Friday, June 29, 2012

Despite it all, a dream come true!

Decrease text size
Increase text size

The Federman family might be described as ‘controversial.’   Noam and Elisheva have a long history of right-wing activism, working day and night for a continued, strong Jewish presence throughout Eretz Yisrael.  As a result of their continued successful action, they have found themselves the target of numerous indictments and trials. Noam has spent many days and nights behind bars. However, this has never deterred them from continuing in the direction they believe in.
They aren’t people who just talk. They also do. They built a beautiful home in Kiryat Arba, only to have it plowed down in the middle of the night, back in 2008, losing almost all their belongings, transformed into rubble by bulldozers.  
Last week I visited their ‘new home’ with a mutual friend from the US. What can I say? Their dedication knows no bounds. Their former house was expansive. The present ‘house’ includes a kitchen-living room, with four small bedrooms. There are no doors in the house, allowing virtually no privacy in any of the rooms. Of their 11 children, 7 live with them at home. My estimate is that the house is maybe 40 sq. meters large. At most. Maybe smaller.
Photos: David Wilder
But they still have a large piece of property, including a horse and other farm animals, and a large trampoline, where the kids can bounce for hours at at time.
While sitting in the living room-kitchen, Elisheva told us of her daughter, Isca’s house, in the Shomron, Samaria region. Isca, a good friend of one of my daughters, married four months ago to Eliyasaf Oyerbach. Eliyasaf lived in Gush Katif, until being expelled almost seven years ago. He used money received as ‘damages’ from there, and built a new home at Havat Gilead, in the Shomron. This community, today home to thirty families, was founded in memory of Gilead Zar, security chief of the Samaria region, who was murdered by terrorists. The neighborhood is considered to be ‘illegal’ by state authorities, and his first home was bulldozed down.
However people like Eliyasaf don’t give up easily. All his money was gone.  So he worked, and borrowed, and began constructing a new house. But Eliyasaf was missing something very important. A wife. He met Isca Federman, and after a short time, became engaged and four months ago, married. They utilized all their wedding gifts and finished building their new home, investing more than 100,000 NIS. It was something straight out of paradise. So Elisheva described it to us, a week ago.
Last Monday, at about three in the afternoon, when the house was empty, the young couple had visitors. According to police, the Arabs who arrived had one of two goals: either to commit a terror attack and kill, or to break in and steal. Finding the house vacant, they broke in, ransacked it, dumped everything on the floor, and set the place ablaze. Investigators later found three different areas where the fire had been set.  Isca and Eliyasaf hurried home, only to find smoke pouring out of their palace.
Firefighters had been notified and quickly arrived, but it was too late. The house was destroyed, with just about everything inside it burned to a crisp. All their belongings, wedding presents, everything, gone. Due to Arab arson, described by the authorities as pure terror. The couple was told that the perpetrators would be found. As of yet, no arrests have been made.
Isca and Eliyasaf are now living in two broken-down buses at Havat Gilead.
I spoke with Isca, who I’ve known since she was a little girl, growing up in Hebron.  I asked her whether she and her husband intended to stay at Havat Gildead and rebuild their house:
Isca: “Of course, we want to build a new house. It will cost a lot of money. We’ll need help, we can’t do it by ourselves.”
Isca: “We’ll never despair. This is our faith, our way of life. We must continue down the same path we’ve always known. We are not going anywhere.
What goes through your mind when you think of the possibility that you might have been home alone when the terrorists arrived?
Isca: “Sure, that’s a possibility. Maybe our new home won’t be as isolated as this one was, but that surely won’t scare us from building again. This is our land. We must continue living here. Look, I was at home when the police showed up and destroyed my home in Kiryat Arba. You know, it’s very hard, very hard, living through that, and now this. But we have to continue. We received a good education – never give up! We need, and have much strength, to keep us going. Our faith, our knowledge that this is the way, well, we are going to keep going, looking to the future. Our experiences from the past help us to deal with and overcome our present issues. For sure, no one is going to get us down, not the Arabs, no one!
You have friends, your age, getting married. If they asked your advise, should they come live like you, at Havat Gilead, or in a similar community, with your experience here, what would you say to them?
Isca: “That’s easy. I’d tell them that it’s great to wake up every morning, look outside, and see the magnificent view, the land of the Shomron. Seeing the land, being part of the land, planting trees, flowers, feeling at one Eretz Yisrael. Here we are really connected to our land, to our heritage, to our people. I’d encourage all my friends, anyone, to come join us here, to be at one, to unify, with our land. Living here, well, with all the problems, with all the obstacles, this is still our paradise. Don’t worry, we will overcome.
Living here is living a dream, a dream come true."
Photos: Isca Oyerbach with permission

