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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)

      Kislev 26, 5770, 12/13/2009

      Champion Chabad boxer Dmitriy Salita visits Hebron


      Dmitriy Salita at Beit Hadassah in Hebron

      Sparring with Michael Pollack

      At Ma'arat HaMachpela

      Outside Beit Shneerson - home of Menucha Rochel Slonin, in Hebron

      A sensational welterweight prospect, Dimitriy is a sharp, accurate puncher with good handspeed. After he moved to Brooklyn, Dmitriy was exposed to orthodox Judaism and became an observant Jew. He strictly follows Jewish law – if he has a fight on a Saturday, it must begin after sundown, the end of the sabbath. Dmitriy said, “Anyone who wants a good whuppin’ from me is just going to have to wait until sundown.” There are as many as 70 Jewish holy days on which he will not fight, and he follows Jewish dietary laws. When he’s training, he stays within walking distance of a synagogue for Friday and Saturday services – he’s not allowed to drive on the sabbath. 

      Promoter Bob Arum said, “If he’s as good as it appears he is, and he can be held up as an example of religious devotion to both Jews and gentiles, he’ll be a great attraction.” 

      Dmitriy said, “I will never compromise my beliefs. Never. It’s not a question. I have a personal relationship with God that I won’t compromise. My boxing is such a big part of my life, but it won’t get in the way of my religion. It can’t, and it won’t.” 

      Dmitriy said, “I enjoy being different. People are surprised at how good the white, Jewish kid is, surprised that I can fight. I take that as a compliment.”  http://www.dsalita.com

      Kislev 26, 5770, 12/13/2009

      AFSI Protest Against Israel's Construction Freeze

                  Sunday, Dec. 13, 2009, from 11AM-12 noon, in front of the Israeli Consulate, 42nd Street and Second Avenue, NYC, people of conscience will gather to protest against the immoral, illegal, unconscionable construction freeze ordered by PM Bibi Netanyahu.  It’s purpose seems to be to appease the Arab enemy, which has already announced that the freeze is insufficient to meet its demands.
                  In violation of the right-wing Likud mandate to preserve the Land of Israel for the Jewish people, a draconian order has been issued to stop work on all construction in the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria for a period of ten months while Arab construction continues unabated. 
      Defense Minister Ehud Barak is implementing this order with the use of the IDF and Yassamnakim, a special forces unit, dressed in black, reminiscent of the Nazi SS. 
                  Just as in the expulsion of the Jews from Gush Katif, no thought has been given to the emotional, economic, and physical hardships inflicted upon the 300,000 residents of Judea and Samaria, as well as all those involved in the construction industry. 
                  We urge all those who care about the preservation of the Land of Israel to be present on the second day of Chanukah, Sunday, Dec. 13, to rally to the cry of Judah Maccabee, “All those who are faithful, follow me!!” Although this rally will be taking place in NYC, we urge people throughout the country to follow suit and organize demonstrations in their own communities. 
                  Contact the AFSI office, 212-828-2424; 1-800-235-3658; afsi@rcn.com for additional information.

      Kislev 23, 5770, 12/10/2009

      Blog Stew

      Sure is a funny title - Blog stew. Well, stew is usually a combination of all sorts of ingredients - so it is with this blog - a few different subjects not really connected to each other, except that they are all here together under the same roof.

      First: You may remember that a few weeks ago I posted an article about Dr. Aharon Abraham and his wife Ruth Malka, who were remarried at Ma'arat HaMachpela following their conversion. Dr. Abraham's story is nothing less than amazing; I realized that after first reading about him and later, meeting and speaking with him.

      A couple of days ago I filmed the doctor, who told, in an hour, his life story. It is incredibly breath-taking and inspiring. Some of his perceptions, as he describes them, almost make your hair stand up. It is highly,highly recommended, an hour very well spent.


      Dr. Aharon Abraham: My journey to Judaism and Israel from David Hebron on Vimeo.

      Second: At the beginning of this past week Chabad marked 'yud-tet kislev' - the day the Ba'al HaTanya was miraculously released from a Russian jail. (It is also the birthday of Menucha Rochel, his grand daughter, who lived in Hebron for almost 50 years and is buried in the ancient Jewish cemetery.) Below is a short  video of some of that celebration, here in Hebron.

