Monday, December 24, 2001

Pere's piece plan

Pere's piece plan
Dec 24, 2001

Yesterday the Yediot Achronot newspaper published its first scoop of the week: Shimon Peres’ new piece plan, in four stages:

One – Within six weeks a full cease-fire, including an end to all fighting and terror, an end to all blockades, a freezing of all Yesha communities, an end to all killing and assassinations, and a unification of all “palestinian security forces”

Two – Within eight weeks Israel will recognize a palestinian state in Judea, Samaria and Gazza and the Arabs will recognize the State of Israel on the basis of UN resolutions 242 and 338.

Three – Within nine to twelve months, negotiations leading to a permanent settlement, including a schedule for withdrawal of Israeli troops, refugees, Jerusalem, settlements, security and water. The process will conclude no later than 18 to 24 months.

Four – An international role concerning the negotiations, a peace-keeping force, economic and financial aid to the palestinians, area economic cooperation, and arbitration of issues still undecided.

That’s Shimon’s plan, worked out with Abu Ala, head of Arafat’s parliament in Gazza. This same Abu Ala said, in the not too distant past, that Israel must also abide by UN resolution 181, the UN 1947 partition plan, which places Beer Sheva inside a palestinian state.

Tonight Ariel Sharon admitted he knew that Peres was meeting and negotiating with Abu Ala, despite yesterday’s declarations that this plan is “dangerous.” Peres said that should Sharon forbid continued negotiations between Israel and the Arabs, Labor would leave the national unity government coalition.

Let’s hope.

Just a few comments about the above-mentioned plan.

First, all killing will stop.  Earlier tonight, an Israeli man from Karnei Shomron was shot and very seriously injured by terrorists not far from the Shavei Shomron community.  That’s a good start for Yassir’s boys.

Second, Israel is recognizing, unqualifiedly, a palestinian state. No strings attached. Arafat is recognizing Israel’s right to exist only according to UN resolutions 242 and 338, which are, of course, blatantly anti-Israel.
Third, Israel is recognizing a palestinian state before the completion of negotiations. What’s the difference? Today, when our enemies attack us, Israel can “return” to area A or area B. When things get really bad, we can, (at least in theory) retake these areas. However, once Israel recognizes this land as belonging to a sovereign state, for example Beit Jala, across from Gilo in Jerusalem, a return to that city will be considered “occupation of a foreign state.” What then will Israel do following attacks on its capital?

Fourth, Israel under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, is agreeing to return Jerusalem to the negotiating table.

Fifth, all of the above-listed reasons why this agreement is completely unacceptable miss the main point.

What is the main point?

Writing in today’s Jerusalem Post, Education Minister Limor Livnat speaks of three actions which must be immediately implemented:

1.     A disarming of all Arab terrorist organizations.
2. Repudiation of an artificial distinction between terrorist organization’s political factions and military factions.
3.     Initiation of an Israeli diplomatic-public relations program

She also, importantly, dismisses outright a unilateral separation between Israel and the Arabs, a plan which would lead to abandonment of Yesha to the terrorists.

And finally, Livnat declares her opposition to a palestinian state, saying, “we must stop expressing any agreement for a Palestinian State in wide swaths of Judea, Samaria and Gazza. There must not be a state such as this and therefore, there must not be any talk encouraging it. Local leaders with local autonomy, yes. But a state? No!

I believe that Limor Livnat is saying, in between the lines, the most important point that can be expressed at this point in time, a point which, if not properly understood, will lead to continued disaster.

Most all of Israel’s leadership continues to talk of “stopping the terror.” Yet these leaders, in the same breath, speak of a continued relationship with the palestinian authority. The point that they are ignoring is that terror and the palestinian authority are synonymous. As long as there is a palestinian authority, or, G-d forbid, a palestinian state, there will be terrorism. The only way to stop the terror is by eradicating the entity Israel created called the palestinian authority. This is, what I understand Minister Livnat to be saying when she writes, “We, just as the Americans are doing, must bring down the totalitarian regime and not only the terrorist infrastructure.” In other words, in my words, we must bring down the terrorist regime, which is the framework for the terrorist infrastructure.

Coming from a minister in the Israeli government, this is a most important statement, especially considering that the minister is a member of the Likud, and is a likely candidate for Prime Minister sometime in the future. Livnat is to be commended for her courageous and enlightening position.

Returning to Sharon:
It’s more than difficult to understand how or why Ariel Sharon gave a green light to Shimon Peres to meet with and negotiate with the PA. Sharon promised, “no negotiating under fire,” but seems to have acquiesced to Peres’ pressure. Peres is a known customer, with the results of his meddling leading to and causing the Oslo War and the deaths and injuries of thousands of Israelis. Peres should be held under lock and key, just as spies are held in solitary confinement, so as to prevent further damage. As long as Peres is allowed to freely and officially represent Israel in a position such as Foreign Minister, he will continue to cause irreparable damage to our state and directly or indirectly bring about the death and injury of Israeli citizens.

Sharon now has a chance to make some kind of amends for his months of negligence, by stopping the Peres follies and, rather than waiting for Peres to resign, by throwing him unceremoniously out of his office. Peres deserves no honor or glory, only shame, in return for the disgrace he has brought onto his country and people. The sooner Peres is relieved of his duties and Labor returns to the opposition, the easier it will be to finish with the terrorists, once and for all.

Friday, December 21, 2001

Speech, Speech

Speech, Speech
Dec. 21, 2001


Early this afternoon a journalist from a New York newspaper arrived at my office with what seemed to him to be the million dollar question: “How do you feel after yesterday’s speech?”  He, of course, took for granted that I knew which speech he was talking about – that given by Chief terrorist Arafat, from his hideaway in Ramallah.

My initial response was sort of  “you’ve got to be kidding.”

But in order to provide you with an accurate answer to this question, let me, for a few minutes, analyze exactly what the terrorist had to say:

There are several themes of Arafat’s speech. He talks frequently about the invincibility of the palestinian people and about a state with Jerusalem as its capital.

History too is an important motif speaking of  “our struggle throughout the centuries…toward the choice of peace…”  In other words, Arafat’s fiction begins, not in 1948, and not even at the beginning of the nineteen hundreds. Rather, it is a struggle of centuries. He says, “as history is the witness, the best witness of every word I am saying.”

Religious legitimacy is an integral element in Arafat’s demand for independence. Several times during the speech, the terrorist speaks of protecting the “rights and holy shrines, both Muslim and Christian.” In other words, there are only Muslim and Christian shrines throughout “palestine” – there aren’t, G-d forbid, any Jewish shrines that must be guarded.

Arafat, trying to please everyone, determines that “the war is against our people, our hospitals, fields, mosques, churches, farms” etc.  What we would call in Hebrew, Amcha – a war not against political ideology, but against the simple man in the street. In attempting to reconcile seeming differences with Hamas and the Islamic Jihad, he promises “democratic elections in every sector of our society,” in other words, opening the door to the most extreme elements of Arab society, inside the framework of the palestinian authority.

Does Arafat show any remorse for the lives that have been lost, be they Arab or Israeli? Of course not. The question, in and of itself, is an absurdity. He praises of the mothers of martyrs – i.e. Jew killers and says, “we are all proud of the sacrifices of our people” and attacks Israel time and time again, speaking of “plotting aggression, a mounting military aggression…attacks against our civilians” while stating that Israel does not want, and will not honor a cease fire.
On the other hand, he demands the “right of return” of all “refugees” and “land for peace.” 

