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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)

      Iyar 14, 5770, 4/28/2010

      90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SAN REMO CONFERENCE


      90th ANNIVERSARY OF THE SAN REMO CONFERENCE

      Granting the right under international law for Jews to settle anywhere in western Palestine - the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea

      On the 24-25 of April 2010, the European Coalition for Israel conducted a number of educational seminars delivered by Eli Hertz from the United States and Solomon Benzimra from Canada . It was followed by a ceremony held in San Remo at the same house (Villa Devanche) where the signing of the San Remo declaration took place in 1920.

      The event attracted politicians as well as grassroots activists from around Europe, the U.S., and Canada. Member of Knesset and Deputy Speaker Danny Danon also attended and delivered greetings from Jerusalem.

      At the conclusion of the commemoration, the following statement was released:

      "Reaffirming the importance of the San Remo Resolution of April 25, 1920 - which included the Balfour Declaration in its entirety - in shaping the map of the modern Middle East, as agreed upon by the Supreme Council of the Principal Allied Powers (Britain, France, Italy, Japan, and the United States acting as an observer), and later approved unanimously by the League of Nations; the Resolution remains irrevocable, legally binding and valid to this day.

      "Emphasizing that the San Remo Resolution of 1920 recognized the exclusive national Jewish rights to the Land of Israel under international law, on the strength of the historical connection of the Jewish people to the territory previously known as Palestine.

      "Recalling that such a seminal event as the San Remo Conference of 1920 has been forgotten or ignored by the community of nations, and that the rights it conferred upon the Jewish people have been unlawfully dismissed, curtailed and denied.

      "Asserting that a just and lasting peace, leading to the acceptance of secure and recognized borders between all States in the region, can only be achieved by recognizing the long established rights of the Jewish people under international law."

      The outcome of the declaration gave birth to the "Mandate for Palestine," an historical League of Nations document that laid down the Jewish legal right to settle anywhere in western Palestine, a 10,000 square-miles the area between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

      Fifty-one member countries - the entire League of Nations - unanimously declared on July 24, 1922:

      "Whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country."

      Jews are in the Land of Israel as of right and not on sufferance.

      It is important to point out that political right to self-determination as a polity for Arabs, was guaranteed by the same League of Nations in four other mandates - in Lebanon and Syria [The French Mandate], Iraq, and later Trans-Jordan [The British Mandate].

      Any attempt to negate the Jewish people's right to Palestine-Eretz-Israel, and to deny them access and control over the area designated for the Jewish people by the League of Nations is a serious infringement of international law.

      The European Coalition for Israel was founded in Brussels in 2003. It is the only European non-Jewish grass roots organisation with an EU-liaison office in Brussels and with partners in most EU member states. Its main objective is to promote positive relations between Europe and Israel, to commemorate the Holocaust and to fight anti-Semitism.

      From www.mythsandfacts.org
      Thanks to Aaron Shuster







      Iyar 9, 5770, 4/23/2010

      A Shema Story



      You know, I don’t think I’ve said a Shema Yisrael in at least twenty five years...
      We’ve concluded the annual threesome – Holocaust Memorial Day, Memorial Day for those in uniform, killed in action, and those murdered in acts of terror, followed by Independence Day. Always a time of introspection, leading to very mixed emotions and thoughts. We live in a very mixed up time.
       
      Some of the issues we are dealing with are, on the face of it, absurd.
      a)    A young Israeli soldier stealing secret military documents and passing them on to a journalist, to be printed in HaAretz newspaper?
      b)    A bookstore, literally giving away a pamphlet which describes residents of Judea and Samaria as "brainwashing, hypnotized zombies…  "Think of gangs of randy youths going to screw the country. The young generation of settlers forgot what it is to be Zionist." http://goo.gl/pyel
      c)     The deputy editor of the HaAretz magazine, calling the Peretz family, (whose son/husband/father was killed a week earlier in Gaza, the 2nd son from that family killed in action) ' a family of Jihadist Fascists.' '  I don’t want an army that G-d loves. For that I may as well move to Iran.”'
      d)    And perhaps above all, we are witness to a corruption and fraud scandal, allegedly leading to the highest realms of power in Israel, including a former mayor and deputy mayor of Jerusalem, a bank chairman, leading industrialists, and the cherry on the icing, former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. (Olmert, it should be remembered, offered the Arabs almost everything they asked for, including over 95% of Judea and Samaria and East Jerusalem. One can only wonder what he was offered in return.)
       
