Friday, November 30, 2007

Annapolitics



Annapolitics
by David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron
November 28, 2007


During the early evening hours of March 19, some eight months ago, Hebron's Jewish community moved into a 35,000 sq. foot building, located on the main road between Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The building, purchased for over $700,000, was named "Beit HaShalom."


Initial police investigations led to a positive conclusion: the purchase is 100% kosher. The IDF commander of the Hebron region had no objection to a Jewish presence in the house; to the contrary, he regarded the site as a strategic asset and gave his blessings to the purchase.


However, members of the government, with then Defense Minister Amir Peretz at the forefront, demanded a solution to the new "Jewish problem" in Hebron. They didn't have long to wait. A recently invented military order, never before implemented, was pulled off the shelves: "An order against bothering usage." Hearings, based on this strange military order, began before a military appeals panel of three judges.


Twenty nine days after the Hebron community claimed the building, a Hebron Arab named Rajbi issued a claim in the Israeli Supreme court, saying that the building belonged to him and that he had not sold it to the Hebron Jewish community. (His claim was filed while he was being held in a Palestinian authority jail in Jericho. His lawyers claimed he was being held for his own protection).


The timing of the complaint must be noted. Squatters can easily be evicted for up to thirty days following their occupancy of a building. After that time period, eviction becomes much more complicated. Rajbi demanded that the Jews be expelled using this 'squatters' eviction law.'


Concurrently the police, who originally found the purchase documents to be in order, notified the court that they now had a suspicion that some of the documents were forged. Supreme Court president Dorit Beinish ordered the police to conclude their investigation within 45 days and report back to the court. (Justice Beinish, it should be noted, recently met with the American ambassador in Israel and discussed with him 'the settlers and the settlements.')


The police were unable to complete their investigation within 45 days; they delayed their report to the court four times.


A week and a half ago the prosecutor's office finally reported back to the Supreme Court: following conclusion of the police investigation, the prosecutor's office would support eviction of the Jews from Beit HaShalom, on the basis of the "squatters' eviction law.' However, they gave absolutely no reason for this conclusion. They made no mention of falsified documents, or of a fraudulent purchase. The impression left with the media was that the purchase was illegal, but no proof was offered.


Yesterday, during another hearing held by the military appeals panel, the judges demanded that the prosecutor explain their findings concerning eviction using the 'squatters' eviction law.' She responded: "…the position of the State is that the sale was kosher (i.e. legitimate)."


Yet, several hours later Hebron's attorney received an eviction notice stating that the building would be evacuated within 48 hours based on the "squatters' eviction law", during which time the decision could be appealed.


In other words, the sale of the building was legitimate, the documents are all in order, yet Jews still cannot live there. Why? Quite simply: Annapolitics.


Annapolitics has nothing to do with justice, fairness, objectivity, or basic human rights. According to various high-level sources, Israel, pre-Annapolis, promised the Arabs and Bush that the Jewish residents of Beit HaShalom would be expelled from the building in the very near future. The fact that the purchase was legal is irrelevant. The only factor which matters is appeasement: appeasing our enemies on both sides of the line: the Americans and the Arabs.


Make no mistake. The Americans are enemies. Under the leadership of Rice and Bush (in that order) the United States has been transformed into one of Israel's most dangerous foes. The policies being forced down our throats, including abandonment of virtually all of Judea and Samaria, as well as Jerusalem, is only the beginning. The Golan Heights are not far behind.


Why? It's likely that Rice and Bush are placing their history- legacy hopes on a miraculous Middle East peace accord. However, there's another reason - this is the price America is demanding of Israel to take care of the Iranian nuclear threat. But for Israel, this is like asking which do you prefer, to be murdered or assisted suicide?!


Israel's leaders aren't overly righteous either. Olmert: the results of 1967 will be changed significantly, and Foreign Secretary Tzippy Livni: 'it's no longer Arab against Jew, rather moderate against extremist.' These words leave little doubt as to the direction they are taking and how we, the residents of Judea and Samaria, will be defined (in one breath with Hamas and Hizballah).


What can we pray for? Also very simple. The lynchpin of this entire absurdity is Abu Mazen – Mahmoud Abbas, 'president' of the PA.


If Olmert goes, Tzippy, Barak and Bibi are waiting in the wings. Bibi – his reaction wasn't one of horror, rather that we conceded too much without getting anything in return. And when Bush concludes his presidency, who knows who will replace him.


But if Abu Mazen should disappear from the scene, the deal's off. So, maybe we should pray that Hamas get to him ASAP. They know how to do the job and he's more than likely in their sights. Why should the Jews of Hebron have to be the first sacrifice of Annapolitics?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Dirty Diapers

Dirty Diapers

David Wilder
November 14, 2007


The first step is to dispel all illusions. There shouldn't be any false hopes or mistaken impressions. Yesha council leaders called it an 'impending tsunami.' Big mistake number one: it is not impending; it is already upon us.
There may be those who are unaware of what's going on. Hebron is a good place for a beginner's education.
The purchase of Beit HaShalom, that huge 3,500 square meter structure between Hebron and Kiryat Arba some eight months ago is history. Presently eight families, including lots of children, are keeping Beit HaShalom Jewish. If there were not living there, in almost subhuman conditions, the site would have been long lost to Hebron's Jewish Community. As it is, the powers-that-be are doing their utmost to have us expelled from here too, but the wheels of justice spin slowly.
Where do things stand at the moment?  Following purchase of the building, one of the neighborhood Arabs began dancing a war jig, claiming that the building belonged to him. Actually, he was involved in the purchase as a middleman, and had absolutely no idea who the actual buyer was. When the purchase was concluded, he had no choice but to scream bloody murder, otherwise his brethren would first torture and then kill him. During questioning by the Israeli police, he was shown a film of himself counting the money he'd received for the building. His response: I gave the money back and canceled the deal.
As a result of his loud denials and claims that the documents were forgeries, the Israeli supreme court ordered a police investigation to determine the legitimacy of the purchase. The initial police inquiries in March showed that the purchase was indeed legal, that the papers were in order. However that was not enough for the Supreme court. A second, in-depth investigation was necessary. The police were ordered to hand over their findings within 45 days. In the mean time, the Jewish residents of the building were forbidden to make any structural changes at the site. Any construction, or anything resembling construction, would necessitate a special permit, granted by the Defense ministry or the Israeli Civil Administration, a quasi-military organization under the jurisdiction of the Defense ministry, i.e., the government.
Forty five days came and went; the police returned to the court and requested an extension; the investigation was still under way. Since then, the police have requested numerous extensions, their job not yet completed.
In the meantime, winter approaches. Winter means wind, rain and cold. The residents of Beit HaShalom, perched on a hill overlooking Hebron and Kiryat Arba, began preparing for five or six months of winter. However, there were a number of issues to deal with. The building's windows were all open with no possibility of being closed because glass had never been installed. There was only one electric line running into the building, nowhere near the power needed to allow the residents to live normally. The third problem: the roof had never been sealed. Heavy rain would cause major leaks inside people's living quarters. 
Hebron's leadership requested a permit from the Defense ministry on humanitarian grounds to: tar the roof, close the windows, and install additional electric lines. This request reached the desk of Defense Minister Barak. Barak, in August, refused to allow negotiations and delay forced expulsion of two families from the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood. He gave the final orders: send in 3,000 troops to throw out the 'settlers.' Barak remained true to form and refused the latest request: no tar, windows or electricity.
The community appealed this decision to the Civil Administration military panel. Last week the answer came in: No, no, and no. The windows and electricity were refused unanimously. The tar was voted down two to one. Such actions, taken by Jews in a disputed building, might be considered an 'act of ownership.' Children, rain, winter, humanitarianism aside: let them suffer.
I've been told that the Israeli courts ruled, concerning illegal Bedouin settlements in the Negev in south Israel, that the government must allow them proper infrastructures on humanitarian grounds. Bedouins yes, Hebron Jews, no
Make no mistake, we will heat the building, using a generator and portable heating units. The fuel is very expensive – at least $6,000 a month. (That's over $30,000 for the winter.) The equipment will cost over $5,000. The real problem will be the leaky roof. However, we'll find a way to deal with that too. That's not really the problem. The real issue is the attitude of those people called 'leaders' – running the country. 
It really shouldn't come as a surprise. After all, the government abandoned Yesha's Jews during the Oslo War, allowing people throughout Judea and Samaria to be shot at for over two years with almost no reaction or serious attempt to stop the attacks. So too in Gush Katif, where missiles fell for over five years. The reward for their heroism: expulsion and further abandonment. 
Again, the war drums are rumbling. A synchronized orchestra, conducted by the American Secretary of State, with the Israeli prime minister standing in the wings, acting as first violin, reminiscent of legends of Nero's fiddling as Rome burned.  
This being the case, what's the big deal, a few cold, wet Jews in Hebron?!
The big deal is that all of these instances are absolutely nothing compared to what's being planned. Tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of Jews expelled from their homes, with nowhere to go. The heart of Israel being abandoned to the deadliest terrorists on the face of the earth, disguised as 'partners for peace.' Hebron, Jerusalem, Beit El, Shilo, - all to be disposed of, like a dirty diaper. Not only the places; the people too. And that is exactly how they will relate to us: the like contents of a dirty diaper.
It's not yet too late, but the countdown is getting close to liftoff. Don't be fooled and don't be surprised: This is what's in store for us in Israel. And afterwards, when our 'partners' start shooting down planes flying into, or leaving Ben Gurion airport, don't say you weren't warned.
Happy winter.
 

