Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Beit Ezra in Hebron


Beit Ezra in Hebron
December 17, 2012
Following the Six-Day War in 1967, past residents of the Old City in Jerusalem who had been expelled during the War of Independence in 1948 asked for, and were granted a meeting with then Defense Minister Moshe Dayan. They requested permission to return to their homes and property in the Old City, confiscated and occupied by Jordan. Dayan consented, and, as a result, Jerusalem’s Jewish Quarter today flourishes.
Simultaneously, past Hebron inhabitants, who had been expelled in 1929, and again in 1936, requested a similar meeting with Dayan, in order to return to their homes in the recently liberated city of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. Dayan refused to meet them.
 
So I heard from Hebron residents, some of whom no longer alive, years ago.
 
The story of Hebron’s Jewish property is a reason for heartache and chagrin. Hebron Jews lost most of their assets following expulsion by the British following the 1929 riots. As I was told by a survivor of those riots: “My father wrote to the British High Commissioner and asked why the victims had been punished – why the Jews were expelled after being slaughtered. His answer: ‘I knew you couldn’t continue living together and being that there were more Arabs than Jews it was easier to expel the Jews.’”
The untainted authenticity of Jewish land ownership is Hebron is indisputable. The “Jewish Quarter,” presently known as the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, was originally populated by Karites some 1,000 years ago. This land was purchased from them by Rabbi Malchiel Ashkenazi, himself exiled to Turkey from Spain in 1492. In 1540 he bought that area from the Karites and moved, with a small community, to Hebron. This neighborhood existed until the 1929 riots, massacre and exile.
 
Five dunam  (5,000 sq. meters)  of land adjacent to this place was purchased by Rabbi Chaim Bajaiyo for the community in 1807 from the Kashkol family in Hebron. This too remained under Jewish hands until 1929. In the early 1960s this property was taken over and occupied by Hebron merchants, who built a retail and wholesale market at the site.
 
Receipt of water bill paid by Yaakov Ezra
Receipt for water paid by Yaakov Ezra
Yosef Ezra is a ninth generation Hebronite. He and his father, Ya’akov Ezra, were the last Jews to leave Hebron, following the Nov. 29, 1947 UN decision to partition Israel. His father, who worked closely with Arabs, produced cheese and other milk products. He worked in Hebron during the week and spent Shabbat with his family in Jerusalem. Until November, 1947, when Hebron’s Arabs told him not to return to this holy city.
The Ezra property, within the boundaries of these two areas was stolen, according to Yossi Ezra by the Awawi family, who had worked with his father. Then fifteen, Yosef Ezra still remembers this family, who worked for his father, grazing sheep.
 
Yosef Ezra outside Beit Ezra
Yosef Ezra outside Beit Ezra
 
Presently, there is no doubt whatsoever that this is Jewish land, and that there are no real, justifiable, legal Arab claims to this property. However, the State Attorney General’s office has decided that Arabs who lived on this land which they stolen from Jews have ‘protected resident status’ and refuse to allow Hebron’s Jewish communityto utilize the property. This, despite a ruling by an Israeli military judicial panel of three judges which concluded that there is a firm legal basis to allow the Hebron Jewish Community to utilize this land.
 

Military panel visiting in Hebron
Today the State informed the Israeli Supreme Court of their decision to expel the two families living in Beit Ezra. The expulsion is due to occur towards the end of April. That is, following the elections. Bibi Netanyahu isn’t interested in photos and videos of Jews expelled from their homes in Hebron before the elections. It wouldn’t win him any mandates.
 
The decision also expressed a possibility that the property will be made available to Hebron’s Jewish community, after the families have been expelled.
 
 
Mitzpe Shalhevet - before and after
 
We’ve been through this before. Back in Janurary, 2006 the Israeli government made a similar promise, whereby, following voluntary exit of homes in “Mitzpe Shalhevet,” other families would be allowed back in, with full permission and government permits. This offer was made with the knowledge and consent of the defense and prime ministers. After all the families moved out, then Attorney General Manny Mazuz nixed the deal. We were left with nothing.
 

Shalhevet Pass HY"D
In January, 1997, when the Hebron Accords, which split Hebron, leaving most of the city in the hands of the Palestinian Authority, were signed and implemented by Bibi Netanyahu, another government decision was passed, calling for, and promising, the continued growth and wellbeing of Hebron’s Jewish community. It’s hard to understand how a Prime Minister, whose actions brought upon this community two and a half years of shooting attacks, murders, and other terror acts, who promised to ensure the expansion of Hebron’s Jewish Community, can allow continued shrinkageof Hebron’s housing and neighborhoods. Beit HaMachpela, Beit HaShalom, now Beit Ezra, not to mention refusal of any permits to plan or build new homes, are not examples of good will, growth, and well-being. To the contrary, they seem to be examples of how to bring about the deletion of Hebron’s Jewish community from the map.
 
So, what is it with you, Bibi? Perhaps the time has arrived to come clean. Will the property really be returned to us, or is this another political spin, designed to prevent more votes from draining away from the Likud? Let the electorate know exactly where you stand concerning Hebron, before January 22, 2013. For a start, give us back Beit Ezra. 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Red Ribbons and Khaki Green Uniforms






Yesterday morning I awoke to a cute headline in the nrg-maariv news site. It read “Hebron Arabs: If Israeli Soldiers Return – We’ll Beat Them Up Again.”

Last week an IDF patrol in Hebron, just past a checkpoint dividing two parts of the city, spotted a uniformed ‘palestinian policeman’ in an area where he shouldn’t have been. While attempting to arrest him they were attacked by an Arab mob. Despite the fact that their lives were in danger, rather than shoot or use hand grenades against the attackers, the soldiers took cover in a butcher store, threw potatoes at the Arabs, and finally ran for their lives.
 
A similar event occurred a few days later up north, in Shechem. Anonymous IDF commanders, uncomfortable with the situation, explained that the ‘rules of combat’ are very complex and that soldiers are too highly restricted in the measures they may use, even to defend themselves.
Seeing the headline, I mentioned to several of my friends that this Arab chutzpah cannot go unanswered. Arabs, exclaiming that they will ‘beat up’ Jewish-Israeli soldiers, must be answered, in the harshest of terms.
 
Last night they received an answer.
 

