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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 7, 5771, 9/15/2010

      Short memories


      Rosh HaShana Eve. I was downstairs at Beit Hadassah, where I’d moved with my family from Kiryat Arba two years earlier. A friend of mine was examining emergency medical equipment in special lockers. We were killing time, waiting for the selichot services, special penitential prayers recited prior to the New Year, to begin.

      I must have been about 11:30, when suddenly shots rang out. In Hebron, nothing can be considered strange or unexpected, but the sound of live ammunition being shot was not an everyday affair. And this gunfire was not sporadic or single shots. It was massive.

      As we ran upstairs, the emergency security squad took up positions around the building and in the street. The source of the shooting was from the hills to the north of the building, Harat a’Shech. Clearly the bullets were aimed at us.

      I ran up to my home and found my wife and kids crouched in a corner. Almost all the windows in my apartment face the hills from which the shooting was initiated. They didn’t know where to hide. Finally they went downstairs to an ‘underground apartment’ where one of my daughters’ and her husband were then living.

      Officers and soldiers, taken by surprise, started making the rounds throughout the building. Upon reaching my apartment, and following a quick look around inside, they asked my permission to set up a temporary base in one of the rooms, clearly overlooking the hills. I agreed, and they remained there for over three weeks.

      That was the beginning of what is popularly known as the ‘second intifada.’ I call it the Oslo War.

      Working with journalists for years, I had told just about everyone who interviewed me that the inevitable result of the Oslo Accords would be a war. I didn’t know when it would start, or how it would start, but that eventually it would happen. And I was right.  Much too unfortunately. For this war cost us hundreds of lives and thousands wounded and maimed, both physically and mentally.

      This war continued for almost two and a half years. When Israel, in January of 1997 transferred the hills surrounding the Hebron Jewish Community to Arafat and the PA, Hebron leaders met with then Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, warning him that these hills would be a source of shooting attacks against the community. The Prime Minister responded, “If they shoot one bullet, I’ll send in the tanks.” Of course in September, 2000 Bibi was no longer premier,  and it only took two and a half years for Israel to figuratively ‘send in the tanks,’ that is, order the IDF to retake the hills and stop the shooting once and for all.

      My office walls are filled with photos of friends killed: Col. Dror Weinberg, commander of the Hebron brigade, Rabbi Eli Horowitz and his wife Dina, ten-month old Shalhevet Pas, my fourth grade daughter’s teacher, Rina Didovsky, twenty-one year old Hebron resident Elazar Leibovitch, and on the bulletin board in front of me, a photograph of Gandhi, Minister Rechavam Ze’evi, that I took on the roof of Beit Hadassah a week and a half prior to his assassination.  And that’s only to name a few.

       
      Why did this war begin? PM Ehud Barak had just returned from Camp David, where Arafat refused his offer of ninety percent of Judea and Samaria. Why the refusal? Arafat witnessed Barak’s orders to flee from Southern Lebanon, as a result of continued Israeli casualties there.  Arafat decided: ‘if Hizballah can cause Jews to flee by killing them, well, I know how to kills Jews too.’ And so he declared war, and was granted a posthumous victory five years ago when Israel relinquished Gush Katif, expelling almost 10,000 people from their homes, to that same PA. Getting back, in return for our generosity, thousands of missiles rocketed into Israel. Missile attacks which continue to this very day.

      This war, the Oslo War, began exactly ten years ago last week, on the eve of the Jewish New Year, the year 2000. Yet Israelis seem to have extremely short memories. Despite the shooting, not only in Hebron but throughout all of Judea and Samaria, despite the drive-by shootings, the suicide attacks, terrorist murder in all parts of Israel, people seem to have forgotten.

      And most absurdly, at present we are on the verge of bringing upon ourselves, G-d forbid, a repeat performance, which began a week and a half ago in the Southern Hebron Hills. This time around it’s not Barak, Arafat and Bill. Rather, it’s Bibi, Mahmud, and Obama. The names have changed, but that’s all. The expectations are identical: Israel must concede all of Judea and Samaria, including East Jerusalem and Temple Mount, allowing the ‘return’ of who knows how many Arab ‘refugees’ while in return we get a piece of paper with adorned photos of handshakes on the White House lawn.
       