Talking directly to Israelis he adds, “we have tried. We have started a dialogue with you decades ago.” Unfortunately he does not enumerate the conversations, such as conferences at Maalot, Kiryat Shmona, Munich, etc. etc.

However, the heart of Arafat’s speech come at the very end when he concludes, “A victory is coming. Victory is a method of one, our patience.”

Patience. Arafat says to his people, have patience. Earlier on he mentions September 11, briefly remarking “the influence those attacks have onour cause and its rights.”

In other words, we may have to temporarily lessen our terrorist activities, but don’t despair. Just have patience. Arafat’s dreams have not changed. His aspirations lead toward the annihilation of the State of Israel, being replaced by another Arab entity in the Middle East. All he asks is patience.

This has always been the Arab way, their thinking that time is on their side. And unless we wise up, it is.

There is another side of the coin. A Lebanese-American attorney, Sharon Nader Sloan posted an article on the WorldNetDaily in which she says, This idea that the West Bank is occupied Palestinian is the greatest lie ever perpetrated on the whole of humanity.

She asks, “First, if Arab animosity toward Israel is based on their love and support for their Palestinian brothers – and in wanting their Palestinian brothers to have their own state – where was that love and support before the Jewish state existed? Where were they when the kingdom of Jordan ruled Palestine? Why were they not accusing Jordan of occupying Palestinian land? Why did not the Arab world and the United Nations call on Jordan to stop occupying Palestinian land? Second, where were the Palestinians themselves, with all their grievances and claims, when Jordan occupied the whole West Bank,
including Jerusalem?

Did you know that? Did you know that for 19 years, Jordan occupied and ruled the whole West Bank, including Jerusalem? Why didn't they clamor for a Palestinian state then?

All this time, did we hear a word about Palestine being occupied by the
kingdom of Jordan? Did we hear anything about a Palestinian state? Or about Jerusalem being the capital of Palestine?

No, we did not.

Why not?

Because there never existed a Palestinian state.”

Terrorist Arafat called for an end to “all sorts of armed activities.” What has been the Arab response to Arafat’s plea?

Tonight a three year old and his father from Shilo were ambushed and shot near Ofra. Miraculously their injuries were not serious. The bullets scratched their heads and necks.

A little earlier a resident of the Binyamin community Ateret was shot and seriously wounded. He is presently undergoing surgery. Despite Arafat’s promises, last night, and again tonight, mortars fell in Gush Katif. The attacks continue, they have never stopped.

Last night, after the speech, Rice and Powell, as well as Israeli politicians all said the same thing: “We aren’t interested in words, we are interested in deeds.”

So too, are we interested in deeds. But not those referred to by the politicians. We know all about Arafat’s deeds. They will not change. We are interested in the actions of our government, the Israeli government, which is obliged to protect the State and its citizens at all costs. Sharon need not make a speech. He only has to do – to do what he has avoided doing since he was elected Prime Minister. Arafat has to go. The PA has to go. The State of Israel must control all of Eretz Yisrael.


Monday, December 10, 2001


Dec. 10, 2001

Almost a year ago, it was the beginning of April, at 4:30 in the afternoon, I drove into the parking lot outside the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, parked the car and opened the door. As I stepped out of the car a shot rang out. I quickly ducked back into the car. The shot was very loud, and the bullet hadn’t been too far from me.

Only a few meters away were two Israeli soldiers, on duty at the entrance to the neighborhood. Leaving the car I ran over to them and exclaimed, “they’re shooting at us.” They looked calmly back at me and said, “no, it was firecrackers.” Refusing to accept their conclusion I again stated that I had just been shot at. Again, they ignored me.

Ten minutes later, not very far from where I had been standing, ten month old Shalhevet Pass was shot and murdered by the same Arab terrorist sniper who had shot over my head.

You might expect that certain conclusions would be reached. However, that is not the way it is.

Early yesterday afternoon hundreds of people attended the funeral of a young man from Kiryat Arba, tragically killed in an automobile accident late Friday afternoon. As the funeral ended and the mourners were leaving the cemetery, a shot rang out. People turned to soldiers at the site and yelled to them, ‘they’re shooting at us.” The reponse, “no, it’s firecrackers.”  Until Hebron resident Yoni Bleichbard, a security officer for Hebron’s Jewish community approached the soldiers and showed them where the bullet just fired skimmed his cheek, scratching it. Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who had been standing next to his car, called over some others to see the hole in his roof, a hole that hadn’t been there before the shot was fired. The bullet passed through the center of the car. Had anyone been sitting there, the results would have been unthinkable.


The army spokesman, reporting on the attack to the media, claimed that “an army jeep had been fired upon.” Only hours after the shooting did he agree to change the official version, saying, “in Hebron, a civilian was slightly wounded when a bullet scratched his cheek. The shooting was aimed at people leaving a funeral in the area. Officials from the central region staff said that the shooting was a violation of local agreements in the city and that the army was weighing a reaction to it.”

The long-awaited reaction was quick to come. When the Israeli army pulled back off the hills following the Succot shootings and subsequent retaking of those hills, terrorist Jibril Rajoub was quoted as saying, “if there is even one shot fired, I won’t object to an Israeli reentry into the hills. Ariel Sharon promised, “if one shot is fired, we will go back into the hills.”

Since those famous words were spoken the community has been shot at numerous times, yet the pledge is yet to be redeemed.

Yesterday, Sharon had the perfect opportunity. After all, Arafat’s palestinian authority has been defined as a “terrorist-supporting entity.” Suicide bombers are blowing themselves up, killing Jews, all over the country. The government promised harsh measures in reaction to the continued violence. What could be more expressive than a retaking of the hills surrounding Hebron’s Jewish neighborhoods.

That’s what perhaps you and I think. But not our courageous leaders. They had something else in mind.

First, some background.

The second holiest site to the Jewish people, Ma’arat HaMachpela in Hebron, is divided between Jews and Muslims. They control about 80% of the building. Ten days a year, the Jews get the whole building, and it’s closed to the Arabs. Ten days a year they get the whole building and it’s closed to us.

This year, when the scheduled dates for the openings and closings were released, we were astounded to find that this year they received fifteen days to our ten. Why? Because last year there were five times when they could not take advantage of their days because they were under curfew for having shot at us. So this year, the sources that be decided to compensate them by allowing them an extra five days. Of course, the fact that this year, over Succot, when hundreds of Jews were shot at on our special days, was not taken into account. And we discovered that Ma’arat HaMachpela would be closed to us for five days during the eight day Hanuakkah holiday.

Following protests to local security officers, we were promised that Ma’arat HaMachpela would be closed to us only three days during Hanukkah, not five, as previously planned. That was how things stood, until yesterday evening.

As a result of yesterday’s shooting the Arab’s punishment is a rescheduling of the days when Ma’arat HaMachpela is closed to us, and again, during Hanukkah, the building will be closed to us for five days, including days that were not on the original schedule.

What difference does it make which days the building is closed? Well, for instance, a few weeks ago I was approached to give a tour to an international Jewish organization during the Hanukkah holiday. Seeing that Hebron’s main attraction, Ma’arat HaMachpela, would be closed several days during the holiday, we scheduled the trip for tomorrow, when the building was to be open to Jewish visitors. Last night, we were informed that tomorrow the building would be closed to everyone but Muslims.

As a result, the group arriving tomorrow will have to experience what Jews experienced for 700 years, when the Arabs would not allow us into this sacred site.

