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Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
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Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Global Agenda 5:46 AM 5/21/2013
Jewish World 1:14 AM
Inside Israel 2:15 AM
Prof. Efraim Inbar
Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld
Dr. Mordechai Kedar
Goldstein on Gelt
Ask the Rabbi
David Wilder was born in New Jersey in the USA in 1954, and graduated from Case Western Reserve University with a BA in History and teacher certification in 1976. He spent 1974-75 in Jerusalem at the Hebrew University and returned to Israel upon graduation.
For over eighteen years David Wilder has worked with the Jewish Community of Hebron. He is the English spokesman for the community, granting newspaper, television and radio interviews internationally. He initiated the Hebron internet project, including email lists of over 15,000 subscribers who receive regular news and commentaries from Hebron in English and Hebrew. David is responsible and continues to update the Hebron web sites, portraying various facets of Hebron, utilizing text, audio, video and pictures. He conducts tours of Hebron's Jewish Community and occasionally travels abroad, speaking at Hebron functions.
David Wilder is married to Ora, a 'Sabra,' for 33 years. They lived in Kiryat Arba for 17 years and have resided at Beit Hadassah in Hebron for the past 14 years. They have seven children and many grandchildren.
Links to sites David recommends:
(others to be added)
Nissan 1, 5771, 4/5/2011
The second day of Nisan marks the tenth anniversary of the murder of ten-month old Shalhevet Pass, shot and killed by an Arab sniper from the Abu Sneneh hills in Hebron. That horrible event remains embedded in my memory, as if it were yesterday. I'll never forget my nine year old daughter, running, screaming, into my office, crying, "the baby was hit in the head and Yithak in the legs!"
The following in an interview with Yitzhak Pass, videoed in Hebrew, yesterday. (See video below.)
Photo of Shalhevet and Oriya Pass - Purim, 2 weeks before the murder
Q. Yitzhak Pass, yesterday you marked a decade to that terrible day – I remember it like it was yesterday – what about you?
Me too, I remember what happened in detail, even though, after the murder, I had a black hole in my memory, what happened. Afterwards, we started to join our memories, and I remember.
Q. What do you remember?
We walked with Shalhevet in her stroller in the direction of the Avraham Avinu neighborhood, her grandparents, my wife’s parents, and when we reached the entrance to the neighborhood, then, I remember the blast I felt in my legs, at the first moment I didn’t understand what had happened, and when I turned around and saw that my legs were hit, I realized that I’d been shot. I lay down on the ground behind the soldier’s station, my wife took Shalhevet from the stroller in the direction of a wall that could block them from the shooting, and when she held her head, she discovered that Shalhevet had been shot in the head. The soldiers started arriving, there was shooting, until I was evacuated. I remember it like it was yesterday.
Q. You live about 50 meters from the location of the murder. How do you deal with it, on a daily basis?
Unfortunately, bereavement, both mine and in a more general national sense, is an integral part of our lives. It’s impossible to ignore it and we have to deal with it. I chose to deal with it by living where it happened, to show that it won’t break us, to the contrary, it heightens our determination and increases our strength. There’s no doubt that every time I walk past the monument put up in Shalhevet’s memory, I feel a little pinch at my heart, it’s constant, it’s opposite my eyes all the time, it’s impossible to ignore it, but we learned to live with it, and somehow to receive strength from it.
Q. This wasn’t the first time your families, from both sides, were affected by terror. This was the most horrific, as per the results, but it wasn’t the first time. What other terror events were your families affected by?
Unfortunately, we have a not so simple history in our family, on my side and on my wife’s side. She’s lived here many years; her parents arrived here many years ago. Her father, Avraham Zerbiv, a scribe, some 17 or eighteen years ago, was walking to early morning prayers at Ma’arat HaMachpela when, on the way, he was attacked by three terrorists with axes. He was very critically wounded, he succeeded in killing one of them and the other two were apprehended. His life was saved due to the care he received from Dr. Baruch Goldstein, who performed emergency surgery on him at the site of the attack and saved his life.