       
      Where does this leave us? It can leave one depressed. So I’d like to tell you a few stories which leave me feeling good, even in the midst of such grave moments.
       
      Normally I don’t speak, or for that matter, write about money, especially about contributions or contributors. However, sometimes there are exceptions to the rule. A couple of years ago, prior to our expulsion from Beit HaShalom, I was in the US fundraising, and in particular, looking for money to heat that huge building during the freezing cold winter. I appeared on a TV show produced by an Israel-loving non-Jewish couple down in Midland, Texas. During the two hour show, we screened a short video I’d made of one of the families (one of my daughters) living in Beit HaShalom. A few weeks later our New York office received a check for $20,000 from a woman, a widow, who had seen the program.
       
      When I called to thank her, she told me that she didn’t want the children in Beit HaShalom to be cold that winter, and sent in the check to help defray heating costs.
       
      If that’s not heart-warming, I don’t know what is.
       
      A while ago, the same couple who produces the TV show, brought a group into Hebron. One of the women had trouble walking, and we utilized a motorized wheelchair, donated to Hebron for just that purpose, to get her up the multitude of stairs into Ma’arat HaMachpela. A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from that woman, in which she writes:
       
      “I wish to let you know that I am thinking of you all there in Hebron as we enter the Holocaust Remembrance Day.  My thoughts and prayers are with you nearly every day.  I pray for your courage, strength, and protection as you continue to stand firm on behalf of Eretz Israel and Hebron.
      My the grace and mercy of HaShem be with you all, now and forever.
      Signed: The lady with tour in Dec. who rode the motorized wheelchair up to Machpela.  I will ever be grateful for that experience and blessing.”
       
      That also makes me feel good.
       
      But perhaps I reached the pinnacle of my present thoughts a couple of weeks ago.
       
      I’ve given countless tours of Hebron over the past decade and a half. And of course, I’m not the only one showing Hebron to people around the world. Each one of us has a ‘style’ and/or ‘label’ attached to our excursion. My tours are considered ‘political’ as compared to those given by my friend and colleague Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, who is known for his ‘spiritual tour of Hebron.’
       
      But I guess you really never know what’s going to affect a person.
       
      A couple of weeks ago I received a call from a fellow living in one of the nearby communities. He had some friends in from the States and wanted to show them Hebron. Fine, no problem. Expect that he told me that these people aren’t of the same political mold as we are; they’re a bit more left of center.
       
      OK, that didn’t bother me either.
       
      So, they came in and we did the tour. We had interesting discussions; it was clear to me that the gentleman was more ‘left’ than his wife, but not in the traditional sense of the word. He seemed to be very concerned about the future of the Jewish people and feared that the ‘road’ we, the ‘right’ were taking, would lead to catastrophe. We discussed the issue as much as time permitted, but of course, didn’t convince each other. But, clearly they had wanted, and received, and I think enjoyed, the type of ‘political tour’ I present in Hebron.
       
      When at our last stop, at Ma’arat HaMachpela, after I’d finished speaking, a Chabad Rabbi from somewhere in the US approached them and started a conversation. At some point he asked them (they’re not orthodox-observant Jews) if they’d yet said Shema Yisrael that day. When they said no, he opened a prayer book and recited the ancient words of faith together with them.
       
      Honestly I was very surprised that they agreed to pray with him, but stood from the side and watched. When they’d concluded, we left.
       
      On the way down the stairs, my guest and I were talking about the Ma’ara, and he related how it made an impression on him, as, I think he described it as, ‘a historic memory of the Jewish people.’ I added that it is a living memory.
       
      Then he exclaimed, ‘you know, I don’t think I’ve said a Shema Yisrael in at least twenty five years.’ I interjected, ‘and you had the privilege to recite it here, at Ma’arat HaMachpela in Hebron.’ And he finished, emanating something of an aura of awe, ‘yes, it really is.’
       
      It sort of left me with a feeling that it’s all worthwhile.  That’s what Hebron’s all about – bringing people together, of all faiths and religions, allowing them to return to their roots, bring them closer to their people and true faith.
       
