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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.hebron.com (English)
      www.hebron.org.il (Hebrew)
      www.ohrshlomo.org (Hebrew)
      www.ohrshalom.net (Hebrew)
      (others to be added)

      Adar 23, 5770, 3/9/2010

      Pastor John Hagee: The Torah Way and the Wrong Way

      Iran – Iran – Iran
      There's a very interesting phenomenon taking place throughout the world.


      A couple of years ago a small group of Christians from Texas toured with me in Hebron. After they left I tucked them back in my distant memory. Actually I didn't intentionally do so; my memory's like a slice of Swiss cheese, full of holes.


      But, I guess I didn't entirely forget them. About a half a year later I found myself in Texas with a couple of days to spare, looking for something worthwhile to do. Somehow I remembered that some people from the Lone Star State had visited with me, managed to find them, and spent a few days with them. One of that group, a fellow named Mike, has become a very close personal friend.


      Mike introduced me, up close, to this breathtaking trend; that, being a startling move by Christians, some of whom might be labeled 'evangelic' towards religious Judaism. 


      No, they're not necessarily thinking about converting, at least not all of them. And they haven't necessarily forsaken Jesus, again, at least not all of them. But, they are searching for their roots, and that pursuit leads them directly to the Bible, the 'Old Testament' otherwise known as the five books of Moses, or the Torah. Many have reached the (logical) conclusion that Judaism never 'needed' Christianity, but without Judaism there never would have been Christianity.


      'Torah study groups' have blossomed, not necessarily among Jews, but rather, among these gentiles. I've seen an Iphone application which can teach Jewish blessings in Hebrew; Mike has one on his phone and uses it. I spoke at such a 'Torah center' in Texas. The charismatic man running the place told me, "I don't really know what I am, but I know that my grandmother used to light candles on Friday nights and bless me." More than likely his family were among those called "Marranos," Spanish Jews forcibly converted over 500 years ago. His Jewish roots are calling from somewhere deep down inside him, and he's beginning to answer.


      I know people who do say that they no longer believe in Jesus and don't celebrate the Christian holidays, at least not the way they used to. Others, haven't made it that far, but I've visited Pastors who have, in their offices, Jewish prayer shawls (Tallit), a ram's horn (Shofar) and other Jewish, traditional prayer items. Some people have even taken up use of Tefillin, known as phylacteries. Once, when Mike was with me here in Hebron, he wanted to call someone back in Texas on Saturday night, but looking at his watch exclaimed, "he won't answer the phone now. There, it's still Shabbat." And the guy he wanted to call isn't Jewish.


      I know a couple who have an amazing television program, viewed by millions around the world, who don't produce a show on Saturday, because it's Shabbat. And they aren't Jewish.


      This phenomenon seems to be growing, and with it, Jewish suspicions. Not only are masses beginning to move towards Judaism. Various organizations are utilizing such practices to encourage their agenda, which is overtly missionary; converting Jews to Christianity. "Hidden missionaries" – those people who seem outwardly to be Jewish, even observant Jews, are actually attempting to 'get a foot in the door' to propagate literature and their own ideas and ideals in order to 'save' the Jews from eternal hell.


      In the past other types of methods were used, like burning people at the stake. Today's world would view that as barbaric so more cultural approaches are utilized.  


      This being the case, with such missionary types running rampant in  the US and even here in Israel, many Jews are extremely extremely suspicious of any non-Jew who tries to cozy up and get too friendly. And most especially, where money is involved. Nothing works better to convince another of genuine friendship than a few bucks, or a few tens or hundreds of thousands of them.


      That being the case, huge disagreements have erupted over acceptance of money from non-Jews, and most particularly, those labeled as evangelical.


      I've had many discussions with Mike concerning this issue; we are very open with each other. He decided to show me the 'real thing,' and last summer took me to the annual CUFI (Christians United for Israel) conference in Washington DC. There, for three days, over 4,000 people gathered in the Washington Convention Center, and participated in numerous lectures, study groups and gatherings. The entire event was initiated by one man: Pastor John Hagee.