Thursday, June 14, 2012

An anarchist's paradise

An anarchist's paradise
Thursday Jun 14, 2012
 A couple of days ago I received an email that reads:
Tomorrow: Women action to demand the opening of Shuhada Street
Press conference will be held prior to the protest.
When: Wednesday, June 12, 2012 at 14:00 
Where: Press conference: Sumood and Challenge Center, Hebron
Media contact: Issa Amru (Youth Against Settlement)  (Number removed)
Palestinian women, joined by Israeli and International women, plan to march tomorrow, Wednesday, to Shuhada Street in the city center of Hebron, demanding it’s re-open. 
The action, organized by the “Youth Against Settlements”, is part of the global campaign to Open Shuhada Street which has been closed to the movement of Palestinians.   

The organizers will hold a press conference prior to the demonstration, at the Sumood and Challenge Center in Tal Rumeideh, hebron. The press conference will start at 2pm, and will be followed by the march.
Another one:
 From: Tali Shapiro

On Jun 11, 2012, at 3:28 PM, Irene Nasser wrote:

For rides from Jerusalem and Tel Aviv call me at XXX-XXXXXXX

On Thu, Jun 7, 2012 at 4:29 PM, Neta Golan
if you want to act as a palestinian woman , if you want to support the palestinian woman rights , Calling the Israeli Army to let them use shuhada street in Hebron .

For more information Please Call Issa Amro  or send an Email to (email removed)
None of our children are safe in a world in which the children of Gaza can be imprisoned and bombed.
I’ve written numerous times about ‘Shuhada Street’ – the street of the Martyrs in Arabic – King David Street in Hebron.
More about that a few paragraphs down.
But first, who are the ‘activists’ who organized yesterday’s provocation? Here’s one more email:
Register for Transportation to June 15 - June 16 Weekly Demonstrations Against the Wall and the Settlements
Kufr Qaddum Friday June 15 Contact Alona at XXX-XXXXXXX Al Ma'asara Friday June 15 Contact Dany at  XXX-XXXXXXXNi'lin Friday June 15 Contact Shai at 
An Nabi Saleh Friday June 15Contact Daniel at XXX-XXXXXXX (preferably by SMS)Bil'in Friday June 15 Contact Phone Against Wall XXX-XXXXXXX. Only if you must send e-mail with mobile phone number to but reply in time is not guaranteed  Beit Ummar Saturday June 16 Contact Kobi atXXX-XXXXXXX For those wishing to come from Jerusalem please contact Ruth at XXX-XXXXXXX - Newcomers and those requiring more information are invited to contact Renen at XXX-XXXXXXX
This mail arrived from the same address as the previous one.
These are all one and the same: anti-Israel anarchists, whose basic goal is the destruction of the State of Israel. In an article published a year ago, Caroline Glick lumps them together with Yesh Din, Gush Shalom, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, and attorney Michel Sfard, Breaking the Silence, Bimkom, Peace Now, Gush Shalom, Adalah, the Geneva Initiative, the Committee for Peace and Security and of course, B’Tselem (
These are not love-dovey peackniks. They are dangerous, anti-Israel elements, who, as Glick writes, receive massive financial budgets from the British, Swiss and Irish governments, Christian Aid, the Ford Foundation, DanChurchAid (funded by the Danish government), Diakonia (funded by the Swedish and Norwegian governments and the EU), Trócaire (funded by the Irish and UK governments), Dutch, British, German and Norwegian governments, the EU, and George Soros’s Open Society Institute.
Their primary trade is trouble-making, with a capital I for incitement. Working together with many Arabs, such as Hebron’s Issa Amru (see for my run-in with him a few days ago), and others, they incite local populations, leading to massive violence aimed at IDF personnel and civilians.
I’m told that Amru, well known to the authorities, was arrested earlier today for his part in yesterday’s events here in Hebron. As can be seen in the above emails, he was the primary organizer of the anarchists’ march down King David Street, dressed up as Arab women.