      The current talks are, sooner or later, destined to fail. No one has any doubts about that. The big question mark is the price we’ll have to pay for our short memories. Ten years ago really wasn’t so long ago. Ask the families of those who fell during the war. It was like yesterday. So I ask, why bring this madness upon ourselves, forceing us to go through it again?






      Tishrei 5, 5771, 9/13/2010

      3 new videos-Apples&Honey for IDF in Hebron plus 2 more




      Tishrei 4, 5771, 9/12/2010

      Ynetnews: Don’t betray us this year by Orit Struck



      Perhaps just like you helped the children of foreign workers, Sara, you can also help the Aimes children?
      Don't betray us this year by Orit Struck, Hebron
      Printed in Ynetnews
      http://goo.gl/TTFJ

      Dear Sara Netanyahu,

       

      This Rosh Hashana, not all of us got to sit with our families as we celebrated the coming of the New Year. An hour’s drive from the prime minister’s residence, in the Mount Hebron community of Beit Hagai, the children of the Aimes family had a tough time celebrating. Only recently they ended the mourning period and visited their parents’ grave at Mount Olives, and suddenly here is the Jewish New Year – without their mother’s cooking and their father’s blessings. The honey-dipped apple must have been salty of tears by the time it reached their mouths; they may have very well chocked up on the New Year’s blessings.

       

      This is why I decided to turn to you, Sara. Recently you wrote a letter to the interior minister, saying that “as a mother to two sons and as a child psychologist, I view the profession I chose as a daily mission to help children.” Perhaps just like you helped the children of foreign workers, Sara, you can also help the Aimes children?

       

      A year of cruel decrees has drawn to an end in Beit Hagai and in other Judea and Samaria communities; insulting decrees that turned Eretz Yisrael into the only place in the world where a Jew is not allowed to build a home just because he’s Jewish. May it be your will, God, that our ministers will not impose further such decrees on us.

       

      May it be your will that the prime minister hold his head up high rather than walk with his tail between his legs – so that he won’t capitulate and cave in to the pressure. Let him deliver on his word, not evacuate even one community, and revive the construction effort. The Aimes children are too young to remember where the previous “peace” talks managed by the prime minister led to, but you remember, Sara.

       

      “May it be your will to terminate our enemies and haters,” the Aimes children asked on Rosh Hashana, also referring to the “partners” starring in the new Geneva Initiative campaign meant to confuse us all. As a child psychologist, Sara, you know how to warn people against sweet-talking swindlers. So please warn the prime minister too. “Bibi, be a partner,” they urge him in giant, US-funded ads. Yet we know them, remind him of that. They’re responsible for the Oslo failure and its thousands of casualties, so don’t go with them, Bibi.

       

      Tough year of terror ahead

      Look at the Aimes children – they’re not confused. They understand that behind the neckties, fancy suits, and academic degrees such as “PhD in peace studies,” the campaign stars are in fact the trusted home front of the Aimes killers: The minister for “prisoner” affairs (that is, terrorist affairs) Sufian Abu-Zaida will handle the affairs of the murderers with great dedication should they be apprehended. “President” Abbas and “Prime Minister” Fayyad will grant them great honor and name squares after them should they be killed.

       

      Indeed, all of Israel’s children can expect a tough year of terror. This is the immediate, cruel and possibly only result of the talks. “The attacks were meant to torpedo the talks,“ the prime minister said and announced that he and Abbas shall be meeting once every two weeks – so that at least once every two weeks, the terrorists will attempt to carry out another attack. These are the rules of the Middle East: When we have talks, we have attacks; when there are no talks, we have security.

       

      The last time the “peace” talks collapsed, we saw about 2,000 terror attacks within a year on both sides of the Green Line, about 450 dead, and more than 1,500 wounded. Now, this nightmare is returning. So how can we hope for a good, sweet year, Sara?

