Monday, March 31, 2003


March 31, 2003


Tomorrow afternoon we will gather for a memorial service, standing at the entrance to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, at the foot of the Abu Sneneh hills.  This Friday will mark the second anniversary of the killing, in cold blood, of ten month old Shalhevet Pass. Shalhevet was murdered after one of Arafat’s terrorist cronies ordered that ‘a Jew has to be killed in Hebron.’ Shalhevet’s murderer, stationed on the Abu Sneneh hills, lined up Shalhevet’s head in his scope and pulled the trigger. The bullet that killed the baby also penetrated her father’s legs, injuring him. That same bullet also put a hole in the sweater of another child, playing in a sandbox, a few meters away from Shalhevet and her parents. Another little-known fact is that a terrorist bullet skinned the finger of a 2 and a half year old girl ten minutes earlier.

In the past two years, since Shalhevet was shot and killed, has anything changed? Yesterday there was another suicide bombing in Netanya. In the Hebron region, 25 people have been murdered in the past four months. In other words, nothing has changed. The terrorists are still terrorists, Israelis are still dying at their hands, and the “Oslo War” is continuing in full force.

Actually, that last statement is not entirely true. There have been changes. Ariel Sharon is Prime Minister, backed by an overwhelming majority of the Israeli populace. The Knesset is, by far and away, the most right-wing legislative body ever elected in Israel. And ironically, this government is giving full backing to creation of a Palestinian terror state.

Today Israel media, both radio and newspapers, are reporting renewed American pressure on Israel to begin implementation of the ‘road map.’ According to the Ma’ariv newspaper, the Bush administration is demanding: 1) Israel must double the monthly financial allotment to the Palestinian authority; 2) Israel must return VIP travel passes to Palestinian leaders; 3) Israel must ease roadblocks within the Palestinian Authority and between the PA and Israel; 4) Israel must enforce a ‘true evacuation’ of ‘illegal outposts’ (otherwise known as ‘hilltop communities’) in Yesha; 5) Israel must freeze all building in Yesha.

Note that the American government is demanding that Israel transfer between fifty to sixty million shekels – that’s over ten million dollars, a month to the PA. And quoting Ma’ariv, “The Americans are especially critical about construction in Har Homa (in south Jerusalem), in Hebron, in Ras el Amud, in the vicinity of Rachel’s tomb, and in the areas connecting Jerusalem to Ma’ale Adumim.”

These demands were enumerated to Israel’s Foreign Minister, Sylvan Shalom, who is presently in the United States. It should also be noted that Israeli compliance with these demands is being tied to American financial assistance, billions of dollars, to Israel.

Israel is expected to comply with these demands as Abu Mazen begins his term as Prime Minister of the PA. In addition, Israel radio reported that Israel must fulfill these demands in order to ‘improve America’s image with the Arabs states.’

But now I have to tell you a secret – what is really bothering me. The fact that the US is pressuring Israel is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for years. The fact that they are holding money over our heads, or perhaps better put, are strangling us with dollars, is nothing new. They’ve been doing it for years. The fact that they back a Palestinian state, well, what can I say – Sharon is also backing a Palestinian state, and the cream of the crop of the Israeli right is sitting together with him in his government, giving tacit legitimacy Sharon’s policies. The fact that implementation of the ‘road map’ is seemingly a ‘given’ despite the fact that the plan has not been discussed or approved by the Israeli cabinet is nothing new. Prime Ministers tend to do whatever they want, with or without government authorization.