Sunday, November 4, 2007

n Open Letter to Sect'y Rice


An Open Letter to Sect'y Rice
Nov. 4, 2007

Change the direction in which you are heading.
From David Wilder
The Honorable Dr. Condoleezza Rice
Secretary of State
United States Department of State
Washington, DC 20520
USA

All your efforts and actions will cause the region and its residents much more suffering and bloodshed.
Dear Secretary Rice,

We notice that recently you have been pledging much effort and time to the Middle East. We are sure that you are doing this on behalf of those who live in this region, and that your efforts are meant to ordain a better future for the region and its inhabitants.

We might appreciate these intentions if we did not know clearly that all your efforts and actions will cause the region and its residents much more suffering and bloodshed. Moreover, the goals that you have established are totally contrary to justice, the Bible, and the rights of the Jews in this country.

We wish to remind you, Dr. Rice, that in the Bible, this land was promised to the Jewish people some 4,000 years ago. Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, purchased Hebron more than 3,800 years ago. The Jews left Egypt in order to go to their country, the Holy Land, the Land of Israel, 3,500 years ago. Here, they established a state 3,300 years ago. This state became the kingdom of the Jewish King David, 3,000 years ago. The Temple stood in the center of the country, Jerusalem, and, after being destroyed by the Babylonians, it was rebuilt some 2,000 years ago. In all of those generations, this land was the sole homeland of the Jewish people. Only the Jewish people gave it independence. Only they lent it a distinct identity.

Please bear in mind that by the time Arabs reached this country, it had belonged to the Jews for thousands of years. The Arabs destroyed the country and caused its inhabitants much suffering. They never established an independent state in this country and never contributed a thing to its development. Under Arab rule, most of the country was unpopulated and desolate, covered with marshes and deserts - as your countryman, the renowned Mark Twain, described in his unforgettable book The Innocents Abroad.

The Holy Land remained abandoned, as if loyally waiting for its offspring to return. The Jewish people, too, remained true to its land for millennia and aspired to return to it. Jews began to return to the Land of Israel about 140 years ago and started to make it blossom, cultivate its soil and build it.

Then, the Arabs woke up and embarked on acts of terror and murderous attacks. In 1929, lethal Arab terror brought on the destruction of the world's most ancient Jewish community, that of Hebron. Arabs butchered seventy Jews, brutalized and raped dozens of women, and banished the survivors. The mastermind of pogroms against the Jews of the Land of Israel in the 1920s, the Arab leader Amin Al-Husayni, the founder of 
The Holy Land remained abandoned, as if loyally waiting for its offspring to return.
Palestinian nationalism, went so far as to meet with Hitler during the Holocaust and to plan, in common cause, the annihilation of all Jews in the Land of Israel. He even established Muslim units in the Nazi army. These aspirations have been typical of the Palestinian leadership ever since.

Even if Arabs have personal human rights, they have never had any collective national rights in this country. This is clear to anyone who has average schooling. However, to secure national rights that they never had, the Arabs established terror organizations of which the PLO was the first. These organizations specialize in the murder of civilians - men, women and children, mainly Jews and Israelis, but also many others, including no few American citizens. From the moment Israel recognized the PLO and gave it land in certain parts of the country, these areas have become incubators of terrorism, suffering, and corruption.

Not long ago, it transpired that the PLO had become so corrupt and reviled an entity that the Arabs themselves gave rise to a much more murderous enemy, Hamas, which very easily seized power in the Gaza Strip by means of gruesome acts of terror. Your persistence in trying to hand further areas to the PLO will certainly inflict more terrorism, more suffering, and more bloodshed on the entire region and its inhabitants.

Moreover, you constantly ignore the rights of the Jews in this territory, their historical and sole country and homeland. The Jewish community has returned to Hebron and is revitalizing the Jewish quarter and the synagogues that the Arabs destroyed. We have full rights to these properties and buildings. Your policies are definitely leading to further destruction and killing. Is this how your country treats the property of Jewish communities on American soil?

You must be aware that Jews who remain in any territory that is handed over to the PLO will be easy prey for brutal murder - and a fortiori if the territory falls into the hands of Hamas, as is likely. How can you promote a policy that will deal the Jews so grievous a blow, in their homeland of all places, the historical Holy Land?

Your schemes plainly include the deportation of tens of thousands of Jews from their localities and homes. Therefore, we wish to inform you that we do not intend to leave our homes on any terms. You will have to use force against us in order to transfer the territory, free of Jews, to the murderers' organizations - the PLO and Hamas. This is the 
Is this how the United States fights for justice and against Islamic terror?
direction in which you are leading the Middle East. Is this how the United States fights for justice and against Islamic terror?

We hope you receive these remarks and change the dangerous direction in which you are heading. Please remember: many generations after you conclude your term in office, we, the inhabitants of this region, will still be here and will have to endure the consequences of your policies. Only Israeli control from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River will confer rights upon all people in the region, and maximize the peace and happiness of all inhabitants of the area.