Hebron’s leadership has taken numerous measures in an effort to maintain a quiet and peaceful city. These include frequent meetings with Hebron Arab leader Sheich Ja’abari, as well as  meetings and discussions with various organizations in Hebron. We have met with representatives from the International Red Cross, internationals, as well as diplomats from around the world, attempting to allow for an open dialogue and discussion. A few days ago I  met with a group from the very left wing, pro-Palestinian state American Jewish organization J Street. After a short tour of the Beit Hadassah museum, I spent an hour  answering their questions. The discussion was interesting and fruitful. I’m sure we didn’t all agree about everything, but there wasn’t any sense of animosity or uncomfortableness. That’s what happens when civilized people sit together.
Clearly, the anarchists who invaded Hebron have a definite agenda, which precludes the Jewish Community of Hebron or any Jewish-Israeli presence in this city.  We expect all Israeli government and security officials to maximize efforts to remove these perilous rabble-rousers from our midst, as they are an actual threat to a peaceful existence in Hebron and elsewhere.  At present, Hebron could be called an anarchist’s paradise. It’s time to send them help others in the Middle East, as long as its outside the borders of the State of Israel. (Like, maybe, Syria.)

Concerning King David (shuhada) Street: Arabs today have access to 97% of Hebron. Jews have access to 3% of Hebron. The only area closed to Arabs is this stretch of road, about a kilometer in length. This street was closed by the IDF following numerous terror attacks in the area, including a suicide bomber who killed two, stabbings, shootings, acid attacks and more. The Israeli supreme court, not known to be a bastion of the right, has upheld the road’s closing for security reasons. It is the only place in Hebron where Arabs have no access, but they do have a bypass route, allowing them to reach whatever their destination might be. Jews, on the other hand, are prevented from accessing the entire H1-Arab side of the city, including holy sites there, such as the cave of Otniel ben Knaz and the famous Hebron-Slobodka yeshiva. For more see: 'King David Street' or 'Street of the Martyrs' - Shuhada?
All video and photos: David Wilder

Friday, June 8, 2012

Zionism or Toynbeeism?

Decrease text size
Increase text size

The news and photos coming out of Syria are horrid. I’m not a great fan of the Syrians. They’ve been at war with Israel since creation of the State. But the steam of atrocities flowing from there has nothing to do with friends and enemies. Any normal person with any thoughts of civil humanitary could not help but be shocked seeing photographs of massacred babies.  
However, it doesn’t seem to be shocking enough for civilized nations of the world to do anything. True, Hillary was photographed with a very grim look on her face, and words of condemnation on her lips. But that’s it.
The UN is also pretty good at lip service. But there too, that’s about as far as it goes. Virtually nothing is being done to finish Assad and end the bloodbath.
That having been said, I can only ask myself, how is it such monumental efforts are made to ostracize Israel, and conduct international boycotts as a result of internal Israeli policies, when so little is being done to stop the Syrian atrocities?
However, that’s not really what I’m really interested in at present. Not what the rest of the world is doing; rather what Israel, or better put, Israeli leaders are doing.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, Israel’s first chief Rabbi, a tremendous Torah scholar, begins his seminal work “Orot” (Lights):
The land of Israel is not some external entity. It is not merely an external acquisition for the Jewish people. It is not merely a means of uniting the populace. It is not merely a means of strengthening our physical existence. It is not even merely a means of strengthening our spiritual existence.

Rather, the land of Israel has an intrinsic meaning. It is connected to the Jewish people with the knot of life. Its very being is suffused with extraordinary qualities.

