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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Torah Tidbits Audio
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.
Links to sites David recommends:
(others to be added)
Tishrei 20, 5770, 10/8/2009
Chabad Simchat Beit HaShoava at Avraham Avinu neighorhood
Erez Urieli, Director of Center Against Antisemitism in Norway
Jan Willem van der Hoven and the ICZC visit Hebron during Succot
Tishrei 18, 5770, 10/6/2009
This year's Succot music festival was sponsored by the Hebron Fund
Tishrei 13, 5770, 10/1/2009
Fighting back, Israel eventually negotiated an armistice in 1949 that allowed a respite from open war, albeit not terrorism, and without peace. The Egyptians occupied the Gaza Strip; the Jordanians occupied Judea, Samaria and the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the Old City and Temple Mount; Syria continued to occupy the Golan Heights, from which it constantly shelled Israeli settlements; all trained and supplied terrorists who raided Israel. The UN did nothing.
Arabs who left homes and property in Israel and many from other countries who joined Arab armies and did not want to return, remained in Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, most as "refugees" under the care of UNRWA.
This heterogeneous population was called "Arab refugees," not "Palestinians," because at the time there was no such group, or people.
One reason they were called "Arab refugees" was because there were many other refugees in Palestine, who were Jewish. Hundreds of thousands of Jewish refugees from Arab countries streamed into Israel. UNRWA offered no aid, although Jewish refugees had lost everything and the newly established state had few resources.
It took a crafty Egyptian, Yasser Arafat, to create the PLO with his friends to promote the destruction of Israel and the return of Arab refugees. Arab countries saw them as convenient proxies in their war against Israel, to "liberate Palestine."
Except for Jordan, no Arab host country permitted the newcomers to obtain citizenship; as temporary residents, their civil and humanitarian rights were harshly restricted.
The designation "Palestinian" did not become widely accepted until after the war in 1967, in which Israel, in self-defense, captured areas that had been assigned to a Jewish State by the League of Nations and Mandate, and then occupied by Arab countries: Judea, Samaria, and eastern Jerusalem; the Gaza Strip, Golan Heights, rich in Jewish history and archeology, and the Sinai Peninsula.
As the PLO launched mega-terrorist attacks around the world, "Palestinianism" became accepted, backed by the Arab League, Muslim and "non-aligned" countries, and the United Nations.
As the proportion of anti-Israel countries in the UN grew, "Palestinians" were given more and more recognition, support and legitimacy, unlike any other group.
And the fraud worked! It worked so well because the world's media accepted the Palestinians' self-definition and their cause. Even the Israeli media, politicians and jurists adopted this myth. Academics promoted "Palestinian archeology," "Palestinian society and culture." Every time someone writes or speaks of "Palestinians" it reinforces this myth.
Most major newspapers use only the term "West Bank" – a Jordanian reference from 1950 to distinguish the area from the "East Bank" – rather than its authentic names, Judea and Samaria, apparently to deny its Jewish history.
"Palestinian" came to mean Arabs who lived in Judea, Samaria and Gaza – as well as those in UNRWA-sponsored "refugee camps" in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan, and hundreds of thousands of "Palestinians" living throughout the world. By UNRWA's unique and controversial definition, anyone who claims to live or have lived in Palestine, and all descendents, forever, are considered "Palestinian," with full rights and privileges.
Spread among 58 "refugee camps" (in many cases entire towns) UNRWA's over half-billion dollar budget supports about 1.5 million "refugees in camps" and 5 million "registered refugees;" the total population is expected to reach 7 or 8 million next year, and growing.
As Palestinian nationalism spread among Israeli Arabs, the term became an identity magnet for Arabs on both sides of the 1949 Armistice Line – the "Green Line," as well as those living in other countries. Today, "Palestinian" can be anyone who for whatever reason identifies as such, including their children, grandchildren, etc.
This amalgam of national identity is possible because "Palestinian" is not a separate, unique linguistic, cultural, ethnic, religious or racial group. Nor does this motley group, currently led by Fatah and Hamas terrorist organizations, aspire to a country with clearly defined borders. Their goal is not statehood, but exterminating the Jews, thereby "liberating Palestine."
