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.
The headlines read as follows: Near Lynch in Hevron; Soldiers Blame Orders (Israelnationalnews); IDF troops assaulted after wandering into Hebron's Arab area (Haaretz); Commander's error prompts Hebron humiliation (ynetnews); Those are the Israeli headlines.
What happened in Hebron yesterday can surely be defined, as above, as humiliation. But it is much more than that. It is a “Chilul HaShem” or in English, a desecration of G-d’s name. A supreme goal of a Jew is “Kiddush HaShem,” meaning to sanctify G-d’s name. Yesterday’s events were the direct opposite.
Netanyahu’s visit in Washington next week will undoubtedly be a gruesome labyrinth-like obstacle course
Soldiers stationed in Hebron can frequently be seen ‘running in the streets,’ i.e., keeping in shape, running, stretching and exercising. Late yesterday afternoon a group of soldiers left the ‘normal’ running area and found themselves in one of the “other” neighborhoods of the city, still occupied only by Arabs, still without any Jewish representation. One of the soldiers, not sure where they were, asked a local resident how to get back to the “Jewish area.” That ‘friendly Arab’ pointed in the opposite direction from where they needed to go, and the group found themselves lost, deep in Hebron. Due to the fact that they were exercising, only one of the soldiers was carrying a weapon.
Before they knew it, the group was surrounded by a large group of Arabs, who began screaming, pushing and throwing rocks. The one soldier with ammunition feared to use it; orders prevent a weapon from being used without explicit permission from higher ranking officers, unless it’s really a case of ‘do or die.’ The soldiers, after battling the Arabs in hand-to-hand combat, took off, fleeing on foot, until finding their way out, and reaching the ‘Jewish’ part of the city.
Three troops were hospitalized as were three Arabs.
This is peace, goodwill, and a desire for mutual coexistence.
According to information I received from two sources, one of the conclusions reached by the Hebron military commander was to forbid running exercises at night anywhere in Hebron.
This is farcical. Israeli soldiers ‘running away’ from a group of attacking Arabs?! Israeli soldiers attacked because they were on the ‘wrong side of the city?!’ Israeli soldiers being forbidden to exercise at night for fear of entering the ‘wrong side of the city?!’ (Soldiers frequently exercise at night when it’s cooler outside.)
What happens when Arabs come over to the “Jewish section’ of Hebron? They have access to about 98% of the city. In a small area closed off for security reasons, bypass routes are provided. The Arabs coming into the “Jewish area” aren’t attacked, kicked, threatened, beaten. They cross back and forth between the two sides of the city at will, without any problems. I’ve put together a short movie and photos showing Arabs coming over.
If I were making the decisions, I would demand that daily IDF exercise runs took place in the exact same area where the soldiers were attacked yesterday, providing 'extra security,’ should it be deemed necessary. I would also make efforts to find the attackers and deal with them accordingly. It is unthinkable that Israeli soldiers are so attacked, without any IDF response.
Of course, the best response would be to rejoin the ‘two sides of Hebron,’ and immediately move Jews into all neighborhoods of the city, integrating Hebron and removing the humiliation of Jews being found ‘in the wrong place.’ Yet it seems such a solution will take some time to be implemented.
Unfortunately, such incidents are not, at present, an exception to the rule. Yesterday also, Arabs hurled rocks and bottles at Beit Hadassah. The IDF response was negligible. A neighbor of mine, who witnessed the attacks, told me that at one point soldiers in the area put their heads down and did not respond when rocks were thrown at them. The nauseating account of a soldier stationed in Hebron appeared on israelnationalnews.com earlier today, in which he describes how the IDF’s hands are literally tied – they are forbidden from taking any actions, offensive or defensive, without expressed permission from high-ranking officers, even while being attacked. In many cases patrols are told to ‘wait for reinforcements or get out of the area.’ Again, Israeli soldiers being ordered to retreat, to run away, in the face of enemy attack.
All this while the State of Israel is coming under international attack from all corners of the world.
What’s written in international press? “World powers demand Israeli settlement freeze. The Quartet of Mideast peacemakers “condemns” Israel’s East Jerusalem building plan. (MSNBC); Israeli settlements threaten world security. Israelis should work toward a government of national unity, and not one beholden to the extreme right -- whose policies threaten world security. (Christian Science Monitor).
