, it is only a short step to slaughtering  Arab children. 

Even Israel's Supreme Court compared Kahane to the German Nazis. The prominet Orthodox dissident, Professor Yeshayahu Leibovitz, said that the mass murder in Hebron was a consequence of "Judeo-Nazism". But Gush Emunim's ideology is no less like that of the Nazis than Kahane's. 

 Source: MEI, No. 471, 18 March 1994