Is A Difference, But Not A Drastic One
Many people remember Avi Parchan, the
last man to be evacuated 19 years ago from Yamit, who then proceeded to walk to
Yerushalayim with a sign which said, "From Yamit to Yerushalayim." *
In an interview with
Beis Moshiach, he discusses the present situation, when mortars fall not far
from his doorstep, the mistakes Israel continues to make,
and what needs to be done to end this war.
Mr. Avrohom (Avi) Parchan was born in Tripoli, Libya in 1946. He moved to
Eretz Yisroel at the age of three and grew up in transit camps. He studied in
Mikve Yisroel, and while in the army he served in select units, including a
commando fleet and the parachutists.
the Six-Day War, Avi fought as an attack officer in Troop 9, in the legendary
Tal unit under Gordish. In the War of Attrition he fought in the battles over
the Suez, where he was wounded. He served for some time as the
government-military commander in El-Arish.
was one of the founders of Yamit and was one of the last to leave. He fought in
Peace in Galilee, and was the military governor of the Nabatiya district in
Lebanon. He finished his army service as a lieutenant colonel.
founded Eli Sinai in the north of the Gaza Strip and initiated the founding of
Nisnit and Dogit. Avi served as head of the Tichyeh movement and was a member of
Amana, the movement that settles Yesha. He has also served in numerous other
Parchan, you live in Eli Sinai in the Gaza Strip. Youíve been under mortar
we havenít been left out... Despite the circumstances, I must say that our chevra
is stronger than ever. We all stand proudly as the Jewish settlement always did
in the face of the enemy.
you are closer than ever to Shderot, since it too is under fire.
Yisroel is a single unit, as Chazal say. Whoever thought that by leaving
Gaza he would solve the problem, has discovered that Gaza is now in Shderot, and
in the near future it will also be in Ashkelon and other places, chas víchalila.
want to take this opportunity to express my protest in reaction to what the
mayor of Shderot, Eli Muell, said Ė that Shderot is not Gush Katif. That makes
it sound like thereís a difference between a mortar that lands on the citizens
of Shderot and a mortar that lands on Nisnit or Neve Dekalim. Iíd like to
remind the mayor that Ashkelon is called Majedal in Arabic, and Ramat Aviv is
Sheikh Munis, so thereís no reason to differentiate between them.
joint Israeli and Palestinian security committee met and decided to cut down the
violence in exchange for easing up restrictions on the Palestinians. What do you
think about that?\
have a simple question: If Arafat says he can cut down on the violence, it shows
that he is in charge of whatís going on, and if so, why arenít we forcing
him to cut the violence out altogether? What does cutting down the violence
mean? That the mortars will only reach Netzarim and not Shderot? That the
attacks will only be in Kfar Saba and not on Dizengoff?
should be done?
time has come for us to understand that there is only one solution: fighting to
defeat the P.L.O. They have made a laughingstock of the Oslo Accords, which has
long ceased to be relevant to them. I call on the Left to stop chasing after
Arafat. We canít go on this way. If we donít fight them, theyíll finish us
off, chív. The mortars aimed at Shderot are only a taste of whatís in
go back a bit to the withdrawal of the military from Gaza after Sharon announced
we were going in, and then, in less than 24 hours, we were out. How do you, as a
seasoned veteran, understand what happened?
of all, I am upset by the fact that every officer today speaks to the media. The
time has come to stop talking and start doing. The armyís goal ought to be to
fight the enemy and not to make declarations. Now to your question about what
everybody called the failed action in Gaza, I think it would have been better if
they hadnít gone in altogether. I canít get into the details because I am
not familiar with them, but whatís clear is that they messed up.
you see a difference since Sharon came into power?
is a difference, but not a drastic one. Itís definitely not what we
anticipated. On the one hand I understand Sharon. He knows that if he takes
drastic action the whole world will scream that we are being dragged into
mentioned the war in Lebanon in connection with the action taken in GazaÖ
is our greatest enemy. With his strategy of peace, he managed to topple Israel.
If you look at the manís body language and at his slyness, you see that he is
one of our most dangerous enemies.
should be done now?
have to increase our attacks against the Palestinians bit by bit, so that the
Israeli public begins to understand precisely who we are dealing with, and then
when the goal is clear, we can take bigger steps in the war against Arafat and
believe that the Jewish nation will recover and end this story whose name is
Arafat. The time has come to fire at them until they beg us to stop.
