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.
WE CANNOT LET A YESHIVA/SHUL IN ISRAEL BE DESTROYED By Rabbi Pesach Lerner, Executive Vice President, National Council of Young Israel, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Fellow Jews: We cannot let a yeshiva/shul in Israel be destroyed. Allow me to explain.
The following article appeared on Arutz Sheva news on Sunday, May 9, 2010:
The IDF's Civilian Administration issued a demolition order Sunday against the spacious building that houses Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva at Yitzhar, in Samaria.
Local residents believe that authorities are purposely punishing the yeshiva because of a confrontation with the IDF that took place on Independence Day, and also because security forces hold the yeshiva's students responsible for various attacks against Arabs in recent months and years, including the burning of a carpet in a mosque at the nearby village of Yassuf.
“It turns out that the authorities are making special efforts to hurt the yeshiva in an unfair and vindictive way,” a yeshiva spokesman said Sunday. “It should be noted that the building is an ornate permanent structure, with an area of 1,300 square meters, which was built with the aid of the Ministry of Housing and was approved by the various authorities to serve as an educational institution.”
The destruction order, the residents said, cited an 11 year old work-stoppage order – one that they had never heard of until now. The building took years to build and cost over $1 million.
I could not believe what I was reading. How could it possibly be that in Israel, Jews were going to destroy a yeshiva/shul building?
As I researched the situation and tried to ascertain what exactly was transpiring, it seemed obvious that the Israeli government was using the pretext of a seemingly 11-year old building violation to punish the yeshiva and its students who seemingly have become a nuisance to the government.
But to destroy a yeshiva - a place of Tefillah and Torah study - in Israel? In the event that something was amiss and the situation had to be rectified, perhaps the individuals responsible should be held accountable, but to destroy a yeshiva is quite excessive.
Besides the Chilul Hashem, which is severe in its own right, what will we tell the Europeans the next time they want to destroy an old shul, for whatever reasons they may have? Does the Israeli government destroy a public school in Tel Aviv when its students are involved, chas v’shalom in some sort of wrongdoing?
I had planned to be in Israel that week, so upon my arrival, I contacted the Rosh HaYeshiva of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, which has been in Yitzhar for almost 10 years, since its original home, Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, was abandoned by the Israeli army and destroyed by the Arabs. Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira, the Rosh HaYeshiva, told me that the yeshiva had in fact received a demolition order, based on a violation from 11 years ago - a violation which they knew nothing about. (see attached copy of demolition order).
Rabbi Shapira invited me to visit the yeshiva and offered to have someone pick me up. I accepted the offer, and the next afternoon, I was picked up by Rabbi Dan Marans, whom I personally know in his capacity as the director of the Zomet Institute in Alon Shvut. We drove through the Shomron to the community of Yitzhar, which is on a strategic mountaintop, overlooking Har Greizim, quite a distance from the main road.
The yeshiva building, a beautiful multi-floored structure, stood away from the community, in its own space. The building was built entirely by Jewish workers, many of whom were former yeshiva students. The main study hall was large, the library was in the back, the lunchroom was on the lower level, and the yeshiva offices and classrooms were on the upper level. (please see attached pictures)
I met with the Rosh HaYeshiva, Rabbi Yitzchok Shapira and the yeshiva director, Itamar Pozen. They shared with me the tzav harisa, the destruction order, and a package of documents proving their legal status (attached), and the fact that numerous departments in the Israeli government participated in the building of the yeshiva. How can we be illegal, they asked, if the government put in the infrastructure, if the government authorized the mortgage, etc.
We discussed their speculations as to why the government, 11 years after they claimed there was a building violation, was just now threatening to destroy the yeshiva building. Rabbi Shapira told me that the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva has been teaching its students for many years that every Jew must be “mutually responsible” for every other Jew. This movement of “mutual responsibility” threatens the government. They want us to stop promoting this idea so they are trying to distract and silence us by destroying our building
The idea that Jews would destroy yeshiva/shul buildings under any circumstances is reprehensible. If a European country threatened to destroy a shul under the pretext of a building code violation, Jews from all walks of life – Orthodox and non-Orthodox – would demand that the order be cancelled. The protests against such an inconceivable act would be loud and numerous.
During my visit to the yeshiva, I noticed large plaques with the names of two individuals who made large contributions to assist in the building of the yeshiva. I contacted both families and they each told me that prior to making donations to the yeshiva to help defray the costs of the construction, they had seen official documents verifying that the yeshiva had government approval to build.
I spoke to numerous roshei yeshiva and community rabbis in Israel, and they all agreed that Jews must not destroy yeshivas/shuls. I spoke to various Israeli government officials, all of whom could not understand how such an order could be given.
Dear friends, the yeshiva administration, the regional councils, etc., are all challenging this destructive order. Individuals within the government are asking questions, but we have a responsibility to do all that we can to ensure that this order gets overturned. We must publicly urge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to forcefully and publically rescind this order. We cannot sit back and allow a yeshiva, a beautiful center of Torah and Tefillah, to be destroyed.
Each of us must send daily emails, send daily faxes, and make daily phone calls to the Prime Minister of Israel protesting this inconceivable action. People need to send letters to the Israeli Embassy in Washington, DC and to the Israeli Consulate in New York.
We must demand that our community organizations, our rabbis, our entire community, speak out. We cannot allow this Chilul Hashem, this desecration of G-d’s name, to take place. Please send an email, send a fax, and make a call, now. Tell the Prime Minister to protect the yeshiva building in Yitzhar and prevent it from being destroyed.
And, in the merit of our speaking out, of caring for our fellow Jews and our Torah institutions, may we merit Shalom al Yisrael, peace in Israel.