My wife’s twin sister was stabbed here in Hebron and fortunately, not seriously hurt. And my younger brother, who today also lives in Hebron, was shot two weeks before Shalhevet’s terrible murder, on the Shabbat of Purim, he was shot by a sniper from the Abu Sneneh hills, and fortunately for all of us, was slightly injured in his foot.
Indeed, we have experienced first-hand, terror and Arab hatred of Jews who live in Hebron.
Q. How did you choose to eternalize Shalhevet?
First of all, from our standpoint, and from that of the entire community, it was a murder that stood out due to its result. This was an infant, ten months old, that shocked the entire world. We received thousands of reactions, letters, not only from Jews and people living in Israel, who shared our grief. We understood that Shalhevet wasn’t our private possession, rather, essentially, someone who belonged to all Am Yisrael – the Jewish people. One of our first decisions was to write a Torah in her memory. This way, anyone who felt a part of this could be a partner, and many Jews helped us from all over the world, and thank G-d, that Torah, which her grandfather, my wife’s father wrote, is here in Hebron.
Afterwards, in consultation with others in the community, we decided to open a Torah study hall, to eternalize her name, called Shahevet Techiyat HaAretz (Shalhevet, the living land), It was important to us to show that her murder just intensified our determination to be a part of our land, and that we are willing even to die for its sake, and to raise up and awaken, to instill love for Eretz Yisrael, the importance of our connection to the land, to settle it, to live anywhere and everywhere in our land.
Q. Shalhevet was your first born and at that time, only child. Since then your wife has given birth several times.
When Shalhevet was killed she was towards the end of her pregnancy. A few months later she gave birth to another daughter, Renana Nechama, and since then, thank G-d, we have two sons and three daughters, the last one was born two weeks ago and thank G-d, we see comfort in the children. This is one of the things that gives strength. We know that we still have reasons to continue and for what to aspire.
Q. Renana Nechama, the initial letters spell the word Ner (candle) (Shalhevet means flame). Was this intentional?
No, this is the first time that’s come to my attention. The meaning of Nechama (comfort) is clear, and Renana (song-chanting prayer), shows that despite the difficulties, was have to be happy all the time and believe in what we are doing. Despite the fact that sometimes the results are difficult, we, all of us in this state, indeed, there isn’t a person who doesn’t have a connection to death and bereavement, but it’s important to stress the happiness factor, that we are in Eretz Yisrael and not in Galut (diaspora).
Q. The other children know about their older sister?
The older ones, of course, the younger ones know that there was something, but they are too small to understand the details.
Q. What do you teach them, what do you tell them?
We tell them what happened, without hiding anything. I think that it’s important that children, as soon as they are able to comprehend, should understand the reality and know that Hebron isn’t like every other place in the world, that there are the complexities here. The children understand it, they live here and they know we’re not in Tel Aviv, that here there are soldiers and Arabs, that sometimes we get hit by rocks. Sometimes they feel the realities and complexities, but the bereavement is part of our life. I don’t think it should be blurred. It’s important that the children should know that, first of all, there is a price for our faith, for what we think and what we do, and that we gave our most valuable possession for the sake of Eretz Yisrael, for the sake of settling the land.
Q. When I stop by the monument with tourists, I stress, above everything else, that the family, despite the terrible tragedy, is still here. How do you stay here? Why?
First of all, we are stubborn. The Jewish people are stubborn, a stiff-necked people. We are enrooted in this land. Both in our personal family, and in a more general way, this is everything. There is nothing, not murder, not Arabs, which can uproot us from here, because we are a stiff-necked people. Despite what the Jewish people have experienced, we have been able to hold our heads high. We have to understand how they lived in Galut where anyone could do whatever he wanted to Jews, and here, and here, in Eretz Yisrael, we hold our heads high, standing straight and tall, no one will ever get us out of here.
Q. In conclusion, you’ve been in Hebron many years, you’ve absorbed many blows and had also, many joyous events. Why Hebron? For you, what’s so special about Hebron?
