A Legacy

A LegacyJune 10, 1996

This morning 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
last night, Yaron Unger was still alive. This afternoon
he, together with all his classmates and all of Kiryat
Arba, attended the funeral of Yaron and Efrat (Effi)
Unger at Gush Etziyon.

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 last 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
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
commencement 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 moral 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 ones 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 Benyamin Netanyahu, must not and will
not allow this to happen.

This morning 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 Katusha rockets will be falling on our
northern border and Arafat will be, effectively,
declaring war throughout Judea, Samaria and Gazza. Bibi
and the Israeli people aren’t going to have an easy time
of it.

Tonight 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.”

Thas is Yaron and Efrat Unger’s legacy. Let us not fail them.


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