Contact Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at:
011-972-2-670-5532 (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government) 011-972-2-675-3227 011-972-2-640-8457
Fax (send to all three numbers) –
011-972-2-563-2580 (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government) 011-972-2-670-5369 011-972-2-649-6659
Email (send to all three email addresses) –
email@example.com (attention: Tzvi Hauser, Cabinet Secretary of the Israel government) firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com (underscore after pm)
Hebron mourns the death of Rav Mordechai Eliyahu Zt"l
The Jewish Community of Hebron June 07, 2010
Photos: David Wilder
The Jewish Community of Hebron deeply mourns the death of our beloved teacher and Rabbi, Rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu, zt"l, who passed away this afternoon.
Rabbi Eliyahu zt"l was a true leader of the Jewish people in Eretz Yisrael and a staunch friend of Hebron's Jewish community. The Rabbi was always available to help and show support in every way possible. His death is a tremendous loss to the Jewish people and will be especially felt by Hebron's Jewish residents, over the decades.
May he continue his earthly work in the heavans above, standing before the Divine Throne, pleading with HaShem to bring an end to all our troubles, to send Mashiach, to lead all Jews to the holy Land of Israel, and to usher into our world a true era of peace, health and happiness for all human beings, the world over.
The latest act of war against Israel has resulted, among other things, in the demand for another international committee of inquiry to investigate the events that occurred on the Marmara.
Israel has recent, first-hand evidence with such investigative panels. Only a few months ago Flavius Goldstone, together with his underlings, determined that Israel committed war crimes against Gazan Arabs following over 8,000 missile attacks against Israeli civilians in Sderot, Ashkelon and Ashdod.
So, we know all about international inquests. But in this case, I think Israel should agree. On one condition: that a few other global investigations are convened prior to that dealing with the Marmara case.
For example, Israel demands international committees of inquiry to investigate:
1. The expulsion of Jews from France in 1182, 1306, and 1394.
2. The Edict of Expulsion, by which Edward I expelled Jews from England in 1290.
3. The expulsion of Jews from Germany in 1394
4. The 1492 expulsion of Jews from Spain by Ferdinand and Isabella.
5. The 1862 expulsion of Jews from parts of the United States by General Ulysses S. Grant, who wrote, " I instructed the commanding officer at Columbus to refuse all permits to Jews to come South, and I have frequently had them expelled from the department…The Jews, as a class, violating every regulation of trade established by the Treasury Department, are hereby expelled from the Department... This order banished all Jews from Tennessee's western military.
6. One million Jews expelled from Arab lands.
7. The Spanish Inquisition, during which Jews were forced to convert or were tortured and killed. Some 50,000 trials were held and at least 5,000 people murdered.
8. Pograms in Russia and Eastern Europe, in Kishnev, 1903 (50 dead), in Odessa, 1905, (2,500 murdered), post-1917 Russia, when it is thought that up to 250,000 Jewish civilians were slaughtered.
9. The Holocaust, when between six to seven million Jews were exterminated with world leaders looking in the opposite direction.
10. Continued threats and attempts to delete Israel from the map, beginning in 1948, through Nassar in 1967 and Mubarak in 1973, and continued terror attacks and rocket attacks, culminating with the Iranian threat to use nuclear weapons to exterminate the Jewish state.
Israel demands that all of the above incidents be investigated, to determine:
1. Who was responsible for the decisions made to persecute the Jews?
2. Why didn't other people in those countries intervene to prevent the persecutions?
3. Why did neighboring world leaders turn a blind eye to the continued persecution, expulsion, forced conversions, torture and murder of neighboring Jews?
4. Have the Jews received proper compensation for the atrocities committed against them?
5. Has Jewish property and money, confiscated by local leadership, been returned to its rightful owners.
6. What measures have been take to ensure that such carnage will never again occur against the Jewish people?
7. Why didn't world leaders, particularly those in the United States and England, do something to stop the mass murder of Jews during World War Two?
8. Why didn't the United States and Europe utilize mass sanctions and other means against Soviet Russia to stop persecution against the Jews during the twentieth century.
9. Why did the United States demand that Israel allow Egypt and Syria to attack in 1973, without allowing Israel to preempt.
10. Why did the United States refuse to allow Israel to retaliate against Sadam Hussein during the first Gulf War, when Sadam was shelling Israel?
11. Why have US presidents actively intervened in Israeli politics, attempting to sway Israeli elections, (as did George Bush in the 1992 election between Shamir and Rabin, Bill Clinton during the 1996 elections between Peres and Netanyahu, and as is Obama, trying to cause a coalition crisis resulting in Tzippi Livni's replacing Netanyahu as Prime Minister or forcing him to give her a senior postion)?
12. Why hasn't massive international pressure been exerted to force release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit?
After all of these above matters have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the State of Israel, the Jewish people, and fair, righteous people around the world, and
After the guilty have been punished, and
After due compensation has been distributed to those affected and
After the all those who have wronged Jews for the past 1,000 years have expressed regret and remorse, and
After they have promised to insure that such events will never again occur, and
After a period of time, determined to test the veracity of the above guarantees, and
After it is proven that these pledges have been faithfully kept. and
After an international convention is commissioned to investigate how the Turkish government allowed terrorists to sail from their territorial waters in an attempt to commit acts of war against the neighboring country, Israel. (It should be remembered that in 1999, following a horrific earthquake in Turkey, Israel airlifted over 250 people, rescue equipment, and rescue dogs, as well as a field hospital, an operating room, x-ray equipment and two other clinics, providing immediate aid to the Turkish people,)
I will demand that Israel agree to another commission to investigate why the Jewish state allowed its soldiers to slide down ropes into the open arms of their enemies, waiting to kill them, instead of torpedoing the bastards immediately, as they should have.