Respectfully,
Noam Arnon, David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron

Thursday, November 1, 2007

We are part of the story


November 01, 2007

This morning I read an unusually positive and touching article about Hebron in the NRG (Ma'ariv newspaper) internet site. [http://tinyurl.com/2e2ye8] The article contrasts the usual texts citing the "violent, extremist, law-breaking Jewish settlers" who are preventing I don't know how many hundreds of thousands of Arabs from living a normal life due to their presence in Hebron.
Every once in a while it's nice to sit back and enjoy a well-written, truthful article about the city of Abraham.
Approaching Shabbat Parshat Chaye Sarah I cannot help but reflect back to the founders of our People and wonder what they would say about all that is transpiring today.
I've no doubt that Abraham and Sarah would really enjoy participating in this week's Shabbat events in Hebron. Tens of thousands will visit Hebron and Kiryat Arba, praying at Ma'arat HaMachpela, joining tours in English, Hebrew, and probably other languages too. The streets will be full, literally from sundown to sundown, with tents polka-dotting gardens, parks, and anywhere there are a few meters to throw down a sleeping bag or two. The thousands who have registered in advance will receive Shabbat meals, ready to be devoured. Probably during the days of our Matriarchs, registration wouldn't have been necessary. Sarah, Rivka and Lea would probably have whipped up food for the multitudes without any fanfare. That is part of their legacy and part of our heritage. Such is the main trait of Abraham – chesed: abounding loving-kindness and good deeds.
This is the common conception of our Forefather Abraham. So too the Torah relates to him, both on a simple level and also on a much deeper spiritual plane. Jewish Kabbalah explains that Abraham is an embodiment of chesed and uses him to exemplify this trait.
However, it cannot be ignored that there is another side to our father Abraham – Avraham Avinu, also very much a part of his character, yet stressed less.
In Jewish mysticism, next on the list of traits, following chesed, lovingkindness, is gevura. Gevura can be defined in different ways. It means courage. But courage can take on many faces. For instance, our Sages teach us, "who is a gibor – he who is able to conquer his desires." In other words, gevura can mean physical heroism, but it also connotates spiritual courageousness, in this case, being able to overcome. Overcoming demands tremendous inner strength. Whereas chesed is a seemingly outgoing trait, gevora can be the opposite, expressing an almost introverted characteristic.
Usually this trait is related to Avraham Avinu's son, Yitzhak. In Jewish thought he represents the idea of gevura. But in truth, the holy Zohar teaches us that Avraham's original personality reflected not chesed, rather Gevura.
Three brief examples: 1) When Avraham was informed that his nephew Lot was taken as a prisoner of war, he stopped everything he was doing, put together an army, and pursued those who had captured him. Only after prolonged warfare, when he defeated his enemy and rescued Lot, did he return home. And then, as is related in the Bible, he refused to take any financial reward for his efforts.
2) Last week we read how Avraham was commanded to take his son from Hebron to Jerusalem and offer him as a sacrifice to G-d on Har HaMoria – today known as Temple Mount – Har HaBayit.

Avraham's entire life was built around the rejection of such human sacrifice and belief in one G-d. He had been promised that Yizchak would be his inheritor and continue teaching the world a monotheistic faith. Yet, when commanded by that same G-d who he so believed in to cut his son's throat, he did not hesitate for a moment. Our Sages teach from the Bible Avraham's quickness, his willingness to follow G-d's orders immediately.
These two cases prove without any doubt Avraham's gevura – his courage and heroism, both physically and spiritually. Fighting a war against kings who were, at that time, the rulers of the earth, equivalent to the United States, Russia and the EU all wrapped up as one, is no small feat. Defeating these empires requires skill and cunning. And courage.
Blind obedience in a voice from the heavens, to seemingly destroy ones future, to carry out an act in direct contradiction to all you have been taught, and to all you have educated others to, requires tremendous inner spiritual strength.
Avraham accomplished both of these tasks.
The final example may well have been the most difficult. Having succeeded in fulfilling G-d's word, having fought the war, having taken Yitzhak to Jerusalem, one can only imagine how physically and spiritually exhausted Avraham must have been. It is written that he returned not to Hebron, rather to Beer Sheva. There he received word that his beloved wife Sarah had died suddenly.
A normal person may have questioned G-d: This is my reward for carrying out your commandment? But not Avraham. He travels to Hebron and purchases the caves of Machpela as a burial site for his wife and family.

It is difficult to imagine the depths of the scene. Sarah is lying dead, needing to be interred. Ephron the Hittite demands only a huge sum of money, four hundred silver shekels, perhaps a million dollars in modern currency. Avraham could easily have relented, saying 'let me use the cave, without actually purchasing it.' He could have found another site, certainly not as prestigious, but also not nearly as expensive. But Avraham, knowing the sanctity of the site, having discovered there the tombs of Adam and Eve, knowing that this is the entrance to Gan Edan – the Garden of Eden, knowing that only he could preserve this holy site for his people for all generations to come, withstood the pressures and put the money down on the table. Four hundred silver shekels. The first land transaction in Eretz Yisrael, made by the first Jew, Avraham Avinu.
Avraham's gevura, his courage, his spiritual faith, allowed him to overcome. He was able to risk his life, his future and his money, in order to implement his willingness to obey G-d, in order to prove his true, one hundred percent belief in G-d.
This is what is missing today. True Gevura – an authentic willingness to put it all on the table, to say, 'this is what I (we) believe, and we are not going to move one inch. No concessions, we don't backtrack on our land, our people, our fundamental beliefs! Stand up for it, fight for it, but don't back down. That's what Avraham Avinu would do and say today, no doubt about it.
One of the reasons the newspaper article I mentioned at the beginning of this article is very special is because the author describes the following scene: Walking down to prayer on Friday night at Ma'arat HaMachpela he relates, in a very dry fashion, the fact that they would be praying where Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah are buried, the same people his teacher would tell them stories about in kindergarten. "The child opened his eyes very wide and exclaimed: So Daddy, we are part of the story?!"
Yes, little boy, we are part of the story. We have been for four thousand years, and we will be for the next four thousand years. The hundreds of thousands who flock to Hebron each year, the tremendous outpouring of support at Hebron functions, such as our annual dinner on November 18 in New York, the words and letters we constantly receive are proof: we are part of the story, carrying on in the footsteps of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, of Kalev and David, of generations who dreamt of Hebron and generations that lived and died in Hebron.
Yes, little boy, you are right: we are very much a part of the story.
Happy Shabbat Chaye Sarah.
With blessings from Hebron.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Fried rice