      Third: A few days ago I posted a blog called 'How to beat the freeze' and wrote about one of my daughters' illegal activities - giving birth to twins, thereby breaking the building freeze. Well, it happened again. Another daughter, who lived in Beit HaShalom until they were expelled a year ago, gave birth early this morning to her fourth child, a sweet little girl. Mazal Tov.

      But this birth has more to it than meets the eye. A number of years ago I began researching my family history, a subject I knew almost nothing about. I won't go into all the details, only that which is relevant to the present story. I discovered my great-great grandfather, named Leon (Aryeh Leib) who came to the United States from Prussia in the 1850s with two sons, Samuel (my father's grandfather) and David. Leon Wilder died, by the Hebrew date, on the 7th of Tishrei, three days before Yom Kippur, in 1899. My daughter Aderet, who gave birth today, was born on the 7th of Tishrei.

      Leon's younger son, David, was named after his grandfather, David Wilder. This boy died at the age of 15, in 1871. The date of his passing is 23 Kislev, today, the same day Aderet gave birth to her new daughter.


      Oh, did I mention that both Leon and David are buried at the "Machpelah cemetery' in New York?!

      Kislev 21, 5770, 12/8/2009

      Does Terrorism Work? Eric D. Gould & Esteban F. Klor

      Does Terrorism Work?
      Eric D. Gould and Esteban F. Klor
      Department of Economics
      The Hebrew University of Jerusalem
      November 2009

      Source: http://economics.huji.ac.il/facultye/klor/DTW.pdf

      8. Conclusions

      This paper presents the first systematic examination of whether terrorism is an effective strategy to achieve political goals, while paying particular attention to the issue of causality.  Our results show that terror attacks by Palestinian factions have succeeded to move the entire political landscape of the Israeli electorate towards a more accommodating stance regarding the political objectives of the Palestinians.  Specifically, we show that local terror attacks cause Israelis to be: (i) more willing to grant territorial concessions to the Palestinians; (ii) more willing to accept a Palestinian state; and (iii) less likely to identify oneself as being right-wing.  Although terrorism induces Israelis to vote increasingly for right-wing parties, our results indicate that right-wing parties (and particular demographic groups which tend to be right-wing in their views) are shifting to the left in response to terror.
      We show that local terror attacks cause Israelis to be: (i) more willing to grant territorial concessions to the Palestinians; (ii) more willing to accept a Palestinian state; and (iii) less likely to identify oneself as being right-wing.

      These findings highlight the importance of examining how terrorism affects political views, not  just voting patterns,  when assessing the effectiveness of terror.  Looking at the effect of terrorism only on voting patterns in order to infer its effect on political views would lead to the opposite conclusion, at least in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      While terrorism in small doses appears to be an effective political tool, our results suggest that terror activity beyond a certain threshold seems to backfire on the goals of terrorist factions, by hardening the stance of the targeted population.  This finding could be one explanation for why terrorist factions  tend to implement their tactics in episodes that are rather limited in scale and diverse in terms of geographic placement. 

      Others have argued that Palestinian terrorism has worked in exacting political concessions (Dershowitz (2002)  and Hoffman (2006)).  Their claim, however, is that terrorism raised the salience of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which increased pressure from the international community on the Israeli government.  Our paper shows that terrorism works not only because of the possibility of fostering international pressure, but also because it creates domestic political pressure from the targeted electorate. 

      Many conflicts in history have been settled by peaceful means (the racial conflict in South Africa, the civil rights movement in the US, the British occupation of India, etc).  Understanding when conflicts are conducted peacefully versus violently is a complicated issue that deserves more attention.  It may well be the case that a more peaceful, diplomatic strategy would have been more effective in achieving Palestinian goals.

      Moreover, the apparent political effectiveness of Palestinian terrorism may not have been worth the economic, social, and human cost to the Palestinian population over time, as the conflict remains unsettled to this day. However, by showing that terror can be an effective political tool, our findings not only provide insights into how the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has evolved over time, but also shed light on why terror appears to be increasing in many parts of the world.  Effective and comprehensive counterterrorism policies -- which may consist of deterrence, raising the costs to terrorists, and diplomatic efforts -- have to take into account the political gains which can be obtained through terrorism.

