On June 10th at 6:00 am I woke up my 15 year old son, Elazar, for school. At 6:25 he heard on the radio that his Bible teacher, Yaron Unger, was killed in a terrorist attack. When Elazar went to sleep the night before, Yaron Unger was still alive. On June 11, he, together with all his classmates and all of Kiryat Arba, attended the funeral of Yaron and Efrat (Effi) Unger at Gush Etzion.
TWO - two people - young, idealistic, full of energy, full of love of life, love of Torah, love of Israel. The Unger family included two children, Dvir, aged two and Ishai, aged seven months. Ishai was in the back seat of the car when it was shot at. During the funeral it was said that Dvir cried all night, asking for his father. Effi Unger was pregnant, just concluding her second month.
It is always difficult to go to a funeral, and more difficult when the deceased is a victim of senseless
A war can never be won when it is entirely defensive.
terror. But to stand by the fresh graves of two people, husband and wife, with so much yet to accomplish, leaving two orphans--there are no words.
Almost all cried, some wailed, others stood in the burning sun, stunned, numb. This isn't the first time, and unfortunately, probably won't be the last. In spite of the hope somewhere deep down inside me that I'd be able to stop writing these articles, stop granting endless interviews to the news media: "No, we don't want to take revenge--our security is in the hands of the IDF." In spite of the hope, deep down I knew--we all knew. I suppose that's what I meant when I said and wrote that, "We don't have any illusions."
But this time it was a little different--a little, a lot. The Ungers weren't murdered outside Kiryat Arba, or in Hebron. They were killed near Beit Shemesh, inside the 'Green Line,' inside 'Israel proper.' Past terrorist attacks of this kind, where an automobile is shot at by a second vehicle passing the victims at high speed, cutting them off, shooting at them, and then escaping, took place only in Yesha. Tens of people have been killed and wounded in such attacks. But this has never happened outside of Yesha. The terrorists who perpetrated yesterday's murder probably escaped to Bethlehem or Hebron. The exact location isn't clear. But wherever they went, they have where to hide.
So what are we to do? Not long ago I wrote that there will no longer be any 'sacrifices for peace.' And the Ungers are not sacrifices for peace --they are victims of war. One of the major obstacles to a real peace over the last four years was the constant running away-- the refusal to accept the reality as it really was--to realize the status of war. Actually the problem didn't begin four years ago -- it began with the commence-
ment of the Intifada, close to ten years ago. At that time the late Yitzhak Rabin was Defense Minister.
From then on, literally to this day, the declared war on Jews in Israel by Arabs was totally ignored. A war can never be won when it is entirely defensive. Defense may stop an enemy attack, but it won't lead to victory. Only initiative leads to victory, and that demands a knowledge that war is being fought--if you don't know you're fighting a war, you never take any initiative. That's the way it's been here for years. As a result, there is no morale in the army, soldiers are afraid to fight and officers fear Commissions of Inquiry.
Presently the Arabs are holding a gun to our collective head. As has been reported over the last week, we are being told, point blank: "If we don't receive what we want, the intifada will return." Violence and terrorism are the name of the game. Arafat is ready to declare his "Palestinian state," with Jerusalem as its capital.
This does not sound like a peace-loving people. One does not negotiate with a gun to one's head. Never. Those who declare war must know, and will know, that we will fight back. We don't want to fight - we don't crave bloodshed. But if they continue to attack us, we will not stand idly by, as the exiting government has done for the past four years. The Arabs expected to receive all of Israel on a silver platter, and they expected to be able to carve us up, as part of the process. The new government, under Benjamin Netanyahu, must not and will not allow this to happen.
On June 10, we lost an additional five soldiers in Lebanon. Together with the loss of Yaron and Efrat, today has been a very difficult day. And the near future may not be much easier. It is very possible that as Bibi takes office Katyusha rockets will be falling on our northern border and Arafat will be, effectively, declaring war throughout Judea, Samaria and Gaza. Bibi and the Israeli people aren't going to have an easy time of it.
I asked my son to show me the last subject he studied with Yaron Unger. He opened his Bible to the Book of Ezra, Chapter 10, verse 4. This was the last verse Yaron taught the class: "Arise, for it is your task: we also will be with you: be of good courage and do it." That is Yaron and Efrat Unger's legacy. Let us not fail them.
Only if his government restores honor to Israel will Benjamin Netanyahu be able to restore the security he promised--and then someday, when the Arab world learns to value the same things, perhaps there will be peace.
Dr. Erich Isaac, a member of the executive committee of Americans for a Safe Israel, is professor emeritus of geography at the City University of New York.
Outpost - 8 - June 1996