October 26, 2007


A few days ago one of Hebron's least best friends, MK Yossi Beilin, introduced a bill into the Knesset calling for the expulsion of all Jews from Hebron. One of Hebron's best friends, MK Aryeh Eldad, pulled a fast one, introducing the identical bill, except that he exchanged the words, "Jewish Community of Hebron," with the words "Hebron Palestinians."
A great gimmick, which makes a point. Of course the left starting yelling and screaming about racism, to which he replied, 'what about you?" The bill, on its first reading, was defeated 47 to 11.
What bothers me is not Beilin or his friends. They are predictable. I can't say they are totally harmless, but their bark is certainly worse than their bite. What does bother me is the reaction of the present ruling Olmert clan. How did they react? Ministress Ruhama Avraham, answering in the name of the government said that 'this is a diplomatic issue which must be decided by the government, not by the opposition.'
Hearing that response, little red lights start flashing on and off in front of my eyes. My good friends at Arutz 7-Israel National News called me for a response, and this is what I told them:It is ironic that during the very weeks we are reading about Abraham, Hebron, and purchase of Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Knesset should be dealing with a bill promoting expulsion of Jews from Hebron, following in the footsteps of Nazi Mufti Haj Amin el-Hussainei and the British in 1929.
The government
response also leaves much to be desired. The response should have been: Hebron, the first Jewish city in the land of Israel, home of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, site of the 2nd holiest place to Jews in the world, is part of the eternal essence of the Jewish people, the Jewish state and Jewish heritage. It does not stand to reason that such a subject should even be broached. Hebron will remain an integral part of the State of Israel forever." So should have been the response. The fact that it was not so only strengthens the fact that this government must be toppled as soon as possible and a new government, recognizing Hebron's significance, should take power.
Over 70,000 people visited Hebron from R"H Elul thru the end of Succot and tens of thousands are expected next Shabbat, when we read about the purchase of Ma'arat HaMachpela. This is our strength, this is our support and this is our future! [http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/ 124023]
So, the question to be addressed is: why? Why didn't Ministress Avraham (name ring a bell?) say that Hebron will remain Jewish forever?
In the past, PM Olmert, talking about Ma'arat HaMachpela, exclaimed that Israel would never relinquish that holy site. However, he neglected to speak about the Jewish COMMUNITY of Hebron.
Over a half a year ago the Hebron Jewish Community completed purchase of a new, huge structure between Hebron and Kiryat Arba, called it Beit HaShalom, the Peace House, and moved in. Inevitably, due to pressure from the left, and an Arab yelling 'wolf wolf' ('forgery forgery' – which probably saved his life – otherwise he would have been tortured and killed), the case has been in court, and a final decision has yet to be made.
When we bought the building and moved in, the structure was nothing more than a shell. The community installed plasterboard walls, dividing the empty halls into rooms, allowing families to move in. However, there weren't any windows installed, nor were their electric lines hooked up to the building.
Due to leftwing demands and pressures, any construction in the building must be okayed by the Israeli "Civil Administration" or the Defense ministry. A couple of months ago, in preparation for winter, the community requested permission to: install windows, tar the roof to prevent leakage, and install electric lines to allow necessary heating in the building. These requests were based solely on humanitarian needs. The answer we received, straight from the desk of Defense Minister Ehud Barak was "NO!" No electricity, no windows and yes to a leaky roof.
Why did Barak so respond? Seemingly, he wishes to apply pressure on Yesha leaders to agree to remove so-called illegal 'hill-top settlements' (ma'ahzim) without a fight. A total building freeze in Judea and Samaria, including such sanctions in Hebron is, as far as he's concerned, a step in the right (left) direction.
Yet, I'm not so sure. The government and its long, extended arms, have been giving Hebron much grief. Barak refused to reconsider the expulsion and destruction of the homes in the Shalhevet neighborhood this past summer, despite the advice of some of his closest advisors. The 'Civil Administration' has plans to destroy another apartment and a room added onto another home as soon as they get a green light from the Supreme Court. The prosecutor's office is backing the planned destruction. Other pro-Arab, dangerous to Jews measures are also planned for the near future. Where is this all leading to? What is the 'between the lines' translation of Ministress Ruhama Avraham's response concerning Hebron?
I supposed you've already guessed. The answer starts with an "A." No, it's not the regime's report card. But it very well could be Annapolis.
Olmert won't be able to make any deals with Abu-Babbu about Jerusalem; that's still too sticky an issue. He will be able to come out with a declaration about a Palestinian state – 'everyone' agrees with that. But he needs something else, an issue with meat on the bones, to prove one hundred percent that he's serious, that he means business. He needs an issue that 'all' agree is a big bone stuck in the throat of the piece process. The big bone, is, of course, the 'settlements.' Which 'settlement' is the biggest and baddest of them all? Hebron. So what could be better than an announcement in Washington, about the impending removal of those 'problematic' Jews from Hebron?!
I wish it was a far-fetched idea. Unfortunately, I'm not sure it is. I don't know, of course, but wouldn't be surprised.
Who is standing behind the pressure on Israel to make such far reaching concessions? Undoubtedly, the White House. But WHO in the White House? George W. may give his blessings, but the woman running the show, (no, not Hillary yet), is Ms. Rice. Condi, looking for a place in history, realizes that it's now or never. And the American Secretary of State has a lot of punch behind her words. And she's punching, real hard. And George W is saying a lot of Amens.
What have Ms Rice and Mr Bush forgotten? Following the expulsion from Gush Katif the Americans suffered a tremendous catastrophe in New Orleans. Tens of thousands of people were forced from their homes due to the storms and flooding waters of Katrina. That was AFTER some 10,000 people were expelled from Gush Katif and the northern Shomron.
This time lightening struck BEFORE; Just saying the words Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria (and about 80,000 people) – and some 500,000 people had to be evacuated from their houses, with over 1,500 homes destroyed.
Everyone knows that George W. is a 'born-again. And it's said that Condi is real religious herself. But it seems they've forgotten that the G-d of Israel watches over his people, and thoughts and pressures concerning Jerusalem, Hebron, and Eretz Yisrael can have serious repercussions.
According to media reports, authorities in California are looking for arsonists who intentionally set the hellish blaze. Those really responsible are planning the next cataclysm out of the White House: George W and Condi. I call them 'the burning bush' and 'fried rice.'
It should be worthwhile to keep in mind that this may have been the heavenly response to verbal expression of the expulsion from Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem. G-d forbid, what might occur should it actually happen? First, the middle of the country, and now, the west coast. Where's next? Hope we never have to find out. It's preferable not to test the Almighty.
With blessings from Hebron.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Hebron and CNN


August 28, 2007


Hebron and CNN

Following screening of the CNN production "Warriors of G-d", including a 2 hour segment dealing with Judaism and Israel, I think it appropriate to post the following two letters, between myself and Mr. Jonathan Klein, President of CNN/USA. The two letter are, I think, self-explanatory.


I must note, that following my 'revelation,' I notified a number of people who had, like myself, agreed to participate one way or another, with CNN. Some of them immediately ceased all contact with CNN and refused to take part in the program. Others decided to continue.

Each person can draw their own conclusions.


David Wilder

Hebron



From: Hebron [mailto:mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=hebron@hebron.org.il]
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 2007 5:44 PM
To: 'mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=public.information@cnn.com'
Subject: Cnn production of Religion and politics - produced by Andy Segal
Importance: High

Dear Mr. Klein,

A couple of months ago I was approached by one of your Israeli correspondents about participating in a program produced by CNN, dealing with politics and religion in Judaism. He introduced me to Mr. Andy Segal, who is producing the program, and we had several lengthy conversations, first by phone, and later in person, here in Hebron, in Israel. Our conversations were quite open and frank – I saw no reason to hide my suspicions about cooperating with CNN – the network's reputation concerning Israel is less than positive. We discussed this at great length, and at one point Andy requested to center the program around Hebron and the Hebron Jewish community.

Following much thought and conversations with colleagues of mine, I decided to refuse Andy's request, but did agree to participate in a more minor role in the program, basing our response to each request on its own merits.

A couple of weeks ago Andy again made contact and we spoke of several possibilities. He was interested in speaking to a family which had experienced terror first-hand, and had chosen to remain in Hebron, despite their loss and the dangers involved. I decided to try to assist and introduced him to Mrs. Tzippy Shlissel, whose father, Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan, was killed by terrorists in Hebron some eight and a half years ago. He met with her three times: first an introductory meeting, followed by an in-depth interview, and followed, earlier today, by a filmed interview and filming of the family, home, etc.

So far so good.

However…

When we first discussed this project I asked Andy who was responsible for writing the script. He told me that he would be working on it, but there would be others involved. To the best of my recollection, my impression was that he was 'in charge' and for the most part, would determine the outlook of the script and would be 'on top' of the entire project.