So it goes. Gunshots are firecrackers. Punitive measures are positive, rewarding the attackers and punishing the victims. It seems that the army and government prefer to try and “buy” quiet, paying off bribes to Rajoub in return for more, worthless promises.

Well over two thousand years ago then too there were Jews, who thought they could purchase peace and tranquility by conforming to the pressures of foreign forces. Those Jews were even a majority. But a small group stood up and refused to acquiesce to the terror of those days. Believing in their heritage, in their past, and concerned about their future, the Maccabees, an infinitesimal dot as compared to the Greeks and their Jewish Hellenist allies, overturned the seemingly inevitable. Learning from their example, we are carrying on in their footsteps. And we too, as did our heroic ancestors, have no doubt that victory is assured.

In parenthesis, tonight’s message has a postscript: About an hour after I finished writing this, Israeli military helicopters attacked the head of the Islamic Jihad in Hebron, killing him and wounding several other terrorists. Thank G-d for small miracles.

With blessings for a very happy Hanukkah, from Hebron,

This is David Wilder

Wednesday, December 5, 2001

After the Inevitable

After the Inevitable
December 5, 2001

Unfortunately, the events of the past few days, as sad as they are, as horrific as they are, do not come as any surprise. In truth, the surprise is that we are not burying 50 people a day, G-d forbid, due to such terror attacks. From the very beginning it was clear that the ceremonies on the White House lawn would lead to one thing, and one thing alone ? war.

It?s not nice to say ?I told you so.? However much politeness may be valued on a personal level, on a public stage, nothing could be worse. It is not saying ?I told you so? haughtily, for personal gain, but rather in order to learn from the mistakes, correct them, and not err again.

Time and time again, in reply to correspondent?s questions, I answered, as did many others in various organizations, ?the Oslo process can and will lead to inevitable war. It is only a question of time.? Why? The answer I gave is identical to that given by Charles Krauthammer in his latest Jerusalem Post column called ?They Just Don?t Get It?. Krauthammer quotes the editor of the Middle East Quarterly, Martin Kramer, speaking less than a month ago about American actions against the Taliban: ?The way to tame the Arab streets is not with appeasement and sweet sensitivity but with raw power and victory, ? and concludes that the question is ?whether America commands respect or contempt.?

So it is with the Arab leadership ? if you show strength, they may not like you, but they will surely respect you. If, on the other hand, you show weakness, their reaction is one of total contempt. This is the reason that Olso inevitably leads to war, because Oslo is the preeminent example of weakness, continued acquiescence and total concession, giving and receiving nothing in return, leading to Arab derision and mockery, as Arafat has made so clear over the past years, months and days.

So today, what is the solution?

First of all Israel?s leadership must recognize the current fighting, not as combat, rather as war. This military conflict is the Oslo War, nothing less. So far, Israeli politicians have refused to define the conflict and this is a major error. The enemy has declared war on us and as long as we ignore their declaration we are continuing on the path of weakness, thereby attracting continued scorn and hatred, leading to further acts of war and killing, as we have witnessed over the past week.

Once the war is recognized and declared, our leadership must act responsibly. That means that the Defense Minister does not publicly confirm that ?we don?t want to kill Arafat and destroy the Palestinian Authority.? Whether or not these are goals of the war is irrelevant. Much of war is psychological ? why not let Arafat and his cronies think that we are after their necks? As long as Israel declares that the Arab leadership is not the target and that the PA is safe from destruction, they will easily absorb whatever Israel does have in mind for them. However, if they have reason to suspect that their own lives are on the line and that the so-called ?Palestinian state? is in jeopardy, it is an entirely different story. So Israel?s Defense Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, would be much better shutting up, rather than revealing all his cards to the enemy.

What next? In war, as in war. The object must be to totally defeat the enemy ? starting with Arafat, continuing with his thugs, including Rajoub, Dachlan, Abu-this and Abu-that, leading to the downfall of the largest terrorist framework in the world, the Palestinian Authority. Those leaders who are not eliminated must be evicted, as far from here as possible. They must know that should they decide to return, even to Lebanon or Jordan, their lives will be in jeopardy.

The Israeli left, in its obtrusive manner, then asks, ?but what of the Palestinian people, what will happen to them?? The time has come to formally recognize that there is no ?Palestinian people?, they have never existed, they are a figment of our imagination, the fruit of years of Arafat deceit. The so-called ?Palestinians? are Arabs, who have nothing more in common than their language and religion. They have never had a homeland, certainly not one in Eretz Yisrael (the Land of Israel). Search in history books from the 1940s, 50s, 60s, even 70s and find references to the ?Palestinian people?. They will not be found, because they do not exist.

Arabs who are willing to live peacefully with us, in the State of Israel, who recognize Israel as a Jewish state, should be allowed to stay. They are entitled to human rights, just as any other human being. However, they should not be allowed to serve in our Knesset or vote in our elections. This is a prerequisite for their residency here. Israel?s parliament, the Knesset, today has members who literally belong to enemy forces. Israel is probably the only country in the world who allows the enemy to function, with immunity, in its supreme law-making body. This must come to an end.

Any Arab who is incapable of accepting Israeli rule in the Jewish state must be forced to leave. Israel is the only Jewish state on earth, composed of just over 10,000 square miles. All Arab states surrounding Israel, 23 in number, consist of almost 2,300,000 square miles. Israel, smaller than the state of New Jersey, could fit into Lake Ontario. Arabs who do not want to live here have where to go. We don?t. Any Arab who is unwilling to live peacefully with us and who does not leave must know that he will be treated accordingly.

Last, but surely not least ? perhaps most importantly - the people of Israel, the Jewish people, both those living in the State of Israel and around the world, must recognize that the Land of Israel belongs to us, it is our home, it is our legitimate right to be here, in all our land. Not only doesn?t anyone have the right to take it away from us, but neither do we have the right to relinquish it to anyone. Having so declared, we will not need to fight a war, because our enemies, realizing our convictions, realizing our strength, will pick up and leave.

With blessings from Hebron.

Sunday, November 18, 2001


November 18, 2001

In Hebrew there's a word, Otzma, meaning might, as in strength. There are those who think, for one reason or another, that Am Yisrael, the people of Israel, have lost their otzma ? their drive, the passionate yearning to settle the land at all cost, which was exemplified by the style of Zionism that spurred pioneers on in the beginning of the 1900s, ignoring all adversity in order to achieve their dream. The motivation to renew an ancient homeland, barren for literally centuries, thereby revitalizing a wandering people, in exile for 2,000 years, generated otzma, might. The otzma took on many forms, both spiritual and physical, religious and secular. The ability to work the land, our land, to resuscitate values for ages in hibernation, could be considered a fulfillment of the longed for revival of the dead.

Rabbi Eliyahu, the Gaon from Vilna, once compared our exile from Eretz Yisrael as a person deceased. Immediately after death the body exists in its entirety, lacking only the soul. Over time the body disintegrates, leaving only bones. Eventually the bones too rot, leaving only the barest of remains. So the Gaon spoke of Am Yisrael, exiled from its homeland. The body without the soul, the Jewish people still concentrated together, then the disintegration of the body, the dispersion throughout the world, leading to the rotting of the bones, the assimilation, the persecution, the holocaust. Yet from those almost non-existent remains, there is suddenly rebirth ? the rebirth of the Jewish people in their homeland, the creation of a state, an army, an economy, schools, yeshivas, truly revival of the dead. That is otzma ? that is might.