      I'd heard about Pastor Hagee, but really didn't know a whole lot about him. Quick checks with a few people I trust, 'in the know' led me to believe that he is straight; in other words his agenda is not to convert Jews. Knowing that, I took in  a deep breath, let it out slowly, and could not believe what I was hearing or seeing.


      Again, with my memory not helping too much, I'm limited as to the examples I can give, but perhaps two are enough. The last day of the conference, the thousands attending, from every state in the Union, invaded Capital Hill, lobbying their representatives and Senators. Prior to leaving for Congress, the participants were briefed as to the issues to be raised.


      Religious Christians have many issues dear to their hearts: abortion, school prayer, and more. Pastor Hagee gave them a list of several topics to be discusses and requested/demanded that these, and only these, be brought up. The first issue, he said, is Iran. We have to prevent the Iranians from obtaining nuclear weapons to keep Israel safe. Two, he said, is Iran. We have to stop all investments in Iran, in an attempt to force them to stop their nuclear program, which is endangering Israel. And third, he said, is Iran. Congress must ensure that companies with previously agreements with Iran will not be penalized when they break them.

      And that's all!

      Iran – Iran – Iran.


      The conference was amazing; it left a real mark on me.


      Last night I attended a similar event: A Night to Honor Israel. But this wasn't held in Washington. It took place here, in Jerusalem.


      Again, amazing. A short video showed how the Hagee ministries have distributed over fifty eight million dollars to projects in Israel, including soup kitchens, children's special needs centers, Yeshivas, - the list is endless. Organizations and communities throughout Israel, Judea, Samaria, Gush Katif (and Gush Katif refugees) and all over the country.


      Again, the Pastor spoke of one basic issue: the need for Israel to be able to defend itself, to 'take care' of the Iranians, and castigating, in no uncertain terms, the Goldstone report and those who authored it.

      Again, I left the event thinking to myself how history has turned upside down, how these people don't 'seem to be' but are, true genuine friends of Israel and the Jewish people. I have no doubt of Pastor John Hagee's authenticity. The kinds of words and acts he espouses and accomplishes are not the work of a phony. He is the real McCoy. "Nights to Honor Israel" are happening throughout the United States, raising money for worthy Israel projects. All initiated by Pastor Hagee and his wife, Diane.


      Ah, I almost forgot the other 'proof' for the summer's conference.  I don't remember everything he said during his main speech, but what I think I'll never forget was one phrase that I've repeated countless times to many people: Pastor John Hagee, a Christian preacher from San Antonio Texas declared: 'There are only two ways: there's the Torah way and there's the wrong way. The Torah way, and the wrong way."


      I'm waiting to hear some more Jews say that: The Torah Way and the Wrong Way.


      Thank you very very much, Pastor John Hagee!


      Adar 17, 5770, 3/3/2010

      Hebron Heritage: Past the seventh step

      The Arabs renounce any Jewish roots in all of Israel...But history, in reality, cannot be erased, and truth will prevail
      It's difficult to know where to start: Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, King David, the Maccabees, Herod the Great, Bar Cochva, Rabbi Malkiel Ashkenazi, Menucha Rachel Shneerson Slonim, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, or perhaps my three month old granddaughter Hadar.


      Actually, probably the best beginning is with Baibars, Sultan of the Mamluks in the middle 1200s. In 1260 the Mamluks conquered Hebron, expelling the occupying Crusaders. In 1267 Baibars barred Jews and Christians from Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. This monument, considered the 2nd holiest site to the Jewish people in the entire world, remained off-limits to anyone not Moslem for 700 years, until finally, during the 1967 Six-Day War, again Jews accessed this most holy of places.


      The history of Ma'arat HaMachpela is well known and documented. According to the holy Zohar, it was here where Adam and Eve, the first man and woman were buried. Called the 'entrance to paradise,' it is written that souls of the deceased travel through the caves of Machpela on their way to the next world. Thousands of years later the first Jew, the irrefutable revealer of monotheism, Abraham, discovered these ancient caves and purchased them for 400 silver shekels, as is recorded in the Bible. Here Sarah was interred, as were all the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, excepting Rachel.


