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      Blessings from Hebron
      by David Wilder
      Personal Reflections on Hebron, Eretz Yisrael, Friends, Family and anything else that comes to mind.
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      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 35 years. They lived in Kiryat Arba for 17 years and have resided at Beit Hadassah in Hebron for the past 15 years. They have seven children and many grandchildren.

      Links to sites David recommends:
      www.davidwilder.net
      www.hebron.com (English)
      www.hebron.org.il (Hebrew)
      www.machpela.com
      www.ohrshlomo.org (Hebrew)
      www.ohrshalom.net (Hebrew)
      www.womeningreen.org
      www.zoa.org
      (others to be added)

      Tishrei 4, 5772, 10/2/2011

      Forty years ago today: Happy Birthday & Happy New Year


                 

      It’s never pleasant visiting people in mourning. Especially when the deceased were victims of terror. It’s such a waste of life and such a disgrace to our people.

      Yesterday I paid a condolence call to the Palmers. They sat, listened and discussed with high-ranking IDF officers the failure of the state of Israel to protect their loved-ones, and others on the road, who are stoned by Arab terrorists daily. They don’t have any excuses, except that their actions are limited by ‘political decisions.’ Unfortunately, some of those officers are no less political than their civilian boss, Ehud Barak, and their action or inaction in the field is proof.

      One of the subjects spoken about by several of the people present was deterrence. In the past (albeit a long time ago) the army used numerous forms of methods to ‘deter’ continued terror acts. Such forms of ‘collective punishment’ were, when used correctly, quite effective and helped do the job. At a demonstration prior to the funeral on Sunday, Rav Dov Lior demanded that the IDF utilize collective actions, as is allowed by Jewish Torah law, to save lives. However, as was said during today’s discussion at the Palmer’s home, collective punishment is no longer considered ‘for reasons we all know.’

      One of the other subjects directed at the officers present was the danger of driving on the roads. Any time a person drives between Hebron to Jerusalem, he puts his life on the line. Not only because of rock-throwing or shooting, but because Arab drivers use their cars as vehicles of terror. Driving on curvy, dangerous roads at speed fifty kilometers over the speed limit, at 150 kilometers an hour, passing four or five cars at a time, over white lines, speaking on cell phones and ignoring the road, keeping bright lights lit at night, not dimming them when a vehicle appears opposite them; these are but a few examples of the craziness on the roads.  It was asked why Israeli police are not stationed on the road, stopping the overtly reckless Arab drivers. This security access on the roads would also have a deterrent effect on our enemies.

      There were no answers to these questions.
      But there are answers to these questions. The first is continued, expanded Jewish presence on the roads, and specifically between Hebron and Kiryat Arba to the north, towards Jerusalem, and south, towards Beer Sheva. Yesterday a rock again was hurled from a moving Arab car at an Israeli vehicle, less than a kilometer south of the entrance to Kiryat Arba. A larger presence on the street will allow us a better opportunity to defend ourselves and apprehend terrorists attempting to kill Jews.
      The other answer is quite simply to close the roads to Arab traffic. If they want to act like animals, treat them like animals, and don’t give them use of roads from which they continue to try to murder Jews.  This should have been done immediately following the murder, except for the fact that only yesterday was the family officially notified that their loved-ones were murdered as a result of Arab terror and did not die in an ‘auto accident.’ Today the family was told that they've been recognized as a 'terror-struck' family.

      This is type of collective punishment Rav Lior discussed. And it is guaranteed, it  will be understood immediately. Closing road 60 from south of Kiryat Arba, to Jerusalem, would have a major effect on their economics. This street is packed with Arab trucks transporting produce. This would immediately hit them in their pockets, and could cause pressure stopping these continued rock attacks. And should the road be reopened, with the attacks continuing, it should be permanently closed to our enemies, who prefer dead Jews to a successful economy.
      While at the Palmer’s, Michael, Asher’s father, told me that he prefer that people remember Asher alive, rather than dwell on his death. He told me, ‘he’s gone, and there’s nothing we can do about that, but we can remember his life, how much love he gave to all of us, his happiness, his family, his Torah.’ He requested that I pass this message on to others, so that they too can learn from him and thank G-d for the 25 years he had on this earth.