So, what’s bothering me? Let’s take a look at some headlines. Today, on CNN: “Secretary of State cautions Syria, Iran. Secretary of State Colin Powell said Sunday that the United States would demand that nations that have supported terrorism take responsibility. Powell singled out Syria and Iran, calling on the former to take a stronger stance against terrorism and the latter to stop its quest for weapons of mass destruction.” The New York Times, today, “Iraqi general says 4,000 volunteered for suicide attacks… from 23 countries, against American forces.” Ha’aretz newspaper today, “Islamic Jihad: Netanya café bomb a ‘gift’ to the Iraqis.” Ha’aretz newspaper yesterday, “The Palestinian street is proud of Saddam Hussein’s staying power and points to the similarity between events in Iraq and the Palestinian Struggle.” The adjoining picture shows an Arab in Gaza with wearing a headband with a picture of a smiling Saddam. The caption: A demonstrator at a rally in the Gaza Strip… Hamas and Islamic Jihad call on the Iraqis to adopt the methods of sacrifice of the intifada, meaning suicide bombing.” Danny Rubinstein writes, “The longer the fighting in Iraq goes on, and the more the Iraqi resistance shows itself to be tenacious, the greater the feeling of pride among the Palestinian public and the spite it feels for the Americans.”
The Jerusalem Post reported that Palestinians in Jenin have named the city’s central plaza Na'mani Square, after the Iraqi officer who carried out the first suicide bombing against American troops in Iraq.
Now, can anyone please explain to me how, how, how – how is it possible that the Bush administration is giving full backing to a so-called ‘people’ who are supporting America’s sworn enemy? And let’s not forget that the U.S. has documented proof connecting Saddam to Usama bin Laden. In other words, whoever supports Saddam, supports the murderer of thousands of Americans on 9/11.  How is it possible that the Americans, in the middle of a war, are granting a gift to the backers of a regime, loaded with mass-extermination weapons, which is torturing and killing allied POWs?
And what about Israel? Israelis are walking around carrying gas masks. The threat of biological or chemical scud attacks is still very real. Yet Israeli support of American policy in Iraq is absolute.
It looks like George Bush, allied with Tony Blair, has contracted an old English disease: The appeasement – or perhaps, in this case, better called the ‘appeacement virus.” Americans beware: Appeacement is contagious and leads to fatal illnesses, such as world wars.
With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

Monday, March 24, 2003

Swimming in the Mediterranean

Swimming in the Mediterranean
March 24, 2003


It was only a couple of months ago when terrorists knocked on the door of the Uzeri family, living in a make-shift house, just north of Kiryat Arba proper. When Nati answered the door, he was instantaneously shot and killed. Two children were injured. The terrorists arrived complete with materials to burn down the house. The fact that the others, including Nati’s wife Livnat, the children and guests survived was, in and of itself, a miracle.

Last night, at about midnight, the Uzeri home was swamped with dozens of soldiers, police and other security forces. The road between Kiryat Arba and Gush Etzion was closed to Israeli traffic. A curfew was declared in Kiryat Arba and the Givat HaHarsina neighborhood. The area surrounding the Uzeri home was declared a ‘closed military zone.’ Livnat, her children and several others living in three shacks, were forcibly evicted. Then the Uzeri’s home, along with the other “buildings” were brutally destroyed.

All the while, Livnat’s murdered husband Nati, was undoubtedly twisting and turning in his still fresh grave. One can only imagine him standing before the Holy Throne in the heavens, pleading before G-d, “this is my wife’s reward?” “This is what my children deserve?” “It was not enough that they lost their father, murdered before their eyes? Now they must watch their home destroyed, being viciously expelled, in the middle of the night?”

Nati Uzeri’s scorched voice echoes through the sky: “Dear G-d, all through the long history of our Galut, our exile and scattering amongst the nations, our people were persecuted and our homes were destroyed, but that was only to be expected, after all, we were Jews, living among those who hated us. Finally we came back to our beloved Eretz Yisrael, but here too, we were victimized. In Hebron, in 1929, our homes were devastated, men tortured, women raped, Torah scrolls burned – sixty seven dead, seventy wounded, and the survivors expelled. But this too could be expected. After all, there was no state, there was no army, there was no government. The cursed British, ruling in our land, were interested only in their own good and that of the Arabs. They cared not one iota about Jews.”
But now, my G-d, now, in the state of Israel, a state over 50 years old, our own people are repeating the acts of our enemies, not the Jew-haters of Spain, not the British empire, but the government of Israel, the Israeli army. They are standing by helplessly while Jews are cut down in their homes, and then their wives and families are evicted, forcibly expelled from their land?” “My G-d, what have we done to deserve this, that our own people have turned against us. Our enemy watches from the side, laughing, enjoying, saying to himself, “We will kill them and then inherit the land.” “My G-d, this is our reward, or is this our punishment? Why must my wife and children suffer so, at the hands of my people, in our land?”