Hebron is the beginning of the Kingdom of Israel. The Kingdom of David, which is, for us - our first son, born to us, we called David Tzuri, because King David embodied standing tall, Jewish power, I don’t think there were many people in Jewish history who had such a personality that embodied the intensity of David, and essentially, the factors of Beit HaMikdash (the Temple) and redemption, Mashiach ben David, who will, with G-d’s help, come soon, all this was personified in King David, who absorbed his roots from the Judea region and from Hebron, specifically.
For us, Hebron is to return 3,000 years, linking to the image of King David, bonding to his personality, and to continue with what he began, to be here Jews in Eretz Yisrael, walking tall, fighting when necessary, and when necessary, to be gentle, as it’s written in the Talmud that David was “Adino HaEtzni,” during war he was as hard as a Cedar, and when he learned Torah, he was gentle like a silk worm. We want to return to our glorious past, when the Jewish people ruled Eretz Yisrael without any question marks or complexes, without the complicated realities that we witness today, all the confusion, all the convoluted ideas that we all unfortunately hear. We want to live as simply as possible, in the most natural way possible, the way a people should. In our opinion, such was expressed by King David.
Yitzhak Pass, thank you very much.
Adar Bet 25, 5771, 3/31/2011
As the weather changes, as wintermoves into spring and summer, as the meteorological temperature rises, so too,the geopolitical climate is ascending at a rapid pace.
It wasn’t too many weeks ago thatrumors of Bibi’s intended US speech, declaring intentions to immediately recognizea ‘palestinian state’ within temporary borders, abounded. Commentators expectedsuch an announcement, perhaps in the Premier’s address before Congress in May.
Then disaster struck. The Fogelbutchery in Itamar seemed to throw a wrench into the mechanics of Bibi’sseemingly well-oiled machinery. Photographs of a baby stabbed in the heart anda father with his throat cut are not conducive to peace plans.
Then, again, Arab terror struck inthe heart of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Central Bus station. Again, murder,targeted at the body and soul of every Jew in Israel, only because they areJews, in Israel. It makes no difference that the one fatality was a non-Jewfrom England. Terror is terror is terror.
Suddenly Bibi’s new ‘piece’initiative seemed to get stuck.
Our Arab neighbors, not wanting toget pulled deep into Netanyahu’s suggested quicksand, totally rejecting any formof ‘temporary statehood,’ began pushing for a unilateral declaration of ‘palestinianstatehood.’ Building upon anti-Israel sentiment in South America, several countriesannounced their recognition of a ‘palestinian state’ in pre-1967 Judea andSamaria, part of which is presently partially controlled by the ‘palestinian authority.’The winds of the new ‘state’ are quickly transforming into a political tornado,picking up speed and international support. The time and place seem to beSeptember at the United Nations, when the UN will be asked to recognize ‘palestine’as a full-fledged member of the world community.
It must be clear without mincing anywords. Nothing has changed within the Arab thought process. Abu Mazen has notrepented. He still denies the Holocaust. He has not apologized for his role,planning terror attacks against Jews for decades, including his financing ofthe 1972 Munich Olympics massacre. He continues to honor terrorists. This monthhis advisorSabri Saidam, exclaimed that palestinianweapons must be turned towards Israel. Under his auspices, a townsquare in El-Birah was named in honor of terrorist Dalal Mughrabi, who participatedin the 1978 Coast Road massacre. The ‘palestinian authority, continuing toincite against Israel and Jews, is nothing less than a PTA – a ‘palestinianterror organization.’
This has not prevented UN secretary generalBan from castigating Israel, labeling Israel’s presence in Judea and Samaria as‘occupation,’ and ‘morally, politically, unsustainable.’
As Ban speaks, Arabs are killing Arabs inLibya and Syria, while other Arab tyrants are cranking up their killingmachines in order to deflect any attempts to dethrone them. Yet, it is the ‘Israelioccupation’ that occupies the United Nations leadership.