      Today is the eve of Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year. By all rights, I shouldn’t be in the office writing this. However a short time ago we prayed afternoon prayers at the site of the murder. Following the service, Rav Lior spoke for a few minutes and I really would like to post the short video (in Hebrew) before the holy day. 
      That being the case, I think it essential, following Michael Palmer’s line of thought, to remember, to remember back exactly forty years today. It was the eve of Rosh HaShana in 1971 that the first Jews moved into newly built homes in the new community called Kiryat Arba.



      Jews had come back to the Hebron region to live in 1968, but were forced to set up home in the Hebron military compound, outside of the city. The conditions there were awful, but they made do and refused to give up. As a result, the defense minister then, Moshe Dayan, finally allowed initiation of a new community, Kiryat Arba. And so it was that forty years ago today, families moved into those first buildings, and began renewal of a Jewish presence in Hebron and in all of Judea and Samaria.
      These past four decades have been costly. Asher and Yonatan are the last in a long list of people who gave their lives to live here. But, never, ever, did Jews consider abandoning their homeland as a result of this deadly violence. Sure, it would be easier and much more pleasant not to have to face such tests. But our enemies will never again drive us out of our homes, our land, the roots and heart of our people.
      This is the message I would like to leave you with, as we approach the new year of 5772, and wish all of us a happy and healthy new year, a year of spiritual prosperity, of personal and national growth, of building, expansion, of aliyah, and of tranquility.

                                                      Happy Birthday to Kiryat Arba and a good, happy year to all.  Shana tova.







      Elul 27, 5771, 9/26/2011

      Photos/Video - Funeral of Asher and Yonatan Palmer HY"D




      Elul 26, 5771, 9/25/2011

      Killing Asher Palmer Twice


      The Palmer family is very special. I don’t know many people whose ‘mesirut nefesh’ for Eretz Yisrael is greater than theirs. They came to Israel about 30 years ago. They moved because they wanted their children to grow up in a Jewish environment. Moshe, the father of the family, has a special expertise and despite numerous, numerous attempts, was never able to find suitable employment in Israel. As a result, he works in the United States, coming home to his family in Kiryat Arba several times a year, celebrating with them various Jewish holidays and events.

      Molly Palmer brought up her children with much love and care for Eretz Yisrael. She has worked for many years teaching English in Kiryat Arba and the Southern Hebron Hills region. I also seem to recall that she’s an excellent cook and baker. In the past she sold various pastries, of which I remember enjoying immensely.

      On Friday afternoon Molly Palmer and her family were stunned, as were all that know them, by the terrible news that her 25 year old son Asher, together with his year old son, were killed in a ‘traffic accident.’ Police reported that as a result of speeding, he had lost control of his car not too far outside of Kiryat Arba. The car flipped over twice in the air, being totally destroyed as it crash landed.

      Immediately, even before the victims were identified, the army released a statement that soldiers stationed in the area hadn ‘t witnessed any rock-throwing, or any Arabs fleeing from the area of the ‘accident.’

      This past Friday was one of those times when no one had any idea what the day would bring. As a rule, when Arabs want to protest, Friday, after their prayers, is the time. Following Obama’s rejection of a UN-declared palestinian state, together with Abu-Mazen’s speech scheduled for Friday, tension was high. Bolstered security forces were stationed throughout Judea and Samaria, prepared for the worst.

      Those fears were a double-edged sword. Media account over the past few weeks centered not so much on Arab violence, rather on Israel responses, and most particularly, those of ‘radical settlers.’ Normal, everyday Jews are so being labeled. For example, New York Times Bureau chief Ethan Bronner, in an article posted Friday, writes, “…Bat Ayin, a fenceless settlement near Bethlehem known for its radicalism.’ [goo.gl/BQLtw]   Known by whom?  Bat Ayin, a community of Hassidic Jews in the Gush Eztion area, is far from ‘radical’ as I would define the word.

      The police/security establishment has one fear, and one fear alone. It is not dead Jews. It is dead Arabs. They are petrified of the thought that Arabs will attack Jews, on the roads or in communities, and that the Jews will respond, causing Arab casualties, resulting in Arab propaganda campaigns, similar to those following the Marmara debacle, leading to massive foreign pressure on Israel.

      The area of the accident is quite prone to rock attacks. Cars are stoned daily, many times in areas known from their vulnerability. Unfortunately, very little, if anything, is done to prevent these attacks. Very high ranking officers, during instructions to lower-level commanders, have been quoted as saying that ‘rock attacks are sufferable.’ In other words, the IDF really doesn’t have any responsibility to stop such attacks or apprehend the terrorists hurling the rocks. The ‘settlers’ can and will just have to live with this reality.