      Over the centuries Ma'arat HaMachpela was not only a place of worship. It was also viewed in visionary terms, a symbol of the yearning of Jews to return to Zion. So much so that the revered Jewish scholar Moshe ben Maimon, the Rambam, records in his introduction to the Talmudic tractate Rosh HaShana: "And on the first day of the week, the ninth day of the month of MarCheshvan, I left Jerusalem for Hebron to kiss the graves of my forefathers in the Cave of Machpela. And on that very day I stood in the Cave and I prayed, praised be G-d for everything. And these two days, the sixth (when he prayed on Temple Mount in Jerusalem) and the ninth of Mar-Cheshvan I vowed to make as a special holiday and in which I will rejoice with prayer, food and drink. May the Lord help me to keep my vows."


      One needn't have been a religious intellectual to comprehend the essence of Machpela, or of Hebron. Writing in January, 1970, Israel's first Prime Minister, David ben Gurion records: "Three cities hold a great and unique place in the ancient history of our people: Shechem, Hebron and Jerusalem," and proceeds to detail the glorious history of Hebron, from the days of the forefathers, through the reign of David, who ruled in Hebron for seven and a half years before establishing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people. He concluded, "we will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish settlement, constantly growing and expanding, very soon…Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem's sister." 


      A journalist from a distinguished American newspaper asked me if perhaps it might have been wiser to allocate Ma'arat HaMachpela a government-funded budget without adding this site to the national "Heritage program." I responded, of course, under no conditions would this be acceptable. Why?


      Following the beginning of violent riots in Hebron in reaction to Prime Minister Netanyahu's announcement, the former minister of information for the PA, Mustafa Barghouti visited Hebron. I asked him, on camera, who may worship in Ma'arat HaMachpela: only Moslems or also Jews and Christians? He refused to directly answer the question, finally saying that "G-d is everywhere; people can pray wherever they want."


      Isabel Kersher, writing in the NY Times, quotes Zahran Abu Qubeita. the mayor of the Arab city Yatta, in the southern Hebron Hills as declaring,  “[Ma'arat HaMachpela] is an Islamic site, not a Jewish one.”


      These answers must be viewed not only in the light of present politics, but rather on the background of seven centuries of Jewish inaccessibility to the building atop the Machpela caves. And accordingly, Israel, at the highest levels, must express in no uncertain terms: Ma'arat HaMachpela, in the city of Hebron, is a JEWISH holy site. This does not negate accessibility to anyone and everyone, of any and every race and religion, to visit and worship here. However, first and foremost, the Jewishness of this site must be acknowledged.


      Why do Islamic political and religious leaders refuse to accept any Jewish legacy at Machpela? For the same reasons they reject any Jewish birthright at Joseph's tomb, Rachel's tomb, and Temple Mount. In fact they renounce any Jewish roots in all of Israel, preferring to espouse the 'Palestinian foundation' of the land we know and call Eretz Yisrael. Of course, the easiest way to change history is to rename and reidentify such sites, as did the Romans two thousand years ago, when following destruction of the Second Temple and expulsion of Jews from Jerusalem, they renamed that city 'Aelia Capitolina' and changed the name of the entity known as Israel to 'Palestina.'


      But history, in reality, cannot be erased, and truth will prevail. For should Hebron and Machpela be blotted off the inventory of Jewish culture and tradition, surely the rest of Israel will soon follow because all of Jewish history is enrooted in the heritage which began in Hebron almost four thousand years ago.


      Hebron, 2010 has moved past the 7th step.

      Adar 10, 5770, 2/24/2010

      Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron

      Responses to: Frequently Asked Questions about Hebron and Shuhada Street

        Introduction: International organizations declared Thursday, February 25, 2010 as 'Open Shuhada Street Day.' Shuhada, in Arabic, means martyr. This is, according to the Arabs, a road named in memory of 'martyrs' who have murdered Jews. The street's real name is King David Street, in honor of King David, who began his monarchy, the Kingdom of Judea, and later the Kingdom of Israel, in Hebron, over 3,000 years ago. Parts of this road have been closed to Arab traffic for security reasons. Gadi and Dina Levy were murdered on this road by a homicide bomber. Aharon Gross was stabbed to death on this road. Sixteen year old Eliya Meshulam was stabbed and critically wounded on the road. Six men were killed and twenty others wounded on the road in a major terror attack on this road. Two retired men were stabbed by an Arab terrorist on the road. Three young men had acid thrown at them on this road. Others were attacked, but escaped injury. 