This afternoon, that illusion shattered when he mentioned to me that in a few months, the chief international CNN correspondent, Christiane Amanpour, would be coming to Israel and would probably also want to speak with Mrs. Shlissel. Almost in shock, I asked him what her role is in this project. He told me that she is the narrator. I asked if she would have anything to do with writing the script and was told that "I will write the first draft." "Will she have anything to do with writing the final draft?" "Yes."

I then told Andy that had I known she was involved with this project I would not have had anything at all to do with it.

I am personally familiar with Christiane Amanpour. A number of years ago (about 10 years ago) she interviewed me. I had the dubious pleasure to have her yell and scream at me on camera. She obviously wanted me to scream back, so as to show her viewers 'an extremist from Hebron' exploding on camera. I refused to play into her hands and answered all her questions with a relaxed, calm smile on my face. However, I never forgot the interview. I haven't been yelled at, on camera, by too many journalists.

How can CNN produce an 'objective program' about Israel and religious settlers, when one of the prime elements of the program is known to be vehemently 'anti-Israel' and certainly 'anti-settlers,' so to speak? Her reputation is so blatantly prejudiced. For example: http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/anderson.cooper.360/blog/2006/03/from-terrorism-to-trash -collection_28.html

So when people ask: "Why did the Palestinian people elect a terrorist group?" The answer is because they see them as a lifeline.

Each time I go to the Palestinian territory of Gaza, I am shocked by the reality on the ground. On a recent visit, I passed through a short tunnel from the First World in Israel and emerged into the Third World that is Gaza. The poverty there is among the worst in the world.

Hamas officials told me they did not expect to win the election as overwhelmingly as they did. They say their main priority now is to meet the demands of the people for a better life.

But that may be impossible, because Israel and the United States refuse to deal with Hamas and have already cut funding to the new Palestinian government.

Posted By Christiane Amanpour, CNN Correspondent: 11:03 AM ET

A woman who justifies and backs Hamas is going to deal 'fairly' with Jews in Hebron, or anywhere else in Judea and Samaria? She is going to present us as 'religious nuts and fanatics' who are endangering world peace. She is certainly not going to present anything that could be considered positive concerning us, our lifestyles or our beliefs. She is certainly not going to present a balanced, objective program dealing with religious Jews and Eretz Yisrael.

I basically told Andy that I was out – and wouldn't have anything more to do with the project. I put a rather large degree of trust in Andy – I believed that he had the possibility to present an object, balanced program. However, I cannot have any trust whatsoever in Christiane Amanpour, whose reputation stands before her.

Andy Segal told me that you are responsible for this project, that you initiated it. Without being presumptuous, I think it fair to demand that Christiane Amanpour be removed from this project. I cannot imagine that such a biased person could have anything to do with a project dealing with religion and politics in Israel. The results are a foregone conclusion, even before the cameras start rolling. The question is whether the program you are producing is to be an interesting objective account of religion and politics in Israel, or another CNN-produced Israel (settler)-bashing?

I await your reply and hope, very much, to learn that Ms. Amanpour will no longer have anything to do with this project.

Sincerely,

David Wilder
Spokesman
The Jewish Community of Hebron


From: Klein, Jon [mailto: mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=Jon.Klein@turner.com]
Sent: Tuesday, February 13, 2007 6:41 PM
To: mail?view=cm&tf=0&to=hebron@hebron.org.il
Subject: Response to your email dated January 30, 2007

February 13, 2007

Mr. David Wilder
Spokesman
The Jewish Community of Hebron
February 12, 2007

Dear Mr. Wilder,

Let me begin by thanking you for your comments. I am sorry that the Jewish Community of Hebron has chosen not to be represented in our documentary. Our mission is to produce a program that goes far beyond what is normally seen in daily news broadcasts so that our viewers can better understand the people who risk their lives -- and their children's - to live on land they believe is their birthright: Jerusalem and the West Bank. Our goal is not to find fault or fix blame -- but to simply understand. To that end, I believe that you are missing a prime opportunity to be heard, not only in the United States, but in 180 countries around the world, and I would ask you to reconsider.

Regardless of your decision, I stand by CNN's reputation as a fair and impartial source of information. On conflicts as heated and long-standing as that between Israel and the Palestinians it is not surprising that "both sides" are at times unhappy with our reporting. We often hear that we are biased towards the other side, and that may be the surest indication of our impartiality.

Christiane Amanpour is one of our most talented and prominent international correspondents, and she is supported by a team of our strongest producers. In fact Andy Segal, our senior producer, is one of the best. As you probably have discovered, Andy comes to the table prepared. He is fair, honorable and ethical - a journalist who takes his work very seriously. He has produced a number of award-winning documentaries. Andy and his team are researching, producing and writing this documentary, and you can be assured that his reporting will shape the final program. As a spokesman for a prominent organization, I am sure you appreciate the need for others input before you represent the positions and views of Hebron's Jewish community. The same is true at CNN - not only will Ms. Amanpour have input, but so will editors and executives, to insure journalist standards and practices are met. In the end a program like this will be fully vetted and sourced.

I can honestly say that if you decide not to contribute to this program - perhaps the fullest exploration of this issue ever seen on western television - you may regret missing the opportunity to let millions of viewers understand your story. I hope you will reconsider your decision, but if not, you can be assured the program will meet the highest standards of journalism.

Sincerely,

Jon Klein

Jon Klein

President, CNN U.S.

One Time Warner Center

New York, NY 10019

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Professor Hillel Weiss and the Hebron Expulsion: Words and Deeds