There is one main road leading from Kiryat Arba into Hebron. At the bottom of the winding, hilly road, is a right turn, to Ma’arat HaMachpela and Hebron’s Jewish community. To the left is a checkpoint, manned by Israeli border police. Last night, at about 7:30, during a routine check, a 17 year old Arab man attacked a border policeman, knocking him to the ground, and then pulled out a pistol, placing it on the fallen man’s temple. A second officer, a border policewoman, present at the site, seeing the events transpiring, loaded her gun and, without hesitating, shot the Arab terrorist three times, killing him.
 
It later turned out that the Arab’s gun was a fake, toy pistol. However, made out of black metal, it certainly looked like the real thing. The woman border guard did exactly what she had to, and thank G-d for that. A partial response to the Arabs quoted at the beginning of this article. The Arabs play for keeps. But so do we. Seeing Israeli soldiers run from marauding, rioting Arabs is a disgrace. Hearing a policewoman say, “I did what I was taught to do, I was only doing my job,” is a ‘Kiddush HaShem, a sanctification of G-d’s name.
 
For two thousand years, in exile from our land, Jews had no choice but to run. Today, we must stand strong and tall, as did the Maccabees, 2,300 years ago, thereby bequeathing us Hanukkah.
 
The holiday of lights, as Hanukkah is called, takes on many expressions and variations. For example: A few days ago we marked the 21st anniversary of the passing of friend and fellow Hebron resident Yona Heiken. Yona was a fascinating man, who I remember well, showing me his original IBM computer, which cost, probably close to 30 years ago, over $10,000. Yona and Malka made Aliyah, that is came to live in Israel, from the US, directly to Hebron. That was quite a move, and Malka has been here ever since. Yona survived a critical injury, being stabbed by an Arab terrorist in the back while in the Kasba. He ran after the terrorist, shooting until he finally hit him, and then, somehow, made his way back to Beit Hadassah, where he collapsed. A real close call. But a few years later he fell to cancer, leaving Malka and their large family here in Hebron.
 
Every year, at the memorial event, Malka finds interesting people to speak about various subjects. This year, her in-laws provided the evening’s attraction. Avigdor Sharon, among other things, produces wine. He spoke about the process, and brought several different wines to taste. They were very good.
 
As interesting as he was, his wife, Adi, was, in my opinion, the highlight. She has written several books, including a true story about her mother, who escaped from Romania with siblings, during World War Two. Finally boarding an overcrowded boat to Israel, they made it as far as Haifa, where the British, refusing to allow them into Israel, sent them to Cyprus for a year. At seventeen she finally made it to Israel, fulfilling her dream. Here, she found herself at Kibbutz Yavneh, working as a lookout in a tower, all by herself, night after night. Armed with a World War Two Czech rifle, she was told to watch for Egyptian airplanes trying to invade Israel and get to Tel Aviv. And if she saw a plane? She was to shoot it down.
 
One night, suddenly, she heard a buzz in the heavens above. She froze, searching the sky. And then, there it was, an Egyptian plane, flying low, above her. What to do? She raised the Czech rifle, pull the trigger, and shot, straight into the plane, which plummeted to the earth. A young refugee woman from Romania shot down an enemy war plane, with a rifle, all by herself! Iron Dome, sixty four years ago. If this isn’t heroism, I don’t know what is.
 
This is the same heroism displayed by the young border policewoman who shot and killed a terrorist last night in Hebron. This is the legacy of our ancestors, Mattityahu, Yehuda, and all the others, who fought, against all odds, and won.
 

As I write this, another group of heroes are celebrating these happy days. Hebron’s children are being treated to a Hanukkah play, complete with games, riddles, prizes, and of course, sufganiot, the traditional Hanukkah jelly donut. Seeing these joyous children in Hebron is a realization that the dream which began almost 4,000 years ago here in Hebron, has borne much fruit, which we have observed over the centuries and are privileged to witness here today.
 

Chodesh tov – Happy New Month, and Hanukkah Sameach – Happy Hanukkah!
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All photos: David Wilder

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Get out the candles!


Get out the candles!
Dec. 4, 2012
 The cards seem to be falling, almost as planned. Our Arab neighbors asked the international anti-Israel organization, otherwise known as the United Nations, for recognition in their efforts to delete Israel from the world map. They approached the number one warrior, General Assembly, who consulted with his Defense cabinet, the Security council, which vetoed the idea, realizing the negative consequences. So the General decided to go it alone.  As such, palestine was created by General Assembly and his friends.
The key word in that last sentence is, of course, created. From scratch. Because it never really existed. At least, not as an Arab entity.  So, we’re going back to the days of‘Creation’ when G-d created the heavens, the earth, and of course, now, palestine.
 
Israel did as expected. The UN’s greatest nemesis declared parts of ‘palestine’ to actually be part of Israel.
 
Actually, everyone already knew that the four and a half mile area labeled E1 is as much of Israel as is Tel Aviv. The land, on the outskirts of Jerusalem, extending to Ma’aleh Adumim, is as Jewish as Rye bread.  Well, almost everyone. Jodi Rudoren, in the NY Times, labels the area ‘contentious.’  Others call this ‘illegal Israeli settlement.’
 
Then again, what is considered ‘Israeli settlement’ in ‘conquered’ ‘palestinian’ land? Again, Ms. Rudoren serves as a faithful messenger of world opinion. Writing about ‘East Jerusalem,’ she mentions neighborhoods such as French Hill, Ramot. Also, Har Homa, Givat HaMatos, and Pisgat Zeev.  
Not too long ago, when VP Biden visited Israel, the White House flipped over when it was announced that some 1,500 new apartments would be built in Ramat Shlomo, also classified a ‘settlement.’ The plan was quickly scrapped. Until yesterday.
 
Of course, anyone who has ever visited Jerusalem knows that these are all normal neighborhoods in Israel’s capitol city. Any thought of ‘withdrawal’ from Ramot or French Hill or Ramat Shlomo is about as far-fetched as whatever your head can come with.
 
The resulting uproar, from Israel’s front and backyard, was expected. After all, who cares that just north of us, a desperate Arab mass murderer is arming chemical weapons for use on ‘rebels.’ 
 
But that takes back seat to Jewish imperialism and expansionism. Ambassadors are being recalled. Israeli envoys are being scolded. And Israeli political leftists are decrying Netanyahu’s outrageous move. Ha’aretz newspaper: “Former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says he was dismayed by Israel’s “offending” response to the “extraordinary courage” shown by President Obama’s Administration in their defense of Israel at the United Nations. “I was utterly surprised,” he said.”
 