      However, lately, our enemies have begun using a new method in their continued attempts to kill Jews. Instead of standing on the side of the road and throwing a rock, they are heaving them from moving cars, coming at you from the opposite direction. They toss a rock out their window, in front of your car, just prior to passing you.

      The impact is tremendous. The rock is flying at the speed at which the car was driving. When it impacts with the car moving in the other direction, the force is phenomenal.

      I’ve been told of numerous such incidents in recent weeks, in the exact area where the ‘accident’ killing Asher and Yonatan Palmer occurred.

      On Friday afternoon, this is exactly what happened. That’s why no one was seen fleeing on foot, because the rock was thrown from a moving vehicle. It hit the windshield, breaking it, hitting Asher in the face, causing him to lose control of the car. The rock was found in the wrecked car.  A hole, the type of which caused by a thrown rock, was also identified in the windshield.  Yet the police and army climbed up a very high tree, claiming that the ‘accident’ was Asher’s fault. They claimed that the rock entered the car as it flipped over in a rock-bed on the side of the road. All this in an effort to cover up the murder of two Jews by Arabs. According to my sources, the police have already concluded that the ‘accident’ was not an accident, that it was cold-blooded murder; the killing two Jews.

      There are other details which have not yet been released, and I’m hesitant to fully publicize them for the moment. Some of Asher’s possessions seemed to be missing and have not yet been found at the scene of the crash. There are also signs of possible additional violence at the site. These details prove, without any doubt, that the accident was Arab terror.

      The police, not yet weary of the additional pain they’ve already caused the Palmer family are continuing to torture them; they went to court to obtain an order allowing them to perform an autopsy on the two bodies. Jewish law, excluding unique circumstances, forbids autopsies. However all evidence, including examinations of the bodies, the car, and the scene of the attack are proof enough. Why continue to cause unnecessary suffering?!

      The seriousness of this cannot be downplayed. Israeli security forces intentionally attempted to cover-up murder. The implications are mind-boggling. In order to prevent possible ‘disturbances’ between Jews and Arabs as the result of this terror, they killed Asher Palmer twice. First, Arabs killed him. But then Israeli police killed him again, blaming him for his own death, due to reckless driving, and being responsible for killing his one year old son, leaving his widow and family to live with this horrible reality for the rest of their lives.  

      Of course, these facts would preclude having to search for ‘terrorists.’ And would also prevent Asher’s widow from receiving financial aid provided by the State to terror victims’ families.

      Such lies, on the part of Israeli security forces, must be uncovered and dealt with to the fullest. It is unthinkable that Israeli security forces would lie about a terror attack in order to prevent ‘Jewish responses.’ Additionally, a  Jew cannot be blamed for crimes that he did not commit.  Blame where blame lies: with murderous Arab terrorists.

      Asher and Yonatan Palmer will be buried tonight, Sunday, Sept. 25, in Hebron. The funeral procession will leave the Palmer home in Kiryat Arba at 18:00. May their memories be blessed and may HaShem Yinkom Damam.






      Elul 22, 5771, 9/21/2011

      'September' in Hebron


      The long awaited 'September' is upon us. The so-called war for 'palestinian statehood' is being fought by teenagers, (and younger) throwing rocks (as seen in the video and photos below) in Hebron. These pictures and video (all filmed by myself) were taken behind Beit Hadassah, where I live, from one of our bedroom windows, looking north. 

      These scenes are not new or necessarily unusual. They are quite redundant, occuring any time the Arab leadership decides that the kids need a day off from school with something constructive to keep them busy and, no, not keeping them off the streets, rather, keeping them on the streets, out of their homes. Nakba Day and other such occasions are great excuses to allow Arab kids to get their arms in shape.

      A week or so ago, rocks hurled from the same area, via slingshots, hit outside my daughter's window, on the top floor of the building. During the 
      '2nd intifada' aka the Oslo War, we were shot at from these areas, with bullets actually hitting inside the apartment.  

      From nearby rooftops, Israeli soldiers watch the action, occasionally shooting stun grenades or teargas at the attackers, chasing them away for a few minutes. And as can be seen in the first photo, the so-called 'palestinian police' are stationed nearby, standing around, watching the fun, probably wishing they too could participate. Unfortunately, experience has taught that all too often they do participate, but not with rocks. Bullets are much more effective.