       

      What kind of good year can the Aimes children pray for? After all, while they were mourning, the prime minister prayed that by the end of the year he’ll be signing an agreement that would prompt these children’s expulsion. Should his prayers (which he said nothing about on the eve of the last elections, by the way) materialize, the Aimes children would lose the little they have left: The home where they lived in with their parents and supportive community.

       

      Their murdered parents may also lose their final resting place, heaven forbid, should their graves be removed from the Mount of Olives – after all, the prime minister did not pledge to safeguard this site and Jerusalem as a whole. So where will the children move to at the end of such year? It doesn’t really matter. After all, in his election campaign Netanyahu told us that should we withdraw from Judea and Samaria, the missiles will reach every site in the tiny Israel.

       

      Yet the Aimes children may actually help the prime minister, Sara. They do not have the budget for a campaign or makeup artists, but they do have sad eyes that ask without words: How terribly can you hurt your brethren just to make peace with your enemies?

       

      Take their photograph and place it on his desk, so that they’re always before the prime minister's eyes. These are his first peace victims, in this term in office. If he does everything that needs to be done to ensure they’re the last ones too, and if he promises himself not to hurt them more than he already did, perhaps he would be able to stand strong and not trip. And then, we may see a good, sweet year for the people of Israel after all. Amen.

       

      Orit Struck is the director of the legal department in Hebron’s Jewish community and manages the Judea and Samaria human rights organization

       







      Elul 29, 5770, 9/8/2010

      Happy New Year/Please Pray/Central Selichot in Hebron


      Hebron's Jewish Community wishes all our friends and supports and all Beit Yisrael
      a Happy, Heathy New Year during which we will be witness to continued Aliyah to Eretz Yisrael, 
      the birth of many more children, and building and development of our Holy Land, 
      including Jerusalem and Hebron!

      This Rosh HaShana, please pray for the health of Hebron resident
      Eyal Chaim ben Chaya Devorah
      who is gravely ill and in need of 'Rachmei Shamayim' - G-d's Mercy
       
      -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

      Central Selichot in Hebron at Machpela

      Download poster here


      Tuesday nite - 6 Tishrei - 14.9.10
      22:00 - Memorial for Rav Mordechai Eliyahu zt"l
      23:00 - Selichot
      Participating:
      The Chief Rabbis: Rav Shlomo Amar and Rav Yona Metzger
      Rav Dov Lior
      Rav Chaim Druckman
      Rav Shmuel Eliyahu
      Rav Yaakov Yosef
      Rav Rachmim Nisimi
      Rabbi Shmuel Zafran
      Minister Rabbi Professor Daniel Hershovitz

      The Isaac Hall will be open all day

      Ma'arat HaMachpela will be open 24 hours a day during Aseret Yomi Tshuva (from Rosh HaShana thru Yom Kippur)

      Annual Succot Festival
      Sunday and Monday of Chol HaMoed Succot
      Musical Events outside Machpela 
      on Monday
      Details forthcoming







      Elul 24, 5770, 9/3/2010

      Continuing in the footsteps of the first extremist


      OK. This time of the year, leading up to Rosh HaShana, the Jewish New Year, and then climaxing with Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, it’s customary to repent, to come clean. So the time has come. Of course, the requirement to confess deals not only with personal sin but also with public transgressions. I’ve decided that I cannot continue to leave a false impression among the many I come in contact with. The time has arrived to come out of the closet.


      I admit….I am….I am…..


      I am an………..


      Extremist!


      Ah, there, I’ve said it, gotten it off my chest, out in the open, once and for all. Thank G-d.


      I know I’ve always denied it, said it wasn’t true, I mean, after all, I’ve never shot anyone, never threatened anyone, never condoned physical violence against innocents, even as a deterrent.  I’ve always defined extremists as the likes of Badar Meinhof, the Red Brigade, Hamas, Hizballah, Fatah, the Islamic Jihad, and others, who favor blowing up busses and drive-by massacres. And things like that.