Ok, so what’s next? It seems that the whole world is against us. Again. There are those who suggest that Obama and the Europeans will ‘use this’ against our attempts to end Iran’s nuclear threat.
 
What should Israel do next? Buckle under to world pressure or tell them all to jump in the lake?
 
In a few days we begin celebrating Hanukkah, the festival of lights.  During the days of the Maccabees, there was tremendous pressure on the Jews to fold to Greek pressure, and assimilate into Hellenistic culture. The Maccabees refused, declaring war on this attempt to spiritually destroy Judaism.  Then too, the few fought the many. And they won. As such, we celebrate Hanukkah, marking eight days with candles lit every evening.  There were many miracles. A tiny drop of pure olive oil lasted for eight days. And the military victory was no less a Divine phenomenon.
 
As we approach these festive days of wonder, again finding ourselves being oppressed by the ‘Greeks’ of today, once more, we should show our independence.  Every day during Hanukkah, another seed should be planted. For example, the first night, we should be given permits allowing us to move back into Beit HaMachpela in Hebron. The second night, permits should be issued returning the ‘Shalhevet neighborhood’ – the area of the old Arab market, to Hebron’s Jewish community. Etc. Etc.
 
Not only in Hebron, but throughout Judea and Samaria. And in Jerusalem. Three thousand new apartments should be transformed into 30,000 new apartment buildings. And let’s not forget: Netanyahu should announce plans to rebuild Gush Katif, thereby ending, once and for all, rocket attacks into Israel.
 
This will put an end to the figment of world imagination, called ‘palestine.’
 
Everyone will get upset? So what! Almost 2,200 years ago many were upset at Judah Maccabee, his father and brothers. Yet they did what they did. Thank G-d.
 
And if anyone has any doubts about our Creator’s tangible presence today, as in the days of the Maccabees, just remember that a couple of weeks ago, a ‘giant hand’ was swooping rockets, launched at Israel, out of the sky. What more could we ask for?
 
Therefore, the present issues are easily solved: do what you’ve gotta do and then just get out the candles!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thank you, Moshe Feiglin




Exactly four years ago, a few days prior to the Likud primaries, I posted a blog called: The Time is Now! - Moshe Feiglin & Manhigut Yehudit, I wrote: 
 
"…It is quite clear: should Netanyahu be again elected Prime Minister with a parve Likud list, he will continue in the footsteps of one of his predecessors, namely one Bibi Netanyahu, who signed away 80% of Hebron to Arafat terrorists, and continued by agreeing to the infamous Wye Accords…Moshe Feiglin represents the paradigm Jewish leader: a man of faith and conviction, with a proven track record…this man, together with others, will be a true Kiddush HaShem, bringing to Israeli leadership what has long been so lacking:  a belief and understanding of the ‘holy triangle’ of Am Yisrael – the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel, and Torah…and will be living proof that it is possible to utilize the existing framework of the State of Israel within the boundaries of Kedusha – holiness, thereby bringing about a major ‘tikkun’ – rectification of the current failings of leaderless leadership."
After years of struggle and hard work, it seems that Moshe will finally speak for Am Yisrael from within the walls of the Israeli parliament. But that is not why I believe we must express a debt of gratitude to Moshe. His presence as an Israeli lawmaker is important, but I, personally, don't think this is his most important contribution to Israeli society.
 
Four years ago I used the words, 'should Netanyahu be elected with a parve Likud list…" – parve meaning, a weak group of centrists, sometimes leaning right, sometimes leaning left, who are more afraid of Obama, Abu Mazen and the EU than anything else, excepting perhaps their own shadows.
 
In yesterday's Likud primary, a large, or better put, huge group of strong, idealistic, right-wing political activists with proven track-records were elected to represent Israel's ruling party in the next Knesset. I can happily say that all of the twelve people I voted for are in the top twenty, all of whom have an extremely good chance to be in the Knesset.
 
Ah, you ask, why would I vote in the Likud primaries?! What's with a Hebronite and the Likud?
 
The answer: Moshe Feiglin.
 
Moshe Feiglin is, I believe, directly responsible for the list elected yesterday. Almost all of those elected, with very few exceptions, are right-wing superstars, who fully back Hebron, and all other Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, who oppose any type of withdrawal from anywhere in Eretz Yisrael, and who will combat, with all their hearts and souls, creation of a so-called palestinian state.
 
The reason that these people were elected is because of Feiglin. He enlisted the electorate who voted overwhelmingly for them in the Likud primaries.
 
I won't try to explain the all the conceptual ideas behind Feiglin's ideology. He can do that much better than me. But simply put, his original initiative, challenging Netanyahu for the Likud premiership, while attracting a massive ideological political power base into the Likud, was a brilliant stroke of genius which began paying off four years ago, and has presently culminated with the current excellent Likud list.
 
The Psalmist writes: (34:15), "Depart from evil, and do good"  
 
These politicians can put the brakes on Bibi, preventing him from pulling left,  and doing 'evil,' while at the same time, they will  'do much good.' Gideon Saar is sending Israeli school kids to Hebron. Yisrael Katz renovated and modernized miles and miles of roads in Judea and Samaria. Zeev Elkin co-chaired the Eretz Yisrael lobby in the Knesset, etc. etc. etc.  Many of them can attribute their victory to Moshe Feiglin's army of people, who, like me, joined the Likud to ensure, not only Feiglin's place in the Knesset, but also to guarantee a list such as was elected yesterday. And their triumph is our triumph.
 
The above-quoted verse in Psalm concludes: "seek peace, and pursue it." The peace sought and pursued by these words' author, relates not to Camp David, Oslo, or any other future farce. Rather, to real peace, the fulfillment of a Divine promise which includes the right and obligation of the Jewish people to live in their land, all their land, Israel. Only then will the entire world reap the rewards of tranquility and serenity, for ever after.
 
We cannot live under an illusion that all will proceed exactly as we would desire, that we are 'home free.' Not yet. But we're on the way. Each step in the right direction is a sign from Above that we've done something right. And in this case, we must give thanks where thanks are deserved. That's why we must thank Moshe Feiglin.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Anachronisms





A few months ago I posted photos taken in the Casba, here in Hebron, of big red stenciled letters on the walls, “Welcome to palestine.”
This morning we woke up to find the same thing painted onto storefronts between Ma’arat HaMachpela – the Tomb of the Patriarchs, and the Avaham Avinu neighborhood. Also written was ‘no Zionists here.’
 