      The following document includes responses to claims against Hebron's Jewish community and the continued closing of King David Street to Arab traffic. The original FAQs are in a lighter font; my responses are in a black font, preceded by 'Response.'
      The document is lengthy; if the reader prefers to skip certain questions and answers, it is still worthwhile to jump to the last few pages, depicting an official PA map ofPalestine. 

      1. The settlers say they only have 3% of Hebron. They say they’re not allowed to go to H1 or most of H2. Given that they are restricted from the vast majority of the city, why shouldn’t Palestinians be restricted from the tiny portion of H2 that the settlers claim?

      Hebron is a city deep inside the Palestinian territories. Israeli settlements in any of these territories are illegal according to the Fourth Geneva Convention. The issue is not that the settlers have only 3% of the city, but rather that they are controlling part of an occupied city.

      H1, an area which consists of about 80% of Hebron, is controlled by the Palestinian Authority. H2, the remaining 20%, is controlled by Israel. Israeli settlers, who make up less than 1% of the population of Hebron, control 20% of the city, which is not only incredibly disproportionate but also illegal.  

      In order to allow the settlers to live in a small part of H2, the Israeli army exerts control over a much larger proportion of the city in order to secure a buffer zone for the settlement. While the settlers themselves do not travel around most of H2, the Israeli military does patrol the entirety of H2, thereby placing restrictions on Palestinian movement throughout this part of Hebron. If Israeli settlers were allowed to walk in all of H2, the Israeli military would likely control an even larger percentage of the city in order to keep them safe.

      Although H2 is a relatively small portion of the city, it is Hebron's true city centre where the industrial and commercial zones, as well as the most important landmarks, are located.  H2 is an important passageway between the northern and southern parts of the city. Therefore, restricting movement in H2 significantly affects the freedom of movement of all residents of Hebron.

      1. Response:
      a) Concerning H1 and H2: Israelis presently have access to three percent of Hebron. Arabs have access to 98% of Hebron. Jews are forbidden from entering H1. Arabs may travel freely between H1 and H2.

      Concerning the city center: As can be seen above, Hebron city center is certainly not in H2. Arab Hebron is a large, thriving city, with continued construction, factories, businesses, markets, and all elements of metropolitan life. This area, much larger than H2, is certainly more conducive to businesses and markets; therefore the claim that H2 is actually the city center is false.
      Concerning access to all areas of Hebron, Hebron's Arab population has access to over 98% of the city. All areas can be accessed without any major issues. 

      b) Israeli Settlements and International Law
      (Government of Israel, Policy Guidelines, March 2001- http://goo.gl/7tJV)
      (See also: http://goo.gl/KCiR)

      The Historical Context
      Jewish settlement in West Bank and Gaza Strip territory has existed from time immemorial and was expressly recognised as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations, which provided for the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish people's ancient homeland. Indeed, Article 6 of the Mandate provided as follows:
      "The Administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration under suitable conditions and shall encourage, in cooperation with the Jewish Agency referred to in Article 4, close settlement by Jews on the land, including State lands not required for public use".
      Some Jewish settlements, such as in Hebron, existed throughout the centuries of Ottoman rule, while settlements such as Neve Ya'acov, north of Jerusalem, the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea and Samaria, the communities north of the Dead Sea and Kfar Darom in the Gaza region, were established under British Mandatory administration prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. To be sure, many Israeli settlements have been established on sites which were home to Jewish communities in previous generations, in an expression of the Jewish people's deep historic and religious connection with the land.
      For more than a thousand years, the only administration which has prohibited Jewish settlement was the Jordanian occupation administration, which during the nineteen years of its rule (1948-1967) declared the sale of land to Jews a capital offense. The right of Jews to establish homes in these areas, and the legal titles to the land which had been acquired, could not be legally invalidated by the Jordanian or Egyptian occupation which resulted from their armed invasion of Israel in 1948, and such rights and titles remain valid to this day.