Over the years that might seemed to have dwindled, kind of a crash after an enormous high. Then, in 1967, the euphoria returned, reaching new heights with a further liberation of our holy cities, Jerusalem and Hebron, of Judea and Samaria, the very heart of our existence. Again, a tremendous otzma ? bringing with it unification of a divided and mixed up people, trying to find itself, attempting to identify itself.

Again, following the high, another crash, 1973. Every now and then there appeared a rectification of the crash, in 1976, Entebbe, and later the massive Ethiopian and Russian aliyahs. Yet people could not find themselves, and searched for a kind of utopia, a Shangri-La, an easy way out of the problems that encompassed us. Then the trap-door fell and the great hope for peace was replaced by the magic mantra: Oslo, Oslo, Oslo. Forget all other values, forget all other dreams, just chant, over and over again: Oslo, Oslo, Oslo. It hypnotized tens and hundreds of thousands of people. Despite the real, ugly image in the looking-glass, the masses seemed to have been brainwashed: Oslo, Oslo, Oslo. The chant seemed to uplift, but in reality it weakened, bringing a crumbling of otzma ? of might. Might, not only physical might, but colossal ideals, collapsed, hanging somewhere in never-never land, in an unknown limbo, waiting for someone on a great white horse to save the masses.

Or so it was thought. Where is the otzma, the might? Where is the courage? Where are the principles upon which our people were founded, which gave us the ability to rise from the dead? Yet, the otzma, the might, did not disappear, it did not evaporate. Perhaps it was temporarily hidden from our eyes, or perhaps some of us had our eyes closed and forgot to open them, but the otzma hasn?t left us.

For the past year Hebron has been under fire. The never-ending gunfire, the killing of an infant and the wounding of others. Terror attacks on the roads, snipers, bombs, suicide killers ? you name it. A few weeks ago two women were shot and injured during the Succot holidays, standing outside the Tomb of the Patriarchs, perhaps the supreme exemplification of the roots of our people. Terrorists shot two days in a row at large crowds gathered in Hebron to celebrate the autumn holiday. Who, in their right mind, would expect more people, masses of people, only weeks later, to put their lives in jeopardy at the same site? Yet, it happened. One week ago, on the Sabbath we read in the Torah of how Abraham, the first Jew, the first believer in one G-d, the founder of all of monotheism, purchased, against enormous odds, the first Jewish possession in the Land of Israel, the Machpela Cave here in Hebron. It seems that Abraham?s otzma, Abraham?s might, filtered into our souls, the collective soul of the Jewish people, and that otzma again showed itself only a week ago.

On that Friday afternoon, somewhere in the vicinity of 20,000 people came to spend a full day in the city of Hebron. They came from all over, including a group from the United States who came especially for this Shabbat. Thousands of those people stood outside the monumental structure, built by Herod 2,000 years ago above the caves that Abraham purchased, where the women had been shot and injured only weeks before. Nothing had changed. The terrorists still controlled the hills above us and they could have shot again, perhaps it was even expected, but that did not stop the crowds. Friday night and Saturday morning, thousands who could not enter the building for Sabbath worship, simply because there was no more room, stood outside praying, reading the ancient story from the Torah, singing, dancing and celebrating the birth of the Jewish people almost 4,000 years ago and the rebirth of the Jewish people almost 54 years ago.

During the afternoon, thousands upon thousands walked the streets from Avraham Avinu to Beit Hadassah to Tel Rumeida and back to the Cave of Machpela, not hesitating, showing no fear. Doing what comes naturally, walking the streets of our city, of our home, in our homeland, immersed in the faith our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, which was planted in us thousands of years ago.

That is otzma. That is might.

Don?t let anyone tell you otherwise ? the otzma of Am Yisrael has not disappeared. Sometimes it looks as though it has perhaps faded a little, but in reality it?s still there, because it?s a part of us, as is the air we breath and the blood in our veins. It is part of our soul. That otzma, that might, having kept us alive through a 2,000 year exile, has not abandoned us in our homeland. It is that which will pull us out of the limbo, the never-never land of Oslo, back into the authentic reality of Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael. Remember the word ? a bona fide mantra, given to Abraham as a gift from G-d and handed down through the ages ? ?Otzma.?

Tuesday, October 30, 2001


October 30, 2001
You always hear of distinguished personages lying in state, but I had never actually felt a need to pay my respects in such a manner. After being one of thousands who slowly walked past the casket of Rehavam Zeevi, Gandhi, HYD, I asked myself why I had participated in this ceremony. After all, it is a positive commandment, a mitzvah, to participate in a funeral and to escort the dead to a final resting place, but, on the face of it, there is no commandment to walk past the deceased's coffin.

Gandhi's tragic death hit all of Israel very hard, but the murder was especially hard for Hebron. Gandhi had always been very close to Hebron, participating in the return to the city in 1967, as the commander of the Central Region which included Hebron, following the Six day war, and later, throughout his illustrious political career, as a Knesset member and as a minister. He was always available to help and not just by telephone. Countless times Gandhi visited Hebron, coming to consult, to listen to the problems, to witness them first-hand, to do whatever possible to assist.

I remember clearly one of my first encounters with Gandhi, well over a decade ago. I think it is overwhelmingly representative of the kind of person he was. Years ago people from Hebron and Kiryat Arba would conduct Friday morning tours in Hebron, walking through different parts of the city, hearing explanations and showing Jewish presence in areas not always accessible to Israelis. One Friday morning Gandhi showed up to participate with us in one of these hikes. Armed with an Uzi pistol, he joined in the discussion preceding the hike, deciding where to go. One man, waving his arm in a certain direction, negated one particular street, saying, "even the army never goes there." Gandhi's ears visibly perked up, and he asked, "where doesn't the army ever go?" Receiving the answer, he rejoined, "that's where we are going today." And we did.

That's the kind of man Gandhi was. That was the personality that allowed him to be the successful general he was in the IDF. His courage was not only reflected in an absence of fear. We was willing and able to be an example to others, following a truly Israeli way of life - take matters into your own hands, initiate, don't wait for trouble to come to you.

Many times, both as an MK and as a minister, Gandhi refused to drive in a bullet-proof vehicle, as is offered to VIPs. Not long ago, when coming to visit us at our protest tent, he arrived with two cars, his regular vehicle and an armored car. Of course, he refused to ride in the latter, sitting in the front seat, next to the driver, of a regular car. His philosophy was very simple: everyone else drives in regular cars, why should I be an exception to the rule?

On his final trip to Hebron, during the Succot holiday, he sat with us, describing his efforts to convince Sharon to return to the Abu Sneneh hills surrounding the Jewish community of Hebron. He was overjoyed that the army had finally been given the OK and had returned to the hills, providing real protection for the first time in a year of warfare.

When Gandhi told us that he'd like to take a tour of Abu Sneneh some of the people in his party tried to dissuade him, saying, "Gandhi stop, it's dangerous up there, leave it, why bother?" Gandhi's response: "You don't have to go with me, I'll go by myself." When Hebron's military commander refused to permit the visit, Gandhi didn't argue. With a fellow officer he would not get into any conflict. That's simply the way he was.

