Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lone-Star State’ greets Visitor From Lone-Star country

Tammuz 24, 5769, 7/16/2009

‘Lone-Star State’ greets Visitor From Lone-Star country

Posted in Texas Insider -

Last summer I had the pleasure to host three Texan families in Hebron, including Mike, Vance and Janie, and Larry and Leigh-Ann. Their enthusiasm and support were so tangible that about six months ago I visited them in Amarillo, spending a few days visiting with local residents and speaking to a small group of interested people.

The visit left me with such a positive impression that I decided to make another, more extended trip to Texas, this time beginning in Austin. Hosted by Mike Isley, of fame and Jim Lewis, I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of local religious and political leaders, including Rabbi Eliezer Langer, Alan Sager, Rande Phillips, Victor Carrillo, Jim Cardle, and Mr. Gil Rodriguez, who requested that I summarize my visit here for Texas Insider readers. I’ll also be speaking in Midland, Odessa, Houston, and Lubbock.

I live in Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel. This city was home to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob almost 4,000 years ago, and here David founded the Kingdom of Israel some 3,000 years ago. The Caves of Machpela, burial site of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is located in the center of Hebron, and is the 2nd holiest site to Jews in all the world, second only to Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

Jews lived continuously in Hebron for literally thousands of years until the riots of 1929 left 67 Hebron Jews murdered, and the survivors expelled by the then ruling British. Only following the 1967 Six Day war did Jews return home to the first Jewish city in Israel.

Today Hebron is home to 90 families, well over 300 children and 250 students who study at the local Torah Academy, Yeshivat Shavei Hebron, adding up to about 800 Jews in the city. About 7,500 Jews live in nearby Kiryat Arba, just outside of the city.

My presence in Texas, and next week in Washington, is two-fold: First, and most importantly, is education and awareness. The present international political climate, primarily initiated by the Obama administration, presents Hebron as a ‘palestinian city,’ with no place for any Jewish community. Of course, Hebron is not alone; most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are viewed as ‘obstacles to peace,’ to be emptied of their Jewish population in order to allow creation of a ‘palestinian state,’

It is my goal to explain the importance of Hebron, as the literal roots of the Jewish people and the beginning of all monotheism. How would the United States react to a demand by bin Laden that America relinquish Philadelphia or Boston ‘in the name of peace?!’ 

In addition, due to the international financial crisis, it is necessary to turn to various populations around the world, and suggest that they become partners with us, helping to maintain a Jewish community in Hebron. The word Hebron, in Hebrew, means both ‘friend’ and ‘bond.’ We think it fitting that different peoples should link together, as ‘friends,’ and assist in keeping such a holy city Jewish, allowing the holy sites to be accessible to any and all wishing to visit them.

I’ve been welcomed in Austin by wonderful home hospitality and an eager willingness to hear about Hebron and Israel today. I invite you to visit us and to be in touch with me at or by phone at 972-52-429-5554 and in the US at 347-725-0325. Of course, anyone visiting Israel, who would like a guided tour of Hebron, should feel free to be in touch with me.

I can conclude by categorically stating how enjoyable it is to be coming from the‘lone-star’ country to the ‘lone-star state’ and thank all who have made my visit so delightful.

Article printed from Texas Insider:

Copyright © 2009 Texas Insider. All rights reserved.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Law enforcement in Judea and Samaria: Facts not fiction

Tammuz 11, 5769, 7/3/2009

Law enforcement in Judea and Samaria: Facts not fiction

law enforcement is selective in Judea and Samaria and depends on the ethnic origin of the alleged perpetrators 

From time to time the media features a rash of news and opinion articles about the state of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria. These are invariably highly critical of allegedly inefficient law enforcement, the lack of police manpower, the need for exceptional enforcement methods due to the “lawless” nature of the area, and of the courts which are accused of restricting the work of law enforcement authorities.  Politicians and media pundits as well as the law enforcement authorities send out myriad statements whose main defect is the absence of corroborative facts and data, to the Government, the Knesset and the public.