Unfortunately, and I say this openly, if we continue the way we have up until
now, additional korbanos will fall, chalila.
after Oslo, the Right spoke about katyushas against Ashkelon. It looks as though
the Right was correct. Have we gotten halfway there yet?
eight years ago we distributed a map showing the Palestinianís ability to
attack Ashkelon, Shderot, etc. We showed the aerial distance and the danger of
falling katyushas, and everybody laughed at us. Peres mocked the Right at every
opportunity. Now I say we should establish a government committee to investigate
who went to meet Arafat and the P.L.O. when it was illegal? Who gave them rifles
and bullets and explosives? Who is responsible for the murder of 500 Jews since
the Oslo Accords? The failure of Oslo is no less serious than the failure of the
Yom Kippur War, and in my opinion it is far more serious.
talking about investigating Oslo. In the meantime, thereís a committee
investigating what happened in October in the Arab sector.
formed this committee only to appease the Arabs so they would vote for Barak.
The point is that what we see now as the results of Oslo is just the tip of the
iceberg. Itís just the beginning of what Oslo will bring us, and if we donít
understand this, we are in serious trouble.
should be done today? Do you have the answers?
is only one solution and that is to grab Arafat and his security leaders, put
them on a plane and send them back to Tunis. If youíve followed events over
the last few decades, youíve noticed that wherever Arafat is, thereís
turmoil and destruction. This has been the case in Lebanon, Egypt, Damascus, and
only solution is to send him to Tunis or any Arab country that agrees to have
him. In the meantime we must ground him and not allow him to fly wherever he
pleases and continue to rouse public support. By now everybody knows that he
uses his plane to transport weapons. Israel must ground him, plain and simple.
you think there will be additional katyushas?
got to be clear: It wonít end with mortars shot at Shderot, Nisnit, or Eli
Sinai. Their military resources are only expanding, and every Israeli citizen is
in the same boat as us. Today itís Shderot and tomorrow itís Ashkelon, and
the next day itBnei Brak. No allowances will be made for any Jew. The faster we
get the message and fight accordingly, the better for us. It will prevent future
war is not against the Palestinians but against Arafat, the head of the snake
himself. I say this because I know this to be the truth. Many of the Arabs
living in Gaza are frustrated with Arafat and speak harshly against him. Heís
the man responsible for their problems. They themselves say that until he came
to Gaza, life was okay, and now they have problems. He and his henchmen steal
their money and pride, robbing their very own brothers.
are considered close with Sharon. Where do you think heís heading?
is trying to get us to a consensus and then heíll deal with the situation. Itís
not a simple thing to fight the enemy when thereís a unity government with
people who want to appease Arafat, undermining Sharonís government. Take, for
example, Minister Salah Tarif. I donít know if heís a minister, considering
his underhanded behavior. The bottom line is, I still hope that Sharon will
seriously bring an end to the terror and destruction that Arafat is causing, and
will dismantle the P.A.
do you think the source of our problems with the Palestinians is?
Camp David agreement. Until the Israeli government expresses remorse over the
Camp David agreement, which is the source of all our troubles, we wonít
succeed in this war. Camp David is the source of all the major tzaros we
have suffered in the past two decades.
19 years ago, they eradicated and uprooted every last Jewish vestige from Sinai.
I was the last one to be evacuated from Yamit. I left on foot with my wife and
eldest daughter, with a sign that said, "From Yamit to Yerushalayim,"
implying that the fate of Yerushalayim would be like Yamit, chív.
People laughed at me, thinking I was crazy for mentioning Yerushalayim. Today
everybody sees what has happened.
since then there have been no wars with Egypt.
Egyptians are waiting for us in the corner. They will yet wage war with us.
Thanks to us they have modern weapons and a strong army. They constantly speak
about liquidating Eretz Yisroel. There are underground bunkers in Sinai in
contradiction to the agreement. They have gas lines in the bunkers and are
organized so they can mobilize their forces at short notice. We still have to
study the Egyptianís military strategy Ė how they managed to hoodwink the am
chacham vínavon (the wise nation).
did they succeed?
Egyptians understood that they would not vanquish us in a conventional war. The
president of Tunisia in the Ď60ís, Burgiva, once told Nasser that he would
never win wars against the Jews as long as they were unified. He suggested a
peace strategy, in which the Western world would not be on their side.
took that approach and Mubarak was sent to the Arab nations in order to explain
the new strategy. Surprisingly, shortly after most of the Arab nations broke off
ties with Egypt, relations returned to normal. Not only that, but Egypt became
the spokesman for the Arab world.
am certain that Mubarak is planning war. He is one of our worst enemies.