Since the murder much discussion has centered around Gandhi's refusal to accept bodyguards. The tone sometimes borders on insinuating that Gandhi himself was responsible for his own death, due to this lack of protection. This is, of course, nonsense. Those guilty of Gandhi's murder are not only the terrorists who gave the orders and pulled the trigger, but unfortunately also the initiators of the Oslo catastrophe, whose blindness and stubbornness led to the Oslo war, a one-sided war, declared by our enemies, but not yet seriously responded to. They brought about a reality which gave the terrorists the chutzpah to dare kill a minister in the Israeli government, thinking they could murder a public hero and get away with it. There are many people with Gandhi's blood on their hands, but blaming the victim, turning him into the culprit, is criminal. Gandhi was consistent throughout his life, up to the very end.

Had he been any different, he would not have been Gandhi.

With this in mind, I'm sure that Gandhi, looking down on us, in keeping with his personality, is upset with the fuss being made about him, preferring that we would deal with Eretz Yisrael and with Am Yisrael, with the ?ikar,? with the essence, and not with, in his opinion, that which is secondary. Yet Gandhi personified the essence of Zionism, be it as an officer, a general or as a civilian, as a Knesset member and as a minister. His enormous love for Eretz Yisrael and Am Yisrael, and also for Torat Yisrael, the heritage of our people, spanning well over half a century, should be a paradigm from which all future generations will learn and should attempt to reproduce, for this is what our return to Israel is all about.

I guess, for all of these reasons, and for more, which are still difficult to put into words, I felt a need to pay my respects to Gandhi, lying in state, to say, not only farewell, but to express thanks, to a teacher, to a hero, to a true fellow Jew.

With blessings from Hebron.

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

The Abu Sneneh Syndrome

The Abu Sneneh Syndrome
By David Wilder
Oct. 16, 2001

Almost three weeks ago the Israel Defense Forces reentered two hills surrounding Hebron’s Jewish Community: Abu Sneneh and Harat a’Shech. Almost four years ago those hills, with over 80% of the city, were abandoned to Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.

Before signing of the infamous Hebron Accords, we warned that transfer of the hills would inevitably lead to armed attacks on Hebron’s civilian population. Leading politicians and ranking officers stood atop the hills, gaping at the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, easily within shooting range, presenting an easy target. Beit Hadassah and Tel Rumeida offered terrorists in Harat a’Shech trouble-free prey: line up the sights and pull the trigger. It was only a question of time.

For one year Hebron’s residents were converted into sitting ducks in a pond, which included our homes, cars, and roads. Wherever we went, the bullets followed. Some families transformed their homes into bunkers, filling windows with sandbags. Many of those sandbags are now full of holes, the recipients of terrorist ammunition. Other families rejected sandbags or bullet-proof glass, putting their faith in Divine providence, resulting in miracle after miracle.

Some were not so lucky. The Pass family lost 10 month old Shalhevet to a sniper’s bullet. Zviel and Matanel Meshulam were hit by terrorist gunfire while playing on their porch. Little David Struk caught a bullet fragment in the chest. A woman was shot while praying at Hebron’s ancient Jewish cemetery. Two others were hit outside Ma’arat HaMachpela during Succot. Soldiers were also wounded in the course of gun battles.

The Oslo War began during Ehud Barak’s short tenure in the Prime Minister’s office. We had few illusions that Barak’s policies that would successfully ended the attacks. Barak’s solution focused around a pure conception of “give and take.” We give, and they take. Barak did not negotiate under fire, as is mistakenly thought. Barak did not negotiate, period. Barak conceded. Nonetheless, his yield was not enough to accommodate Arafat, and the war continued.

Ariel Sharon’s election was more than a breath of fresh air. His assumption of power was comparable to a massive blood transfusion. Following Barak’s agreement to forgo Jerusalem, as well as almost 100% of Yesha, Israel was virtually bloodless. Sharon’s enormous victory seemed to be a life-saver.

And what a life saver he turned out to be. Excepting, of course, almost 100 people who have been murdered by Arafat’s terrorist thugs since Sharon took office.

For a year Hebron’s community had only one demand: Take back the hills and stop the shooting. The most basic right of any civilian, in any state in the world, is that of self-preservation, that of safety and defense. There is no necessity to plead for that which should be a given. Any government knows that its first and foremost priority is the safety of its people. An administration incapable of protecting its citizens is never long for this world.

There is an erroneous conception that Ariel Sharon’s premiership is unproductive. Unfortunately, Sharon has been extremely active, but in the wrong direction. The retreat from Hebron’s hills is a prime example. Sharon is working very hard to stripe himself of all responsibility for our lives while shifting that responsibility to Yassir Arafat’s terrorists. The Hebron “deal” relies primarily on the good word of our old friend, Jibril Rajoub, who is now the guarantor of our security. The Abu Sneneh syndrome is nothing more than a recurrence of the Oslo cancer, a seemingly malignant malady afflicting any Israeli elected to the office of Prime Minister.

The must successful cancer cure is also the most radical therapy: cutting out the diseased organ.  No doctor would alternatively suggest injection of more cancer into a patient’s body. However, rather than cut out the cancer, Israel’s leaders are practicing the unthinkable – they are feeding the cancer with more cancer, leaving the patient weaker and weaker.

Ariel Sharon’s agreement to trust Rajoub and Arafat is, by far and away, the greatest betrayal of his promise to ensure security to all Israelis. It is a betrayal of his own words, only days ago, declaring that we can rely only on ourselves. The withdrawal from Abu Sneneh is a true and total abandonment, not only of Hebron’s Jewish residents, but of all Israelis in the State of Israel.

However, we need not despair. The source of the miracles that have kept us alive is not the Knesset, nor is it the Prime Minister’s office. Our survival is in the hands of He who said, “In the beginning,” of He who never shirks responsibility, of He who loves His land and His people. He will eradicate the cancer, revive the ill, and eliminate the need to depend on such pitifully poor leaders, such as Ariel Sharon.
David Wilder is a spokesman for The Jewish Community of Hebron.

Friday, September 21, 2001

An Old-New World Order

An Old-New World Order

September 21, 2001

I remember Sarit Amrani as Sarit Baruch, who lived two floors below us in
Kiryat Arba. The Baruch’s moved to Kiryat Arba about 18 years ago. Uri is a
first-class jeweler, producing beautiful rings and necklaces. Francine has
been working for years at the local Kupat Holim medical clinic, assisting
patients from behind the receptionist’s desk. They lived in our building for
a couple of years before moving up to the Givat Harsina neighborhood of
Kiryat Arba, a couple of miles away. We didn’t remain in close contact, but
met on various occasions over the years. And I remember Sarit, the oldest in
a family of four children, as a pretty, sweet, smiling, good-natured little

A few years ago that little girl, now grown up, married another Kiryat Arba
offspring, Shai Amrani. The young couple decided to live out their ideals,
and moved to Nokdim, a community of over 100 families bordering the Judean
Desert, south of Bethlehem and next to another Jewish community, Tekoah.
According to one of their neighbors, Infrastructure Minister Avigdor
Lieberman, when the couple applied for residency, they did not ask how to
get to Nokdim, which is far off the main road, or whether is was safe to
live at Nokdim. They had only one request: to become residents of this
small, growing community.

Sarit gave birth to three children. Her oldest daughter, Zohar, is four
years old. Ziv is two. Her youngest, Raz, was born only three months ago.
The couple planned to have a large family. Yesterday, their dreams were
abruptly cut short.

The terrorists who succeeded in murdering Sarit left her husband Shai living
by a thread of life. Yesterday he was operated on for 12 hours, in an
attempt to save his life. Hit in the chest and in the neck, he arrived at
Hadassah hospital more dead than alive. Only by the grace of G-d and the
expertise of a team of doctors were the Amrani children not left without any
parents at all. But it will be a while before Shai is up and around, ready
to tend to his children’s needs. Until then, the children’s grandparents
will become surrogate Mommy and Daddy. And unfortunately, my memories of
cute little Sarit Baruch have been replaced by the image of a covered body,
horribly mutilated by terrorists, being eulogized and brought to burial at
the age of 26.