Israeli politicians and other public figureshave started reacting to the September Accords. This morning InfrastructureMinister Uzi Landau, a well-known, veteran right-wing leader, suggested thatIsrael annex parts of Judea and Samaria in reaction to declaration of a ‘palestinianstate.’ Landau isn’t the first to make such a declaration. However, Landau’ssolution is partial and lacking, in that he proclaimed that the ‘largesettlement blocks within the national consensus’ should be made part ofsovereign Israel.
And so I ask, what about Hebron?
Actually, there is no doubt in my mind thatall of Judea and Samaria are part of Israel, and as such, should be officiallyannexed. However, if the state of Israel, for whatever reason, prefers toestablish an annexation process, declaring statehood in Judea and Samarialittle by little, what better a place to begin than Hebron?!
Recently Education minister Saar announcedthat all Israeli schoolchildren should and would visit Hebron and Ma’aratHaMachpela. In a survey conducted amongst high school teachers, over seventyeight percent supported this decision. As reported on Kol Yisrael radio onMarch 21, the head of the teacher’s union, Ron Erez, commented that “thisresult proves that educators are not only teaching with an aim of achievement,rather they are also looking at the roots of our state, our education, anddeepening those roots, bond them to Eretz Yisrael.”
David began his rule in Hebron, and remainedhere for over seven years, thereby immersing himself, not as an individual, butas King of Israel, in the sanctity of our Patriarchs and Matriarchs, prior tomoving up to Jerusalem, the eternal capital of Israel. Following in thefootsteps of David, it would seem natural that still today, Hebron is the placeto start.
Jewish Hebron is, in the eyes of the world, aseeming question mark. How can Israel dare allow Jews to live in the firstJewish city in Israel? Hebron is, in their opinion, the epitome of Israeli intransigenceand foreign occupation.
The time has come to put an end to any suchquestion marks. Hebron, the roots of our people, is, always was, and alwayswill be, a Jewish, Israeli city. The fact that Arabs too live here, so what!That cannot and does not erase the core significance of Hebron, throughout thegenerations, to the Jewish people.
For seven hundred years Jews were forciblyprevented from accessing building atop the caves of Machpela, the 2ndholiest site in the world. Yet Jews did not forget their roots, yearning forthe day when they could return to visit, worship and identify at this sacredmonument.
As such, nothing could be more fitting than adeclaration of “Hebron First.” On the day that the UN declares acceptance of a ‘palestinianstate’ the Knesset should vote to extend full Israeli sovereignty on the cityof Hebron, again declaring the Jewish people’s allegiance to our age-old heritage.This historic event will open the eyes of the world-at-large, proving to themthat we, the Jewish people in the State of Israel, will never, ever, abandonour ancient homeland.
And they will know: Hebron First is only thebeginning.
Adar Bet 10, 5771, 3/16/2011
Take a big monkey, dress him in an expensive suit, adorn a tie around his neck, and he looks just like you, right. Except that it’s still a monkey. Like it or not.
Seven years ago. Friday night. March 7, 2003. Two Arab terrorists cut through a fence on the eastern side of Kiryat Arba. Knowing that the fence emits an electronic signal if touched, they prop the cut-out piece of fence back in place. A few minutes later a security patrol arrives, searches the area, and seeing nothing, leaves. Most probably the signal sent from the fence originated as a result of an animal touching it.
The terrorists remove the cut-out piece of fence and climb through, into Kiryat Arba. The time is about 8:30 PM. Walking down the street they see a Jewish woman and attempt to kill her. She runs and their gun jams. The terrorists see a porch leading into an open apartment across the street and run in. There they find Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz in the midst of their Shabbat evening meal. Rabbi Eli screams and is immediately shot to death. Dina flees into a back room but is trapped, with nowhere to go. She too screams. Until the terrorists shoot and kill her too.
Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz
The apartment is surrounded and a battle begins The terrorists are finally overcome and eliminated.
Some of the Horowitz’ children and grandchildren were supposed to spend that Shabbat with them, but had to cancel. So the death toll was only two. ONLY?!