So, just who is a palestinian? Actually, I have a document from July 28, 1944 which identifies one  Esther Alhanaty, from Jerusalem, as a Palestinian.  The document, numbered 40186, was issued by the Government of Palestine, and is an identity card. Esther Alhanaty’s ‘race,’ as listed in the card, is Jewish.  Thirty five years after this document was issued, Esther Alhanaty, by then, Esther Eli, became my mother-in-law. If she was a palestinian, well I guess that means my wife is too, a palestinian.   And my kids too. And Grandchildren!
 

 
Frequently, when speaking with groups here in Hebron, I ask if anyone knows where the name ‘palestine’ originated?  More often than not, no one replies.  So, let’s set the record straight.
 
This place, this land, where we live, is Israel, Eretz Yisrael. Some 2,000 years ago, following destruction of the second Temple by the Romans, those invaders and conquerors decided to erase all Jewish identity from Israel. They changed the name of Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina and the name of the land from Israel to Palestina. The word ‘palestina’ – palestine, was adapted from the word ‘pilishtim’ or philistines, a people who had lived here, and died out, a thousand years previous to the Roman conquest.
So it happened that Israel became Palestine. People who live here became ‘palestinians’ – be they Jewish, Moslem, Christian  or anything else. For that reason my mother-in-law too, was a Jewish palestinian.
 
What about a palestinian people?  According to Wikipedia, different peoples who have ruled this land include since the Romans include:   Byzantines, the Muslims, Crusaders, Ayyubids, Mameluks, Ottomans, the British, and The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Prior to the Romans:  Ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Ancient Israelites, Assyrians, Babylonians, Persians, and Ancient Greeks.
What about the palestinians? When did they rule in this land?
They didn’t.
 
No such people ever existed. And they never ruled here, or anywhere. The ‘palestinian people’ as it is classified and defined today, is a figment of the world’s collective imagination.
 
I know this is an unpopular idea – but what can you do – sometimes the truth hurts. The ‘palestinian people,’ as such, on the verge of being accepted into the United Nations, is the greatest PR bluff since the Greeks pushed the Trojan Horse into Troy.
Much has been written on this subject – see Eli Hertz:http://www.mythsandfacts.org/article_view.asp?articleID=53&order_id=2
And others.
Why were they invented? Simply to dispel any Jewish rights to our homeland, Israel. This is nothing less than a continuation of Hitler’s Nazi plans to annihilate the Jewish people. One of the first such palestinian leaders, Haj Amin el Husseini, who met with Hitler in Berlin in 1941, called Arafat his ‘successor.’ This monster incited and initiated the 1929 riots which left 67 Jews dead in Hebron and over 150 killed throughout Israel.
The point is: such graffiti, painted on storefronts in Hebron, ‘welcome us to palestine’ is a Nazi anachronism. Palestine went out with the end of the British Mandate in May, 1948 as did Nazi Germany in 1945. It is no more.
We are in Israel. We includes: Hebron, Beit El, Shilo, Eli, Beit Chagai, Sussya, Jerusalem, and also Tel Aviv Beer Sheva and Haifa.
Palestine died.
 
Israel is alive.
Welcome to Israel!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Jeremiah Prophesized Iron Dome Defense


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Friday night, Sabbath eve. I was sitting with my son-in-law at the Tapuach community synagogue, in the Shomron, north Samaria. We were just about to begin the beautiful Shabbat service, when suddenly, sirens started whining and blasting.
The sound wasn’t really strange to me. I hear it, not first-hand in Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, Ashdod, or other places. Rather sitting, staring at my computer screen in Hebron. I have a program which notifies me whenever sirens start sounding. It too is a siren. The only difference is, that in Hebron, I don’t have to run for shelter.  Anywhere else you hear it, you have to scurry pretty fast to avoid the possibility of being hit by one of the Hamas rockets.
 
But, I must admit, hearing a siren in a Samaria synagogue, well, it sort of makes your hair stand up. After all, we are quite a ways away from Gaza. They do have long-range missiles, but still…

We all looked at each other, trying to figure out what to do, where to go. The shelters there weren’t really ready for a public stampede. After a few minutes someone came in and exclaimed that sirens were sounded throughout all of Israel. “I guess that means war,” I remarked, “all-out war.”
But a few minutes later we were informed that a rocket had been shot towards Jerusalem, and, ‘just in case,’ sirens were sounded over much of Judea and Samaria. We later heard that the missile had fallen in an Arab village near Gush Etzion, halfway between Hebron and Jerusalem.

So much for sirens.

Actually as I’m writing this, listening to the radio in the background, I can’t even begin to count the virtual sirens warnings I’ve been alerted to over the past 10 minutes. Basically, that’s the way it is all day.

Here in Hebron, many reservists have replaced the regular IDF brigades usually here. Older men, from around Israel, are standing guard and patrolling.  Yesterday I met a man from Netivot, near Beer Sheva in the south, one of the cities being bombarded day and night. “Ah,” I told him, “here you’re safer here than in Netivot. Here there aren’t any missiles or rockets, just rocks and firebombs.”
 

Actually, that’s really what we are facing here, over the past few days. Hebron Arabs, supporting Hamas terrorists, are hurling massive amounts of rocks and firebombs, on the roads and within the city. A firebomb hit a pizza truck near Beit Hadassah Saturday night, and a little while ago another fire-bomber was shot in the leg by an IDF officer, caught in the act of trying to kill Jews with his Molotov cocktail.  Rocks are flying all over, but thank G-d, without too many injuries.

For the time being we are all sitting, watching, and waiting: what will be next? Will Israel commence with a ground war? We all have friends and relatives who’ve been called-up in the emergency draft. One of my sons and a son-in-law were swooped out of civilian life to take part in the defense of Israel.  My son-in-law, a Rabbi, living in a mostly secular town not far from Beer Sheva was notified on Shabbat that he should report immediately to his unit. So he caught a ride with a resident from his neighborhood, even before Shabbat was over. (Orthodox Jews usually don’t drive on Shabbat.)

So it goes when our country goes to war. And make no mistake: war it is!

This is a very emotionally trying week. Current events are undoubtedly stressing. But I find myself dwelling on other thoughts too.