The success of "Palestinianism" is a tribute to what money, influence and Jew-hatred will buy and attract. That Jewish and Israeli media and NGO's support Palestinianism stems from liberal ideals of helping those who are less fortunate, the underdog, and even a genuine, although misdirected desire to live in peace, a supreme Jewish value.
Although there's probably no way to prevent the notion of "Palestiniansm" from spreading, there's no reason to ignore it, and less to accept it. Arabs of Palestine are entitled to civil and human rights in the countries in which they have resided for generations. That there needs to be a second Arab Palestinian state, in addition to Jordan, which was carved out of Palestine and whose population is two-thirds "Palestinian," and whether such a state will resolve all the attendant problems is extremely doubtful.
That the State of Israel should commit suicide to accomplish this goal is unthinkable.
Printed in Ynet
The author, a former assistant professor of History, is a writer and journalist living in Israel
Tishrei 11, 5770, 9/29/2009
On Sunday, Yom Kippur eve, Arabs again started hurling rocks at worshipers at the Western Wall from Temple Mount above. Rock-throwing and fire-bomb attacks are continuing in Ir David - the city of David. Similar attacks are continuing on other roads throughout Judea and Samaria.
Rocket are falling in the south, initiated from terrorist-held Gaza.
And now, again, we receive news of a terror shooting in the Binyamin region, not far from the Shilo community, between Shvut Rachel and Achiya. An Israeli was 'moderately' injured, with a bullet hitting near his elbow.
It was only a few weeks ago in Bethlehem when the 'moderate' Abu-Mazen terrorist force, Fatah "retained the armed struggle as a strategy in order to liberate the whole of Palestinian and eliminate Israel...calling for ‘the liberation of Palestine completely and the elimination of the state of the Zionist occupation economically, politically, militarily, and culturally’. And ...calling for ‘establishing a sovereign democratic Palestinian state on the entire Palestinian territory’. So clarifies the Jewish Center for Public Affairs (JCPA)
Knessent member Ahmad Tibi, said that the palestinian territory should be “cleaned” of Israeli settlers
In other words, armed struggle is certainly still part of their game. Only a couple of days ago Jibril Rajoub, former PA Hebron chief, and now a leading member of the Fatah committee, was quoted as saying, "Israel won't live securely until occupation ends."
These are the moderates. And the violence is starting again. This is clearly a reaction to Netanyahu's refusal to kowtow to King Hussein's demands for a total 'settlement freeze.' The king wants at least a year. Netanyahu refused, offering 'only' nine months. King Hussein's Cairo speech and that in the UN make it clear as day: he's backing the Arabs against Israel.
With that kind of support, why should the enemy wait. After all, following Goldstone, they figure that Israel won't dare retaliate in any drastic fashion, no matter how many rockets fall on southern Israel.
Israeli leaders must stop the 3rd intifada before it takes off. This intifada will include rockets from the south, and very possibly from the north, as well as terror throughout Israel. It seems that a green light is about to be turned on, signaling commencement of a third wave of killing.
Israel has the ability to stop the terror, even before it begins. In the past, Israeli leaders, for whatever reason, refused to act decisively until many too many Israeli were dead and injured. This is inexcusable. As Israel prepares to deal with Iranian nuclear threat, it cannot ignore the immediate danger to its citizens from hate-filled Arabs close to home, whose only desire is to kill as many Jews as possible and bring about the destruction of the State of Israel.
Bibi and his government must hit back now, and hit back hard.
Tishrei 7, 5770, 9/25/2009
On one of the pillars inside the Avraham Avinu synagogue is a plaque, with the cover page and introduction of a holy book, titled Emek HaMelech, meaning the Valley of the King. This book was authored by Rabbi Naftali Hertz Bachrach and published in 1648. It's subject matter is Kabbalah, known popularly as "Jewish mysticism."
Towards the end of Chapter nine of the author's introduction is a short paragraph, short in quantity, but quantitatively, immeasurable.