An army spokesman reported this morning that in the past 24 hours there have
been 19 Arafat-initiated terror attacks which have resulted in one dead and
over a dozen wounded. Yesterday in Hebron we were treated to massive
shooting at about 1:30 in the morning, as well as several explosive devices
hurled at security personnel during the day. Jews were shot at in Hebron on
both days of Rosh HaShana, as well as the night before the holiday.

According to Kol Yisrael correspondent Yoni ben Menachem, yesterday the PA
apprehended Sarit Amrani’s suspected killer, but released him following a
“short conversation.” Ma’ariv newspaper reports that at last night’s cabinet
meeting, senior security experts testified that Arafat has not changed his
strategy, and is planning to continue a policy of violence and killing. Army
intelligence chief, General Amos Malka, told the cabinet that Arafat had no
plans of stopping attacks against Israelis. Shas minister ben Izri asked
Malka for the military’s opinion of a planned Arafat-Peres meeting. Sharon
stopped Malka from answering, saying, “this is not the subject of our
discussion.” The result: According to HaAretz newspaper, a Peres-Arafat
meeting is likely on Saturday night. They quote Peres as having told Labor
ministers, "for 50 years the U.S. has been responding to our requests, it's
about time that we respond to one small request of theirs," referring to the
meeting with Arafat.  They report “that Sharon would not scuttle a
Peres-Arafat rendezvous, despite the cease-fire violations, as Israel could
not afford to reject the U.S. administration's request for the meeting to
take place.”

It is time to take an accounting of what is exactly is happening, You will
recall that a decade ago George Bush senior, then President of the United
States, declared a “new world order.” His declaration centered around an
international coalition, including many Arab states, directed against Saddam
Hussein and Iraq. The coalition excluded America’s only real ally in the
Middle East, Israel, for fear that Israeli participation would neutralize
Arab participation. The implications of an Arab boycott of the coalition
were apparent, including major oil repercussions. Despite the massive Scud
attacks against Israeli civilian populations, then Prime Minister Yitzhak
Shamir was ordered to sit quietly and absorb the bombings, a “necessary
sacrifice” for the good of the world.

Shamir, expecting some reward for his obedience, was well repaid by Bush:
American blackmail geared around stopping all Israeli building in Judea,
Samaria and Gazza, in the form of the infamous “loan guarantees.” The U.S.
pressure led to Shamir’s defeat in the 1992 elections, Rabin’s victory, and
the subsequent Oslo curse.

History has a way of repeating itself.

George Junior is going the way of his old man: An old-new coalition,
including Arab states, again, excluding Israel. The coalition, supposedly
aimed at eradicating world terror, is set to hit not only Usama bin Laden,
but also the old Bush family nemesis, Saddam Hussein.   According to the
Debka web site (, as of yesterday, orders were issued putting
Israel on an emergency war alert.  Hospital, airports, and other
instillations were placed on red alert. The speculated reason behind the
alert is an imminent American attack on Iraq, which may likely lead to
missile attacks on Israel. However, it is very possible that this time
Hussein will not refrain using chemical or biological weapons against the
Jewish state.

What is President Bush demanding of Israel in his war against terror? As did
his father, George W. expects Israel to sit back quietly, and not rock the
boat. But this time we must not only be ready to suffer Hussein’s missiles.
This time we must be ready to endure Arafat’s terrorism. Israeli civilians
must be ready to be killed by Arafat-initiated palestinian authority terror,
and not strike back, so as not to cause a crisis between the United States
and its Arab allies. Again, we are being called upon to be ‘sacrifices for
peace.’ In other words, we acquiesce to Arafat terror, thereby allowing the
US to deal with the “other terrorists” who are attacking and killing

It seems that Sharon, like his predecessor, Yitzhak Shamir, has agreed.

Last night the Israeli cabinet (Sharon, Peres, ben Eliezer) decided to
continue a cease-fire policy. This morning Yesha council spokesman Yehoshua
Mor Yosef put out the following press announcement: “According to orders
issued by the Chief of Staff, the army has drastically reduced its actions
in Yesha. According to the new orders, soldiers may only open fire in
life-threatening situations. All Israeli-initiated gunfire is forbidden, not
as a deterrent, and not to strike at any palestinian targets. Also forbidden
is any entrance into “Area A.””

Over the past year Israel has had to absorb close to 200 deaths at the hands
of Arafat terror. Despite the pain and the frustration, an overwhelming
majority of Israelis, both in Yesha and throughout the rest of the country,
have not taken the law into their own hands. We have said, repeatedly, that
our security is in the hands of the Israel Defense Forces, who receive their
orders from the Prime Minister and the Defense Minister. However, should
Ariel Sharon be ready to sacrifice us as lambs on the way to slaughter, on
the alter of  “world peace,” i.e., saving Americans at the cost of Israeli
lives, an era of anarchy may be just around the corner. We will not allow
anyone, be it the Israeli prime minister, or anyone else, to permit our
blood to be needlessly spilled. Sharon is very very close to crossing a red
line, from which there may well be no return. He is responsible for
defending HIS people, the people of Israel. He is not charged with
submitting to American demands, directly leading to the continued killing of
Israeli citizens at the hands of Arafat terrorists.

George W. Bush is on the verge of declaring an “Old-New World Order,” again,
at the expense of the State of Israel. If he does, he is destined to learn,
the hard way, that acquiescence to ANY kind of terror will only boomerang in
his face and in the face of his nation. Arafat is no less an enemy of
America than is bin Laden, for anyone who is an enemy of Israel is an enemy
of the United States.

Thursday, September 13, 2001

Uncle Muhammad (Part Two)

Uncle Muhammad (Part Two)
September 13, 2001

For the past 24 hours I've been debating with myself. Not what to write, 
that is very clear. The question was when to write it. And I've concluded
that the time is now.

I've been listening and watching MSNBC internet audio/video news. All day
the commentators have been quoting major newspaper headlines, which say, "This is war." According to a poll taken following the attacks, 84% of the population agrees to the definition of Tuesday's destruction as "war."

No one can doubt that such massive devastation is war. Yet it must be
understood who is the victim. Yesterday's attacks are an attempt, not only
to influence the United States politically, not only to bring the United
States to its knees, rather, the hostilities were an attempt by Islamic
fundamentalism to traumatize the entire world, creating a vulnerability
leading to an international Islamic revolution.

This is nothing new. Islamic fundamental leaders have been publicly
pointing in this direction for years. On July 18, 1997 I published the
following article called "Uncle Muhammad" (slightly abbreviated here):
"The following are excerpts from the weekly Friday sermon delivered by
Palestinian Authority [PA] appointed "Mufti of Jerusalem and Palestine"
Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount in
Jerusalem on July 11, 1997.

The sermon was broadcast on the PA's official radio station, Voice of

"Oh Allah, destroy America, for she is ruled by Zionist Jews...

"Allah will paint the White House black! Clinton is fulfilling his
father's will to identify with Israel...

"The Muslims say to Britain, to France and to all the infidel nations that
Jerusalem is Arab. We shall not respect anyone else's wishes regarding
her. The only relevant party is the Islamic nation, which will not allow
infidel nations to interfere...