And I ask, what can possibly be the answer? Can anyone answer Nati Uzeri? Perhaps the Israeli Supreme Court, that issued orders demanding all permanent structures on Hill 26 be evacuated and destroyed, due to claims of an Arab living in the vicinity? Did the Supreme Court take into consideration that two of those Arab neighbors would take up arms and murder Nati Uzeri in front of his family?
Or maybe the Israel army, which yesterday told a group of religious soldiers that they were on their way to Hebron for a ‘major operation,’ only to find themselves in the shoes of inquisitors, expelling a widow and orphans from their home?
Or maybe the Defense Minister, or Prime Minister, who, rather than protecting Jews in Eretz Yisrael, are watching them being slaughtered, and then giving orders to throw them off their land?

Who can answer Nati Uzeri’s howl? Who can dry widow Livnat Uzeri’s tears? Who can explain to the Uzeri orphans why it is forbidden to live normally in Eretz Yisrael, why their father was killed, why Israeli soldiers woke them from their sleep in the middle of the night, kicked them out of the home their murdered father had built with his own two hands, and then tore it down, in front of their eyes? How can they understand why, today, their books, toys, and furniture are ruined, in piles of rubble?

There are no answers, but there is an answer.  Too many people don’t care about Eretz Yisrael. They do not understand that Eretz Yisrael is our blood, running through the veins and arteries of our People. Why else would Jews be willing to burn at the stake, just to say “Next year in Jerusalem? Why else would Jews return to a barren, malaria-ridden wasteland, calling it ‘home’ after a 2,000 year exile? Why else would refugees from the camps leave the boats for the battlefield?

For the past week, cars and buses have been attacked on the road between Hebron and Jerusalem. Dozens of automobiles have been damaged by rocks, thrown by Arabs from their villages. This morning we received a pager message from Kiryat Arba security saying, ‘for the past few days massive stone-throwing from Beit Umar, El Arub and other places. Much damage to cars and buses. Already this morning, two buses and tens of cars damaged. The army hasn’t succeeded in overcoming the problem. Anyone who can do something should contact the commanding officer of the region.’

Why can’t the army stop the stone-throwing? Because they are busy tearing down houses of widows and orphans. Last night, police tried to forcibly take Livnat and her children to the city of Ariel in the Shomron, saying that they had “rented her an apartment there.” Thanks a lot.

It seems that Arik Sharon is seriously considering forcible evacuation of communities in Yesha. Otherwise, actions such as last night’s upheaval would not have occurred. The writing is on the wall. It’s time to wake up, before we find ourselves swimming in the Mediterranean.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

Sunday, March 16, 2003


March 16, 2003

I’m coming to you tonite from Arutz Sheeeeeva (sing)

I’m here with my good friend Johnny – You know Johnny – poor guy – he doesn’t have a car, he goes everywhere by foot – my friend Johnny – he’s a real Walker.
Ha Ha Ha – Get the joke?
Purim in Hebron – you know, everyone says we’re extremists, and they’re right - we have so much fun on Purim that we go to extremes – we have Purim, not for one day, but for TWO days. And what a time it is.

There’s a special mitzvah – ad d’lo yadah – we have to become so enamoured with Johnny, or with one of his comrades – the red variety, the white variety, or anything in between – you know what I mean – l’chaim – but back to where we were, where was that? Yeah, the mitzvah of Ad d’lo yadah – we have to reach a state – no, not that kind of state – don’t you understand anything – we’re against a state – let’s try again – we have to drink so much that we don’t know the difference between the blessed Mordechai and the cursed Haman – Here in Hebron, we know them both very well and in order to reach such elevated heights we have to inebriate ourselves for, not one day, but two days. Do you have any idea how many bottles of wine, or JW or B&W, or anything else, you can  put away in two days?

Well, I’ll tell you – no, as a matter of fact I won’t tell you – you should come try it out – and when you do, you’ll be sure to come back and do it again next year.

Now, let me fill you in about the fun we have here.
There are three really big events on Purim.
First, we have an Ad d’lo Yadah – no, not that, I already told you about that – that’s the liquid side  - we have a parade, with all the kids dressed up in their Purim costumes – you should see it, sometimes it’s really scary – Lions and tigers and bears, oh no
And kings, and queens, and all sorts of interesting creatures, with green and blue hair. Yeah, I know, there are places where that’s the norm – but in Hebron, well, you know, the fads take a long time to get to us – we’re still into caves and things like that.
But that’s not really the scary stuff – sometimes we get really weird visitors – last year Shimon Peres showed up – at least it looked like Peres – you know, the theme of Purim is Na’afoch hu – everything is upside down and backwards – I guess even he celebrates Purim and joins our Purim Parade –

We have a big wagon with musicians and we parade from the hill to our good ole cave, singing, dancing, and having a really great time.