The story is well known. Exactly 490 years ago, the year 1619, in Hebron:
The paragraph, as it is written, in Emek HaMelach:
And it was on the eve of Yom Kippur, and there were only nine men, and they waited for the villagers to arrive, but not even one came, because they had all gone to Jerusalem, which is a quarter of a day's walk. And they were greatly saddened that on Yom Kippur they would pray individually and they wept much, and the sun was setting and daylight was disappearing. And they lifted their eyes and here was an elderly man, in the distance, and they were overjoyed to see him. And when he arrived they offered him a final meal, but he blessed them and said that he had eaten on the way. And they worshipped on the holy day and honored him greatly. And the next night they began discussions, because all of them wanted to host the guest in his home. And they compromised and conducted a draw, and the prayer leader (Chazan) was selected, he was a holy man who had wondrous dreams and night visions. And the Chazan led the guest to his home, with the guest walking behind him. And when he arrived at his home, the Chazan turned to honor the guest, that he should enter first, and he saw that the guest was gone. And they searched the entire courtyard, but didn't find him, and all were greatly saddened, thinking that the guest had left already that night, and did not want to enjoy anything from them. And that night the old man appeared before the Chazan in a dream and told him that he was Avraham Avinu, who had come to complete the minyon because he had seen that they were so upset about having to pray individually. And they were very happy and blessed the Great G-d, who had done wondrous things, Amen, May it be His Will:
From then on, the synagogue was known as the Avraham Avinu synagogue.
When Jews returned to Hebron following the 1967 Six day war, the ancient shul was gone. A sheep sty and public bathroom occupied the place where the shul had stood for over 400 years.
Due to the dedication and determination of one man, Professor BenTzion Tavgar, zt"l, the area was eventually cleaned out and the shul rebuilt.
This year, as every year, Yom Kippur prayers will be heard from this beautiful holy place.
Prof. Tavgar, prior to his death, wrote a book called "My Hebron" which was published a few years ago in Hebrew. It was recently translated into English and is now available. The following paragraphs, dealing with the rededication of the Shul and its ancient Torah scrolls, are from the book.
While I was in the Synagogue, waiting for the Torah Scroll to be brought in, I looked around once again at the walls of the building. The Synagogue was now splendidly built, more or less approximating its original form, before the Arabs had destroyed it in the 1950s. There might have been a few minimal changes here or there, and perhaps not everything had been completed and it was still necessary to fix something or other, but on the whole, the Synagogue now looked beautiful, it appeared splendid. One could even say that it was impressive, though not very modern.
This place, where previously there had been a goat shed, which had symbolized our disgrace and humiliation, was magnificently renovated and the ancient synagogue was at its center. We can pray in it! This is not something insignificant! It is a great thing, but it is not the conclusive thing, at least not from my point of view. When I had begun to dig here I had not set a goal for myself only to renovate the synagogue and not even the entire Jewish Quarter. My aim had been to change the atmosphere that had enabled the entrenchment of a state of affairs wherein on the site where a synagogue had once been standing in full glory, suddenly three “magnificent” establishments are standing: a goat-shed, a public toilet facility and a garbage dump. According to documents, the functioning of the goat shed within the synagogue had been approved by the Israeli authorities. Someone had signed the leasing contract with the Arab who was using the structure to house his goats. Someone had signed and others had agreed to it, or had turned a blind eye, while on the other hand, there were Jews whose soul had desired to clean the Synagogue, to prepare it and restore its original function, and to turn it once again into a place of prayer.
How had this happened? How had such a disgraceful process come about? The Military Administration had been assigned to guard there. The goat-shed, the public toilet and the garbage dump were being guarded by soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces. The government had assigned guards to attack me, with the aim of perpetuating this terrible disgrace. Another thing, possibly even worse, because I find it hard to imagine anything worse, was the judicial persecution, the utilization of the force of the law against me and against others. How many times had they submitted indictments against me?! They had trumped up those indictments. And what were the charges? I am ashamed to say... Sometimes, the “facts” written in the indictment had actually been libelous and impertinent lies completely divorced from reality. Jews had lied with barefaced audacity in order to keep the goats in place of the Synagogue. Many times the trials had been held in military courts. There is no greater shame than to see a scene where the judges, the prosecutor and the witnesses are all wearing the uniform of the Israel Defense Forces, all joining hands to convict you in a field court, without your even having the right to appeal.
In any case, I felt very festive during the ceremony and was completely overcome by joy.
More can be seen at: http://www.hebron.com/english/article.php?id=581#syn