      International Humanitarian Law in the West Bank and Gaza Strip
      International humanitarian law prohibits the forcible transfer of segments of the population of a state to the territory of another state which it has occupied as a result of the resort to armed force. This principle, which is reflected in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, was drafted immediately following the Second World War. As International Red Cross' authoritative commentary to the Convention confirms, the principle was intended to protect the local population from displacement, including endangering its separate existence as a race, as occurred with respect to the forced population transfers in Czechoslovakia, Poland and Hungary before and during the war. This is clearly not the case with regard to the West Bank and Gaza.
      The attempt to present Israeli settlements as a violation of this principle is clearly untenable. As Professor Eugene Rostow, former Under-Secretary of State for Political Affairs has written: "the Jewish right of settlement in the area is equivalent in every way to the right of the local population to live there" (AJIL, 1990, vol. 84, p.72).
      The provisions of the Geneva Convention regarding forced population transfer to occupied sovereign territory cannot be viewed as prohibiting the voluntary return of individuals to the towns and villages from which they, or their ancestors, had been ousted. Nor does it prohibit the movement of individuals to land which was not under the legitimate sovereignty of any state and which is not subject to private ownership. In this regard, Israeli settlements have been established only after an exhaustive investigation process, under the supervision of the Supreme Court of Israel, designed to ensure that no communities are established on private Arab land.
      It should be emphasized that the movement of individuals to the territory is entirely voluntary, while the settlements themselves are not intended to displace Arab inhabitants, nor do they do so in practice.
       Repeated charges regarding the illegality of Israeli settlements must therefore be regarded as politically motivated, without foundation in international law. Similarly, as Israeli settlements cannot be considered illegal, they cannot constitute a "grave violation" of the Geneva Convention, and hence any claim that they constitute a "war crime" is without any legal basis. Such political charges cannot justify in any way Palestinian acts of terrorism and violence against innocent Israelis.
      Politically, the West Bank and Gaza Strip is best regarded as territory over which there are competing claims which should be resolved in peace process negotiations. Israel has valid claims to title in this territory based not only on its historic and religious connection to the land, and its recognized security needs, but also on the fact that the territory was not under the sovereignty of any state and came under Israeli control in a war of self-defense, imposed upon Israel. At the same time, Israel recognizes that the Palestinians also entertain legitimate claims to the area. Indeed, the very fact that the parties have agreed to conduct negotiations on settlements indicated that they envisage a compromise on this issue.
      Israeli-Palestinian Agreements
      The agreements reached between Israel and the Palestinians contain no prohibition whatsoever on the building or expansion of settlements. On the contrary, it is specifically provided that the issue of settlements is reserved for permanent status negotiations, which are to take place in the concluding stage of the peace talks. Indeed, the parties expressly agreed that the Palestinian Authority has no jurisdiction or control over settlements or Israelis, pending the conclusion of a permanent status agreement.
      It has been charged that the prohibition on unilateral steps which alter the "status" of the West Bank and Gaza Strip, which is contained in the Interim Agreement and in subsequent agreements between the parties, implies a ban on settlement activity. This position is disingenuous. The building of homes has no effect on the status of the area. The prohibition on unilateral measures was agreed upon in order to ensure that neither side take steps to change the legal status of this territory (such as by annexation or unilateral declaration of statehood), pending the outcome of permanent status negotiations. Were this prohibition to be applied to building, it would lead to the ridiculous interpretation that neither side is permitted to build homes to accommodate for the needs of their respective communities.
      It is important to note, that in the spirit of compromise and in an attempt to take constructive confidence building measures in the peace process, successive Israeli governments have expressly recognized the need for territorial compromise in West Bank and Gaza Strip territory and have voluntary adopted a freeze on the building of new settlements. In this regard, the present National Unity Government, under Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, has officially declared that it will not build any new settlements, while remaining committed to the basic needs of the existing settlement communities (Government of Israel, Policy Guidelines, March 2001).
      2. The Israeli military says that Palestinians are allowed to walk anywhere other than Shuhada Street. Is it really such an inconvenience to have one street closed to pedestrians?
      It is not for the Israeli military to decide whether it is convenient or inconvenient for the Palestinians, yet this attitude of entitlement and legitimacy is the by-product of prolonged foreign occupation of a local population. The Palestinian residents of Hebron are not considered or consulted regarding whether or not the closure of their streets is in their security interest. Rather, the Israeli army makes decisions on their behalf and thus dictates the way Palestinians are allowed to live in their city. Shuhada Street is Hebron’s main street; traveling on it and crossing over it are essential to vibrant life and commerce in the area.