Every week, a different member of the community writes a short Torah message, distributed to soldiers in Hebron on Friday, before Shabbat, with all sorts of goodies – cookies, cake, and the like. A few days ago, my friend Yoni Bleichbard, (himself also drafted and now serving – here in Hebron), who initiated the Sabbath soldier program, asked me to write an article for the coming Shabbat.

Here is a brief version of part of the essay:
“In this week’s Torah portion, we read that Ya’akov (Jacob) left Beer Sheva, fleeing from his brother Esau, who wanted to kill him. The primary commentator on the Torah, Rashi, writes: The departure of a righteous man from a place makes an impression, for while the righteous man  is in the city, he is its beauty, he is its splendor, he is its majesty. When he departs from there, its beauty has departed, its splendor has departed, its majesty has departed.
 

It was exactly ten years ago, this coming Shabbat, that 12 righteous men departed from our city, and that definitely left an impression. A shining light extinguished that Shabbat eve. Twelve men, officers, soldiers and civilians, caught in a terror ambush outside the south gate of Kiryat Arba, were killed on what was called ‘worshiper’s way.’ Colonel Dror Weinberg, commander of the Hebron brigade, and Kiryat Arba security chief Yitzhak Boanish, were among those gunned down.

These men, serving their people, doing their job with their amazing heroism, worked to protect the lives of the residents of Kiryat Arba and Hebron when three cursed terrorists tried to end the lives of innocent civilians. They gave their lives, they sacrificed themselves, for their people and their country.”

I read an article, published last week, dealing with this horrific event, and it made me shiver, even after a decade. These men knowingly took part in the bloodiest battle in Hebron since 1929, and went to their deaths as genuine heroes.

This is the fabric of Am Yisrael, of the Jewish people. There were days, months and years when Hebron was under daily attack. Israel’s north came under rocket fire for years; Kiryat Shemona was showered with Katusha missiles shot from South Lebanon. So too the brave people who lived in Gush Katif, as well as those in Sderot, and today, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon and Ashdod.
 
There isn’t anyone, anywhere in this small country, that hasn’t faced an enemy threat, be it in his home, on the roads, or on the battlefield.

What keeps us going?

Jeremiah 46:27 - Fear not, My servant Jacob, and be not dismayed, O Israel! for behold, I will redeem you from afar and your children from the land of their captivity, and Jacob shall return and be quiet and at ease, and there shall be none who disturb his rest.

In this week’s Torah portion, G-d promises Jacob that he will come back to Eretz Yisrael, safe and sound. So, too, the L-rd has promised us, the children of Jacob, that He will protect us from afar (shades of the Iron Dome Missile system). In the end, none will disturb us, we will be fully redeemed. So it will be. For all the people, from Kiryat Shemona to Eilat, are heroes, and there are none who are afraid. And we will never be dismayed. And that’s what keeps us going.
 
Photos: David and Raphael Wilder

Monday, November 12, 2012

Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron: A real happening!


Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron: A real happening!
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When I invite people to Hebron for Shabbat, I sometimes hear the response, “I’ve been – I was for Shabbat Chaye Sarah.” But in fact, Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron isn’t a normal Shabbat. It’s an experience.
Yesterday, according to conservative estimates, over 20,000 people visited this holy city.

Here in our offices, this event began weeks ago; planning for the multitudes. Many man hours, and much money is invested to ensure that the day will be a success. And as much as we want, and need rain, we sort of hope that this day will remain dry.

My Chaye Sarah began on Friday, wandering around, hoping to get some good photos. Being that the main events are on Shabbat, I have no way to photograph the occasion. (That’s really my only regret about this wonderful day.)

Toward early mid-afternoon the tents start popping up on the lawn in the park across from Machpela. Men, women, kids of all ages, can be found camping out. I spoke to people who’d come from Netanya and Akko to sleep in a tent on the ground because ‘this is the city of the Patriarchs. It’s ours.’ On Friday night, walking back from amazing evening prayers at Machpela, I couldn’t believe my eyes. Families pitched tents on the road, between parked cars and opened up small tables from which to enjoy their Shabbat meal. Young children, swathed in winter jackets, sat around such tables, eating, singing and enjoying the festivity.

Evening prayers are unbelievable. Various minions – prayer services – spring up on the lawn outside, in the courtyard, and inside the building. Thousands upon thousands descend on Herod’s 2,000 year old structure to offer Shabbat prayers. These worship services include song and dance, true joy. More than one group includes dozens of people who have flown into Israel from the United States and Europe, for 48 hours, to participate in this massive celebration. It is indescribable.

During meals, huge tents were filled to capacity. People hosted, some more, some less. In my apartment, aside from filling our bedrooms (in one, three older married women slept together), our living room floor contained four guys and the couch bedded my friend Moshe Goldshmid, whose family has been coming to us for about 14 years for this Shabbat. Moshe’s grandfather, Rabbi Moshe Goldshmid, was murdered in Hebron during the 1929 riots. For meals, another visiting family joined us.

Others hosted literally dozens, eating in shifts (and maybe sleeping in shifts too).

After evening meals many participated in political panel discussions, including numerous Israeli MKs, ministers and Rabbis. Visitors toured all day and all night. Saturday afternoon my friend Noam Arnon led a huge tour in the Casba. Simcha Hochbaum guided a huge group throughout the Jewish neighborhoods. I had two tours of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, showing the uninitiated the wonders of ancient-new Hebron.

I must also mention: Friday afternoon we dedicated a memorial room to our dear friend, Herb Zweibon, founder and director of AFSI, Americans for a Safe Israel. Herb was a genuine friend of Israel, and especially of Hebron’s Jewish community. AFSI’s executive director, Helen Freedman led a group of about 25 friends from the US for a week-long visit in Israel, and to Hebron for this Shabbat. We all gathered at the new “Zweibon Hall,” at the entrance to the ‘Hezkiah neighborhood,” here in Hebron to dedicate this room in Herb’s memory.

Late Saturday afternoon I participated in the ‘3rd meal’ with our friends attending via Hebron’s US branch, the Hebron Fund. The fund’s new director, Rabbi Dan Rosenstein, asked me to speak with the group for a few minutes. I asked them to take their “Hebron Shabbat High’ back home, to convey it to others, and to be ambassadors for Hebron’s Jewish community, getting the word out, letting other know what Hebron iss really all about. They are all, as much as we are, ‘keepers of the keys,’ insuring Hebron’s Jewish future forever.

