• FEATURES \ May 02, 2003
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    All Extremists in the world unite for a cause
All Extremists in the world unite for a cause In another few days, Tourism Minister Benny Elon (National Union) will make public a plan he has prepared that seeks to resolve the Palestinian question once and for all. Sharon is unlikely to adopt the plan, though. True, it proposes a two-state model, but as part of the plan, the Palestinian state will be established in Jordan and will then, of course, maintain friendly and peaceful relations with Israel. King Abdullah will not have to abdicate and there will be no urgent need to bring about the collapse of the Hashemite regime. Abdullah can become part of the new regime.

Elon saw no need to attend the emergency meeting; He has his own way to torpedo attempts of this kind by prime ministers. His immediate plan is to make a tour of the Bible Belt in the United States in which he will meet with politicians, public figures, lobbyists and thousands of Evangelists whose soul goes out to Zion. This is the new arena of activity for the Israeli right. For everyone who wants to thwart a political move involving Israel and the Palestinians, everyone who wants to organize a petition against the president of the United States, everyone who believes that the Land of Israel belongs in full and forever to the Jewish people - a visit to this community is mandatory.

The Christian fundamentalists have hooked up with their Jewish allies and created a formidable messianic alignment. The events of September 11, 2001, intensified this Jewish-Christian alliance, which includes some 40 million Americans. "I am very much at home among the Christians who support Israel," Elon stated proudly. "These are people who are wild about Israel and believe in the annexation of Judea and Samaria and even in the transfer of Palestinians from the soil of the Land of Israel. Compared to them, I am considered a dove."

These believers are not acting solely for the sake of heaven. While many are motivated by the divine imperative in the Bible, from which they conclude that they should love the Jews, others are driven by messianic fervor. A war of Gog and Magog, they believe, will herald the second coming of Jesus, and the Jews will have to become Christians; those who refuse will be put to death.

But that bridge will be crossed when we come to it. In the meantime, they say, until that critical period arrives, the world can expect good things: Islam will disappear or undergo a radical transformation.

"It's clear that Islam is on the way to disappearing," Elon asserts with certainty. "What we are now seeing across the Muslim world is not a powerful surge of faith but the dying embers of Islam. How will it disappear? Very simply. Within a few years a Christian crusade against Islam will be launched, which will be the major event of this millennium. Obviously, we will be up against quite a large problem when only the two great religions of Judaism and Christianity remain, but that's still a long way off."

Until then the road map is stuck in Elon's throat like a bone. Like his settler colleagues, he too suspected Sharon's intentions from the beginning. His apprehension only increased in the wake of Sharon's interview with Haaretz last month in which he ceded Beit El, Shilo and Bethlehem. Elon, a resident of Beit El, was appalled. "I felt a terrible pain, I even cried," he relates. "I told the others that we will fight Sharon with all our might. He should know that we will cut ourselves off from him long before Israel cuts itself off from Beit El."

Elon has a complex relationship with Sharon, who, he says, suffers from a "founders' syndrome." He refers to people who established the state and fought for it, but were seized by weakness in their old age. Elon is convinced that Sharon's ambition is to leave behind a peace treaty after he dies. "He was the one who established the settlements and the outposts, and now he feels the need to close the circle and evacuate them. We will not let him ... Just as Ashkelon was once Majdal, Ramallah will cease to be Ramallah. It will become Ramat El [`height of God']. I have no doubt that within a few years the refugee camps will no longer be here. The whole people of Israel will return to the Land of Israel."