Thursday, October 30, 2008

Beit HaShalom-New evidence proving purchase of building

Cheshvan 1, 5769, 10/30/2008

Beit HaShalom-New evidence proving purchase of building

This new evidence should put an end to the argument focusing on the purchase, renovations and possession and should prove once and for all that we have evidence which is the admission of the seller himself.
Beit HaShalom: New evidence proving purchase of the building
Beit HaShalom: The Hebron Jewish Community presents new dramatic evidence: An audio cassette which recorded the Arab admit he sold the building and renovated the property for the buyer.  

View (Hear) (Hebrew-Arabic) conversation of admission by Arab seller 
View relevant documents (Hebrew)

Yesterday the Supreme Court discussed Beit HaShalom in Hebron. The discussion focused on the question of purchase and possession. This, following presentation of a report authored by an expert, testifying for the community, which contradicted the state's claim concerning validity of the purchase documents. The judges stressed throughout the discussion that even if the building was legally purchased, it is still possible to issue an expulsion order because the building was still in the possession of the Arab seller, Rajbi. For example, the judge Procatzia said, "I am struck, by the evidence presented concerning the beginning of the process and the conclusion of the process, an issue concerning purchase."
Possession, according to the judges, is expressed by the fact that the seller continued renovations in the building. Hebron claims that these renovations were implemented for them and paid for by them. However the judges did not accept this claim and informed them, at the conclusion of the discussion, that they would probably order that the Hebron residents be expelled from the building. The building would then remain empty until the question of ownership was decided in a Jerusalem District court. The Hebron community was given 24 hours to decide if they would agree to voluntarily leave the building. The ultimatum was due to expire at twelve noon today.
However, the community surprised the Supreme Court and prosecution with new dramatic evidence: An audio cassette which documents the seller, Rajbi, in a friendly conversation with a friend, saying:
that he sold Beit HaShalom to Eiub Jabber and received the full amount for the building. That he implemented renovations in the building for Eiub Jabber and was paid for his work.
Shech Paroun brought him the money for the renovations.
That he is under pressure from Palestinian intelligence forces.
Some quotes from the conversation on the cassette:
Faiz Rajbi: (on the story of the building) …by Allah I didn't know…
Friend: So what are you, how did you get to this subject?
Rajbi: I sold it to E i u b. Friend: Which Eiub? Rajbi: Eiub Jabbar
Friend: Ah, the one in Amman?
Rajbi: Yes, Eiub. I don't know, he sent me some money to renovate it. What he sent me (hinting) I don't know and afterwards I renovated for him and later investigated and… I was disgraced.
Friend: OK, who brought you to renovate, who you say stole half of it?
Rajbi: He (Eiub) sent me Shech Paroun..
Friend: Shech Paroun?
Rajbi: Shech Paroun. He sent him for me to renovate it (the building).
Friend: OK, and you didn't know he was a spy and sold it to a Jew? Rajbi: How would I know? Tell me my friend, Jews – and the man who sold fled.
Friend: You didn't know he had contact with Jews – which Jews?
Rajbi: Never
Friend: And the money you took, for the entire renovation? Rajbi: No.
Friend: And the price for the building, he really paid you?
Rajbi: Yes