      However, I’ve come to the conclusion that it makes no difference if I’m like them or not. In no uncertain terms, I am an extremist.

      But I’m not to blame. I didn’t do it to myself. No one had to teach me extremism, because I inherited it. It’s in my genes. Because my great-great-great grandfather also was also a fanatic. Perhaps that why I came to live in Hebron, to be closer to him.


      He also flowed against the current, rejecting what ‘everyone else said,’ standing on his own, by himself, basically against the entire world. Some tried to convince him, others to cajole, and yet others attempted to kill him. Yet none of them succeeded. He even went so far as to reject his parents’ beliefs and eventually left home, taking with him his wife and a few other family members, for an unknown destination. After all, that’s the way radicals act:  doing whatever they want without taking others into consideration. Quite selfish.


      My great great great grand-daddy’s name was Abraham. He had this truly revolutionary idea, but no one else agreed with him, expecting a few who he was able to persuade. Who knows what techniques he used? Torture, threats, we can only use our imaginations.


      In any case, his world-shattering idea was that there is only one G-d. That people shouldn’t bow down to the sun and the moon, to wooden or stone statues. These gods were phony, without any divine powers. The only authentic Deity is G-d, the One and Only. An entity so sublime, so metaphysical, that nothing we say can really describe Him, because He is totally spiritual, and alas, we are a mixed breed – physical and spiritual. The created cannot describe the Creator as He is much too far above us.


      This was Abraham’s idea, his teaching, and he really was an extremist. No one, but no one agreed with him, but he didn’t care. And he had the gall to home-teach his kids and grandkids, instilling them with the same fanaticism, asking them to continue on, in his footsteps. And they did. They too, Isaac, Jacob, and his twelve sons, they were all true fundamentalists, rejected by normal folk, regarded as endangering world culture, tradition, and, in reality, world peace.


      Yet, they didn’t care, continued as they believed, despite centuries and centuries, of slavery, torture, expulsions, massacres and even a Holocaust. Leading all the way to me. I too, as they were, am an extremist.


      There are those today who continue to reject their primary teaching. That is, many amongst us still practice idol worship. No, you won’t find too many people prostrating themselves to the sun or moon, or any other stars. Idols are old fashioned. But there are, almost 4,000 years after Abraham’s extremism, new-fangled versions of the old product. New divinities. Like, for example, peace.


      Don’t misunderstand. Peace certainly has a value. Not even a man-made value, rather a G-dly value, as we repeat the verse: “He will make peace in the heavens, peace on all of us and on Israel, Amen.”  But, it must be read carefully: Who will make the peace? Obama, Hillary, Bibi, Ehud, Husni? No, that’s not the way I read it. It says, ‘He will make peace,’ He, being the L-rd, G-d. 

      Perhaps there are those would like to believe that they are the divinity, and therefore, have the ability to ‘make peace upon all of us.’ But that’s also idol worship, an idol with a super ego.


      Peace really is a Divine goal. But only when it’s Divine, when it’s real. Not when it’s man-made, not out of wood and stone, rather from paper and ink and the breath expelled from people’s mouths. Not when it’s a peace that’s wonderful for one side, but is horrific for the other. This has no Divine value whatsoever.


      When people get down on their hands and knees, falling on their faces before this ‘peace’ they are no better than Terach, Abraham’s father or Nimrod, Saddam Husseins’ ancient predecessor. This is idol worship, which is today, admittedly, a world-wide epidemic.


      But what can I do? I go back to the genuine product, the roots of all extremism, who taught his kids, and them their kids, right up to me and my own children, that idol worship is forbidden, and it’s better to be an extremist, all by yourself, than to worship false gods, even though everyone else does.


      That is why, even though I’m labeled as a bad-guy, and there are those who compare me to Hamas mass murderers, and all the world will tell me, ‘you have to leave Hebron and Jerusalem for the sake of world peace,’ I will continue in the footsteps of my great- great-great-grandfather, refusing to transgress the most elementary law of creation. I prefer to be an extremist in Hebron than an idol worshiper in Tel Aviv or  New York.