      It’s true, there are issues. But the essence, as projected and exemplified by Hebron, will keep us going all the time, even when it’s dark outside.






      Iyar 7, 5770, 4/21/2010

      Yom HaAtzmaut - Independence Day in Hebron, 2010


      חגיגות יום העצמאות בחברון תש"ע - Independence Day celebrations in Hebron, 2010 from David Hebron on Vimeo.

      חגיגות יום העצמאות בחברון תש"ע - Independence Day celebrations in Hebron, 2010

       

       
      Rav Dov Lior


      Children from 1st Grade after play


      Kiryat Arba Mayor Malachi Levinger


      Minister Yisrael Katz (speech below in Hebrew)


      Geula Cohen


      Rachel Klein


      Menashe and Yehudit Kamm


      Moshe Kaufman


      Ze'ev Tabachnik


      Kiryat Arba youth leaders


      Amos Shefer (didn't arrive due to illness)


      Elkana Liebman lit for Amos Shefer


      Preparing for Hebron celebration.

       

       

       







      Iyar 5, 5770, 4/19/2010

      Yom HaZikaron - Memorial Day 2010 in Hebron


      See Memorial Day videos (in Hebrew) below
      More photos at: www.hebron.com


      Avner Gilboa of Kiryat Arba, father-in-law of Eliraz Perez, lights memorial flame.


      Neria Shok, son of murdered Beit Chagai resident Yossi Shok, lights memorial flame


      Parents of Tomer Nov, killed by terrorists in Hebron, lower flag to half mast

      Yom HaZikaron - Memorial Day - יום הזכרון תש"ע - 2010 from David Hebron on Vimeo.

      Yom HaZikaron - Memorial Day - יום הזכרון תש"ע - 2010
      Hebron - חברון







      Nisan 29, 5770, 4/13/2010

      A Dangerous Silence by Ed Koch



      What bothers me most of all is the shameful silence and lack of action by community leaders - Jew and Christian. Where are they?
      A Dangerous Silence
      Ed Koch
      April 12, 2010
      jewishworldreview.com http://goo.gl/JZEK

       

      I weep as I witness outrageous verbal attacks on Israel. What makes these verbal assaults and distortions all the more painful is that they are being orchestrated by President Obama.

      For me, the situation today recalls what occurred in 70 AD when the Roman emperor Vespasian launched a military campaign against the Jewish nation and its ancient capital of Jerusalem. Ultimately, Masada, a rock plateau in the Judean desert became the last refuge of the Jewish people against the Roman onslaught. I have been to Jerusalem and Masada. From the top of Masada, you can still see the remains of the Roman fortifications and garrisons, and the stones and earth of the Roman siege ramp that was used to reach Masada. The Jews of Masada committed suicide rather than let themselves be taken captive by the Romans..
      In Rome itself, I have seen the Arch of Titus with the sculpture showing enslaved Jews and the treasures of the Jewish Temple of Solomon with the Menorah, the symbol of the Jewish state, being carted away as booty during the sacking of Jerusalem.

      Oh, you may say, that is a far fetched analogy. Please hear me out.
      The most recent sacking of the old city of Jerusalem - its Jewish quarter - took place under the Jordanians in 1948 in the first war between the Jews and the Arabs, with at least five Muslim states - Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq - seeking to destroy the Jewish state. At that time, Jordan conquered East Jerusalem and the West Bank and expelled every Jew living in the Jewish quarter of the old city, destroying every building, including the synagogues in the old quarter and expelling from every part of Judea and Samaria every Jew living there so that for the first time in thousands of years, the old walled city of Jerusalem and the adjacent West Bank were "Judenrein" -- a term used by the Nazis to indicate the forced removal or murder of all Jews.. 

      Jews had lived for centuries in Hebron, the city where Abraham, the first Jew, pitched his tent and where he now lies buried, it is believed, in a tomb with his wife, Sarah, as well as other ancient Jewish patriarchs and matriarchs. I have visited that tomb and at the time asked an Israeli soldier guarding it - so that it was open to all pilgrims, Christians, Muslims and Jews -- "where is the seventh step leading to the tomb of Abraham and Sarah," which was the furthest entry for Jews when the Muslims were the authority controlling the holy place? He replied, "When we retook and reunited the whole city of Jerusalem and conquered the West Bank in 1967, we removed the steps, so now everyone can enter," whereas when Muslims were in charge of the tomb, no Jew could enter it. And I did.