The extraordinary qualities of the land of Israel and the extraordinary qualities of the Jewish people are two halves of a whole. (
In other words, Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel, is not just another piece of real estate, like New York, Chicago, London, Paris, or anywhere else in the world. It’s not just a place to live. According to Rav Kook, (whose teachings are rooted in the holiest and most esoteric of Jewish texts), Eretz Yisrael is an entity unto itself, a living organism.
Jewish thought relates to various numbers with special and unique significances. For example, the number three: Three forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Three distinct groups of Jews: Kohanim (Priests) Levi’im, and Yisrael. The list can continue for many more lines. But I will conclude the trianglular expression with only one more; perhaps the most essential threesome: Am Yisrael, that is the Jewish people, Torat Yisrael, that is the Torah, the Bible, and Eretz Yisrael, that being the land of Israel. Each one of these items is an indespensible element of our being as Jews.
The British historian, Arnold Toynbee related to Jews and Judism as an anachronism ( “Our fifth instance of linguistic Archaism..of the present day is the reconversation of Hebrew into a vernacular language of everyday life on the lips and in the ears of the Zionist Jews from the Diaspora who have settled in Palestine…” “The Zionist Jews are a fragment of a fossil of alien origin which has been embedded in the body of Western Christendom since its pre-natal days.”
Yet, we are well, alive and kicking. We are not a fossil fragment. We are real. Why? Because we have never, ever, let the truly vital ingredients of our existence disappear. How is it that the Jewish people are still just that – the Jewish people? Because we had a Torah, a Divinely given way of life to define our existence; a Torah practiced, almost identically, by Jews around the world, during 2,000 years of exile from our homeland. A Jew could find himself almost anywhere, and still repeat the same liturgy, and practice the same Shabbat laws with Jews in any Jewish community, anywhere.
But that was not enough. Despite the exile, Eretz Yisrael was paramount in a Jewish life. During prayer, worshipers faced Jerusalem, three times daily. Jews fasted annually, because of the destruction of the Temple. The expression, “Next year in Jerusalem” was repeated time and time again, even at the cost of death. Jews refused to bow down to idols, of any sort, physical, spiritual, or otherwise. And as a result they remained Jewish for 2,000 years of Galut, of Diaspora, of exile. The absence of any of these factors would undoubtedly have led to the demise, G-d forbid, of Judaism.
But that was not to be the case. The yearning, the pleaing, the almost unhuman attempts to return home bore fruit. Hence, the State of Israel. Hence, Jews live today in Jerusalem and Hebron.
Not everyone is happy with this, of course. One of my sons participated in a tour of Hebron, last week, of Breaking the Silence, a very leftwing, pro Arab, EU-funded organization. They met with a local Arab named Issa Amru, who incites, instigates and takes part in numerous anti-Israeli activities in this area. Amru, speaking about us, said something like this: Jews in Israel act Jewish, like Yehuda Shaul (founder of Breaking the Silence). But Hebron Jews, they don’t act like Jews. Like David Wilder. He doesn’t’ do Jewish things, like Yehuda Shaul.’
Yesterday I had a little run-in with Amru, ( and  who made a lot of noise while a journalist was trying to video an interview with me. Soldiers, present at the site, stood around and watched as Amru claimed that ‘this is his land.’ Eventually he went back home and behaved himself, after being filmed himself by the journalist. But that fact that he believes that Tel Hebron, and the rest of our land, belongs to him.
Unfortunately, there are Israelis, including Israeli leaders, who are helping people like Issa Amru. They are forcing Jews off their homeland, destroying their homes, all in an attempt to appease the Toynbean world. According to documents posted this week, Netanyahu ordered expulsion from the “Ulpana neighborhood” in Beit El, as well as from the Machpela House here in Hebron, following a report by Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein that Netenyahu, Barak and others could be tried as war-criminals by the Hague, should Jews continue to live in these places.
Almost seven years ago, Israeli leaders participated in a massacre of our land, when Gush Katif was destroyed, its Jewish residents expelled and the the land abandoned to our enemies. Some thirty years ago, Israeli leaders participated in a massacre of our land, when they destroyed Yamit and other Sinai communities, expelled its Jewish residents, and abandoned our land to our enemies.
Netanyahu and company seem to be going in the same direction. First the Ulapana neighborhood. Next Givat Assaf, and then Migron. And what’s next on the list?  There are those speculating that Netanyahu’s going to pull a “Sharon” on us. Last week Barak suggested a unilateral abandonment of Judea and Samaria. Was he speaking just for himself? I doubt it. There is speculation that, if need be, Netanyahu and Barak will from a new political alliance with Mufaz and others, in order to implement additional massacres, massacres of our land, of Eretz Yisrael.
For if Eretz Yisrael really is an intrinsic element of our being, as so defined by Rav Kook, than abandonment of our land to our enemies, and expulsion of its Jewish residents, is really nothing less than a massacre. Jews, for 2,000 years, gave their lives for the thought to return to the land, and now, having returned, Israeli-Jewish leadership is implementing the opposite?! Is this Zionism, or is it Toynbeeism?