August 12, 2007


The past few days have been somewhat traumatic. True, the community had been notified of the impending expulsion. The thousand plus troops, dressed in black, gray, blue and green came as no surprise. Even Yaron London's statements about reviving the spirit of the Altelena, and permitting soldiers to shoot us has been heard before.
But some of the day's events were not expected.
During discussions conducted by the community leadership, one of the subjects raised was the 'western shuk,' i.e. the longer of the two buildings comprising the Rinat Shalhevet neighborhood, the structure perpendicular to the main road leading from the Tomb of the Patriarchs through the community neighborhoods. That building contained six apartments, a Torah study hall, and a room used by the children as a Bnei Akiva youth group club house. For the past year and a half this building was empty. The two families that had 'illegally' moved back into their old homes were in the smaller building, parallel to the road, and adjacent to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and courtyard.
When a decision was made to refrain from voluntarily moving out, as had been done a year and a half ago, the question was raised: should we fill up both buildings with people, or should we just deal with the homes in question, the homes of the Yahalom and Bar Kochva families.
After much discussion it was decided to leave the empty and larger of the two buildings out of the dispute. 'That building is empty – leave it that way. At present the struggle is for the homes of two families – those two apartments, as well as the third home, formerly housed by the Shlissel family, will be the symbol of our opposition and our protest. Those three apartments will be filled with protesters, refusing to leave of their own accord. Should the government demand that these structures be empty, they will have to physically evict us. We won't leave on our own two feet.'
And so it was. The larger of the two buildings was left empty; no struggle took place there. However, the troops that expelled the families and protesters from the smaller building, upon concluding their initial task, took it upon themselves to destroy the six apartments in the larger building. It was a horrible sight to see: Israeli soldiers and police destroying Jewish homes in Hebron, and a Torah study hall, built in memory of a murdered ten-month old infant. It was distinctly reminiscent of other periods of our history, not in Israel, but rather in Russia, Poland, Germany, and other such countries. Then, the predators were Cossacks, and anti-Semitic Jew-haters. Today, in the State of Israel, 2007, the vulturous acts were taken by Jews, in uniform, representing the state.
It is not surprising that people might lose control of themselves. What is surprising is that virtually nobody did lose control. There was little violence initiated by demonstrators. The vicious brutality used was that of the Riot Squad "Yasam" forces and the border police. No one took up weapons against the destroyers, no knives, no guns, and almost no rocks or other dangerous objects. There were a few exceptions to the rule, but very few. Those were the instructions issued to the protestors, and an overwhelming majority abided by this decision.
I know people attending such demonstrations who intentionally leave their weapons at home. Even though they are licensed to carry arms, they lock them up in a closet, 'just to make sure.' However one of the things you cannot leave home is your mouth, or your emotions. Such horrid scenes reach the very depths of a person's neshama, a person's soul, and the suffering can be almost unbearable.
I've know Professor Hillel Weiss for a number years, have read some of his articles and have participated in discussions with him. He is an extremely intelligent man and has very firm beliefs. I personally do not agree with all his ideas or necessarily his form of expression. But clearly, his concern is not for his own benefit or well-being; his concern is for the Jewish people only.
The expressions he uttered towards the military commander of Hebron, Col. Yehuda Fox, are not necessarily to my liking, for a number of reasons. I personally know Col. Fox and, despite my major misgivings about his participation in the expulsion process, I know that he was not responsible for the decisions made on that particular day. But I must admit, even though I would not curse him, there are others that, even if I don't say the words out loud, I certainly think them about them. Not about Col. Fox, but about others, in much higher decision-making positions than the commander of forces in Hebron. There are, unfortunately, people in Israel, making decisions which could, G-d forbid, endanger the existence of the State of Israel. These people deserve whatever hardships should befall them, and you won't find any of us sad about their downfall. Some of these people are ignorant, but others are simply evil, and to hide this fact is stupid blindness. The truth must be met head-on, despite the unpleasantness of it all.
So even though I personally don't agree with Prof. Weiss' words in this particular instance, I find it difficult to swallow the media bias, which lambastes the Professor, but does not print pictures of the pogrom, which left Jewish homes in ruins. Why didn't the press print pictures of the destroyed furniture from the Bar Kochva or Yahalom homes, devastation which was totally unnecessary.
One other thing: true, Prof. Weiss' statements were very harsh. But perhaps people are unaware of a simple fact: Professor Hillel Weiss is the father of Tehila Yahalom , who has now, twice, been evicted from her home. The first time, it should be remembered, she, her husband and family agreed to voluntarily leave their home as part of an agreement with the Commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, who, representing the state, promised that families would soon be able to return to these homes, without any legal hassles. That agreement was broken by the State of Israel. This time she and her husband refused to give in. And Tehila's father, Professor Hillel Weiss, was more than just a little upset.
So, even though his words were harsh, and not necessarily what we would all agree to, Prof. Weiss said the words, but did not execute them. The police and soldiers in Hebron last week may not have said too much, but the damage they did was equivalent to pogroms of a hundred years ago.
Which is worse?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

The Eternal Flame of Hebron


August 08, 2007


Beginning early Monday night the Hebron Jewish Community switched gears, moving into full-speed expulsion mode. The community had been gearing up for the planned expulsion for a few weeks, while at the same time conducting talks with various political and legal authorities in the Knesset and Defense ministry. Months ago the Hebron leadership authorized former Justice Minister, attorney Ya'akov Neeman to present a compromise solution to the issue at hand.


The Avraham Avinu neighborhood was founded by Jews exiled from Spain in 1540. This was the central Jewish community in Hebron for almost 400 years, until the 1929 massacre abruptly decimated the community, with the survivors of the pogrom expelled by the occupying British forces.

Land adjacent to the Jewish Quarter was purchased by Rabbi Haim Bajayo in 1807 on behalf of the community. Following the 1929 expulsion, Hebron Arabs constructed a market place – the Hebron "shuk" at this site. This market operated thru the 1990s – 2000s, being closed in stages by the Israeli Defense Forces for security reasons. The leases on the building expired and Hebron leaders requested to rent them. All requests were denied by the Israeli custodian for abandoned property, under whose auspices the buildings fell.

Following the murder of 10-month old Shalhevet Pass in March, 2001, Hebron residents moved into these empty structures and slowly transformed them into beautiful apartments, nine in number, as well as a Beit Midrash (Torah Study Hall) in Shalhevet's memory. They lived in these apartments for five years, during which time the issue revolved in the Israeli courts, in an effort to remove us from the buildings. A military appeals court recognized the community's ownership of the land and recommended that the buildings be leased to the Jewish community, however this recommendation was rejected by the state Attorney General Eliyakim Rubenstein.

After the expulsion from Gush Katif, the prosecutor's office decided to finally evict families from these apartments also. The day prior to the planned expulsion, community leaders met with General Yair Golan, commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, who offered them a deal. If the community would agree to voluntarily leave the apartments, the government would allow families to 'legally' return within a few months. Following a debate and vote in the middle of the night, the community accepted the deal. The next day the families moved out. A few days later the Attorney General, Menachem Mazuz, publicly announced that 'there had never been a deal.' He later changed this, stating that there had been an agreement, but General Yair Golan was unauthorized to finalize such a deal and it was null and void. This, despite the fact that Golan conducted numerous conversations with his superiors in the Defense ministry during the meeting with him in order to receive authorization to conclude the agreement.

Ten months ago two of the families who had agreed to move out of their homes, moved back in. Left with nowhere to live, and realizing that the agreement would never be honored, they decided enough is enough. With community backing, they returned to their abandoned homes. A few weeks ago the Supreme Court ruled that the government had the authority to again expel them, should they want to. The Israeli prosecutor's office, together with the 'Civil Administration' immediately issued expulsion orders. The families, with community support, refused to again leave voluntarily. Yesterday the expulsion orders were executed.

Hundreds of people came to Hebron to support the families and community. They filled the two family's apartments, as well as a third vacant apartment in the complex. The security forces numbered well over one thousand, including police, border police, the riot squad, and soldiers. At about 6:15 in the morning they attacked.

The doors to the apartments had been welded shut, so it took them some time to break in. People in the apartments offered no violent resistance, but just about everyone had to be dragged out. Where no cameras present, riot squad forces utilized excessive force, beating people and dragging them by their necks. A number of people were injured and necessitated medical treatment.

Within about two hours the apartments were vacant of people. The security forces then began destroying them, literally tearing the apartments apart. Amongst the rooms destroyed was the study hall/synagogue built in Shalhevet Pass' memory. All that was left was the eternal light, left hanging from the ceiling.

Ironically, this, more that anything else, represents the mood of Hebron's Jewish community. On the one hand, we have faced tremendous adversity and demolition. The site of people's homes in ruins is sickening. On the other hand, we know that the city of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, the city where David began the Israelite monarchy, is an essential, eternal element of the Jewish people, which can never be extinguished.

True, there are those who would desire to exterminate us, literally. A veteran, respected Israeli journalist/commentator, Yaron London, said during a television show that the IDF shouldn't have wasted so many soldiers to evict families from their homes. Rather, they should have sent in a small unit and shot the resistors, 'reawakening the spirit of the Altelena.' [ http://news.nana10.co.il/Article/?ArticleID=505495&TypeID=1&sid=126 ]

However, we know that that the light of Hebron, the light of Avraham Avinu, the light of Eretz Yisrael, cannot and never will be doused, not by politicians, not by police and not by bullets. Nothing can destroy the eternal flame of the Jewish people, certainly not the everlasting glow of the holy city of Hebron .