By the time Shabbat ended, everyone was exhausted, but the day hadn’t yet concluded. I sat with my AFSI friend in our Beit Hadassah apartment, answering questions and discussing various issues common to all of us for about an hour. Only later did I have the luxury to collapse.

Actually there was another important event Saturday night. In Kiryat Arba, a group of people met with Education Minister Gideon Saar, expressing gratitude for the time and effort he has put in to assist the communities in Hebron and Kiryat Arba. I wanted to attend but my legs rebelled.

How can I best sum up this day? Actually I’d prefer to quote a friend of mine, Barak Arusi, the police officer in charge of the Hebron station. Barak began his position here a number of months ago, and this was his first Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron. Speaking to him, he told me, “As far as I’m concerned every Shabbat should be like this in Hebron. It’s a lot of work, but for me, it was a lot of fun, a real happening.”

Coming from a police officer, who worked around the clock this past Shabbat, well, I couldn’t express it better. ‘A lot of fun, and a real happening.’
Twenty thousand isn’t bad. In fact, it’s pretty good. Considering that the forecast was for rain. These 20,000, in my eyes, represent tens and hundreds of thousands who couldn’t celebrate here with us in Hebron, but did so, at their homes and in their synagogues, around the world.
I think Abraham and Sarah would be proud.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Abraham's Legacy


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 A few years ago, following one of his last visits to Me’arat Hamachpela, the Cave of the Patriarchs, as Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu entered his car, the other door opened and two people literally pushed their way into the vehicle, one civilian, the other in uniform.

The civilian, a senior employee at the holy site, said, “Rabbi, I’m sorry to do this, but this man, a border police officer, works here very hard and greatly helps the Jewish people. He has a problem. He and his wife have been married many years and have yet to be blessed with children.”

Rabbi Eliyahu looked at the man and responded, “He should continue to help the Jewish people and next year he will be witness to salvation.”

A year later his daughter Miriam was born. The border police officer’s name is Shuchralla Morav.


Much has been written about Hebron’s relationship with security forces, be it police or IDF. As much as we say about our good, positive relationships with them, we are unfortunately generally not believed.

The roots of our national essence, in Hebron, begins with Abraham and Sarah. They were known as people of chesed, that is, overwhelming loving-kindness and generosity. Our sages have taught that we must express the attributes of our Creator: as He is kind, so too we must be kind. The primary examples of kindness are Abraham and Sarah.

Abraham’s compassion was not limited to “his own.” Numerous stories are told of his assistance to strangers, many of whom worshiped idols, the very antithesis of his life and ideology. Yet this did not prevent him from offering them food, drink and a place to sleep.

The present Jewish community of Hebron tries to continue walking in the footsteps of our illustrious Forefathers, learning from their deeds, and acting accordingly. Therefore, when Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, then director of the Machpela authority, realized he had an opportunity to seek a blessing from one of our generation’s most righteous people, he did so, without thinking twice.

And the rabbi’s blessing was received and came to pass.

Morav, as he is called, served at Me’arat Hamachpela for 17 years. Living in the north, several hours from Hebron, he wasn’t able to spend enough time with his wife and young daughter. Recently he was transferred to a position much closer to his home, allowing him to enjoy his blessings.

But, after 17 years of service, we couldn’t allow him to leave without a proper parting. So a few days ago, a large group from Hebron, as well as a few of his former commanders, surprised Morav at his home for a farewell party. All facets of Hebron’s community were represented: Rabbi Hillel Horowitz and Noam Arnon, Baruch Marzel, Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, and others.


The celebration began with a number of speeches recognizing Morav’s contribution to dozens of Hebron events, including mass gatherings of tens of thousands of visitors. Everyone present articulated words of gratitude, which was expressed also in several gifts presented to him: an original painting of Me’arat Hamachpela by Hebron artist Shmuel Mushnik, and a certificate of appreciation, signed by all present as well as Hebron’s mayor, Avraham Ben-Yosef, Hebron’s director-general Uri Karzen, and the director of the regional religious council, Yosef Dayan.

How did Morav relate to his years in Hebron? In his words, “It was an honor... the sanctity of the site was above any and all other considerations.”

Shuchralla Morav is not the first and only officer honored by Hebron’s Jewish community. A long list of police , IDF soldiers and officers and commanders are among those who are tangibly appreciated as a result of their tireless efforts to maintain a safe and secure Hebron, allowing hundreds of thousands of people, of all races and religions, to visit Israel’s first Jewish city and holy sites.


Surely, we do not always see eye to eye, but then again, neither do husband and wife always agree. You learn to agree to disagree. However that doesn’t prevent mutual care, respect and love. So too with the courageous men and women whose presence, hard work and shared esteem lead to positive, fruitful relationships which can last for many years.

For example, Colonel Guy Hazut, speaking recently after having concluded two years as commander of the Judea-Hebron brigade, said, “Many people think that people in the Jewish community of Hebron have horns and tails. These are amazing people. There is a tiny, negligible group which give them a bad name.”

Abraham’s legacy is a lesson well learned, and still practiced. That legacy, still alive and well, is the crux of our existence, not only in Hebron, but as a people, in Israel and around the world.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Jewish self hate


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My job has all sorts of interesting facets to it. As spokesman I get to meet many different people. Yesterday, for example, I toured with a group from Sri Lanka. A couple of days earlier, with businessmen from Taiwan, and last week, a group of Koreans spent a few hours with me.

These groups came to see what Hebron is all about. Their questions were good and to the point. I think they enjoyed their tour of Hebron.

I also speak with ‘interfaith groups.’ These groups usually include Christians, Jews, and sometimes, also Muslims. They usually allocate about an hour with me which I divide into two segments. First we do a short tour of the Hebron Heritage Museum at Beit Hadassah, and then spend about forty five minutes of questions and answers. It’s clear to me that much of what I say we may disagree about, but this is an opportunity for such people to hear a representative from Hebron, telling it as we see it. I don’t live under illusions, thinking that they’ll reverse positions 180 degrees, but, then again, you never know.

I find such groups, as challenging as they may be, stimulating and even enjoyable.

A few days ago, another such group visited with me for the above-described program. They introduced themselves as belonging to the ‘Dorothy Cotton Institute.’ The program proceeded normally. I wasn’t aware of anyone overly friendly, and some of the questions were a bit sharp, but nothing really abnormal.