      Kislev 19, 5770, 12/6/2009

      The Hebron Fund Dinner 2009


      Dinners, as dinners go, can be terribly boring. No, not our evening family meals together, rather the annual fund-raising events hosted by dozens of non-profit organizations. Getting hundreds of people together, providing good food, while honoring a few worthy people or families is a wonderful excuse to ask for money.

      But, I must say, (even if I'm not, in this case, the most objective person around), that this year's Hebron Fund dinner was far from being boring. To the contrary, it was a wonderfully enjoyable event.

      First of all, I must offer much gratitude to Abdalah – New York, for assisting to make this event the success it was.  It is no secret that the financial meltdown, together with the Medoff fiasco, has caused many a crisis in numerous organizations. Donations are down and it's not as easy today to get people out to 'dinners' as it once was.

      But, we had help. Abdalah-New York decided to actively protest against the New York Mets' decision to rent the Hebron Fund the Ceasar's Club for the dinner. Their protest made the news, and as a result, the Hebron Fund received lots of free publicity, in newspapers and on the internet.

      Of course, their protests failed and the event took place as scheduled. I have no doubt that their 'assistance' backfired, bringing out people who might otherwise have stayed home.

      I must add that Citi Stadium was a wonderful choice of venue. The hall itself was beautiful, and the other accommodations just right. There was lots of free parking, and the location was about 20 minutes to a half hour from where almost everyone who attended lived, so what could be better than that?! Kudos to the Mets!

      The event, was, as earlier stated, not boring at all. The meal was buffet, with a choice of just about anything your heart, or stomach, could desire. Sushi, meat, salads, chicken, you name it and it was there, and it was scrumptious. The hall provided small tables, as well as 'coffee corners' with sofas and chairs, for all those who preferred to sit. Other could wander around, meeting old friends who perhaps they hadn't seen in quite some time. Of course, all attending had at least one thing in common: all were friends and supporters of Hebron!

      After about an hour and a half, the official program began. I won't go into all the gory details about the guests-of-honor, except to say that they included: Josh and Sherrie Miller, Bernie and Debbie Thau, Daniel and Tova Lieberman, Rabbi Aaron and Karen Goldscheider, and our own Noam Arnon, who was also awarded this year's Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. Anyone interested in photos and short 'guest-of-honor videos' are invited to peak in at: http://www.hebron.com/english/gallery.php?id=303. Take a look – the videos, or perhaps better put, the people in the videos, are really very inspiring.

      The program included some prayers for our soldiers and for Israeli POWS. Participating from Hebron were Avraham Ben Yosef, Noam Arnon, Yoni Bleichbard, Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum, Rabbi Danny Cohen and yours truly. The man who put it all together is Yossi Baumol, Executive Director of Hebron Fund, who worked very very hard to make the evening the success that it was. Many others participated in putting the event together, and if I start naming names, I'll inevitably forget someone, so I'll just add a blanket 'thank you' from all of us here in Hebron to all the wonderful people who invested so much time (and money) to bring the evening to fruition.

      So, you might now ask, 'well, it sounds like a fairly normal, 'everyday' kind of fund-raising dinner. What made this one so 'special?'

      Very simple. It's not easy to describe in words – I guess you had to have been there – but the atmosphere, the warmth, the electricity present for those few hours, was really unique. I've attended many such events, but don't remember one as pleasant and as memorable as this one. And I have proof: Usually, as dinners draw to and end, not too many people are still hanging around; they've eaten, watched the show, had dessert, paid their donation, and left. But this time around, people were literally requested to leave and were shown to the door, before the witching hour for which we had rented the hall, struck twelve. I don't ever before recall guests being asked to leave.

      As I said, a really really enjoyable evening. I can honestly say that anyone not there missed a worthwhile, meaningful and pleasant evening. But don't despair. They'll be another one next year. And whoever would like to still show some tangible support for Hebron can, at: www.hebrontruma.com.

      Until next time…..

      With blessings from Hebron.