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hebron and Darfur

August 3, 2007
A few days ago I toured with an American family from California. A fifteen-sixteen year old youth asked me the same question any number of times during the two hours we spent together. I don't know if I was able to satisfactorily respond to his queries.
When we were at Beit Hadassah and I described how the women and children living there were surrounded and lived under siege, he asked, "What, Arab police surrounded them?" My response was, of course, "no, Jewish police." "But why would Jewish police do something like that?" he asked.
When I told them the story of a little boy with a tooth-ache who was sent from Beit Hadassah to nearby Kiryat Arba to the dentist, who upon returning to Beit Hadassah wasn't allowed back in, he again asked, "An Arab guard wouldn't let him in?" And of course again I answered, 'no, a Jewish guard." "But why would a Jew do that to a child?"
When we arrived at the Shalhevet neighborhood, the 'shuk,' and I related to them the events leading up to next week's planned expulsion of two families from that site, again he piped up, "Arabs are going to throw you out?" And of course I responded, 'no, Jews are going to expel us.'
He looked at me with astonishment, his eyes wide, filled with question marks. "I don't understand. What does the Israeli government care about two families in the Shalhevet neighborhood in Hebron? Why are they going to forcibly expel families? How can they do that?!"
Very good questions, coming from a young man, first time in Hebron. I have trouble giving him a good answer. Not that I don't know the answer. The question is, how to express it, so that it will be comprehensible.
Yesterday Hebron marked the 78th anniversary of the 1929 riots and massacre during which 67 Jews were slaughtered and over 70 injured. The Washington Post article, which I responded to last week, stated that the survivors 'fled.' This is, of course, a lie. The survivors were expelled. They weren't expelled once. They were expelled twice. First in August, 1929 following the riots, and then again, in the spring of 1936. A large group of families desired to return to Hebron, but were prevented from doing so due to 'political considerations' determined by the Jewish leadership at the time. However a group of some 30 families did move back to Hebron in 1931, and lived in the city until a few days after Passover in 1936. At that time the British again expelled them, saying that the Mufti was inciting, there was going to be trouble, and that the British police wouldn't be able to protect them. They threw them out with the clothes they were wearing, but nothing else. That was the end of a Hebron Jewish community until our return in 1967. It was, for all intensive purposes, the first time in almost a thousand years that Hebron had no Jewish population.
In the 1920s and the 1930s there was no Jewish state, no Jewish army, no Jewish ability to truly defend themselves. Today, 78 years later, we have Jewish police, Jewish military, a Jewish government, a Jewish state. It seems that they prefer not to follow in the footsteps of the first Jew, Abraham, who, being commanded by G-d to "Lech Lecha" to "Go" to walk the land, the length and width of Eretz Yisrael, did just that, stopping only in Hebron, making this city his home, the first Jewish city in the Land of Israel. Rather, the Israeli state, using all of the resources available to such a sovereign body, prefers to follow in the footsteps of the Mufti and the British.
Ah, you ask, the Mufti? The Mufti slaughtered people. How can you compare the Israeli government to Haj Amin el Husseini, a Jew-hater whose incitement led to the 1929 riots?
Very clearly, Amin el Husseini's goal was the expulsion of Jews, starting with Hebron, and reaching Jerusalem, and other cities in Israel. He wanted Jews out, and cared not how it happened. He had plans to annihilate all the Jews living in Eretz Yisrael following Rommel's expected invasion of Israel during World War Two. He met with Hitler in Berlin in the 1930s and clearly discussed more than formation of the Muslim Brigades, which fought against the allied forces in Europe.
And our government, where are they? Are they defending their people? Where are they today, as Kasam rockets continue to fall on Sderot? Where were they last year when rockets fired from Lebanon blasted northern Israel? How are they, at present, preserving not only the physical entity of the State of Israel, but also its heritage, its history, its essence?
Yesterday, the new-old Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, effectively declared war on Hebron's Jewish residents, and seemingly on all Jews living in Judea and Samaria. Barak received first-hand information from high-ranking legal advisors within the administration that the families do not have to be expelled from their homes, that there is no court ruling compelling forced eviction of the families, and that there are legally viable alternatives to the expulsion which could be acceptable to both sides. (One of Hebron's ranking legal advisors, former Justice Minister Ya'akov Neeman offered such a compromise, labeled the "Neeman plan" months ago, on behalf of the community, but the compromise was rejected for reasons not specified.) Despite this information, despite the chance to avoid what could turn into an ugly clash, Barak prefers to flex his muscles and show the country what he's made of: Black uniforms, hard-rubber batons, tear gas, and lots of force. Blood, sweat and tears. ('Settler blood and tears, or course!) (The last time such a decision was taken, the result was Amona).
A year and a half ago, nine Hebron families and a Torah study hall voluntarily left these homes in order to prevent what could have been an extremely violent situation. The community was given a firm promise, in the form of an agreement with the commander of forces in Judea and Samaria, General Yair Golan, that following our voluntary exit from the homes, families would soon be allowed to 'legally' return. That was a year and a half ago. The agreement was voided by Attorney General Menachem Mazuz, using the excuse that Golan was not authorized to make the agreement. This, despite the fact that the General was on and off the phone with his bosses in the Defense Ministry during the meeting with Hebron representatives in order to receive their OK to the compromise.
Again we've been told that 'we can talk about the shuk after the families leave.' We've been through that once, once too many times. Not again. The property is Jewish property. A military appeals court recommended that the buildings be leased to the Hebron Jewish community. This too was rejected. What more do they want?
The answer to that seems very clear: they are looking for blood. Jewish blood. Shades of the Mufti – shades of the British; blood and expulsion. Not by Arabs and British, rather by Jews. Astounding. And very sad.
One of this morning's headlines in the ynetnews internet news site proclaims: 63 MKs demand that Israel not expel refugees from Sudan. [http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L- 3433224,00.html] So now I have a new idea. Let's bring those refugees to Hebron and let them live in shuk. That way nobody will dare touch them. Unless, of course, they convert. Once they're Jewish, watch out. Then, for sure, they'll face expulsion: not from Israel, but from the Shalhevet neighborhood in Hebron.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Eretz Yisrael or Soviet Israel