Attorney Nadav HaEtzni sent this material to the State and the court and pointed out that this new evidence should put an end to the argument focusing on the purchase, renovations and possession and should prove once and for all that we have evidence which is the admission of the seller himself.   The cassette was transferred, together with the statement signed yesterday in Attorney HaEtzni's office by the person who recorded the conversation. Concurrently the material was transferred to some of the others involved in the case but not all, and to the court.
In addition Attorney HaEtzni requested that the court order the identity of the signatory sealed and that any and all details concerning his identity be so sealed, for two reasons: A suspicion that his life could be put in danger A suspicion that the court proceeding could be interfered with from the moment that his identity became known, should he feel threatened. (Attorney HaEztni pointed out that this is similar to similar events which occurred with Rajbi himself, who, due to threats gave false testimony to the police and signed a false statement for the court.)
Of all of the versions Rajbi has given concerning the building (3 versions till now), this is the first one which was given in an open, heart-to-heart conversation with a friend, without any fear and this is the first one which is compatible with facts presented in the documents and the report of the criminal police identity squad (ignoring the twisted significances given by the prosecutor's office), this is the authentic version.
According to this version, Rajbi implemented the renovations in the building for Eiub, as a representative of Eiub, and in return we received payment from him. If the act of renovation is an act of his own possession, as was expressed yesterday in court by the president of the Supreme Court Bainish, "your claim is that Mr. Rajbi held the building for you in the form of a contractor, and he claims that he renovated for himself" – this question has now been fully answered.
As stated, this serves as admission by the person in question, and this should serve to finalize the entire case.   So writes Attorney HaEtzni to the State attorney.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

An Appetite to Destroy

An Appetite to Destroy

Published: Sunday, October 26, 2008 11:15 PM
There is a familiar feeling in the air.

Last night at just after one o'clock my cell phone rang. When the phone rings at 1:00 in the morning, at least in my house, something is wrong. Orit Struck was on the other end, apologizing for waking me up and then informing me that hundreds, if not more, troops - police, soldiers, the riot squad, etc. - were on their way to the Federman 
I pulled out my press card, which in Israel is the closest thing to a magic wand.
farm, located just off the road between Kiryat Arba proper and the Givat Harsina (Ramat Mamre) neighborhood, just about five minutes outside of Hebron. Their goal: to destroy the farm.
The homes on the Federman property have been there for over ten years. Noam and Elisheva have lived there for the past two years. Every once in a while the war drums start sounding, with rumors of an impending expulsion from the land, which the government says is "illegally settled." Most times, it's just noise. That night it looked like the real thing.
I was out of the house within about ten minutes. But when I arrived at Ma'arat HaMachpela, on the only road to Kiryat Arba, I found it blocked by border police and metal gates in the middle of the street. They motioned to me that the road was closed and that I should leave. I pulled out my press card, which in Israel is the closest thing to a magic wand, and presented it to the officer in charge. He took it and made a call on his walkie-talkie. A minute later he came back and returned the card. And told me to leave.
"But I'm a journalist," I claimed.
He looked at me, said "I know, but you can't go," and walked away.
I requested numerous times, as did others, a warrant declaring the area to be a "closed military zone." Sometimes they responded, "There's a warrant, it will eventually get here," and other times, "There is no warrant." Others were told, "There's a military operation going on – you have to stay here for your own good, so you won't be in danger." Some were told, "There's an armed terrorist in the Kasbah - we have soldiers looking for him. It's dangerous for you to be here. Go home!"
The truth was that all roads leading to the Federman farm had been sealed off. The troops didn't want the enemy to have any reserves assisting them.
At about 1:30 the two homes on the Federman farm were forcibly invaded. Sinai Tur and his wife Rivka were told that they had seven minutes to get out. The Federman family didn't have such luxury. The troops broke the home's windows and climbed in through them. They quickly made their way to the children's bedrooms where they shook awake the kids, dragged them from their beds, beating some of them, and forcefully expelling them from their home, still in pajamas. Some of the kids went via the door; others via the window. Noam was immediately arrested, being suspected of planning to "blow the forces up with gas balloons." His daughter Isca, 16 1/2 years old, was also arrested for some unknown reason.
Once everyone was out, the bulldozer started plowing down the houses and other structures on the property. It didn't take too much time, as the families were not allowed to remove any of their belongings. Down came the houses, on top of everything that was inside. By 3:30 or so, it was over.
The families were left homeless and property-less. As Elisheva Federman put it: "They wouldn't let me take my 
The families were left homeless and property-less.
children's books or belongings or mementos. Eighteen years of marriage, nine children - everything we had - gone."
For no apparent reason, except pure hate. Hate for Jews living in Judea and Samaria; hate for Jews living in the Hebron-Kiryat Arba region; and an extra special hate for Noam and Elisheva Federman, who epitomize love for Eretz Yisrael.
The Israeli government, in particular Defense Minister Ehud Barak (who is searching for political brownie points to assist him in the upcoming election) and Generals Gaddi Shamni and Noam Tibon (who is an expert in destroying houses; he commanded the forces that destroyed the home of Livnat Uzeri, whose husband Nati had been, only months earlier, killed by terrorists in their home), is intent on making life as difficult as possible for Jews in Judea and Samaria, and in the Hebron region in particular.
Late this afternoon, a large group of people began work to rebuild the Federman farm. A short time ago an appropriate response was issued by the ruling junta: a warrant was received informing that at ten o'clock tonight the entire area would be declared a "closed military zone," that cement blocks would be placed there surrounding the property, and security forces would remain there to ensure that the area remained sterile (i.e., Judenrein).
Earlier today journalists interviewing me did not seem so interested in the destruction of the property or the expulsion of the families. Rather, they seemed intent on asking/attacking me as a result of remarks made by people at the site of the devastation. Those comments ostensibly called for the death of IDF soldiers, and the "wiping out of their names," and that they should all "be like Gilad Shalit."
There is a saying in Hebrew that a person should not be held responsible for his words when his loved ones are still lying dead in front of him. That is how I relate to the above-quoted remarks. The expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria are all still much too fresh and the fate of those expelled still hurting much too much. It is no 
A person should not be held responsible for his words when his loved ones are still lying dead in front of him.
secret that this administration has plans to implement further expulsions, be they in the Hebron area, or Binyamin and the Shomron. There is a feeling in the air; a sensation reminiscent of the Rabin-Peres days following signing of the cursed Oslo Accords, when "settlers" were unofficially declared "enemies of the state" and were so appropriately treated.
The IDF and other security forces are an integral element necessary for Israel's survival. But they cannot and must not be taken advantage of to batter the very people they are supposed to protect and defend. I don't believe that anyone has any plans to begin a civil war, but the comments, as extreme as they are, seem to represent the growing frustration level amongst many Israelis. I see them, not as an active threat, rather as the mercury on a thermometer climbing higher and higher, much too fast.
Perhaps those making decisions in the current government should realize that what they refuse to do to Arab terrorists and their families they are all too willing to do to their own Jewish citizens, who have not murdered anyone. And, it seems, with an appetite. An appetite to destroy.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Hebron Response - 50,000 Visit Hebron