No, not ONLY. Two, of hundreds and thousands of Jews murdered and maimed, scarred physically and psychologically, for the rest of their lives. Targeted because they are Jews, in Israel. Anywhere in Israel, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beer Sheva, Hebron, Beit El, you name it. Jews who were visiting, students, tourists, also blotted out, Jews in Israel. Young, old, children, babies, couples. Living people. Dead.
The account of the Horowitz murders sounds familiar, no? Friday night, breaking into a house, killing Jews.
Similar, but certainly not the same.
Late last Friday night, at 1:45 in the morning, my pager beeped. Actually I didn’t hear it, even though it’s very
close to me, even when I sleep. But Friday night sleep overcame the beeps. But a couple of my kids, still awake in the living room, did hear it and wondered what message might be sent at that hour, on Shabbat night.
The next day we found out: “As a result of terrorists’ penetrating the Itamar community in the Shomron (Samaria), and the murder of several Jews, security has requested to be alert and prepared, in case several attacks were planned to occur simultaneously.”
I tried not to talk about it too much on Shabbat. There was nothing we could do, and on Shabbat you’re not supposed to mourn. But Saturday night, when the full extent of the terror became known, the internal anger, frustration and gloom bubbled over into a gushing rage.
There isn’t too much that can be added to whatever has been said, in writing or orally, about the slaughter of the Fogels. Perhaps one of the best pieces was written by Ariel Sharon’s son Gilad. It can be viewed here. Earlier yesterday, before reading this article, a journalist suggested that perhaps Abu Mazen really does want peace. I replied with several answers, but started with a simple analogy. Take a big monkey, dress him in an expensive suit, adorn a tie around his neck, and he looks just like you, right. Except that it’s still a monkey. Like it or not.
So too it is with our neighbors.
Sharon’s article and example is a bit more descriptive than mine.
One primary thought has been sitting on me since the Friday night massacre. Only today do I feel the ability to express it. During times of crisis people get upset if the supposed ‘good guys’ are exposed as the ‘bad guys.’ But what can you do? The truth must be told, like it or not.
Of course, those directly responsible for the slaughter on Friday night are the animals who perpetrated that horrific crime. But who stands behind them? Where is the source of incitement, leading to such an inhuman act of barbarity?
The source, in my opinion, are the people, the Israelis, who allowed Jewish police to shoot plastic bullets at other Jews, Jewish civilians, before expelling them from their homes and destroying them a couple of weeks ago. The source of incitement continues with Jews, Jewish leaders, who continue to espouse support for declaration of a ‘palestinian state,’ planning to announce these intentions within the next couple of months in Washington. The source of incitement leading to the butchering of the Fogel family are Jewish leaders who are willing to again abandon our land and our people, ‘returning’ all the heavily Arab-populated cities in Judea and Samaria to monkeys dressed up as people.
We’ve already gone through this, before. Thousands have died and been injured. Why do it again. What has changed? The people are the same, the religion is the same, the mentality is the same and the goals are the same: to wipe a Jewish Israel off the map. And the ends justify the means. Like cutting the throats of babies, and stabbing them in the heart.
Before Olso we warned. The warnings were ignored. Before the Hebron Accords, we warned. The warnings were ignored. Before Gush Katif we warned. The warnings were ignored. We continue to warn. And they continue to ignore. And Jews are shot by Jews; And Jews are expelled from their land by Jews; And Jews continue to be cut to pieces by our ‘piece partners’ who have nothing to lose. I mean, why not. The United States, the EU, and the Israeli left won’t allow the piece process to end, regardless of how many Jews are disposed of along the way.
But the incitement begins at home, with those in positions of power, who target their own people, sending strong signals to our neighbors. A lesson learned quite well: If Jews can do it to Jews, we can do it too.
This time of the year, according to the Jewish calendar, there are four special Sabbaths. This week, the Shabbat prior to the Purim holiday, we call Zachor. In the 25th chapter of Devarim – Deuteronomy, we read: 'Remember what Amalek did to you on the way, upon your departure from Egypt'... 'You shall erase the memory of Amalek from beneath the heavens, you shall not forget.'