You have to see it to believe it – or even better – to experience it –

And then after that’s over, for everyone who’s still on his feet – you know, women and children and wall flowers, we have a community banquet – and you know what we eat, bottles and bottles of vino – Yayin – in whatever language you want – wine – you know what they say, nichnas yayin, yozei sod – that means, for all of you bores, who don’t know the holy language – the wine goes in, and the secrets come out – and boy, do we have a lot of secrets in Hebron, for instance, did you ever hear about secret of Ma’arat HaMachpela, you know, when – wait, wait, you can’t hear secrets like that on the radio – a secret should stay a secret, right? At least until everyone is so far gone that they’ll never remember it the next day.

We have a special guest at our Purim party – the Admor from Rumeida – Kavod Harav ben Yitzhak – the guy with 14 kids – you should see him on Purim – Wow! He tells it the way it is, and has even been known to do a little song and dance number –

Do you know how many times we hear Megillat Esther – four times – at night, in the morning, again at night, (for everyone who’s still awake after the Purim party banquet) and then again, in the morning – L’chaim. After hearing it four times, you get to know it really well, year after year after year – yeah, well that’s the custom.

There a whatever - thing - big,ve a big toy lottery - with . in the morning - L'number -
 when u reate And then the second day – aside from the wine and everything else, we have a shuk – no, not that shuk – that’s been closed for years – we have a purim shuk – a real carnival, for the kids – again, the extremists in action – they throw wet, soapy sponges at faces in targets – and search for buried treasure – and, well, with the kids all dressed up – it’s really great fun.
And then, topping it off, we have a big toy lottery – with dozens of prizes – l’chaim.
Everybody wins something – big, small, whatever –

Purim in Hebron – two full days of ad d’lo yadah – it’s really something special – you’re all invited – don’t miss it. It’s BYOB – and that’s plural my friend, - b o t t l e s  - don’t forget the S

L’chaim from Hebron!!!

Saturday, March 8, 2003

Eli and Dina Horowitz

Eli and Dina Horowitz
March 8, 2003


I met Mrs. Bernice Wolff a number of years ago. She came over from the United States, bought an apartment in Ma’ale Adumim, and spent a lot of time here in Israel, visiting her family. Every time I met her she would launch into a succinct political analysis, always aware of what was happening, both here in Hebron and throughout Israel.

Last night I saw her again. She watched, sometime after midnight, as her daughter’s lifeless body was carried into the Har HaMenuchot cemetery in Jerusalem. When the men from the Chevra Kaddisha, the burial society, lowered Dina Horowitz into her grave, her mother, Bernice Wolff, turned her head, not being able to watch as her beloved daughter was buried in the ground she so loved, the earth of Eretz Yisrael.

Again – it happened again. It’s almost a rerun. Friday night, eating our Shabbat dinner, family and guests, singing, speaking words of Torah, enjoying the peace and quiet of the Sabbath in Hebron. A knock on the door. A little boy, saying, “pray – something happened in Kiryat Arba.” Running downstairs, picking up pieces of conversation, listening to the army walke-talkie, ‘terrorists infiltrated Kiryat Arba, shooting, people injured.’

And then the waiting. What happened? Who was hurt? Was anyone killed, G-d forbid? Waiting, and continuing the Shabbat meal, after all, it is Shabbat, isn’t it. A time of tranquility, of peace?

The rumors start, ‘the terrorists infiltrated an apartment, building 35, two people were killed, others wounded, the terrorists were eliminated.’

Building 35, who lives in building 35, this family, that family – Granot, Horowitz, who else. A little while later one of the emergency medics returns from the scene of the atrocity. ‘Who was it,’ I ask quietly, ‘who was killed?’ not really wanting to know. He doesn’t answer – it takes some time, I ask again, holding my breath, and then he says, ‘Reb Eli Horowitz, I identified him, and a woman too, I didn’t know her so I can’t be 100% sure, but on the face of it, his wife.’