"The homes the Jews are building will become Arab property, with Allah's

"Allah shall take revenge on behalf of his prophet against the colonialist
settlers who are sons of monkeys and pigs....Forgive us, Muhammad, for the
acts of these sons of monkeys and pigs, who sought to harm your sanctity."

Why we haven't heard any reaction from the American powers-that-be, or by Israeli leaders, including the Prime Minister, the President of the State
and the Chief Rabbi, condemning the Arab Mufti of Jerusalem. Why hasn't
Arafat called up both the American President, as well as American Jewish
leaders and Israeli Rabbi's apologizing for the insults against the United
States, Israel and Jews? Why isn't the world media, including CNN,
screaming about Islamic incitement. Perhaps they don't believe, or accept
the verdict blaming Islamic fundamental terrorists for blowing up the World
Trade Center and planning other acts of violence against Americans in the
United States. Or perhaps they have forgotten. Or just don't want to
remember. It is easier to always blame the Jews, rather than upset the Arabs.

The time has come, once and for all, for all Americans, as well as Israelis,
to realize that the rejection of Jews is not limited to a presence in
Hebron - it includes any Jewish presence everywhere in Israel. And the time
has come for the Western world to realize that fundamental Islam rejects
any and all organized religions which do not accept Muhammad. In other
words, all Jews and Christians fall into the category of infidels. The
`sons of monkeys and pigs' spoken about by the Mufti includes not only
Jewish settlers - it includes all who read, and all those who refuse to
read, these words.

The hypocrisy expressed by America, so blatantly apparent, is eventually
going to boomerang and fly back into the face of the United States.
Fundamental Islam is making unbelievable headway in the religious freedom
of the United States. But Americans should all know that fundamentalists
look to the Jerusalem Mufti as their leader too and the fact is that no
one is refuting his words.

The Mufti of Jerusalem, in 1929, was Amin el-Husseini - Fiesel
el-Husseini's uncle. His incitement led to the massacre of 67 Jews in
Hebron and the expulsion of the survivors from the city. Dozens of Jews
throughout Israel were killed and wounded that same August day, as a result of the Mufti's incitement and his call to murder.

Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, today's Mufti, is widening his borders. He is inciting
against the President of the United States and the American population. He
wants to paint the White House black.

"Oh Allah, destroy America, for she is ruled by Zionist Jews..."

And I say, Oh America - Beware of Uncle Muhammad!

On Tuesday, fundamental Islamic leaders succeeded in ?painting the White
House black.?

Will the lesson be learned? Will the United States and the nations of
the world get the message? Will they understand that anyone who legitimizes terror on someone else's home court will find himself slapped in the face, a million-fold?

For an entire year we have cried out, again and again, that Arafat is
utilizing terror for political gains. The United States response has
consistently been "restraint, restraint, restraint." How many times have
American leaders told our Prime Minister, "You must restrain yourselves for
the sake of peace."

Will the State Department spokesman now explain to the American people
that, "for the sake of peace, to prevent escalation, the United States
cannot and will not strike at the perpetrators of this horrible crime
against humanity?" Is Arab, Arafat-initiated terrorism against Jews a
legitimate form of "freedom-fighting", whereas terrorism against the United
States is an act of war?

America, beware of Uncle Muhammad or he will strike again!

Wednesday, September 5, 2001

An Open Rebuttal and Response to USA Today Article

Mr. Tom Curley, President and Publisher, USA Today
Karen Jurgensen, Editor
Bob Dubill, Executive Editor
Jeff Webber, Senior Vice President and Publisher
Kinsey Wilson, Vice President and Editor in Chief
Chet Czarniak, Managing Editor

Sept. 5, 2001

An Open Rebuttal and Response to USA Today Article
“Israeli extremists take revenge on Palestinians”
By Jack Kelley, USA TODAY
Published Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2001.

Dear Sirs,
Jack Kelley’s article is an example of anti-Israel, anti-Semitic propaganda. The article
is so full of lies, and is so inaccurate, that it is almost not worth relating to. However,
due to the wide circulation of USA Today, I have no choice but to refute the charges,
and correct the inaccuracies.

1. Kelley begins, “After a quick prayer, Avi Shapiro and 12 other Jewish settlers put
on their religious skullcaps,”

This is ridiculous. A religious Jew wears his skullcap all hours of the day, and most
especially during prayer. We do not “put on our skullcaps” before going out.

2. “.…and headed toward Highway 60. There, they pushed boulders, stretched
barbed wire and set tires afire to form a barricade that, they said, would stop even
the biggest of Palestinian taxis. Then they waited for a vehicle to arrive. As they
crouched in a ditch beside the road, Shapiro, the leader of the group, gave the settlers
orders: Surround any taxi, "open fire" and kill as many of the "blood-sucking Arab"
passengers as possible. "We are doing what (Israeli Prime Minister Ariel) Sharon
promised but has failed to do: drive these sons of Arab whores from the land of
Israel," said Shapiro, 42, who moved here with his wife and four children three years
ago from Brooklyn. "If he won't get rid of the Muslim filth, then we will."

There is no one with the name Avi Shapiro who lives in Hebron, Kiryat Arba, Gush
Etzion or Efrat. I spent much of the day searching for this person, who, to the best of
my knowledge, does not really exist. Avi Shapiro seems to be a figment of Kelley’s
imagination. Or perhaps he does exist, but does not live anywhere in this area.

3. There were periods of time, particularly during the winter, when people from
Hebron, Kiryat Arba and other communities, participated in road blocks, especially in
the early morning and late evening. It must be remembered that scores of Jews were
being murdered by Arab terrorists in ‘drive-by shootings,’ whereby terrorists opened
fire on moving vehicles on the road. There was an attempt made to hinder Arab
traffic, so as to save Jewish lives. However, at no time were any ‘order’ every given
to “open fire and kill…” Were this to be true, many many Arabs would have been

killed by civilians. (This point will be discussed more specifically below). The goal of
roadblocks was solely to hinder Arab traffic, and not to come into any violent contact
with Arab drivers.

4. “…vigilante Jewish settlers are shooting…Palestinians”

There have been several attacks on Palestinian civilians. As of yet, Israeli authorities
have not arrested any Jews for have perpetrated the attacks. The Yesha council has
condemned the attacks and called on the Israeli security forces to apprehend the

In one particular case, a group of Arabs were shot at, and some killed, near Idna,
in the Southern Hebron hills. It was widely assumed that the attackers were
Jews. However, it has since been learned that the family had strong ties to Israeli
intelligence, and that one the family’s brothers was murdered by Arabs in Hebron
because of his connections to Israeli intelligence forces.

It was also learned that following the attack, no bullet casings were discovered at the
scene of the crime. However, several hours later Arabs came forth with ‘evidence’
in the form of bullet casings they claimed were from the shooting attack. In other
words, a large question mark looms over this entire episode. No one has yet been
apprehended or charged with the crime.

5. “…Baruch Goldstein, gunned down 29 Arabs in a nearby mosque…”

It is interesting to note that Kelley mentions Baruch Goldstein 3 times in his article,
but neglects to mention such terrorist murderers as Yechi Iash, who was responsible
for the deaths of over 50 Jews, and trained his successors to carry on in his footsteps.

6. “Nearly 450 right-wing Jews, all of whom are armed and claim a biblical right
to the land, live here among 120,000 Palestinians. Many, like Shapiro and his
colleagues, are ready to strike at any time.”