Amalek, is a nation of evil, the antithesis of good, the antithesis of the Jewish people. Their goal was (is) to eradicate all good from the world, and in the process, to annihilate the Jewish people. Some examples of present day Amaleks are easy to identify: Hitler and his crew; Ahmadinejad and company in Iran. And there are others, too. It’s the story of Purim, of Esther and Mordechai, two Jews, facing off against Amalek, against Haman, second only to the King, who intended to finish off the Jewish people. As Hitler, Ahmadinejad, and others.
We are commanded, every day, Zachor. Remember. This Shabbat is a special commandment, prior to Purim, Zachor. Remember.
We didn’t have enough to remember? The Hatuel family, Shalhevet, Rabbi Ra’anan, the Diksteins, Elazar Lebovitch, the Horowitz’, and so many others? It still wasn’t enough. We didn’t remember enough. So now, every year, from now on, when we repeat Zachor, prior to Purim, other names will be illuminated in our collective memory: Yoav, Elad, Hadas,Udi, Ruti.
Zachor. Remember. Zachor. Never Forget. Zachor.
If we remember as we should, maybe we'll eventually learn, and act accordingly.
Adar Bet 2, 5771, 3/8/2011
It is true: there is apartheid, discrimination and security biases in Hebron. They are, however, directed not against the Arabs, rather against the Jews
This week has been declared, by some of Israel’s enemies, as “Israel Apartheid Week.” I’ve seen some of the material being distributed, and of course, Hebron is granted the dubious honor as one of the best examples of so-called Israeli apartheid, discriminating against Arabs. This is another one of those international fairytales, utilized with very specific goals. The primary aim in using Hebron is the ‘judenreinization’ of the Jewish people’s second holiest city.
Some of the claims being made against Jewish Hebron and the State of Israel:
1) The main road (Rt.60) is only open to Jews. Arabs must use side roads.
This is a lie. Rt. 60, from Jerusalem to Hebron, and going south to Beer Sheva, was closed to Arabs during the Oslo War (aka 2nd Intifada) due to numerous ‘drive-by shootings’ and murder of Jews. However, the road was reopened to all traffic, Jewish and Arab, a number of years ago, and so it remains accessible to all.
It must be noted that Jewish vehicles are still attacked on an almost daily basis, with Arabs hurling huge rocks at passing cars in various places, such as El-Arrub, Halhul and other areas close to the entrance to Hebron.
2) Access to Kiryat Arba is restricted
This is true. Security in Kiryat Arba is very heavy as a result of terror attacks within the community. This week we will mark the seventh anniversary of the murders of Rabbi Eli and Dina Horowitz, who were brutally killed in their Kiryat Arba home by Arab terrorists. Therefore, access is restricted in order to prevent further terror attacks. Arabs have access to the “Jewish zone” of Hebron, called H-2, via checkpoints leading from the H-1, Arab-controlled zone.
3) Concerning accessibility issues:
a. Following signing and implementation of the Hebron accords in January, 1997,Israel maintained security control in about 20% of the city, with 80% being totally under Arab rule. However, administratively, all of Hebron, including the "Jewish zone" remained under Arab - PA control. When the community needed to install water pipes in the roads, Arafat's permission was needed and he refused.
b. Additionally, Jews today have access to about 3% of Hebron, while Arabs have access to 97% of the city. In other words, Arabs can cross back and forth between both sides of Hebron - from H1 to H2 and back. Jews are not allowed in H1. And even in the Jewish side, H2, there are areas off limits to Jews, such as the Kasba, where Jews can visit once a week, on Shabbat, and only with IDF escort. Jewish holy sites, such as the tombs of Otniel ben Knaz and Avner ben Ner are off-limits to Jewish visitors.