This morning I found a blog piece on Mondoweiss titled, ‘A meeting with the spokesman of the Jewish settlers in Hebron’ by Alice Rothchild.

Mondoweiss is not overly pro Israel-Judea and Samaria, so I had a feeling the article would lean far to the left. You can read the entire piece for yourselves, but here I want to quote a few choice sentences.

“the visit will start out with meeting David Wilder, a spokesmen for the (most aggressive intolerant) Jewish community in Hebron. Some in our group feel that morally they cannot sit down with this man, (would I meet with a Klansmen?); others feel this is an unusual opportunity to observe and understand the enemy.”

Even before we begin I am aggressively intolerant, an enemy, and exemplified as a member of the KKK. Good start.

‘ I do not know if I will be able to be remotely civil. We agree as a group to be civil.’

Thanks.

“ I study him [David Wilder] carefully; he has an easy, friendly manner…and projects an air of authority and warmth that could be disarming to the misinformed, I can imagine him as one of Romney’s PR handlers.”

I liked that, being associated with the next President of the United States (we hope).

“He presents us with a context-free history of the Jewish people that is a complicated mixture of half truths, outright lies, and racist paranoia.”

Most of the rest of the article deals with their later meeting with a ‘good friend’ of mine, Issa Amru, a local neighborhood Arab, whose incitement manages to heat up the area, even during quiet times.

How does Dr. Alice (she’s a doctor) relate to Issa. After all, I’m a liar, as she wrote. However, when quoting Issa: “He observes thoughtfully, 'Settlers are not Jews.'”

He observes and is thoughtful. As opposed to me. I am, in his words “the crazy man.” During a meeting with another group, he said, ‘David Wilder, he’s not Jewish.’ That’s because, ‘settlers are not Jews.’ I guess, Jews, for him, are the kind that can be slaughtered easily, who can’t or won’t fight back.

I’m not going to enumerate, line by line, the lies espoused in the article. The point here, is that anything an Arab says is, by default, true. Anything a Jew says, is by default, a lie.

OK. I can live with this. I’ve seen it before. It’s not pleasant, but the reality exists, and we live with it and deal with it. I would hope that normally intelligent people would be able to, and prepared to open their eyes and really search for the truth, as opposed to swallowing poison pills as offered by Amru. And by such blogs as Rothchild’s.

But what really hit me, and I have to admit, it hit me hard, was one other line in Dr. Alice’s essay of hate. Now please remember, this woman is a Jew. According to her website biography, her family belonged to a conservative synagogue and her grandparents were orthodox.

This woman spews forth: ‘He states he is happy to engage in dialogue with Arabs who are interested in peace; he is a reasonable man who is only here to protect his people and what is rightfully theirs. Unfortunately he has many grandchildren.’

Ahha. She doesn’t like that fact that I have many grandchildren. It’s not just my politics, not by beliefs, not my way of life, (which are all supposed to be legitimate in a democracy). It’s my offspring.

Why should she care how many grandchildren I have? She views them as a continuation of me and I represent, it seems, as far as Alice Rothchild is concerned, consummate evil. If I’m evil then I procreate evil. Look at those not so cute little Jewish monsters living in Hebron. Too bad they exist.

Her comment about my grandchildren leads me to one understanding, and one understanding alone. Alice’s ideas have nothing to do with politics, or rights and wrongs of the Israel-Arab conflict. It has nothing to do with human rights or freedoms. Her illness is clearly Jewish self hate; a conscious or unconscious loathing of her core essence, of her being. Otherwise she could never express such a thought or write such words.

I cannot know from whom she contracted this terrible disease, but I can only hope and pray that G-d will have mercy on her, and others like her, and lead them back to their source, that they should be privileged to see the light, and to live in the light, as we do, and not remain totally overcome by the pitch black darkness she is shrouded in at present.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Send Meridor to the Visitor's Gallery


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There is a long-running discussion among Torah scholars as to a most significant topic. Is it a positive commandment to settle Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel? On the face of it, two of the greatest Torah scholars ever to walk the earth, seem to disagree. The Rambam, Rabbi Moshe ben Maimon, in his seminal work, the “Yad HaChazakah,” where he discusses the 613 Biblical Torah commandments, does not include settling the land as a positive precept. The Ramban, Rabbi Moshe benNachman, who lived shortly after the Rambam, writes, seemingly disagreeing with his illustrious predecessor, that settling the Land of Israel is definitely a Mitzvah, a positive, Divine commandment.

However, there are many distinguished Torah scholars who rule that, in reality, there isn’t any disagreement between the two giants. The Rambam, when enumerating the Mitzvot, does not include in his list, the most basic fundamentals, upon which Judaism is based. For example, he does not write that Tshuva – repentance, is a commandment. Rather, he instructs, ‘when you do tshuva – when you repent… this is what you must do.’
Tshuva is pillar upon which Torah, and Torah observance is founded. There is no Judaism, as we know it, without Tshuva. Yet it does not appear in the Rambam’s list, not in spite of its importance, rather as a result of its major significance.

So too, with the Mitzvah of living and settling Eretz Yisrael. The Jewish people were created in order to live in this land. Without Israel, Judaism as we know it, does not exist.

This example can illustrate my feelings today, upon hearing Minister Dan Meridor’s statement on the early morning news. Meridor was asked his opinion about reports that the government was going to approve the Levy Commission Report. This report, written by three highly respected judges and attorneys, headed by former Supreme Court Edmund Levy, rejects international claims that the Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria is ‘occupation of a foreign land.’ Its adoption and implementation by the Israeli government will remove many of the politically bureaucratic hardships placed upon Jews living in Judea and Samaria, particularly in the areas of building construction and land purchase.

Meridor said, “Ramallah and Hebron are not part of the State of Israel and I don’t think that Prime Minister Netanyahu has any intentions to change this.”
I find it very difficult to stomach a Likud minister, serving in a right-wing government, state that Hebron is not part of Israel.

True, the state of Israel has yet to annex Judea and Samaria. Legally, all this land, including Hebron, is officiated via the Defense ministry. Actually, the Levy report, its findings and conclusions should be the first step changing this, leading to eventual annexation.