Rav Eli and Dina Horowitz, shot down by two Arafat terrorists, just like that, a few seconds, two people erased from the annuals of the living.

I’m stunned – it’s impossible to fathom. Walking slowly back into Beit Hadassah I bump into Rav Moshe Bleicher, dean of the Shavei Hevron yeshiva, where Rav Eli Horowitz has been teaching for 17 years. He looks at me with questioning eyes – ‘who is it, do you know?’ I shake my head, not wanting to tell him, and blurt, ‘you don’t want to know.’ He gasps and asks, asking and telling at the same time, Reb Eli? And he runs off to speak with the medic, to confirm what he already knows.

Walking back upstairs, I can’t find it in me to break the news – we hadn’t yet finished our meal, everyone knew them – how can I even say the words? I put on a face, walk back into the apartment, saying, ‘they don’t know yet’, and then conclude dinner. The older kids go out, and after a long while I finally tell my wife, not even being able to say their names, how can it be true, just telling her, ‘my learning partner, and his wife.’ She looks at me, at first not comprehending; I haven’t studied with a ‘learning partner’ in many years. But then she understands, I learned with Eli Horowitz for an entire year, many years ago. We spent hours and hours together – our families spent the Purim and Passover holidays together – Ora’s eyes open wide and she asks, ‘both of them?’ and I can only shake my head yes.

On Saturday night I went up to Kiryat Arba to photograph the apartment – a scene straight out of Sodom and Gemorrah. Indescribable – total chaos, bullet holes, the feel of death and destruction, and so much blood. Blood of our friends and teachers, Eli and Dina Horowitz.

I could talk tonight for hours and not begin to truly express who they were. Teachers, both taught, and not your normal everyday instructors, rather people who embraced their students, as if they were their children. Who taught, not for a monthly pay check, but for love, for love of their subject and for love of their students. Eli and Dina didn’t teach Torah, they were Torah, they were living examples of how life should be, of patience, of understanding, of wisdom, of ‘Yirat Shamamyim’ – fear of G-d. And of love, so much love, abounding, love for their children, their families, their fellowman, loving one another for thirty years, the last day as the first day. Dina also taught music, it was the essence of her soul. Eli loved nature and together they would hike, as they did that last Friday, amongst the flowers and the greenery of the land of Israel. Eli Horowitz initiated discussions amongst all facets of the Israeli political spectrum, holding conversations with those whose life’s philosophies were diametrically opposed to his, speaking, explaining, and listening. That is what I remember him teaching me – the need to listen, to hear, to absorb, in Hebrew, l’shmoah, not to close out others, but to really hear what they have to say, and to listen to the Divine voice, the voice of Torah, of voice of Eretz Yisrael, the voice of G-d. There’s so much I remember, and so much that I’ve forgotten.

Eli and Dina Horowitz left this world too early; they gave so much, and had so much more to give, to contribute, to all Am Yisrael. They were people of hope and prayer, of optimism, of values, they were the embodiment of what life should be, of what life is really all about.

And I know that I personally will always cherish a book that Rav Eli Horowitz gave me, years ago, when we studied together, inscribed personally, concluding with the words, ‘your faithful friend, Eli Horowitz.’

Our beloved Eli and Dina, Rabbi Eli and Rebbetzin Dina, victims of the Oslo War, their loss making all of us, again, victims of the Oslo War, the war for Eretz Yisrael.

May their memories be blessed for eternity.

Concluding again,
With blessings and tears, a waterfall of tears, from Hebron,
This is David Wilder

Monday, March 3, 2003

No Question Marks

No Question Marks
March 3, 2003


As all the newspaper headlines heralded, the new government is off and running. For the last week or so politicians, commentators, religious leaders and others have had a field day – why Shinui and not Shas, how could the National Religious Party participate in the same government with the anti-religious Shinui, why is the National Union willing to sit with a Prime Minister who is planning on establishing a Palestinian state, Netanyahu vs Olmert, etc.etc.

