Ten Years: Memorial to Adir Zik, Media Legend

Moshe Kempinski

Israel mourns two brilliant religious Zionist publicists, Uri Elitzur and MK Uri Orbach, both of whom died recently. Sadly, this week a memorial was held for another legendary religious Zionist media figure, Adir Zik, who died ten years ago.

Arutz Sheva reposts an article written shortly after Adir Zik’s death, ten years ago, by one of our veteran writers. In the past few months, Israel’s religious Zionist community also lost two of its most outstanding, nationally renowned public figures, journalist Uri Elitzur and writer-media figure turned MK, Uri Orbach.

Last week, Adir Zik, a faithful voice of Israel, was laid to rest on the rocky slopes of the Mount of Olives. The weather had turned bitter and cold. The dark clouds of Jerusalem opened and rain fell intermittently on the thousands who came to pay their last respects.

Adir Zik passed away Sunday evening last week after a long battle with cancer.

Adir found his way into observant Judaism at an early age and became a regular at the “Modzitz” synagogue in Tel Aviv. He was enthralled by the melodies and prayers of the synagogue. He convinced his parents to send him to a religious school, thus beginning a life-long love affair with his faith and his people.

During the 1960s, he traveled to the United States and studied filmmaking at the University of California. While there, he became very active with the local B’nei Akiva youth movement and began teaching Hebrew in the local day schools. He left an impact on and developed relationships with the young people he met there. Those friendships lasted to his final days.

But it was during the difficult “Oslo” years that Adir Zik carved a place for himself in Jewish history. Then, as today, most of Israel was enchanted by the bewitching phrase “but what if….” The spectre of secular Messianism had spread its blinding spell on the population and everyone seemed to be ready to avoid the facts on the ground and intelligence reports for the sake of a “whiff of peace”.

It was Zik who carried the torch of truth into those darkened years. With his radio show, “Zikukin Shel Adir” (“The Sparks of Adir”), which aired every Friday morning for fifteen years, he rallied the faithful and spoke strength and optimism into their very souls. People who did not want to let their clear-sighted vision get blunted by the euphoria of the secular media and the wishful fantasies of our politicians planned their days around Adir’s broadcasts.

His message focused on optimism, Torah and a call for total dedication to the destiny of this People and their Land.

The supporters of the Oslo concept and the media vilified the man. Many of them had liked and respected Adir, as he was instrumental in establishing Israel’s fledgling television industry. They could not, on the other hand, forgive him for speaking so very bluntly against their faulty vision and that vision’s faulty leaders.

He stood against the Oslo Accords and led the battle against the agent provocateur Avishai Raviv, who was sent in by the Israeli security services into the ranks of the dissenters. Raviv created a fictitious right-wing group called Eyal and used it to discredit all the activists struggling against the Oslo plans. It was Adir’s constant barrage of questions that finally led to the call for a government investigation into Raviv in November of 1997.

Adir Zik had no allegiance to any government institution or individual if either were in opposition to his faithfulness to the Torah, the people of Israel and the land of Israel.

On the bitterly cold day of his funeral, I frantically tried to find a parking space near the funeral home. Before I was able to, the funeral cortege began making its way up to the Mount of Olives. As I maneuvered my car through the overwhelmingly congested roads, I saw young people all along the road trying to hitch a ride to the gravesite. I quickly filled up my car with these young people. Some had come great distances to pay last respects to the man whom they loved and who so loved these young pioneers.

We tried to find our ways up the small paths of the Mount of Olives. As we raced up the narrow steep passages, we saw thousands all around involved in the search for the gravesite. Nothing would stop any of these people – not the cold, not the rain, not the unwelcoming Arab neighbours.

Adir Zik deserved the funeral of a hero of Israel. As we came close to the top of the mount, we saw the throngs of people – young and old, men, women and children. They had come in their thousands.

As the skies darkened, we walked past the spectacular view of the Temple Mount that Adir loved so dearly. Thousands huddled together for warmth and strength. All felt an incredible need to pick up a stone and walk past the rain-drenched mound of earth to place it on his gravesite.

The laying of a small stone on a grave is an ancient tradition. Just as stones do not wither away, neither will Adir’s memory, nor his vision; nor will his voice be stilled.

As I stood by the grave, I thought of the times that he brought us to laughter, to anger, to hope and to tears. I remembered how he painstakingly said goodbye on his show to all the innocent Jews killed during the week. He vowed not to forget them or their vision. Now, we are left with the same vow.

Several months ago, I had seen Adir Zik with two Jewish friends visiting from Peru. I rushed up to greet him and expressed my joy at seeing him up and about and walking through the Old City. Adir introduced the two tourists as “two important Jews from Peru.” I turned to them and said that they must already realize they were in the presence of a very important Jew in the person of Adir Zik. I told them that when those who were faithful to the land of Israel and its destiny were maligned and ridiculed, Adir Zik was our voice. His gruff and booming voice gave us strength, faith and determination, and the Jewish people owe him a great debt of gratitude. The two visitors nodded in agreement and Adir looked down sheepishly.

Several days before Adir’s passing away, the rabbis had called for a Taanit Dibbur (a fast of silence) on the 28th day of Shevat (February 7). Those who took it upon themselves to fast were to refrain from speech and conversation except for prayer and the reciting of chapters of Psalms.

It was on that day that Adir Zik left this world.

It was on that day that the voice of the faithful of Israel was stilled in this world.

It is a voice that will be heard on high, in the Heavenly Court of Justice in the Heavens.

It is to that Court that Adir Zik was summoned to speak for his people.

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