      This is democracy in action, a 'piece process' in motion, education at its highest levels, helping and assisting Abu Mazen create 'palestine' in the UN.

       

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iqjONaxajM

       
        

        

        
        
        







      Elul 19, 5771, 9/18/2011

      Mezinka


      Last week I had a wonderfully pleasant experience.

      Many years ago, more than I even like to think about, over 33 years ago, I began studying in a “Ba’ale Tshuva” Yeshiva in Jerusalem, called Machon Meir. This type of yeshiva institution is especially for those ‘new’ at religious Judaism.  I’d been sort of trying to be religious for a while, but wasn’t very well educated. I’d had a friend at Machon Meir, spent many Shabbats there, and decided to try it out, maybe for a year. (Actually, in the end I spent three years there, met my wifethere, and married after a year.)


      My friend there, Shlomo, left back for the US as I arrived, so I moved into his room, inheriting his roommate, a red-head from Australia named David Bruce. No, I didn’t find any kangaroos in the room, although I looked, but, I had brought with me, as I recall, a turtle. He took one look at the turtle , and as far as he was concerned, it was at least a kangaroo. My turtle found a new home real fast.


      However, somehow we overcame that first encounter, and became good friends. David was very amusing. I remember him literally climbing the walls, trying to get to the mosquitoes that were busy sucking our night-time blood.


      But aside from that, he was quiet serious and spent most of his time studying Torah. And, getting ready to be married. His finance, Leah, had come to Israel, and they were preparing for their own special day. Eventually they left to tie the knot with their families, in Australia. (The night they married I first met Ora, my wife.)


      After we were two couples, we lived in the same neighborhood, Mevaseret Tzion, just outside of the holy city, continuing to study at the yeshiva. One happy day David called to tell us that Leah had just given birth to their first children – twin boys, Yochanan and Binyamin. They were followed by two more brothers and a sister.


      We went our own ways, David and Leah moving back to Jerusalem; we left Mevaseret for Kiryat Arba and Hebron. But somehow, over the years, we kept in touch. Not speaking every day; maybe a couple of times a year, meeting every once in while, and of course, inviting each other to our respective children’s weddings.  Whenever we got together it was a lot of fun.


      Not too long ago we received such an invitation to another of their weddings, that of Moshe, the Bruces’ youngest son, with Shira. So, a few nights ago Ora and I, together with David’s first Machon Meir roommate, Shlomo, and his wife Gerri, drove into Jerusalem for the wedding.


      As all weddings are, it was a delight. The couple was radiant, the dancing was invigorating, and the food was good too.

      Usually, of course, the highlight of any wedding is the “Chupa,” the ceremony whereby the couple is actually married. However, at this particular ‘simcha’ (happy event) the Chupa had some stiff competition for ‘star of the show’ award.


      Having finished dancing, and partaking in the meal’s second course, I found my friend David, to wish him one more Mazel Tov and bid him farewell. He asked, ‘you’re leaving now?’ ‘Wait, we’re going to do the ‘broom dance.’’


      Ahh, the ‘broom dance.’ This is a very special event. Such a dance is performed when a couple marries off their last, and usually, youngest child. I’ve been to many many weddings, but I don’t recall ever witnessing such a performance. And before I knew it, David was holding a decorated broom, with Leah at his side, with a colorful dustpan.  The orchestra started playing and they started sweeping. The idea being, that they are ‘sweeping’ their youngest child out of the house. He, Moshe, was sitting with his Kallah,-  bride, Shira, in the middle, watching at the broom got closer and closer.


      Then suddenly, all the Bruce grandchildren appeared on the dance floor, all with their own miniature brooms, sweeping away to the beat of the joyous music.

      For about five minutes, they danced the ‘broom dance’ called in Yiddish, ‘Mezinka’, derived from the Yiddish word ‘mezinkal’ meaning ‘the youngest child.’

      The Bruce Mezinka Wedding Dance on youtube


      What fun it was!  I would wish all of you reading this, the same joy and happiness, as we approach the New Year in less than two weeks time.


      And in conclusion it really should be pointed out, as I saw in a web posting about this particular dance, the parents of the bride and groom really don’t sweep them out of the house permanently. After all, they want them to come back and visit with all their children, so they can dirty up the house, allowing them to keep using those brooms, again and again.


      Mazal tov.