LTTN med xp logoWhat is the truth about the Golan Heights

by Rabbi Chaim Richman

1995 Light to the Nations, Rabbi Chaim Richman - All Rights Reserved
Reprinted from The Restoration newsletter, May, 1995 (Iyar/Sivan, 5755)


Who Does It Belong To? Can Israel Survive Without It?

Now that Gaza and part of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”) have been turned over to the Palestinians, tremendous pressure is being mounted against Israel to make “peace” (read: more suicidal concessions) with Syria. President Haffez Assad of Syria has made it perfectly clear that as far as he is concerned, this can only come about if Israel returns the Golan Heights to Syria.



The Golan falls within the Biblical boundaries of the Land of Israel, and was always part of the Jewish homeland. Syria has never had any real claim to this land at all. In fact, the country of Syria as a separate recognizable political entity did not even exist until after the first World War. Until then it had been controlled as a province in the Ottoman Empire, and its borders had always been unclear. It was only in 1923, as part of a deal between England and France, that this northern border between Syria and then British-controlled Palestine was established, and the Golan Heights were ceded to Syria.

Long before the state of Israel was established in 1948, the Syrians turned this area into a military fortress and conducted near-constant, daily routine shelling of Israeli northern villages. This was the pattern of everyday “normal” life in northern Israel. Then, Syria attacked Israel in the Six Day War of June, 1967 - and was defeated. Israel “occupied” the Heights and annexed them in 1981.

Who is Syria, and Who is Haffez Assad?

The United States Department of State has long officially branded Syria a narcotics-dealing, terrorist state. It is the most dangerous and destabilizing influence in the Middle East.

Under its tyrannical president, Haffez Assad, Syria has established itself as a leader and center in global terrorism. It is well known that Nazi war criminals are welcomed and given safety and protection there. Most authorities are convinced that Assad was behind the suicide attack in Beirut which left 241 American Marines dead, as well having been the final authority over the explosion of Pan Am flight #103 in which 270 people were killed. But many people are unaware that he also oversees over one of the largest narcotics empires in the world.

The Necessity Of The Golan Heights For Israel’s Military Security

Just how big is the entire area of the Golan Heights? What is the area which it covers? The media gives one the impression that A) this area is huge; and B) that it is of vast territorial importance to Syria. Actually, the Golan Heights comprises less than 1% of the entire territory of Syria! It is approximately the size of Queens, New York - about 10 miles wide. But to Israel - whose entire territory amounts to an area the size of New Jersey - its strategic importance is beyond measure. Its high ground provides Israel with the capability for early warning. Without this, Israel could be caught by a Syrian surprise attack... exactly what transpired in 1948, 1967, and 1973. Without this edge of preparedness, Israel would find it necessary to maintain a constant state of mobilization and readiness... a perpetual state of alert. The Heights range up to 2300 ft., and dominate over the Jordan Valley - the lowest point on earth (700 ft. below sea level). With the Golan in Syrian hands, meaning that Israel would also be lacking the radar installations that give her warning of any military movements, Israel could be literally overrun by thousands of tanks, joined by missiles and aircraft, within hours. Additionally, the Golan Heights are the source of over 1/3 of Israel’s fresh water supply. Syria has already attempted in the past (1964) to divert these waters and cripple Israel. If given the chance, will she try again?

After close to 50 years dominated by bitter wars, the current government of Israel understandably seeks to bring peace to its people. But if they return to the borders of 1967, Israel will only survive by relying on the promises and good will of the Arab states. We have already seen what such promises are worth. With the Golan under Israeli control, attacking forces would be assured of defeat. This assurance is the greatest guarantee of peace.

In Short: The key to Israel’s survival and security is not the stationing of American troops on the Golan... It is keeping the Golan in Israeli hands. The alternative is an invitation to war.