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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)

      Av 12, 5769, 8/2/2009

      Bring on the Crowds (Tzir Tzion Reopened)

      The most natural and healthy reaction to Barak's madness is the opposite of what he wants and desires
      Ehud Barak is an expert in death and destruction.  Some nine years ago, as Prime Minister, Barak gave the Israeli army orders to flee from southern Lebanon, thereby abandoning Israel's northern border. The direct result of this criminal negligence was the strengthening of Hizballah, and the 2nd Lebanon War, which left almost two hundred Israeli soldiers and citizens dead. Hundreds of terrorist rockets blanketed Israel's north for over a month.

      Barak's second death trap came a few months later, in July, 2000. During the 2nd Camp David talks, Barak offered Arafat about 95% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The direct result of this insanity led to the Oslo War, aka the 2nd Intifada, which cost the lives of almost 1,500 Israelis from October, 2000 to the middle - end of 2002.

      Barak is no stranger to expulsion and destruction. Eight months ago Barak gave orders to expel Jewish families from Beit HaShalom in Hebron, leaving the building in ruins. It should be recalled that the community paid over one million dollars to purchase the building, thanks to the generosity of Abraham family from Brooklyn.

      Ehud Barak today continued on his unique path of damage and danger. This morning the Israel Defense Forces, under orders from Defense Minister Barak, ordered the reopening of Tzir Tzion – the Zion Road, leading into Hebron, to Arab traffic.

      The road had been closed to Arabs since the double murder of David Cohen and Hezzy Mualem on that road on July 12, 2001. The road had been closed off to Arab traffice prior to that date, but had been reopened that morning. An Arab terrorist, taking advantage of the situation, drove through, shooting and killing Cohen next to the entrance to Kiryat Arba. Later that night, during a protest by members of the Kiryat Arba town council, Councilman Mualem was shot and killed on the road. From that date on the road was closed to Arab vehicular traffic.

      A couple of months ago Ehud Barak announced reopening of the road to 'select' Arab traffic, limiting the vehicles only to people who live on or near the road. Despite Hebron community protests, the date was set. A day before the planned opening, at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli's intelligence chief revealed his opposition to the road's reopening. As a result Tzir Tzion was left closed. The committee requested that Barak refrain from any further measures until they had a chance to study the issue and publicize their own recommendations.

      Two weeks ago, again Barak announced that the road would be reopened by the end of July. As so it was that this morning concrete barriers were removed at three points along the road, leaving a gate and soldiers to check those coming and going.

      Senior IDF officers have tried to sooth the Hebron Jewish Community's concerns, saying that the vehicles permitted on the road will be limited, all cars will be checked, and security will not be affected.

      We've heard such saying before. Such as in January 1997, when Hebron was divided, leaving over 80% of the city under control of the PA terrorists, and leaving Jews access to only 3 percent of Hebron. We were told that 'should one shot be fired at you, we'll send in the tanks.' It took about two and a half years of shooting at Hebron's Jewish community before the Israeli government decided to 'send in the tanks.'  It is very likely that for some period of time the road will remain quiet, leading to further concessions, after all, 'look, we opened the road and nothing's happened.' Unfortunately Hebron is familiar with such situations, and G-d forbid, it's only a matter of time until 'something happens.'

      It is sadly ironic that Barak chose these days to continue on his path of death and destruction. Presently we are marking the fourth anniversary of destruction and expulsion from Gush Katif. In addition, next week Hebron will mourn the eightieth anniversary of the Tarpat-1929 riots and massacre, during which 67 Jews were slaughtered in Hebron and the survivors expelled from the city. It seems that Ehud Barak's would like to continue the policies of Amin el-Husseini and the then ruling British.

      There are some who have expressed concern that the reopening of the road to Arabs will scare people, making many potential visitors stay away from the city of the Patriarchs. However, this will not happen. Even during the most difficult of times, visitors flocked to Hebron, showing support and encouragement, letting their 'feet do the talking.'  During the Oslo war terrorists shot at thousands of people during the annual Succot music festival. Two women were hit. The next day the festival continued and thousands more thronged to Hebron.

      The most natural and healthy reaction to Barak's madness is the opposite of what he wants and desires. People of all religions will undoubtedly continue to confirm their faith and belief in the Jewish people's right to live freely and securely in Israel's first Jewish city, Hebron.  Bring on the crowds!


      Tammuz 24, 5769, 7/16/2009

      ‘Lone-Star State’ greets Visitor From Lone-Star country

      Posted in Texas Insider - http://www.texasinsider.org

      Last summer I had the pleasure to host three Texan families in Hebron, including Mike, Vance and Janie, and Larry and Leigh-Ann. Their enthusiasm and support were so tangible that about six months ago I visited them in Amarillo, spending a few days visiting with local residents and speaking to a small group of interested people.

      The visit left me with such a positive impression that I decided to make another, more extended trip to Texas, this time beginning in Austin. Hosted by Mike Isley, of TexansforIsrael.com fame and Jim Lewis, I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of local religious and political leaders, including Rabbi Eliezer Langer, Alan Sager, Rande Phillips, Victor Carrillo, Jim Cardle, and Mr. Gil Rodriguez, who requested that I summarize my visit here for Texas Insider readers. I’ll also be speaking in Midland, Odessa, Houston, and Lubbock.

      I live in Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel. This city was home to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob almost 4,000 years ago, and here David founded the Kingdom of Israel some 3,000 years ago. The Caves of Machpela, burial site of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is located in the center of Hebron, and is the 2nd holiest site to Jews in all the world, second only to Temple Mount in Jerusalem.