Tishrei 25, 5769, 10/24/2008

The Hebron Response - 50,000 Visit Hebron

Over the past month and a half, some 100,000 people visited Hebron. These numbers speak for themselves.

The past few weeks have been extremely busy. So much so that finding time to put down a few words on paper has been almost impossible. But now, with the holidays over, with life returning to some kind of normalcy, the time has come.

One of the more important stories coming out of Hebron lately was the revelation that Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak gave a green light to allow close to a thousand additional armed terrorists in uniform, aka 'palestinian police' into the H1 – Arab-controlled zone of Hebron.

Flashback: The Year: 1996 – The United States is frenetically pressuring Israel to immediately sign and implement the 'Hebron Accords,' a direct continuation of Oslo, dividing Hebron into two, very unequal zones: H1- fully controlled by Arafat's PA, with a full Israeli withdrawal from that side of the city, comprising some 80% of Hebron, and H-2 – to be under Israeli security control but PA administrative control, comprising about 20% of the city.

Included in the deal are the hills surrounding the Jewish neighborhoods of Hebron as well as Ma'arat HaMachpela: Abu-Sneneh to the south and Harat a'Shech to the north.

During an immense media campaign to attempt to prevent the abandonment of most of Hebron, the Hebron Jewish Community releases a film in Hebrew and English, titled, "Hebron in Danger." Released and screened at a press conference in Jerusalem the short video predicts the results of transfer of the city and the hills to the Arabs: massive shooting attacks at the Jewish neighborhoods in the city.