These attacks, led by Obama, Biden, Hillary and Co. are aimed at forcing continued Israeli concessions. The Quartet’s goal is a Palestinian state within 2 years, thereby ending the ‘occupation…’ Netanyahu’s visit in Washington next week will undoubtedly be a gruesome labyrinth-like obstacle course, designed to squeeze him, leaving him with nothing, leaving Israel with nothing.
So far, even with criticism that can be leveled at the government, Netanyahu’s been holding his own better than might have been expected. He could easily have folded on Jerusalem, but is continuing to express Israel’s ancient, G-d-given rights to our eternal capital. Just as legitimate criticism is expressed when need be, I think, as the Prime Minister leaves for the United States, it is incumbent upon us to encourage and strengthen him, in an effort to prevent Israel’s position from crumbling within the walls of the White House.
Let’s all remind Bibi: next week, as we begin the holiday of Passover, we celebrate the liberation of our people from foreign slavery. Three thousand three hundred years later, let’s continue forward, in that same direction, and not head backwards, into Pharaoh Obama’s servitude.
I’m writing this as I sit and watch, via live internet, the ceremony marking the rededication of the Hurva synagogue in Jerusalem, in the area you would classify “east Jerusalem”, disputed territory, or perhaps, ‘occupied territory’ over the ‘green line’ adjacent to 'Temple Mount.' Isn’t it time you left the White House and came home to your real home, in Israel, in Jerusalem
Before asking a few questions, I’d like to describe to you several men who took part in tonight’s celebration.
First, there is Reuvan ‘Ruby’ Rivlin, presently speaker of the Knesset. A seventh generation Jerusalemite, Ruby is a ‘Rivlin’ from both his mother and father’s side, descended from both Rebbi Yisrael Ba’al Shem Tov and the Gra, the Gaon, Rebbi Eliyahu from Vilna.
Rivlin, a seasoned politician, had trouble controlling his voice as he spoke, his words quivering with emotion, as he repeated the words of his great-grandfather, who spoke at the rededication of the destroyed Hurva shul a hundred and fifty years ago.
Also speaking briefly was former Prisoner of Zion, former minister, and present chairman of the Jewish Agency, Natan Sharansky, who described how, in 1992, he convinced the entire Israeli government to unanimously approve reconstruction of the Hurva, destroyed by the Jordanians following their occupation of the Jerusalem in 1948.
But the man who most impressed me was David Rabinovitch, an Israeli Russian, who contributed heavily to the renovation of the Hurva. Rubenstein spoke briefly, albeit in Russian, and announced that he and his partners, whose financial fortunes built the Hurva, would participate in rebuilding the nearby Tiferet Yisrael synagogue, also destroyed by the Arabs during the War of Independence. These men, who grew up without any Jewish background, and who today barely speak Hebrew, are investing their life’s fortunes in synagogues, in Jerusalem.
And you, Rahm and David, what are you investing your lives in?
Rahm, it is said that you are the cornerstone of your boss’ policy towards Israel and the Middle East. Since this administration took office, you are quoted, time and time again, as forcing a ‘two-state solution’ on Israel. “Israel now faces a moment of truth – it can either acquiesce to international demands and in return have its most serious threats dealt with, or maintain the status quo and have those threats persist.”http://goo.gl/ntPh In other words, Israel’s future, as a state, and in large part, the continued existence of the Jewish people, is dependent on Israel ‘towing the line,’ obeying US policy, and acquiescing to US-Arab terrorist demands.
And David, just a few days ago you publicly turned Israel over your knee and paddled her, saying, "What happened there was an affront,…It was an insult. ... This was not the right way to behave." http://goo.gl/fana This, of course, in reference to the announcement that Israel will continue to build in Jerusalem.
Is this the behavior of two good Jewish boys, who, it is said, love Israel?
Rahm, truthfully it’s very difficult to understand your actions. You belong to an orthodox synagogue in Chicago. You grew up in a Jewish home, with a strong affinity to Israel. Your father was born in Jerusalem and your uncle, for whom you were named, was killed by Arabs in Jerusalem. But you still support a position forbidding Jewish building in Jerusalem!?
And David, you too are no stranger to Judaism. Born on the Lower East Side in New York, you always knew you were Jewish. Yet you see fit to push your own people into security situations which jeopardize the continued existence of the Jewish State.