That, however, has no bearing on whether Hebron is part of the State of Israel. Because, without Hebron, there wouldn’t be a State of Israel. Hebron, the first Jewish city in this holy land, was the first home of Abraham, as we read in Genesis 13:18 - And Abram moved his tent, and came and dwelt by the oaks of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built there an altar unto the L-rd.”

Here, in the first Jewish city in Eretz Yisrael, Abraham lived for decades. As did his son, grandson, and many many others after them. Here they lived and here they were buried. Ma’arat HaMachpela, their tombs, the Caves of Machpela, is the 2nd holiestsite in the world, second only to Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Here began the Davidic monarchy, prior to Jerusalem becoming our eternal capital. Here fought Bar Cochva and the Maccabees. Here Jews came following the Spanish expulsion in 1492. Here Jews lived almost continuously over the centuries, until the 1929 riots, massacre and expulsion.

In June, 1967, coming into Hebron, Israel did not conquer and occupy a foreign city. We came home.

Just as living in Israel isn’t mentioned in the Rambam’s list of Mitzvot, because of its supreme magnitude, so too, Hebron’s importance cannot be minimized because of political fears and accountings. Hebron is the roots of Judaism, it is the source of monotheism, and is an integral element in our people’s essence.
Israeli ministers, representing the State of Israel, must not humiliate Hebron, declaring in an affirmative manner that ‘Hebron is not a part of the State of Israel, and that’s the way it should stay.’ Rather they should decry this disgrace, asserting that Hebron is the Jewish people’s lifeblood, the source of our culture and tradition, and of course, Jews must have the same rights and privileges in Israel’s first Jewish city, as do Jews living in Tel Aviv or Haifa.

Meridor’s left-wing tendencies are known. Truthfully, as sad as it is, it’s no great surprise that he should make such a statement. But his presence as a Likud minister, in a Likud government, with such opinions, is  scandalous.

Before Israel goes to the polls, most parties will conduct primaries to determine their candidates for the Knesset. Meridor’s own words must be publicized loud and clear,insuring that Likud voters know exactly what he thinks of Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria, his thoughts about the Levi Commission Report, and about Hebron. This way, perhaps he will join Ehud Barak, after the elections, following Knesset and government proceedings from the visitor’s gallery.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Victory at Beit HaShalom: A sweet way to begin the New Year


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The new year is starting off on the right foot - and if you didn't notice, that's a double entendre. Over the past month and a half, over 150,000 Jews visited Hebron. About half of them arrived during the Succot holidays. That's a good way to begin a new year. But it's only the beginning.
A few weeks ago, an Israeli court ruled that Beit HaShalom, the huge 4,000 square meter building between Hebron and Kiryat Arba, was legally purchased by the Jewish community of Hebron and must be returned to us, the rightful owners of the building.

Beit HaShalom was purchased by Morris Abraham and his family, for over a million dollars. Hebron Jews moved into the building in 2007 and lived there for 22 months. Ehud Barak, then Defense Minister, ordered the families to be forcibly expelled in the winter of 2008.

The Arab who sold the building, Rajabi, then filed suit in a Jerusalem court, demanding that the structure be returned to him. In court he admitted that he had sold the building and received money for it – he had no choice, as the transaction was videoed. However, he claimed that he'd changed his mind and returned the money. His only problem was that he had no proof, receipts or documents showing that he'd actually returned the money.

A few weeks ago the court ruled against him, and ordered the government to return the building to the Jewish owners within 30 days.

One final problem remained. According to Israeli law, properties purchased by Jews from Arabs in Judea and Samaria must be approved by the Defense Minister. Ehud Barak, a left-wing politician who only a few days ago announced his idea for a unilateral expulsion/withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, is not known to view favorably the Jewish presence in Hebron. Expectations that he might sign such a permit weren't high.

But, miracles do happen. As happened early tonight. Hebron's Jewish community received written notification that Barak ordered the Defense ministry to grant the necessary permits allowing us to return home, to return to Beit HaShalom.
Shortly, the cement blocks surrounding the building will be removed. The big padlock sealing the doors will be removed. The keys will be returned to us. Beit HaShalom has been redeemed.

We are very very happy that the Israeli government has finally recognized the legitimacy of Jewish land purchase in Hebron. It's about time. After all, the first land purchase, some 4,000 years ago, didn't need any minister's signature. When Abraham bought the Caves of Machpela, he didn't need anyone's permission. He put money on the table and, in return, received the keys. That's the way is should be.

So too, we expect the Israeli government to continue to recognize legally owned Jewish properties in Hebron, such as Beit HaMachpela and Beit Ezra.

And just in case anyone thought otherwise, yes, we will continue to buy property and buildings in Hebron, and yes, we will continue to grow and expand, and no, we have no plans to leave our holy city, not now, not ever. Hebron is here to stay, an integral element of the land of Israel and of the State of Israel. As is the Jewish community of Hebron, keeping Hebron Jewish for the Jewish people, for eternity.

Actually, the timing is just right. This Shabbat we begin reading the Torah from the start – "In the Beginning…" The greatest commentator on the Torah, Rashi, asks, why doesn't the Torah begin with laws and commandments? Why start with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob? His answer is quite fitting for today's events. He answers: "Because of the thought expressed in the verse(Psalms 111:6) 'He declared to His People the strength of His works, in order that He might give them the heritage of the nations.'

For should the peoples of the word say, You are robbers, because you took by force the lands of the seven nations of Canaan, Israel may reply to them, "All the earth belongs to the Holy One blessed be He; He created it and gave it to whom He pleases; When He willed He gave it to them, and when He willed, He took it from the and gave it to us."
It is imperative to note that Rashi stresses the verse, 'He declared to His People…' – In other words, the nations of the world might realize that our Land belongs to us – the problem isn't with them. Rather we have to ensure that all OUR PEOPLE know and understand that this land, Eretz Yisrael, belongs to Am Yisrael, the people of Israel. Rashi lived almost 1,000 years ago. He knew what he was talking about.

To all those who have helped, to all those whose faith and support, and hard work have brought us to this joyous day – thank you , thank you, thank you! May we be privileged to continue to witness such wonders as we have seen today!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Dignity


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Yesterday I met with an Australian journalist. He had spent the previous day with Shovrim Shtika – Breaking the Silence, in Hebron. They are far left- and very anti Jewish Hebron. A countryman of the journalist, let’s call him Harry, wanted him to see 'the other' so they came over to see me.

Friday, September 7, 2012