Today there are 700 Jews living in Hebron. Hebron’s Jewish community has been
under fire for the past year. Day after day, night after night, we have been shot at in
the street, in our homes and in our cars, at all hours of the day and night. Civilians
have been wounded, and a 10 month old baby shot and killed by terrorists from the
nearby hills which surround the community. Our security is in the hands of the Israeli
army. True, many of us are armed for reasons of self-defense. We have not, during
the past year, used our weapons for offensive, or rarely ever for defensive purposes.

7. “…says Yossi Sarid, a left-wing Israeli opposition leader. "This is a city that is

Yossi Sarid has no appreciation for Jewish heritage or tradition. He is virulently left-
wing, and has always been anti-Hebron. Hebron, the first capital of Israel, home of
our Patriarchs, home of King David, represents the roots of the Jewish people. Why
doesn’t Kelley quote Israeli leaders, such as former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who
in a letter to the community dated 9.8.00 said, “The Jewish community in Hebron will
continue to exist for another 2,000 years." Or the President of Israel, Moshe Katzav,

who on 9.8.00 said on Israeli radio, “Can you imagine that Jews would not be living
in the city of Hebron?”

8. “Since the start of the latest surge of violence in Israel a year ago this month, at
least 119 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli civilians in the West Bank and Gaza,
according to B'Tselem, an Israeli human rights group …”

According to the B’Tselem website “Eleven Palestinian civilians were killed by
Israeli civilians, including One Two month- old baby girl.” (

9. “During the same time, at least 30 settlers have been killed by Palestinian gunmen.”

According to the B’Tselem web site: “In the territories” 60 Israeli civilians were
killed by Palestinians, Five of them were minors under the age of 17: One boy age 16,
two boys age 14, a 10 month-old baby girl and a 5 month-old baby boy. One was a
minor aged 17. At least Six of them were allegedly killed by persons affiliated with
the pna.
”Within Israel” “residents of the Occupied Territories. 21 of them were minors under
the age of 17. Of them: Six were age 16, Five were age 15, Four were age 14, One
was age 13, One was age 10, One was age 8, One was age 4 and One was age 2. One
was age 17.
According to the Israel Defense Forces Spokesman , in the past year, 120 civilians
have been killed , and 1,153 have been wounded. (

10. “In July, Jewish vigilantes killed three Palestinians, including a 3-month-old boy,
in Nablus.

This is a lie.

11.”Yet, the attacks are expected to increase, Israeli officials say. A group of Jewish
vigilantes who possess bomb-making materials has formed in Hebron, they say.”

Who is the “they” quoted. Why are all the sources quoted anonymous?

12. “Last week, 85 European Community monitors who had patrolled Hebron since
1994 withdrew after complaining of weeks of verbal and physical abuse by the

Israel security forces, as reported on Israeli radio, have proof that the TIPH forces in
Hebron have been spying on civilian and military positions in the city, and passing
this information on to Arafat’s armed forces. For more about TIPH see: http://

13. “On a recent Sunday, Shapiro and the 12 other extremists spotted their first target:
a white Palestinian taxi that had turned the corner and begun to rumble toward them.
From a hill 50 yards away, the men could be seen removing the safety locks from the
weapons. Their wives were grabbing extra ammunition clips. Their children, all of
them under age 12, were picking up rocks.”

As stated above, Avi Shapira does not exist. Nor did this event ever occur. Where
is Kelley’s proof? Where are the pictures? Why wasn’t anyone arrested? A report
of “wives grabbing extra ammunition clips” is total nonsense, a total fabrication.

14. "People here are extremely upset," says David Wilder, a spokesman for Jewish
settlers here. "We're upset by the daily shooting, killings and harassment by
Palestinians. People feel abandoned (by Israel's government) and so some people are
going to take up guns."

I never said that people “are going to take up guns.” I have said that people will
defend themselves if their lives are endangered.

15. “Ahmad Abu Neni, 55, is blind and a Palestinian. His small kiosk of cleaning
supplies has been ransacked three times since last September by settlers, human rights
officials say. He's also been beaten in the back with a brick and punched repeatedly,
they add. Neni says Israeli soldiers tried to break up one of the attacks by firing a
concussion grenade at the attackers, only to set his clothes on fire. He suffered third-
degree burns.”

In his audio report, Kelley accuses ‘settler teenagers, many of whom are from
Brooklyn” of beating this man and then setting him on fire. In this written report,
Kelley says otherwise. Why does Kelley contradict himself in the two reports? How
does he know that the supposed ‘attackers’ are from Brooklyn?

16. “Nearby, Nafez Bani Jaber, 45, was burying 123 of his sheep. He says they were
poisoned last week after 10 Jewish extremists chased him off his fields. Israeli police
say they have found needles dipped in poison that they believe the settlers used on the
sheep. Police say poison also was dumped down a nearby well used by Palestinians.”

There was a report of sheep poisoned, but not in Hebron, rather in the Shomron, in
northern Israel. It has not been proven that any Jews had responsibility for the act.

17. “…Tivon says his soldiers and police officers often are ambushed by the settlers,
whom he calls "hooligans." The settlers accuse the police of failing to stop the Arab

Former Brigade commander Noam Tivon did not say that his soldiers are ambushed
by settlers. He had words of praise for Hebron’s Jewish Community. He did say that
there are a few “hooligans” here, but that they are the exception to the rule.

18. "I can't believe we are risking our lives to defend these fanatics," says Sgt. Avi
Alamm, 28 as he watches a settler boy, dressed as the late Goldstein, walk by with
an Israeli flag. Goldstein, who gunned down the 29 Muslims, is revered among
some settlers as a prophet. They encourage their children to dress like him on
occasion. "The people make me ashamed to be a Jew," Alamm says.”

Children in Hebron do not walk around dressed up as Baruch Goldstein. Five years
ago a child, not from Hebron, dressed up on the Purim holiday, as a doctor. Hebron
residents requested that he remove the costume, so as not to be mistaken as having

dressed up as Goldstein. The child complied with the request.

As for the purported remarks of the Sgt. Alamm, there are soldiers in Hebron who,
being of a left-wing political persuasion, are willing to defame us to the media.
However, for every soldier who portrays us negatively, there are scores of others who
have only warm words of praise and appreciation for Hebron’s Jewish community and
Hebron’s Jewish residents. However, obviously, these kinds of statements have no
place in Kelley’s article.

19. “Now, many Israelis are calling on the government to dismantle extremist
settlements such as the one here. "The Jewish settlement in Hebron is a major
nuisance, and the lawless behavior by Jews there in recent days leads to one
conclusion," the Israeli newspaper "Ha'aretz" recently editorialized. "Hebron must be

Ha’aretz newspaper is the most left-wing newspaper in Israel. Their views are well
known. They are, however, not representative of Israel’s public. “Many Israelis”
are, in truth, a handful of people whose views are not new. They have been calling
for uprooting of communities in Judea, Samaria and Gazza, including Hebron, for
decades. Israeli public opinion is opposed to the dismantling of Yesha, as can be
proven by Ariel Sharon’s overwhelming landslide victory a few months ago.

In conclusion, Jack Kelley’s article is an intentional attempt to besmirch the
good name of the Jewish Community of Hebron, using fabrication, distortion and
inaccuracy. It is unfortunate that a publication such as USA Today should see fit
to publish such trash. We expect that Kelley’s tenure with the newspaper will be
terminated immediately and that USA TODAY will not only publish this rebuttal, but
will also print an apology for slandering our community.

David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron