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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)

      Tevet 15, 5770, 1/1/2010

      Shabbat protest for security near Ma'arat HaMachpela

      This construction is being financed - on the order of tens of millions of dollars – by enemy organizations, as part of the war against the Jewish people and Eretz Israel.
      Hebron-Kiryat Arba leaders call on all area residents to struggle for secure passage to the Tomb of the Patriarchs

      Over the past few days it has became clear that the IDF and Civil Administration are permitting construction of a crowded Arab neighborhood on the access road used by people walking to and from the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

      This road is known as Simtat Erez – the Erez walkway, is named in memory of  Erez Shmuel who was murdered there a number of years ago, and which serves as the access route from Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

      As a result of the terrible terror attack on the nearby Worshiper's Way 8 years ago, the Supreme Court ordered that security measures be implemented in order to allow safe and secure passage on the walkway. They ordered that all 'dangerous areas and windows be sealed, in order to offer protection to people walking to and from Ma'arat HaMachpela.

      A few weeks ago the Hebron Brigade Commander requested that the Erez Walkway be closed to people on Shabbat, and to prevent the passage of Jews through that street for a few weeks in order to allow work on the sewer system in the area. People avoided walking there for a couple of weeks,  believing that this was truly the reason for the closing. However, lately it was noticed that the work being carried out under the noses of the army and civil administration is nothing less than a large-scale construction project, allowing establishment of a large, dense Arab neighborhood, funded by the Gulf States and the Europe Union. This will significantly change the demographic balance in the entire area and result in additional security risks for people, between Hebron and Kiryat Arba.

      After having discovered this fraud, Hebron Kiryat leaders demanded that the Hebron brigade commander reestablish all the security measures which had been dismantled.

      In their letter they wrote, among other things:

      "We want to remind you, that the sealing of these openings became the subject matter in the High Court of Justice , after the state declared before High Court of Justice that security needs are minimal, and after Supreme Court judges (Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, and judges Cheshin and Procaccia - 10497/02 HCJ 10356/0) ruled that these steps should be implemented, and that this is the right balance between the various human rights (right to life, right to worship, freedom of worship and freedom of expression, and property rights). For this reason, the IDF immediately sealed the openings compromising security, otherwise they would have been in contempt of court (as explained to us many times when the IDF acted resolutely against Jewish residents in the city, according to the High Court decision or positions of the Supreme Court). "

      After a week, seeing that construction work was not discontinued, and that people's security was still being compromised, area leaders today called for all residents to participate in a struggle for a secure way to and from Ma'arat HaMachpela. A notice was distributed to Hebron-Kiryat Arba residents, which stated:

      The works are carried out in the area of the Erez Walkway is being done under the guise of misleading fraud: we were told that the work being done was to renew the sewer pipes, and for this reason we stopped on walking there on Shabbat. However, instead of working on the sewer line, a hostile crowded Arab neighborhood is being built. This construction is being financed - on the order of tens of millions of dollars – by enemy organizations, as part of the war against the Jewish people and Eretz Israel.

      All the safety measures placed on the road were removed, and that road is now being abandoned to terrorists and murderers! We will not we reconcile with this situation! We demand that the Arabs cease construction, ensuring the rights and safety of Jewish people in the city of the Patriarchs!

      We should all remember: our physical and spiritual  existence is based on  our connection to the Tomb of the Patriarchs; safe passage to Ma'arat HaMachpela is part of our essence!

      Residents are being called on to participate in a protest called for Shabbat morning  together with rabbis and community leaders.

      Orit Struck, director of legal department of the Jewish community in Hebron, said that "We see ourselves as guardians of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and of the ways to reach this holy site. If we did not struggle for this over the years, Ma'arat HaMachpela today would be in the same condition of Joseph's Tomb in Shechem, or at best, as Rachel's Tomb. We can not allow this to happen. Jews all over the country and the world who come to this holy place are entitled to reach it safely. Even the Supreme Court understood that, after weighing the right of property and freedom of movement of Arabs in the region, nevertheless ruling in favor of the right to life, and the right to freedom of worship. We will not allow this principle to be violated. "

      Sandbags for construction rather than pipe renewal
      Formerly sealed windows, all reopened



      Tevet 14, 5770, 12/31/2009

      Rabbi Meir Chai HY"D: A story that must be told

      A few days ago one of my sons visited the Chai family in Shavei Shomron. He lived in that community for a number of years and knowing the family wanted to pay a condolence call. At their home he heard the following story, which he later related to me. I've also seen it in print, and it's true.

      Twelve years ago a man was involved in a very serious automobile accident, and was determined by the doctors to be clinically dead. However, miracle of miracles, somehow they managed to prevent his death. He eventually woke up, and following a lengthy hospitalization, fully recovered and was sent home.

      After his recovery, this man told his family the following: In fact, I was dead, and was sent to the next world. There, I cried before the holy court, telling them that my wife had just given birth to a son, and how could I leave them now, my wife a widow and my son an orphan. I told them that I wanted to learn Torah with my new son.
      After a while they came back and notified me that my request was accepted. I would be able to return to this world, for twelve years.

      That man was Rabbi Meir Chai. Last week, today, he was killed, exactly twelve years to the day of the auto accident, over a decade ago. He was on his way home to the birthday party for the son born to him 12 years before.

      Rabbi Chai's father-in-law was in Uman, at the Tomb of Rabbi Nachman from Breslov when the murder occurred. Speaking at the funeral, he told that he'd gone to Uman to try to have the decree annulled, but that he hadn't succeeded. His son-in-law, Rabbi Meir Chai, returned to 'the next world' exactly as he'd been told he would, twelve years earlier.


      Tevet 12, 5770, 12/29/2009

      Shech Abdul Hadi Palazzi in Hebron

      Sheikh Prof. Abdul Hadi Palazzi (Arabic: شيخ عبد الهادي بالاتسي‎), legally named Massimo Palazzi, is the leader of Italian Muslim Assembly and a co-founder and a co-chairman of the Islam-Israel Fellowship, based on what Palazzi believes are the authentic teachings of Muhammad as expressed in the Qur'an and the Hadith.
      Palazzi was born in Rome, Italy to an Italian Catholic father who converted to Islam and a Muslim mother of Syrian descent.[1] [2] [3] After completing his secular and religious education in Rome and Cairo in 1987, he served as an Imam for the Italian Islamic Community. In addition to numerous Masters Degrees, Palazzi holds a Ph.D. in Islamic Sciences from the Institute for Islamic Studies and Research in Naples.[4]
      He was appointed a member of the Board of Directors of the Italian Muslim Association in 1989, and is now its Secretary General.[5] Since 1991, he was a Director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, with a program based on the development of Islamic education in Italy, refutation of fundamentalism and fanaticism, and deep involvement in inter-religious dialogue, especially with Jews and Christians, but also with Buddhists and others.
      In 1997, Palazzi joined the International Council of the Root and Branch Association and his essay entitled "The Jewish-Moslem Dialogue and the Question of Jerusalem" was published by the Institute of the World Jewish Congress. He has also been a lecturer in the Department of the History of Religion at the Università della Terza Età in Velletri, near Rome.[6] [7]
      In 1998, Palazzi and Dr. Asher Eder (Jerusalem) co-founded the Islam-Israel Fellowship, promoting a positive Muslim attitude towards Jews and Israel based on what Prof. Palazzi believes are the authentic teachings of Muhammad as expressed in the Qur'an and the Hadith. Prof. Palazzi serves as Muslim Co-Chairman of the Fellowship. Dr. Eder serves as the Jewish Co-Chairman. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Hadi_Palazzi

      "The forced Wahabization of al-Harmayn (Mecca and Medina) and the oil wealth of the world's only Wahabi state, Saudi Arabia, has completely changed the face of the Islamic world and the way Islam is perceived by non-Muslims and even by some Muslims. Although the Saudi funded propaganda has failed to convert the majority of Sunnis to Wahabism, yet it has succeeded in creating small Wahabi oriented sectarian groups, like Ikhwan al-Muslimin, the so called Ahl-e-Hadith, and the pseudo Salafis. Some contents of that propaganda have strongly influenced the non-Wahabi Muslim perceptions of modernity and of the Judeo-Christian West, " said Sheikh Professor Abdul Hadi Palazzi, the Secretary General of the Italian Muslim Assembly , the Director of the Cultural Institute of the Italian Islamic Community, Rome, and the Co-Founder & Co-Chairman of the Islam-Israel Fellowship, Jerusalem, while delivering a lecture on "The Misinterpretation of Islam by Non-Muslims as well as Muslims", at the Persian Department of the University of Lucknow, under the joint auspices of the department and Open Space, on 28th July, 2009. With a doctorate in Islamic Sciences from the Institute for Islamic Studies and Research in Naples (by the authorization of the former Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia), and ijazzah, authorization to teach, both the Qur'anic exegesis and the Islamic Law, from the prestigious Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Prof. Palazzi backed his somewhat surprising positions with citations from the Qur'an and the traditional Muslim sources.

      Tevet 8, 5770, 12/25/2009

      Rabbi Meir Chai's funeral in Jerusalem - photos

      Meir Chai - three sons reciting Kaddish

      Ministers Eli Yishai and Ya'akov Neeman and MK Nissim Zeev
      Rabbi Meir Chai taught two of Neeman's grandchildren Torah.

      Rabbi Yehoshua Shmidt

      Rabbi Chaim Druckman

      Minister Eli Yishai

      Mayor Gershon Mesika

      Minister Yaakov Neeman

      MK Nissim Zeev

      Danny Dayan

      MK Yaakov Katz - Ketzeleh

      Eliyahu Chai

      Tevet 7, 5770, 12/24/2009

      A light extinguished, peace violated, a life lost

      What my interrogators rarely discuss is the right of Israelis, of Jews, to live. To live, period!
      Many years ago, when my oldest son, now 28, was in his first year of high school, he woke up one morning only to hear that one of his teachers had been murdered the night before in a terrorist attack. He never forgot that teacher, and named his first son in his memory.

      An hour ago my youngest son, now in his first year of high school, called us and said that one of the other boys in his class had just been notified that his father was killed in a terrorist attack near his home in the Shomron.

      The terror victim, Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai, 45 years old, father of seven, had been a neighbor of my oldest son, when he lived in that community, Shavei Shomron.

      It’s been quite some time since I experienced the sensations I presently feel, but as they return, so do the black memories of years of killing and bloodshed. It’s a horrible feeling, and it’s hard to shake the premonition that ‘it’s starting again.’ But if, as may very well happen, 1,000 terrorists are released for Gilad Shalit in the next few weeks, may G-d have mercy on all of us. We’ve been through it before, after other terrorist swaps, and it is far from being pleasant. To the contrary, it’s a recipe for major warfare against Jews in Israel, be they in Tel Aviv, Hebron, or Haifa. 

      I work with many different kinds of groups, and spend hours answering questions about ‘human rights for palestinians’ in Hebron and other places in Israel. What my interrogators rarely discuss is the right of Israelis, of Jews, to live. To live, period! They tend to ignore the Arab terror, or equate it to graffiti, rock-throwing, or security measures implemented to protect Jewish lives, to prevent killing.  But the right of Jews to simply live, to raise their families, to watch their kids get married, to play with their grandchildren, that is all mundane, of no significance or importance.

      Yesterday a young woman, a Jewish woman from New York, tried to convince me of the supremacy of non-violence. Even someone attacked shouldn’t hit back – all the world’s problems can and should be dealt with and solved passively.

      Tell that to my son’s classmate.

      It’s difficult for me now even to write. Here I am, sitting at home, enjoying my children and my new grandchildren, knowing that a family has just been destroyed, that those seven kids won’t ever celebrate the joy of a birthday, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, a wedding or any other event, with their father; that this man, taken so abruptly and barbarically, will never have the ‘nachas’ the pleasure, of playing with his grandchildren – only because he was a Jew, living in his land, doing his best for his family, for his people, for his G-d.

      I only hope that where he is now, he will stand before the L-rd, praying for his children and his widow, for his people, for his land, that they should be comforted. Meir means to radiate light, AvShalom, means the father of peace, Chai means life. This man radiated light, peace and life. He not only radiated – he taught, as does a Rabbi. Rabbi Meir Avshalom Chai – a light extinguished,  a peace violated, a life lost. So sad, so tragic, so unnecessary. 

      It is our job to ensure that his light is rekindled, that his life never forgotten and that the goals he set for himself, his family and his people, be fulfilled. And so we will. May his memory be a blessing, HaShem Yikom Damo - may G-d avenge his blood.