      2. Response
      First, Israel is not 'occupying a foreign city.' In 1967 Israel came back home to Hebron, where Jews had lived for hundreds and thousands of years prior to the 1929 riots, massacre and expulsion.
      Second, it must be noted that Arafat and the PLO (PA) accepted the legitimacy of a Jewish presence in Hebron when he signed and agreed to implementation of the 1997 'Hebron Accords' which transferred some 80% of Hebron to the total control of the PA.
      Third, let it be known that until the advent of 'peace' Hebron was an open city, the Jews and Arabs were able to access the entire city. That ended in 1997 when the H1 PA controlled area of Hebron was closed to Jews, despite the fact that according to the accords, Hebron was to be an 'open city.'
      Fourth, unfortunately, since the advent of Oslo, Jews must now travel kilometers out of their way in order to reach various destinations, being that many areas are now 'closed to Jews' and 'open to Arabs only.'
      The 'inconvenience' to Arabs in Hebron is miniscule, as compared to the distances Jews have to travel throughout Israel.
      3. Wasn’t Shuhada Street closed as a response to terrorism?
      No. Shuhada Street was initially closed to Palestinian shops and vehicular traffic in 1994 after the Israeli settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 and injured 150 Palestinians when he opened fire in the Ibrahimi Mosque (Tomb of the Patriarchs) during prayers. The army cited fear of Palestinian revenge attacks as its rationale for closing the street. This main artery of the street and the former sight of the market place was reopened to traffic (but not commerce) in 1997 in accordance with the Hebron Protocol. In 2000, Shuhada Street was closed completely to traffic and partially to pedestrians. The street was effectively "sterilized" in 2002 by closing it off to all forms of all Palestinian movement.
      How does the closure of Shuhada Street work legally?
      It doesn’t. In 2004, Palestinians appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court about restrictions on their movement in H2. In November 2005, the State replied that Shuhada Street is open to all regular traffic, only closed to shops and vehicles, admitting that there were legal problems during the preceding years with the closure of areas all over Hebron without warrants. (Since 2005, the State has produced warrants to impose various restrictions of movement on 21 areas around the city.) In reality, areas marked on State and military maps as open to various forms of traffic and commerce are actually closed. A 2005 'Children of Abraham' video demonstrated that soldiers regularly prevent Palestinians from walking in areas that are indicated as open to traffic, and that some areas without any indications of closure on the maps are actually sealed with barbed wire and concrete blocks. A letter of complaint received a reply from the military in December 2006 stating that the street had been closed by mistake. The next Friday, the street was opened and on that Sunday, Palestinians were allowed to cross but only after being detained for two hours in both directions while international volunteers escorting them were arrested for disturbing the peace. The street was closed de facto by military orders and it was later revealed, via soldiers’ testimonies, that soldiers received orders to prevent people from wanting to be there. In 2007, the Supreme Court discussed the case again but the night before the decision was made the military unsealed the welding on the doors to homes on Shuhada Street and gave the families special permission to come out of their houses. They declared that by oral warrant from a General in the central command, the street is generally closed to Palestinian movement because all business and homes are closed anyways, therefore, there is nothing to see there.
      Isn’t the policy of separation necessary to protect Jews from terrorism?
      There is a real fear of terrorism which is supported by hundreds of successful and attempted Palestinian attacks on Israeli settlers, soldiers and police officers in Hebron. The separation policy responds to this fear by insisting that it is a necessary measure for protecting the Israeli settlers as long as they are inhabiting the center of the Palestinian city of Hebron. However, this security policy of separation reflects the political reality in the city, and not vice versa. As long as there is a policy that allows for Israeli settlement in Hebron, infringement of Palestinians' civil and human rights necessarily follows. Our focus is on bringing Palestinian life back to Hebron and we believe that there is no way to ensure a dignified life for Palestinians if the foreign presence in the city remains in control.
      3. Response
      In the early 2000s the Israeli courts required that the road be reopened to Arab traffic. As a result, during the first-stage, public transportation (Arab taxis) and municipal vehicles) were permitted to travel on the road. Pedestrian traffic was allowed on the entire road.
      During this period of time, Israeli women were constantly accosted, physically and verbally, primarily by Arab teenagers and young adults. Arab taxis filled the road, causing constant traffic issues. However the road remained open.
      Following the beginning of the second intifada in October, 2000, Arab terrorist forces began constant shooting attacks at the Jewish neighborhoods in Hebron from the hills surrounding the community, hills which were transferred to PA control as part of the Hebron Accords in January, 1997. Shalhevet Pass was murdered, and others were wounded. The Levi couple from Kiryat Arba was murdered by a homicide bomber who exploded next to them on the road. 

      Israeli security forces decided that the road must be closed to Arab traffic as a necessary security measure. According to continued examinations of the situation, they maintain this opinion.
      It must be said: The 2nd intifada was a declared war by the PA against Israel, Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and in our case, against Hebron's Jewish community in particular. Had the war not begun, the street would probably still be open. However, there is a price for war. When shooting began, with the intention of killing and maiming Jews, in an attempt to again force us from our homes, Israel decided not to 'turn the other cheek,' leading to mandatory security measures, some of which are still enforced at the present.
      4. Who gets to pray in the Tomb of the Patriarchs and when?
      The Tomb of Patriarchs is divided into a Muslim and a Jewish section. On most days, each group is allowed to pray in its designated area, although access to the tomb is difficult for Palestinians, as they must pass several checkpoints before reaching the Ibrahimi Mosque. For ten days a year, each group has access to the entire site while the other group is not allowed to enter.
      If the settlement isn’t there, will Jews (and other non-Muslims) be able to access the Cave of the Patriarchs?
      For 700 years, non-Muslims were denied access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs. They were only permitted to pray as high as the 7th step of a staircase on the Southern wall of the building. There is a justified fear that if Israel were not in control of the religious site non-Muslims would again be denied access. We believe in freedom of access to holy places all over Israel and Palestine for adherents of all religions. In any future agreement, we would call for the Palestinian Authority to allow open access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs as we would call for Israel to offer open access to holy sites within its borders.
      4. Response:
      1. Kamal Dweck, formerly deputy mayor of Hebron, declared that Ma'arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, should it ever again fall under Moslem control, would be accessible only to those of the Islamic faith.
      Yesterday I spoke with Mustafa Barghuti, former minister of information for the PA, and asked him who may worship at this holy site. He refused to answer the question. (See: http://goo.gl/mld0)
      Note that the structure above the authentic caves was built by Herod, King of Judea, 2,000 years ago, which is 600 years prior to the birth of Muhammad.
      Also, Jews and Christians must undergo the identical security examinations prior to entrance to the site as to Muslims.
      5. Would Jews be allowed to live in Hebron if it were under Palestinian control?
      It would be ideal if under some future agreement neither Israel nor the Palestinian Authority would restrict residence in cities or neighborhoods based on ethnicity or religion. The decision about the make-up Palestinian cities in the Palestinian territories would be made by the Palestinian Authority.
      Clearly the answer to the question is NO. A Jewish presence in Hebron without the presence of an Israeli security force would inevitably lead to results similar to those of 1929.
      6. Are the Israeli settlers of Hebron representative of the whole movement?
      The Israeli settlers in Hebron are the extreme in the movement in terms of their disregard for Israeli law. The policies that protect and allow the expansion of their settlements are the same as those throughout the entire occupied Palestinian territories.
      Why are there both Israeli police and Israeli soldiers in Hebron?
      In the occupied Palestinian territories, there are two systems of law in operation. Israeli martial law is imposed on the Palestinians in the territories because they are under military occupation. The Israeli settlers in the occupied territories are under the jurisdiction of the much more advanced Israeli civil legal system, which applies also to Israeli citizens living in Israel. The Israeli soldiers in Hebron enforce martial law on the Palestinian population and the Israeli police in Hebron are mandated to enforce Israeli law on Israeli citizens in the city. Neither of the two separate legal systems, which are enforced by a single government over two different populations that live in the same physical space, have the interests of Palestinian security or legal stability in mind.