How is it that two men whose lives have always been saturated with Judaism do not comprehend simple truths understood by others who grew up in Soviet Russia, knowing almost nothing about their Jewish roots.? Even your names reflect your Jewish souls: David – dating back to King David – the eternal King of Israel; and Rahm – meaning ‘high,’ hinting at the Creator, and in your case, a form of the word Rachamim, meaning mercy. Upon who do you have mercy, Mr. Emanuel? Perhaps both of you should repudiate your names, changing them, as did Hellenistic Jews in Israel during the time of Greek occupation of Israel. How can you carry such “Jewish names’ yet, at the same time, assist in pushing your people to the brink?
I have one other question for both of you men. Tonight marks the first day of the new month of Nisan, the month of Geula, of redemption from Egypt. In exactly two weeks we will begin the Passover holiday, commencing with the Seder, the first Pesach meal, when we relate the story of the Jews' Exodus from Egypt.
It is said that last year, both of you were invited to the President’s Passover Seder, but skipped it, preferring to eat Matza with your families, at home. Very touching. But why?
What I really want to know is not how you begin your family Seder, rather, how you end it. Normally, Jews finish the night’s ceremony declaring “Next year in Jerusalem” or Next year in the rebuilt Jerusalem.”
Rahm Emanual and David Axelrod:
DO YOU RECITE THESE WORDS AT YOUR FAMILY TABLE;
IF SO, DO YOU MEAN WHAT YOU SAY, OR JUST REPEAT THE WORDS FOR CUSTOM’S SAKE;
AND WOULD YOU DARE RECITE THESE WORDS IN PUBLIC, WORDS MOUTHED BY JEWS FOR CENTURIES, AS THEY WERE TORTURED AND BURNED AT THE STAKE, OR SENT TO SIBERIA TO DIE, FOR DARING TO REPEAT THE FUNDAMENTAL TENET OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE?
EXACTLY HOW DO YOU SAY IT? NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM,
NEXT YEAR IN [OCCUPIED?], [DISPUTED?], [CONQUERED?], [ARAB?] JERUSALEM?
Isn’t it time you left the White House and came home to your real home, in Israel, in Jerusalem where you too can stand proudly at the Kotel and recite, as Jews have for eternity "Next year in [Jewish] Jerusalem"
Izzy Kaplan z"l at Kever Ishai v'Rut in Hebron holding Sefer Torah he dedicated in memory of David Rosenzweig hy"d
Hebron's Jewish Community greatly mourns the death of Israel (Izzie) Kaplan.
Izzie was a truly righteous Jew, who not only cared about his brethren in Eretz Yisrael, but worked tirelessly for Jews throughout Israel, be they in Gush Katif, Hebron, Sderot and other places in Judea, Samaria, and all over the country.
His passing is very sad, and on behalf of Hebron I want to wish the entire Kaplan family sincerest condolences.
Chabad has a very rich Hebron legacy. Today close to 200 people visited Hebron via Chabad, including many Chabad "Sluchim" based in the United States. They visited several Jewish neighborhoods, as well as Ma'arat HaMachpela. I spoke to each busload of people at Beit Hadassah for about a half hour each, photographed each of the groups, and promised them the pix would appear on my blog. So here they are!
Hebron is known for its miracles. If it weren't for G-d's Divine Hand watching over us, day by day, minute by minute, well, our situation here would probably be slightly different from our present existence.
But what also should be publicized is that these miracles don't only occur in Hebron. They also happen to Hebron residents elsewhere in Israel. I'd like to relate one of those, which took place a few days ago to a woman who grew up here in Hebron, one of 14 children.
Now a married woman with a family of her own, Yehudit lives in the Shomron community of Yitzhar. On Monday night she was driving home when suddenly she found herself heading straight into a tractor, blocking the middle of the road. The tractor, driven by an Arab, is suspected of trying to knock cars off the road. First it came into contact with a truck, and then aimed at a car. The driver managed to escape the terrorist's vehicle, but the tractor veered, and stopped in the middle of the road.
That's when Yehudit came on the scene. Seeing the tractor directly in front of her, she had no choice but also to swing left, avoiding the tractor, but heading straight towards a steep valley. Her car literally jumped over a guard railing and started plummeting down, tumbling four or five times as it fell. After falling about 8 meters, the car suddenly stopped, blocked by a large boulder. This huge rock saved Yehudit's life, because a continued fall would have taken her down another 80 meters.
Miraculously Yehudit suffered only a few bruises, and minor aches and pains. Her car, of course, was a total loss. But she, thank G-d, after a check-up, was able to go home, healthy, in one piece. It that's not a miracle, I don't know what is.
May the merits of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs privilege all of us to such Divine intervention, when we should so need it, whoever we are, wherever we are!