Unfortunately, Israel hasnít gotten this message yet, and who knows how many
more tzaros we have to contend with because of Camp David.
was responsible in no small measure for these agreements.
would put it like this: Sharon was roped in. The leader who accepted the
decision was Menachem Begin, and only he is responsible for what happened. At
the time, I asked Begin to express regret for what he did so that others wouldnít
follow his lead. It was Sharon who was the only one to openly express regret for
what happened in Sinai. He was interviewed and even wrote articles about it. I
have yet to see an Israeli leader admit his mistakes.
you saying that you have confidence in Sharon?
can rely only on Hashem. I donít rely on any leaders. You have to constantly
keep your finger on the pulse and not fall asleep while on guard. Iím sorry to
say that even the leadership of Yesha is not active enough in the goal of
averting the evil decree. I think we failed in Yamit and weíre not on track
you have a connection with the Rebbe?
always read the Rebbeís sichos about Eretz Yisroel, and they opened my
eyes. I saw the awesome power of the Rebbe in his addressing the issues of the
time. On 30 Nissan 5750 I visited the Rebbe at "dollars" and the Rebbe
told me that regarding the political situation, his position of not giving an
inch was known.
they evacuated Yamit, we were in touch with the Rebbe and his Chassidim in Eretz
Yisroel. Iíd like to mention Chabad spokesman Berke Wolf, aíh, who
helped us tremendously in the stubborn battle over Yamit, along with other
Chabad Chassidim who came to help us.
call upon Chabad Chassidim to join the fray regarding the future of Eretz
Yisroel. Itís no simple matter and we need a lot of patience to win. Whoever
walks in the sure paths of the Rebbe must be alert seven times over, in light of
whatís going on here.
go back 19 years to the withdrawal from Yamit. What happened back then?
nation was euphoric over peace. Many settlers took the reparations being offered
them in exchange for leaving Yamit, causing us to be insufficiently united. Iím
sure that if we had been united we could have stopped the disgrace.
was one of the founders of Yamit, and I was the last one to leave. We founded
the Maoz organization in order to fight the withdrawal. We did a lot, but
obviously not enough. We were a few against the many.
never forget the day they evacuated me, a black day in my life. Youíll
remember that there was tremendous opposition from Yamit. Many waited to see how
Avi Parchan would be evacuated. Would he physically oppose them?
of soldiers came in order to evacuate me. I went outside to take care of my lawn
and the commander came to take me out of the settlement. I asked him to hold a
flag-raising ceremony before he evacuated me. Then I began to walk to
Yerushalayim with the sign, "From Yamit to Yerushalayim," along with
my wife and eldest daughter. I walked all the way to Yerushalayim, accompanied
by lots of people from the media.
went to the Kotel where thousands were gathered. Rabbi Getz, the rav of
the Kotel, greeted me and took my sign which he put away until I would
return to Yamit.
moved to the Gaza Strip, to a yishuv called Eli Sinai, which expresses
the yearning to return to Sinai.
did the dismantling of Yamit affect you and your friends?
evacuation of Yamit was tremendously traumatic. It left scars even on those who
took reparations. They forcefully took people out of their homes and destroyed
the very houses that provided people with a sense of security. Many people were
emotionally hurt by this. These scars will never disappear. I call upon all
prime ministers, past and present, not to repeat the mistake Begin made, a
mistake that brought us to Oslo and to all the troubles we are suffering from
your evacuation from Yamit, you became a baal teshuva.
What made you take that step?
made a soul-reckoning, and I began to ask people what it is that has kept us
going for thousands of years. The answer was the Torah. The withdrawal from
Sinai was not merely a territorial withdrawal from a particular area, but a deep
withdrawal from values, from Eretz Yisroel, and from our Torah.
how many others saw it as well. After the evacuation, people from Yamit cried
and asked: Now how will we educate our children? With which values? These
questions caused may people to return to the sources.
believing Jews we donít have to be influenced by what goes on. We must be
strong and raise a hue and cry and stand in the breach, and we hope that with
Hashemís help, our nation will reunite. It wonít be long before everybody
recognizes the real problems in light of the challenges that will face them, and
with Hashemís help we will be speedily redeemed.