Israeli press and politicians sneeringly labeled Hebron's residents as 'hysterical' and 'panicking.' When community leaders climbed the Abu-Sneneh hills with Knesset members and government ministers to show them the danger first-hand, then Hebron Commander Col. Gaddi Shamni (now a full general, commander of the Central Region) would give his own explanation: 'of course there could be danger if there wasn't peace, but now Israeli is in the midst of a peace process – with peace there shouldn't be any danger to Hebron's Jewish residents.'

Flashback: The eve of Rosh HaShana – the Jewish New Year, 2000: Massive gunfire erupts from Abu-Sneneh and Harat a'Shech towards the Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron; gunfire which continues for almost two years.

Flashback: The Avraham Avinu neighborhood, March 26, 2001 at about 4:00 in the afternoon: An Arab sniper shoots and kills 10 month old Shalhevet Pass. Shalhevet was shot in the head; her father, Itzik was shot in legs; her mother, standing next to them, is uninjured.

Flashback: November 15, 2002: Worshipers Way, between Hebron and Kiryat Arba: Following the terror in Netanya and the Adura community outside of Hebron, Israel retook security control of all of Hebron. Following the Succot holidays in 2002, then Defense Minister Binyamin Ben Eliezer again withdrew all Israeli forces from the
H-1 zone in Hebron, leaving that side of the city under total Arab control. On Friday night, Nov. 15, three terrorists attacked Jews walking back to Kiryat Arba from Ma'arat HaMachpela. The ensuing battle left 12 men dead, including three civilian members of the Kiryat Arba emergency security squad and 9 officers and soldiers, including the commander of the Hebron region, Col. Dror Weinberg. The attack was a direct result of the abandonment of 80% of Hebron.

Fast forward: October, 2008: Defense Minister Ehud Barak gives the OK to again allow armed terrorists in uniform, under the auspices of PA president Abu Mazen, to patrol in Hebron, with a massive reduction of Israeli troops in the H-1 zone.

Fast forward: 2009 - ???????

A few days ago I was up on Abu Sneneh with a small group from Hebron, and Likud MK Gilad Ardan. Looking down at the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, Beit Romano, and Ma'arat HaMachpela, I had trouble conceptualizing that the Israeli government was about to make the same mistake again, thereby placing not only the lives of Hebron's Jewish population, and the thousands who visit Hebron in jeopardy, but also Jews throughout Israel, who will again be endangered by terrorists leaving Hebron, to explode in cities all over the country.

What is Hebron's response?

Of course, Hebron's leadership is in contact with various public officials to attempt to pressure Barak to cancel his permit allowing more armed terrorists back into Hebron. MK Ardan demanded that the attorney general, Manny Mazuz, prevent such a fateful decision from being implemented, arguing that a 'transitional government' doesn't have the legal authority to enact such a decision.

However, the authentic reaction is not political. Last week, during the Succot holiday, over 50,000 Jews visited Hebron. Over the past month and a half, some 100,000 people visited Hebron. These numbers speak for themselves.

Last Thursday, the day of the Hebron music festival, thousands upon thousands packed the Ma'arat HaMachpela courtyard, participating in the joyous celebration. Hundreds of children rode on donkeys and participated in an arts and crafts festival behind the Gutnick Center. Tourists visited all Jewish neighborhoods in the city, including the Kasba and the Cave of Otniel ben Knaz. Again, Am Yisrael did not disappoint: the street were packed with visitors from all over Israel and around the world, showing their overwhelming support for Hebron and the city's Jewish community.

True, much more work is necessary, to bring more Jews not only to visit Hebron, but also to live in Hebron, and to keep additional terrorists far, far away. But fifty thousand in one week is certainly a very good start. The is the true Hebron response – to continue to keep Hebron and Ma'arat HaMachpela open, not only for the Jews, but for those of all races and religions, allowing all to experience the wonder of the city of Abraham and Sarah.

And B'ezrat HaShem, with G-d's help, this will help to keep the terrorists away. At the very least, it will proclaim loud and clear: We are here to stay. Hebron- Now and Forever. 

Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Jewish Home Party-Rabbi Hillel Horowitz from Hebron

Kislev 13, 5769, 12/10/2008

The Jewish Home Party-Rabbi Hillel Horowitz from Hebron

A few days ago I wrote about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit. Thank G-d, they did very well in the Likud Primaries. Tonight I'd like to mention a friend, colleague and neighbor of mine, who is a candidate on the new "Bayit Yehudi" - "Jewish Home" party list.

Rabbi Hillel Horowitz grew up in Kiryat Arba and his lived for over 20 years in Hebron. For about 15 years he was the director of the Association for the Renewal of the Jewish Community in Hebron and the driving force behind the community's development.

Hillel is one of those people who 'practice what they preach,' in other words, he doesn't just talk. He does. Working around the clock, he was able to 'put Hebron on the map,' helping to jumpstart the community's public relations campaign, ranging from bringing in over 500,000 tourists a year, to major political activities in Israel.
Traveling internationally to garner support for Hebron's many activities, Hillel has come to be known as a man of action, whose love for Israel and the city of the Patriarchs knows no bounds.

 Personally I think it's about time that Hebron was officially represented in the Knesset. I'm not a big fan of the Knesset, but being that it is the official law-making body in the State of Israel, and being that King David began his reign in Hebron, it would be only fitting that a representative from Hebron be a member of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. Hillel Horowitz would certainly bring honor, both to Hebron, the Knesset and Am Yisrael in such a leadership position.

Any Israeli who is registered to vote can participate in choosing the members of the Bayit Yehudi Knesset list. All you have to do is go to, register on their web site, and then enter the section called 'bechirot' - 'meumadim l'knesset.' There you can choose 15 people who you believe are suitable to represent your (our) ideals in the Knesset. Rabbi Hillel Horowitz' name and photo are on that page. I voted last night, soon after the list was published, and I checked off his name too, as a person who has the ability to lead and influence within Israeli politics. If you want your voice to be heard, if  you want to make a difference, make your choice too.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