The Report on Law Enforcement in Judea and Samaria (henceforth “Report”), researched and published by the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria, is the first attempt to reveal the truth about law enforcement in this area using data, facts and statistical analysis. All the figures and statistical analyses in the report are from official law enforcement authorities and therefore incontrovertible.  The data was analyzed by experts in criminology and statistics and the conclusions are shocking, because they stand in direct contradiction to all the information that the Israeli public has been led to believe for years.

The main finding revealed by the Report is that law enforcement is selective in Judea and Samaria and depends on the ethnic origin of the alleged perpetrators i.e. overzealous law enforcement towards Jewish settlers and minimal law enforcement when dealing with Arab offenders or leftist activists.  This selectivity is backed by instructions and by-laws composed by the Legal Advisor to the Israeli Government. Their implementation is overseen by a high ranking lawyer in the governments’ legal department, Shai Nitsan.

The graphs and tables brought in the Report prove without doubt that there is discrimination in all the parameters used to measure law enforcement: the ratio of police officers to population, percent of files made public, percent of disclosures of interrogation files, percent of indictments passed on to the courts, percent of those found guilty. The sum total of these parameters present a clear and unequivocal picture of directed overzealous enforcement encouraged by the “powers that be” and of an unprecedented allocation of resources for this purpose. This occurs at the expense of police services in other areas including the one researched here, at the expense of the basic rights of the Jewish residents, at the expense of security in these areas, and at the expense of the most basic principle of the rule of law in a democratic state: that of equality before the law.

Possibly the most significant aspect of the Report is the chapter containing the official responses to it because it is abundantly clear that the respondents do not succeed in dealing with the real data or in refuting the analysis and conclusions.

What is the legal, lawful, ethical justification for this? Why is the true state of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria kept hidden from the public, while a picture that has virtually no connection with the real situation is purposely made to seem like an accurate one? These are the incisive questions that this Report addresses to the heads of law enforcement in Israel. Its authors demand an answer.

The Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria intends to give this Report to all Government Ministers and MK’s, and demand a thorough change. In the meantime—the Report is a data bank and essential tool for anyone who is faced with the inequities of the law enforcement authorities towards those living in Judea and Samaria and their supporters. It is highly recommended.

For information pertaining to donations to cover costs of publication in English and Hebrew, as well as obtaining copies of the Report, call Shifra at tel. 052-5666942.


Thursday, July 2, 2009

In the footsteps of the Mufti - Eighty years later

In the footsteps of the Mufti - Eighty years later
July 2, 2009

A few days ago I escorted a lovely woman originally from Guyana around Hebron. A writer, speaker and diplomat, this woman seemed very aware of the events taking place throughout the world, and here in Israel.

But one thing perturbed her: why were people like us, Hebron residents, and others throughout Judea and Samaria, seemingly persecuted by our own people. My explanation was very simple. "Understand, there are people who don't want us here because they believe that we are living in, and occupying, an "Arab" city, and are 'obstacles to peace.' 

These same people are convinced that we will, sooner or later, be expelled from Hebron and other communities in Judea and Samaria. However, it's not easy to decree expulsion. Such actions are quite harsh, and not easy to implement. Therefore it is necessary to prepare the public-at-large psychologically for such a possibility. The best way to do so is to vilify the future victims of expulsion, creating an atmosphere whereby it seems that 'they deserve what they get.' In other words, an attempt is being made to 'delegitimize' us, creating a scenario depicting us as 'enemies of peace,' and as such, 'opponents of the state.' That being accomplished, it is much easier to then throw us out of our homes, no questions asked, no holds barred.

An example of such deception is the most common word used to describe people living in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. We are all lumped together in the category of 'settler.'

Should I move to Tel Aviv, the moment by official Identity Card is stamped by the Interior Ministry, I am a 'resident' of Tel Aviv even if I've only lived there for a day. However, even after having lived in Hebron for 28 years, I am still labeled a 'settler,' a word today with negative connotations, symbolizing 'colonization'  or in the words of others, 'occupation.' Settlers' equals 'occupiers' equals 'evil'.

As world pressure on Israel seems to be mounting, initiating from Washington, D.C. and running through Paris, Madrid, London, and most other capitals of the world, a very disturbing element of delegitmization seems to be emerging. That is, the comparison of Israeli 'settlers, with terrorists.

