There are five chapters in the Biblical book of Lamentations. The verses of four of these chapters begin with successive letters of the Hebrew alphabet. However in three of these chapters there is an exception - the verse beginning with the letter “pe” preceeds that of the letter “ayin.” The Rabbis of the Talmud gave a reason for this. “Pe” means mouth and “ayin” means eye. The spies sent by Moses to spy out the Promised Land returned with a bad report - they spoke with their mouth what they had not seen with their eyes - “pe” preceeded “ayin.”
One can learn an important lesson from this. One must not say things until one is sure of the facts. However, almost everyone condemns Baruch Goldstein without being aware of the facts. This is the gross injustice done to the memory of Baruch Goldstein.
This book has thus been dedicated to “Truth and Justice”. Every man is entitled to a fair trial at which he can put forward his defence and at which judges do not decide on his guilt before hearing all the evidence. Until he is proven guilty, a man is innocent.
Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s representatives (his widow, his family. his friends, his lawyer etc.) have never been given this opportunity. Even though he was already dead, Supreme Court Judge Zvi Tal said, “We are talking about a very serious stigma” and felt that his widow Miriam Goldstein should be given the opportunity to defend her husband Baruch. The stigma is probably even greater than Judge Tal anticipated.
This “very severe stigma” has unquestionably affected Baruch Goldstein’s reputation. As we have seen, during his lifetime he was regarded by all as a remarkably dedicated doctor who was on duty literally 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He would treat both Jew and Arab and saved numerous lives including many victims of terror and road accidents.
In addition people publishing material about him have found themselves summoned for police questioning, put on trial and convicted. Even his grave has not been left alone. His widow has been denied the pension granted to women widowed as a result of terrorist action.
It is thus necessary to investigate what exactly happened in the Cave of Machpelah on Purim morning, Friday 25 February 1994. Is Baruch Goldstein’s killing of 29 Arabs to be classed as a “massacre of Arabs” or a “pre-emptive strike to prevent a massacre of Jews”?
I suggest the setting up of a Commission of Inquiry composed of 3 or 5 members who are acceptable to both the Israeli authorities and to Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s family. Both sides must undertake to accept the findings of this Commission without any further appeal.
Representatives of the Israeli authorities and of the Goldstein family would have the right to call or subpoena witnesses, question and cross examine them and call for the relevant documents to be produced.
Sessions of this commission should be open to the public. Should however, there be any material which could affect state security, then such sessions could be held in camera; in the interests of “open justice,” this should be kept to a minimum.
After hearing all the evidence, the members of the Commission would have to decide on only one question. Were Dr. Baruch Goldstein’s actions that Purim a massacre of Arabs or a pre-emptive strike to prevent a massacre of Jews?
If it were to be found to be a massacre of Arabs, then any condemnation and revulsion would be fully and completely justified. If, on the other hand, it were found to be a pre-emptive strike to prevent a massacre of Jews, then all condemnation and vilification of Dr. Baruch Goldstein would have to stop forthwith, and all measures taken on the basis of considering these actions to be a massacre would have to be corrected.