      The Israeli Supreme Court is the highest court of appeal for Palestinians, but regards itself as an Israeli court being used by Palestinians rather than the high court for all the residents of Israel and Palestine. Two illustrative examples:
      ·                            Stone throwers: An Israeli child throwing stones in Hebron is considered a criminal offense and falls under the Israeli legal system. Children under 12, however, are channelled through social services rather than through the court system. A Palestinian child throwing stones in Hebron is considered a security offense. The police investigates and then the case is tried in military court. Palestinian children are generally held in custody until sentencing, considered a danger to society. Children regardless of age can end up in jail.
      ·                            Protesters: Israeli and Palestinian protesters detained at the same demonstration undergo two very different legal proceedings. After arrest, Israelis must be brought before a judge within 24 hours in order to extend the detention. Palestinians arrested for the same offense can be held for eight days before seeing a judge.
      7. How many soldiers and police officers are there?
      There is a single battalion of 500 soldiers stationed in Hebron. There are about 140 border police, who control the Tomb of Patriarchs, and 30-50 police officers in the city.
      For 600 Israeli settlers and 200 Jewish students in the city, why are there so many soldiers in Hebron?
      Enforcing security regulations in a dense, urban area in the midst of a hostile population requires significant force. Because of the lawless nature of the inhabitants of the Israeli settlements in the city, these soldiers and police officers are sometimes engaged in protecting Palestinians and Palestinian property from settler violence as well.
      Israeli security forces provide multiple services. 
      a) They offer protection to Hebron's residents against constant terror threats. (Since the beginning of 2010 thirteen Arabs have been apprehended with knives in the vicinity of Ma'arat HaMachpela, admitting that they intended to kill soldiers or civilians. One Arab attempted to stab an Israeli soldier and was shot and killed.)
      b) They offer protection to over half a million people who visit Hebron annually.
      c) They offer protection to Israelis throughout Israel. When Israel withdrew from the H1 – PA-controlled area of Hebron, Hebron terrorists planned attacks throughout Israel, killing, maiming and injuring scores of people. See Newsweek: The Jihad Soccer Club: They Were The Best Soccer Club In Hebron- http://goo.gl/tvsB.
      B’Tselem, The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee,  Breaking the Silence, Children of Abraham, The Tel Rumeida Popular Committee, Yesh Din, Association for Civil Rights in Israel,  The Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel 
      are all pro-active pro-Arab organizations, without any attempt at objectivity, impartiality or neutrality. See: http://goo.gl/GGyt
      For a graphic timeline of the Jewish history of Hebron see: http://goo.gl/WO28

      For more information see: Frequently asked questions about the Jewish Community of Hebron - http://goo.gl/d7tR
      In conclusion: the original FAQ document prepared, dealing with King David Street and the Jewish presence in Hebron was written by people who obviously reject, not only the Jewish presence in Hebron, but also throughout Judea and Samaria. It stands to reason that many of them also question the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael. This is obvious, as is written in the following question and answer: Why focus on Hebron? By building a focused campaign around a single issue in a particular locality, we hope to define achievable goals that will set a legal and political precedent for change in other areas of the occupied Palestinian territories as well.
      According to most 'Arab-palestinian leaders' all of Israel is 'occupied Palestinian territory.' (See following pages: 'Palestinian Tourist Map' printed by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities. Note the borders of 'palestine' – and Tel Aviv.) The conclusions reached are obvious.
      ThThis map can be downloaded in pdf format at: http://goo.gl/G30d