c. As for the ‘shuk’ or old Arab market: These buildings were built on Jewish property purchased in 1807 by Rabbi Haim Bajaio, for the Hebron community. (That is accepted even by the Israeli courts.)The market buildings were constructed in the 1960s following the Arabs’ razing of the ancient Jewish Quarter, which had existed there since the middle 1500s. The market was closed for security reasons, over a period of years, and finally in 2001 after Arabs terrorists planted a bomb in a teddy bear between the market and the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Fortunately soldiers found it before a child did.
d. Concerning King David Street (aka Shuhada Street, the road of the martyrs): This road was open to Arab traffic prior to the Oslo War. It was closed to Arab traffic following numerous terror attacks, including a suicide bomber who exploded and killed two people on this road. The only area of Hebron that is inaccessible to Arabs is a stretch of about a kilometer and a half. A bypass route is accessible. Excepting this, all of Hebron is open to Arabs.
e. Concerning the shops on this road: these were closed by the IDF due the security threat they posed. This too was approved by the Israeli supreme court. They have remained closed do the continued security threat in the city.
4) There is another very significant issue which must be addressed. That is continued Arab building and renovations in Hebron, as compared to Jewish building.
Jewish building is totally disallowed within the Jewish-controlled parts of Hebron. Building permits must be signed by the Defense minister, the Prime Minister and in many cases, also approved by the cabinet or a special cabinet subcommittee. It has been six years since the last building constructed was finished in the H-2, Israeli controlled area of Hebron.
However, Arab building and renovation continues at a breathtaking pace. Construction is funded to the tune of millions of dollars by countries from the European Union, including Spain, Germany, France and others. Sweden has also funneled huges amounts of money into Hebron, and specifically into the H-2 Israeli-controlled area. Arab neighborhoods surrounding Jewish neighborhoods, desolate and isolated for decades, have been taken over by organizations funded by the EU, and are being rebuilt, with the intent to fill them with released Arab terrorists, and PA security personnel. The stated goals of these building projects is, as stated on their web site: Introduction- Paragraph III: (to) counter and limit Israeli settlements inside the Old city by surrounding settlements with inhabited buildings to prevent their horizontal expansion; and to avert the urban interconnection of these settlements by increasing Arab demographic density between them.
The area east of Ma’arat HaMachpela, called the ‘eastern Kasba,’ has been turned into a virtual paradise, with hundreds of Arabs are being moved into these new homes. Arabs are granted numerous incentives, including tax exemptions, free water, and monthly allowances.
The buildings border the only road leading from Hebron to Kiryat Arba and leads to Ma’arat HaMachpela. Their goals are twofold: 1) to cut off the route between Hebron and Kiryat Arba; 2) to cut off Jewish access to Ma’arat HaMachpela.
The area behind the Jewish neighborhoods, called the ‘western Kasba’ has also been renovated, with new homes and parks, including a huge park sponsored and paid for by TIPH, the ‘neutral’ observer organization in Hebron. The ‘palestinian authority’ has opened official offices inside the Kasba, despite this area being under Israeli security control. Israeli officials have stated that these offices are ‘illegal,’ yet nothing has been done to close them.
Presently, other, desolate buildings, also taken over by the PA, are being renovated with a new goal: to create a new neighborhood connecting the two sides of the city from the west, allowing Arabs a ‘bypass route’ to the Israeli checkpoints, thereby allowing unchecked access to the Jewish areas of the city. This too is known to the Israeli authorities, but nothing is being done to stop or prevent continued construction.
Of course, the H-1, Arab-controlled area continues to grow, without any limitations.
There can be only one, inescapable conclusion. It is true: there is apartheid, discrimination and security biases in Hebron. They are, however, directed not against the Arabs, rather against the Jews. Jews have virtually no rights in the city. The Israeli authorities are doing nothing to prevent the use of foreign money to proliferate an enemy Arab population in the Jewish side of the city.
As the situation stands now, we are in the midst of the battle for Hebron.