July 25, 2007


Yesterday the Jewish people marked the fast day, Tisha b'Av – the ninth day of Av. Exactly 1938 years ago the heart of Israel went up in flames. On the 9th day of Av the Second Temple was destroyed by the Roman army. Some 650 years previously, on the exact same day, the First Temple was razed by the Babylonians. That day, Tisha b'Av, the 9th day of the month of Av, is commemorated each year as a fast day, from sunset to sunset.
Other inauspicious also occurred on the same date. Most well known was the expulsion from Spain in 1492. The decree ordering Jews to leave Spain was issued on March 31, 1492. The expulsion was to be completed by July 31 of that year. July 31 was the 9th of Av. [http://www.jewfaq.org/holidayd.htm]
However, most significant was the first Tisha b'Av, marked by the rejection of Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel, by the Israelites, who had been liberated from Egypt only months earlier. Moses sent 12 men to spy the Land. Those men were the leaders of the people, the 'president' of each of the 12 tribes. The best of the best. According to Jewish sources, they realized that upon entrance into the Land of Israel they would be replaced, they would no longer be 'leaders.' As a result, upon their return to Moses and the rest of the Israelites, ten of them slandered the Land, calling it a land of giants that devours it inhabitants. Only two of the spies rejected this slander, Joshua and Kalev, exclaiming that Israel is a 'very very good land.' But they were not able to convince the majority who tore their clothes, wailed and demanded to return to Egypt. As a result, G-d decreed this day to be a day of hardship and mourning, and so it has remained over the centuries.
In other words, the root of Tisha b'Av, the ninth day of Av, is the rejection of our G-d-given Land, of Eretz Yisrael.
The mourning period, prior to Tisha b'Av is quite intense and, in many respects, difficult. With the advent of the month of Av, many religious Jews refrained from eating meat or drinking wine until after the fast. In addition, they did not wear freshly laundered clothing or bathe for 10 days. It would be expected that following the path of thousands of years of history, thousands of years of calamity, destruction and mourning, our people would have learned the lesson of Tisha b'Av. Unfortunately it seems that this has yet to be learned and internalized.
Just 10 days ago, as the grief of the month of Av began, the state of Israel 'celebrated' the inauguration of the state's ninth president. The commencement of Shimon Peres' reign as president is another reason to mourn. Shimon Peres is the embodiment of the vile spies, who, thousands of years ago, maligned and rejected Eretz Yisrael.
Peres was the driving force behind Oslo over 13 years ago. As was then, still today. On the day of his inauguration the eleventh spy proclaimed, "We have to rid ourselves of the 'territories'".
The Prime Minister has mouthed the same thoughts: we shouldn't fool ourselves – we won't be able to hold on to the 'territories.' He has ordered the notorious minister Haim Ramon, recently convicted of a 'sex crime' to head up expulsion from and destruction of 'hilltop communities.' Ramon recently suggested a 'toned-down' disengagement: rather than abandon some 90% of Yesha, as Olmert proposed following the last elections, Ramon called for an abandonment of 'only' 70% of Yesha.
The Churban – the destruction of 1938 years ago continues.
One of the most difficult and emotional episodes faced during these days of mourning began today, exactly two years ago, when Gush Katif was deleted from the face of the earth. Not only is the memory heartbreaking. It is also nauseating. Last week a number of programs on radio, and articles in the press 'questioned' the wisdom of Sharon's 'vision,' bringing about the churan of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Hundreds and thousands have been left without employment or permanent housing. Homes have been broken; students who once excelled in their studies lost all motivation to continue. People who were 'temporarily housed' at certain Kibbutzim find themselves again about to be expelled from their homes due to disagreements between the government and the kibbutz administration concerning the cost of rent. The state of Israel has, for all intensive purposes, abandoned these people, who gave their entire lives to the 'greening of the desert,' who suffered mortar attacks and terror killings for years and years, yet refused to give up.
And of course, the result of Israel's abandonment of Gush Katif was readily known long before the expulsion. That land would be utilized as a base from which to attack Israel. Now, two years later, the Israeli media, one of the main stalwarts of Sharon's madness, is 'starting to ask questions.' Maybe, just maybe Israel made a mistake?! It really is nauseating.
Over the past week hundreds and thousands of youth have attempted to return to Homesh, one of the two communities destroyed in the northern Shomron. From the highest point in Homesh you can view the Israeli coast, from Netanya to Ashdod and Ashkelon. This land, now cleared of all Jews, is still under Israeli control. But Israelis are forbidden from being there, in accordance with the expulsion law passed some two and a half years ago, legalizing the uprooting of 10,000 Jews from their homes.

Of course those brave souls, walking for hours to reach their destination because roads were closed off by security forces, we 'greeted' by baton-wielding police who beat them and dragged them away. However, these people never give up and have sworn to return again and again, until the Homesh community is rebuilt on the ruins of the destroyed town.
And what about Hebron? The craziness continues here too. The story of the Shalhevet neighborhood – the 'shuk' is well known. The 'shuk' - the area of the old Arab market, was built on Jewish property purchased in 1807. The market was closed years ago and the buildings left vacant. Following the murder of the 10-month old infant, Shalhevet Pass, in March 2001, we moved into those buildings and renovated them, transforming them into apartments for 9 families and a study hall in Shalhevet's memory.

Following the expulsion from Gush Katif, the government decided to expel us from those apartments too. The day before their ultimatum expired, ordering us out, they offered us a deal: we leave voluntarily, and the government would work out an arrangement allowing us to move back in 'legally' in a short period of time.

We had a 'town meeting' about this in the middle of the night and took a vote, and it was decided to opt for the deal. The next day the families moved out. That was over a year and a half ago, and we still aren't back in. The attorney general first denied a deal had been made and then later, admitted it had been agreed upon, but voided it.

Some months ago two of the families who had moved out of the "Shalhevet neighborhood" moved back in for lack of any other place to live. When the authorities discovered them this too started bouncing around in the courts. Last week they were presented with eviction notices, demanding they move out by this Friday at 12 noon or be forcibly expelled.

We have decided not to move out willingly this time around. The families won't leave voluntarily. The Israeli government has a moral obligation to allow Jews to live on Jewish land in Hebron, especially at this site, having been evicted with the promise of return. Enough expulsions, enough abandonment of Jewish land, enough broken promises. This time we will not give up easily!
In a few days we will mark the 78th anniversary of the 1929 Hebron massacre which left 67 dead, 70 wounded and hundreds expelled from their homes in Hebron. Is the Israeli government going to follow in the footsteps of our Forefather Abraham, who settled the land, who settled Hebron, or in the footsteps of Haj Amin el Husseini, whose murderous incitement led to the riots, slaughter and expulsion? Do we live in Eretz Yisrael or Soviet Israel?
The following letter was sent today to Defense Minister Ehud Barak by Chairman of seven Knesset factions:
To Defense Minister Ehud Barak:
At the present time, when we are marking 78 years since the 1929 riots, you are faced with a fateful decision concerning one of the sites which represents, more than anything else, the murder and the thievery of the Hebron Jewish community of those days: the site of the 'shuk' in Hebron, where presently several families are living.
We the undersigned, chairmen of various parties in the Knesset, turn to you with this request to refrain from expelling these Jewish families living in the 'shuk' and to study alternative ways to resolve Jewish quarters at this site, legally.
Before our eyes are the following factors:
  1. We are dealing with Jewish-owned land, which was stolen as a result of the terrible slaughter. It is incumbent on the government to act to return the stolen property as would be expected in relationship to stolen Jewish property anywhere in the world.
  2. The preset time is a time of reconciliation, during which we are attempting to refrain from conflicts which are avoidable. A solution to this issue, was suggested by a highly respected attorney, former Justice minister Dr. Ya'akov Ne'eman. This should be seriously studied prior to physical conflicts which would almost inevitably occur.
  3. The residents of Hebron prevented violence and conflict similar to the occurrences in "Amona" when they voluntarily moved out of these homes, based upon promises that they would be allowed to return, honoring and respecting promises of representatives of the state, IDF officers. This type of approach is to be encouraged and rewarded, not discouraged.
  4. The continued residency of Jews in the shuk does not harm Hebron's Arabs, who have enjoyed an alternative modern market place in the Palestinian side of the city. The site also does not expand the Jewish community of Hebron at all. We are speaking of maintaining the status quo and preventing actions which could cause instability in this sensitive area.
For all the above reasons, we request, that you order that the issue of Jewish residency in the shuk be studied seriously, and that in any case, you prevent, for the time being, any eviction of Jewish residents from the site.
Sincerely,
Knesset party chairmen:
Yoel Hasson, Kadima
Meir Porush, Yahadut HaTorah
Uri Ariel, National Union-NRP
Gideon Saar – Likud
Robert Ilatov – Yisrael Beitanu
Ya'akov Margi – Shas
Moshe Sharoni – Retirees