In truth, when interviewed by the Jerusalem Post about the NRP’s joining the government, my initial reaction was “Effie gets an F”- referring to party leader Effie Eitam, while expressing great dissatisfaction with his party’s decision. However, as time has passed, I’m not so sure I was right. It is not difficult to enumerate various reasons why both the NRP and the National Union should not be members of Sharon’s government. The Prime Minister’s decision to include a viciously anti-religious party, rather than continue the “historic covenant” between the Likud, Shas and Agudat Yisrael is nothing less than a slap in the face to the “Jewishness” of the State of Israel. The long-term consequences of this choice are frightening. Particularly scary is the possibility that Shinui Interior Minister Avraham Poraz will allow thousands, if not tens of thousands or more of non-Jews to legally immigrate to Israel from the former Soviet Union.

Just as problematic is Sharon’s categorical support for establishment of a Palestinian state. True, both the NRP and the National Union specifically expressed opposition to this section of the government’s platform. But the question must still be confronted: How can a right wing and/or religious MK sit in the same government with a Prime Minister who will seeming go all out to create a new terrorist monstrosity in Israel’s back yard?

The questions go on and on. But there is another side, which is, of course, the alternative. Had the NRP not joined the government, it is doubtful that the National Union would have agreed to give Sharon his needed coalition majority. That would have left only one alternative: major concessions to Mitza and Labor, including two of the three top cabinet positions, most probably the foreign and defense ministries. Can you imagine Amram Mitzna minister of Defense, (G-d forbid). He was commander of the Central Region in the 1980s, during what is called the “first intifada.” He was, to put it mildly, a total disaster. He did absolutely nothing to stop massive Arab violence against Jews, especially on the roads. He hasn’t changed. Or perhaps that’s inaccurate. He’s gotten worse. Would we really have wanted a Likud-Shinui-Labor government? Needless to say, the answer is no.

And, going back to the NRP and the National Union, there is something to say about their being “insiders.” For instance, the left is just drooling to do away with the Religious Affairs ministry, which is now under control of Rabbi Yitzhak Levi. He will, together with his colleagues in the NRP, be able to effectively prevent this, at least for the foreseeable future. Both parties hold important cabinet positions, and should have some influence on government policies. And should events take a turn for the worse, they can always leave the coalition, as Construction and housing minister Eitam has promised, should the government recognize a Palestinian state.

So, maybe for the time being, it is preferable that they be “in” rather than “out."

But again, in truth, much of this discussion is paltry when examining the real issues. As much as I don’t find Shinui’s policies palatable, we have to keep in mind who the real enemy is – and they’re not sitting in the government.

For example, before the January 28th elections, Sharon met with Arafat’s deputy, Mahmoud Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, at his Shikmim ranch. Abu Mazen is one of the prime candidates to replace Arafat, upon his demise. Abu Mazen is considered to be something of a palestinian statesman, a moderate, a force to be reckoned with. At the moment he is in line
to be appointed the PA’s new prime minister or vice president. According to a February 20th  article in Ha’Aretz called “Dream Team,” Israel is giving him full backing. In other words, a wonderful man, a worthy partner.


In an interview in the London newspaper Alsharak Alawast, published on March 3, 2003, Abu Mazen said, “"On the basis of the talks held in Cairo we agreed upon the freezing of Palestinian military operations [terrorist attacks] for one year. This, on the condition that the chief Egyptian mediators receive [Israeli] guarantees about an Israeli military cease-fire, a cessation of arrests [of Palestinian terrorists] and on the withdrawal [of the IDF] to their positions before September 28, 2000 [beginning of the current crisis]. We also want a renewal of negotiations.

"We did not say, however, that we are giving up the armed struggle [] it is our right to oppose. The Intifada must continue. The Palestinian people have a right to oppose using all means at their disposal to protect their existence. I would add, that if the Israelis came and settled themselves on your land, it would be in your right to defend yourself using any means necessary"

According to an IDF spokesman, “Abu Mazen's comments clearly express the Palestinian Authority's position on the subject of a cease-fire with Israel. Abu Mazen, as well as the Palestinian Interior Minister, Hani Elhassan, justify the continuation of the armed struggle against Israeli civilians in Yesha. His comments also imply that Israeli residents of these regions are a "legitimate target" for the "opposition".
(See: [])

Concerning Israeli politics, there are many question marks. But when it comes to determining who the real enemy is, there aren’t any question marks at all.

With blessings from Hebron,
This is David Wilder