Tishrei 9, 5769, 10/8/2008


For the past month and a half, lives of observant Jews have revolved around one particular expression – that being tshuva, meaning, in broad terms, repentance. For an entire month prior to the New Year, Rosh HaShana, special prayers are recited, Torah classes are held, and personal acts of introspection permeate our existence. This, of course, culminates on the holiest day of the year, that being tomorrow, Yom Kippur. On this day we beseech G-d to forgive our wrongdoings, be they between man and the Good L-rd, or between man and his fellowman.
It's much easier to face G-d and ask for forgiveness from Him. In our silent prayers, be they formal or informal, we can confess to our human errors and plead for Divine clemency. G-d doesn’t wait for once in four years to sign executive orders granting pardons. It's something that can be done every day, every minute or every second of every day. And especially on Yom Kippur when we forgo just about all elements of our physical lives, abstaining from food and other earthly pleasures, to immerse ourselves in total spirituality, as much as we humanly can.
It's much more difficult to ask forgiveness from our fellow man. Admitting mistakes to a friend, co-worker, boss or employee, or to a close family member isn't always easy. Sometimes, actually, it's very hard. But that's what this day's all about. G-d cannot grant forgiveness for issues between two people until they settle the problem themselves.
However this is just one aspect of tshuva and forgiveness. There's at least one other side (probably more).
The ideal of forgiving is not only a personal commitment. It is also a national obligation. Keep in mind that the word 'tshuva' literally means 'return.' In a religious sense, 'returning' from the wrong paths we've taken, and this time around, turning down the right road of holiness and purity.
Exactly fourteen years ago, following election of Yitzhak Rabin, Israel began formally negotiating with Yassir Arafat and the PLO. Those talks led to Oslo. That curse, still with us today, has led to the murders of almost 2,000 people, in cold blood.
Oslo led to the Hebron Accords, which divided the city, abandoning over 80% of Hebron to the Palestinian authority. Exactly eight years ago, these accords led to shooting attacks on Hebron from the hills Israel 'gave' to our enemy. The shooting continued for two years. Dozens of people in the Hebron region and over a thousand Jews throughout Israel were killed during this war.
Oslo and Hebron led to Gush Katif. Almost 10,000 people expelled from their homes, and countless rockets fired into Israel from the land Israel abandoned to our enemies.
A short time after the 'other side' of Hebron was vacated by Israeli security forces in favor of armed terrorists in uniform by then Defense Minister Fuad ben Eliezer in the fall of 2002, then Hebron Brigade commander, Col. Dror Weinberg held a meeting with a group of local civilian security leaders. During that meeting, on a Friday morning in November, Col. Weinberg warned that terrorists were planning a major attack, but that little more information was available. That night, Col. Dror Weinberg and eleven other men were killed during the attack he had discussed earlier that same day.
Yesterday, speaking to a group of mostly Swedish youth at the 1929 memorial room in Beit Hadassah, I told them that history has to be learned from. In August, 1929 the Jewish leadership in Hebron believed that their Arab neighbors would shield them from any attacks, protecting them from harm's way. That leadership was wrong. That mistake cost 67 lives and the expulsion of Hebron's surviving Jewish population from the city.
Then the Hebron accords were signed, Israeli military officers said straight out that 'our security is dependent on cooperation from the PA.' We know exactly where that cooperation led; to Jewish cemeteries, widows and orphans. And national disgrace.
A week ago outgoing Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, once mayor of Jerusalem, in a broad newspaper interview, expressed his opinion that Israel must 'give back' just about all of Judea and Samaria, including East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights, in exchange for peace.
As we approach Yom Kippur, we have received solid information that Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Central Command General Gadi Shamni want to do it again. Give it another chance. 'Return' the 'other side' of Hebron to PA terrorists in uniform. They believe that Fatah forces are preferable to Hamas. (Achikam Amichai and David Rubin from Kiryat Arba were killed just over a half a year ago by Fatah 'palestinian police.)
According to the information we have, some of which was published yesterday on ynet and more today in the Jerusalem Post, a meeting is to take place on October 15,  a week from today, between very high ranking Israeli security officers, including the head of the Civil Administration and also possibly General Noam Tivon (former Hebron military commander, serving in Hebron at the beginning of the 'Olso War' aka the Second Intifada), presently commander of forces in Judea and Samaria. During this meeting it is quite likely that details of transfer of security responsibility from Israel to the PA in over 80% of Hebron will be discussed and finalized.
This is, I guess, in their opinion, Tshuva – returning. Not returning to G-d's ways, not returning to Eretz Yisrael and Israeli national pride. Rather, returning to the same mistakes made time and time again, leading to Israel blood being shed, to cemeteries and mourning.
I also believe in the necessity to 'do Tshuva.' And this is what I try to express to groups I meet here in Hebron, especially when they are youth. I tell them that must do Tshuva – no, not necessarily 'religious' tshuva, keeping Shabbat and Kashrut. Rather I encourage them to fulfill another kind of tshuva – of coming home, of making Aliyah, of returning to their Homeland, coming to live here in Eretz Yisrael, in the State of Israel.
I firmly believe that there is no more significant act that a Jew can do today than such tshuva, returning home to our Land. This is real Tshuva – not the kind espoused by Barak and Olmert, Shamni and Tivon. Keep in mind that had Gush Katif been filled with 50,000 people,  that process of expulsion could never have begun. So too in all of Judea and Samaria. The secret to our remaining in these regions is dependent on Tshuva, on Jews coming back, from all over the world, coming home to our ancient homeland. When there are a half a million Jews in Yesha, there won't be anything to talk about. This should be our number one goal: Tshuva – not only for a month and half of the year, but every day of the entire year. This is what Am Yisrael needs today, more than anything else.
On behalf of the entire Hebron extended family, please accept our wishes for a Shana Tova, a good and happy New Year, for a 'Gmar Chatima Tova, for an easy fast, and for a quick and successful fulfillment of the mitzvah of Tshuva, coming home to Eretz Yisrael.