Adar Bet 1, 5771, 3/7/2011
This past Shabbat afternoon, we held a special Sabbath luncheon. It was attended by Hebron executive director Menachem Livni, Mayor Avraham Ben Yosef, Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, Noam Arnon and myself, and of course with our respective wives. However, the guests of honor were from out-of-town: Hebron Fund president Teddy Pollack and the special guest, Mr. Ari Lieberman, the new director of the Hebron Fund.
Ari Lieberman outside Ma'arat HaMachpela
The Hebron Fund, founded almost 30 years ago, operates out of Brooklyn, New York and is an essential element of Hebron’s work in the United States. The Fund serves as the center of Hebron’s numerous activities in the States, which focus on educational projects, lecture tours, and fund-raising. Over the years Hebron representatives, through the Hebron Fund, have traveled far and wide across the United States, touching base in many states and cities, including California, Washington, Colorado, Atlanta, Texas, Chicago, Boston, Baltimore, Miami, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and other places as well.
Being based in New York, the Fund has sponsored many an event in the tri-state area, including an annual ‘dinner’ which continues to grow in popularity, and has, in the past conducted concerts, ferry rides in the Hudson, parlor meetings and Shabbatons. Additionally the Hebron Fund has initiated ‘Hebron missions’ in Israeli, visiting communities in Judea and Samaria, while focusing, of course, on Hebron.
One the most special and unique events of the year is the annual “Chaye Sarah Shabbat” in Hebron, when over 20,000 people gather in this holy city to read, in that week’s Torah portion, Abraham’s purchase of the Caves of Machpela. A large contingent of Hebron’s friends from the US usually arrive in Israel a few days before Shabbat, tour, and then spend that awesome day with multitudes, before leaving on Saturday night.
Of course, the Hebron Fund, in conjunction with the Hebron Jewish community, sponsors fabulous tours of Hebron, usually led by Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, with a helping hand from Noam Arnon and myself when needed; thereby showing people what Hebron is all about, first-hand. Anybody and everybody attending these tours cannot help but leave Hebron uplifted, having undergone one of the strongest spiritual happenings they could ever hope to experience.
The past Hebron Fund director, Yossi Baumol, worked with the Hebron community for five years, and concluded his work a couple of months ago. Yossi toiled tirelessly on behalf of Hebron, and this is the place to publicly express our gratitude for his dedication to Hebron’s Jewish Community. We, of course, wish him the best of luck in all future endeavors.
This week we were privileged to meet the new Fund Director, Ari Lieberman. Having spent a few days with him, I can attest to his wisdom, determination, energy and bubbling enthusiasm. Ari flew in from New York with Fund president Teddy Pollack, and the two men participated in a number of meetings and tours, aimed at welcoming Ari to the team. The highlight of their visit was the special Shabbat meal, when everyone, as part of a ‘dvar Torah,’ (Torah speech) welcomed Ari in their own words.
The tomb of Jesse and Ruth
Rabbi Efrem Goldberg on right - Ari, front center
Yesterday afternoon Ari and I toured with a group from Boca Raton, Florida, not far from Ari’s stomping grounds, that being the nearby city of Hollywood. He has a lot going for him. A high-tech executive, with a background full of success, Ari seems exquisitely suitable for his position with the Hebron Fund. However, in my opinion, his most impressive feature is personality. I’ve met and worked with many many people over the years. You can’t always read a person’s face the first time you meet. But Ari was an immediate ‘like.’ And as we continued discussions and spent Shabbat together, I knew that my first impressions were 100% correct. As a matter of fact, those impressions continued to grow. Perhaps the most important characteristic needed for such a position is being a ‘people person,’ someone whose personality emanates excitement and an overflowing belief in what they’re doing. It’s a special kind of charisma, and in my book, Ari Lieberman has it. In English, Ari means lion. Ari’s roar really isn’t scary, to the contrary, it’s very inviting. It’s a roar for Hebron.
Tonight Ari will be heading back to the US to continue what he’s started here in Hebron. We, of course, wish him the best of luck, much ‘Si’atya d’Smayia’ – that is Divine assistance from above, and most of all, that he should always exude the same love for Hebron and Israel that he radiated here.
(Ari can be reached at email@example.com)