      I am not a religious person. I am comfortable in a synagogue, but generally attend only twice a year, on the high holidays. When I entered the tomb of Abraham and Sarah, as I recall, I felt connected with my past and the traditions of my people. One is a Jew first by birth and then by religion. Those who leave their religion, remain Jews forever by virtue of their birth. If they don't think so, let them ask their neighbors, who will remind them. I recall the words of the columnist Robert Novak, who was for most of his life hostile to the Jewish state of Israel in an interview with a reporter stating that while he had converted to Catholicism, he was still a cultural Jew. I remain with pride a Jew both by religion and culture.

      My support for the Jewish state has been long and steadfast. Never have I thought that I would leave the U.S. to go and live in Israel. My loyalty and love is first to the U.S. which has given me, the son of Polish Jewish immigrants, so much. But, I have also long been cognizant of the fact that every night when I went to sleep in peace and safety, there were Jewish communities around the world in danger. And there was one country, Israel, that would give them sanctuary and would send its soldiers to fight for them and deliver them from evil, as Israel did at Entebbe in 1976.

      I weep today because my president, Barack Obama, in a few weeks has changed the relationship between the U.S. and Israel from that of closest of allies to one in which there is an absence of trust on both sides. The contrast between how the president and his administration deals with Israel and how it has decided to deal with the Karzai administration in Afghanistan is striking.

      The Karzai administration, which operates a corrupt and opium-producing state, refuses to change its corrupt ways - the president's own brother is believed by many to run the drug traffic taking place in Afghanistan - and shows the utmost contempt for the U.S. is being hailed by the Obama administration as an ally and publicly treated with dignity. Karzai recently even threatened to join the Taliban if we don't stop making demands on him. Nevertheless, Karzai is receiving a gracious thank-you letter from President Obama. The New York Times of April 10th reported, "...that Mr. Obama had sent Mr. Karzai a thank-you note expressing gratitude to the Afghan leader for dinner in Kabul. t was a respectful letter,' General Jones said."

      On the other hand, our closest ally - the one with the special relationship with the U.S., has been demeaned and slandered, held responsible by the administration for our problems in Afghanistan and Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. The plan I suspect is to so weaken the resolve of the Jewish state and its leaders that it will be much easier to impose on Israel an American plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, leaving Israel's needs for security and defensible borders in the lurch.

      I believe President Obama's policy is to create a whole new relationship with the Arab states of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Egypt, and Iraq as a counter to Iran - The Tyrannosaurus Rex of the Muslim world which we are now prepared to see in possession of a nuclear weapon. If throwing Israel under the bus is needed to accomplish this alliance, so be it.

      I am shocked by the lack of outrage on the part of Israel's most ardent supporters. The members of AIPAC, the chief pro-Israel lobbying organization in Washington, gave Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a standing ovation after she had carried out the instructions of President Obama and, in a 43-minute telephone call, angrily hectored Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

      Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have made pitifully weak statements against Obama's mistreatment of Israel, if they made any at all. The Democratic members, in particular, are weak. They are simply afraid to criticize President Obama.

      What bothers me most of all is the shameful silence and lack of action by community leaders - Jew and Christian. Where are they? If this were a civil rights matter, the Jews would be in the mall in Washington protesting with and on behalf of our fellow American citizens. I asked one prominent Jewish leader why no one is preparing a march on Washington similar to the one in 1963 at which I was present and Martin Luther King's memorable speech was given? His reply was "Fifty people might come." Remember the 1930s? Few stood up. They were silent. Remember the most insightful statement of one of our greatest teachers, Rabbi Hillel: "If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"

      We have indeed stood up for everyone else. When will we stand up for our brothers and sisters living in the Jewish state of Israel? 
      If Obama is seeking to build a siege ramp around Israel, the Jews of modern Israel will not commit suicide. They are willing to negotiate a settlement with the Palestinians, but they will not allow themselves to be bullied into following self-destructive policies.

      To those who call me an alarmist, I reply that I'll be happy to apologize if I am proven wrong. But those who stand silently by and watch the Obama administration abandon Israel, to whom will they apologize?