A New York Times article authored by Ethan Bronner on June 6, [] overtly compares the Israeli right to Hamas terrorists. Bronner writes, "There are striking parallels between the hard-core opponents of a peace deal on each side." Quoting Israeli Yossi Alpher, he adds, "Look at how settlers go to wealthy Jews and evangelical Christians to raise money and how Hamas taps into a huge reservoir of Islamist money."

This, of course, ignores the fact that Hamas' stated goal is the destruction of the State of Israel, and towards that aim they have participated in murdering thousands of Jews in cold-blooded terror attacks and have launched thousands of rockets into Israeli cities. The 'Jewish Hamas' has yet to reach such stages of bloodshed and violence.

A series of articles written by Dina Kraft for JTA is titled "Special Report: Jewish Extremists." One article, headlined, "Israel wrestles with settler challenge" depicts settlers as 'rampaging,' radical,' and 'lawless.'  The article continues, quoting attorney Michael Sfard, who represents the most leftwing groups in Israel, but does not speak with anyone from Human Rights in Yesha, which represents a different point of view.

In a second article called The View from a West Bank Hilltop, Kraft, writes about residents of such communities. "Critics, including some voices within the mainstream settler movement, say they pose a violent and dangerous threat to the future of Israeli democracy." Of course, this is said without quoting anyone by name. The author also refrains from speaking to anyone who has anything positive to say about 'hilltop youth or communities.

Where does this lead to?

Two recent articles point in the same direction. Writing in HaAretz, Yair Sheleg seemingly rejects the comparison between Hamas and the Jewish right, but readily accepts that there is Jewish terror: "… I do not intend this as a justification of settler terror…It is not enough to fight terror; it is also necessary to dry up the swamp in which it breeds."  His solution is to leave Jews in Judea and Samaria following an Israeli withdrawal. "if it is possible to enable Palestinian sovereignty without uprooting 200,000 Jews from their homes, this would be the most just and moral solution of all. There is also a practical advantage: If the settlers do not accept the offer, the justice of evacuating them will increase.
Sheleg conveniently forgets one significant point, that being the security of the Jews 'morally left behind.' The article is aptly titled, "Leave the Settlers there."

Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner, who offers a similar answer, did not forget this aspect of the issue:  "I don't think there would be a wholesale slaughter of settlers in a newly independent Palestine, because I don't think any Palestinian leadership that made peace with Israel would want to enter the international community with such a thing on its head. But I do think there would be individual acts of revenge against settlers…and if a few nut cases, a few modern-day Masada types, want to die sanctifying G-d's name or something, I'm sorry - let them."

Next month will mark the eightieth anniversary of the 1929 riots and massacre which left hundreds of Jews dead, wounded and maimed. The worst of these riots was in Hebron, where 67 were killed, seventy injured, and the survivors expelled by the then ruling British.

The 1929 massacre was the direct result of massive hateful incitement, then spewed out by the Mufti Amin el-Husseini against the Jews then living in Israel.  The day before the riots began, on Thursday, August 22, four Jews belonging to the Hagana, including Rachel Yanait, future wife of Israel's second President, visited Hebron. Warning Hebron's Jewish leadership of impending violence, they offered to leave weapons for self defense. The weapons were refused because Hebron's Jews believed that their Arab neighbors would protect them. That naivety led to the annihilation of a Jewish community thousands of years in existence.

At present, the major source of incitement is not entirely clear. On the one hand, Obama and the Europeans maintain exceedingly clear expectations; a total building freeze is only the first step. Following that, the demands to empty out Judea and Samaria will certainly follow.  That is no surprise.

What is much more troubling and problematic is the systematic effort from within Israel to demonize our own people, even to the degree that Jews do not really care if other Jews live or die.

Some months ago I met a man in Hebron who identified himself as a journalist for a publication called Yisrael Hayom. The bottom line of our conversation was his concluding remark: "I think a good settler is a dead settler." 

Sheleg, Derfner, Kraft and others seem to be walking in the footsteps of the Mufti, whose vile agitation led to the 1929 atrocities. Is this really the direction Israel is traveling in, eighty years later?

David Wilder is spokesman for the Jewish Community of Heborn