      Jews lived continuously in Hebron for literally thousands of years until the riots of 1929 left 67 Hebron Jews murdered, and the survivors expelled by the then ruling British. Only following the 1967 Six Day war did Jews return home to the first Jewish city in Israel.

      Today Hebron is home to 90 families, well over 300 children and 250 students who study at the local Torah Academy, Yeshivat Shavei Hebron, adding up to about 800 Jews in the city. About 7,500 Jews live in nearby Kiryat Arba, just outside of the city.

      My presence in Texas, and next week in Washington, is two-fold: First, and most importantly, is education and awareness. The present international political climate, primarily initiated by the Obama administration, presents Hebron as a ‘palestinian city,’ with no place for any Jewish community. Of course, Hebron is not alone; most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are viewed as ‘obstacles to peace,’ to be emptied of their Jewish population in order to allow creation of a ‘palestinian state,’

      It is my goal to explain the importance of Hebron, as the literal roots of the Jewish people and the beginning of all monotheism. How would the United States react to a demand by bin Laden that America relinquish Philadelphia or Boston ‘in the name of peace?!’ 

      In addition, due to the international financial crisis, it is necessary to turn to various populations around the world, and suggest that they become partners with us, helping to maintain a Jewish community in Hebron. The word Hebron, in Hebrew, means both ‘friend’ and ‘bond.’ We think it fitting that different peoples should link together, as ‘friends,’ and assist in keeping such a holy city Jewish, allowing the holy sites to be accessible to any and all wishing to visit them.

      I’ve been welcomed in Austin by wonderful home hospitality and an eager willingness to hear about Hebron and Israel today. I invite you to visit us at www.hebron.com and to be in touch with me at hebron@hebron.com or by phone at 972-52-429-5554 and in the US at 347-725-0325. Of course, anyone visiting Israel, who would like a guided tour of Hebron, should feel free to be in touch with me.

      I can conclude by categorically stating how enjoyable it is to be coming from the‘lone-star’ country to the ‘lone-star state’ and thank all who have made my visit so delightful.

      Article printed from Texas Insider: http://www.texasinsider.org

      URL to article: http://www.texasinsider.org/?p=12187
      Copyright © 2009 Texas Insider. All rights reserved.

      Tammuz 11, 5769, 7/3/2009

      Law enforcement in Judea and Samaria: Facts not fiction

      law enforcement is selective in Judea and Samaria and depends on the ethnic origin of the alleged perpetrators

      From time to time the media features a rash of news and opinion articles about the state of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria. These are invariably highly critical of allegedly inefficient law enforcement, the lack of police manpower, the need for exceptional enforcement methods due to the “lawless” nature of the area, and of the courts which are accused of restricting the work of law enforcement authorities.  Politicians and media pundits as well as the law enforcement authorities send out myriad statements whose main defect is the absence of corroborative facts and data, to the Government, the Knesset and the public.

      The Report on Law Enforcement in Judea and Samaria (henceforth “Report”), researched and published by the Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria, is the first attempt to reveal the truth about law enforcement in this area using data, facts and statistical analysis. All the figures and statistical analyses in the report are from official law enforcement authorities and therefore incontrovertible.  The data was analyzed by experts in criminology and statistics and the conclusions are shocking, because they stand in direct contradiction to all the information that the Israeli public has been led to believe for years.

      The main finding revealed by the Report is that law enforcement is selective in Judea and Samaria and depends on the ethnic origin of the alleged perpetrators i.e. overzealous law enforcement towards Jewish settlers and minimal law enforcement when dealing with Arab offenders or leftist activists.  This selectivity is backed by instructions and by-laws composed by the Legal Advisor to the Israeli Government. Their implementation is overseen by a high ranking lawyer in the governments’ legal department, Shai Nitsan.

      The graphs and tables brought in the Report prove without doubt that there is discrimination in all the parameters used to measure law enforcement: the ratio of police officers to population, percent of files made public, percent of disclosures of interrogation files, percent of indictments passed on to the courts, percent of those found guilty. The sum total of these parameters present a clear and unequivocal picture of directed overzealous enforcement encouraged by the “powers that be” and of an unprecedented allocation of resources for this purpose. This occurs at the expense of police services in other areas including the one researched here, at the expense of the basic rights of the Jewish residents, at the expense of security in these areas, and at the expense of the most basic principle of the rule of law in a democratic state: that of equality before the law.

      Possibly the most significant aspect of the Report is the chapter containing the official responses to it because it is abundantly clear that the respondents do not succeed in dealing with the real data or in refuting the analysis and conclusions.

      What is the legal, lawful, ethical justification for this? Why is the true state of law enforcement in Judea and Samaria kept hidden from the public, while a picture that has virtually no connection with the real situation is purposely made to seem like an accurate one? These are the incisive questions that this Report addresses to the heads of law enforcement in Israel. Its authors demand an answer.

      The Organization for Human Rights in Judea and Samaria intends to give this Report to all Government Ministers and MK’s, and demand a thorough change. In the meantime—the Report is a data bank and essential tool for anyone who is faced with the inequities of the law enforcement authorities towards those living in Judea and Samaria and their supporters. It is highly recommended. 

      For information pertaining to donations to cover costs of publication in English and Hebrew, as well as obtaining copies of the Report, call Shifra at tel. 052-5666942. 












      Tammuz 10, 5769, 7/2/2009

      In the footsteps of the mufti - Eighty years later

      "I think a good settler is a dead settler."
      Printed in THE JERUSALEM POST

      A few days ago I escorted a lovely woman originally from Guyana around Hebron. A writer, speaker and diplomat, she seemed very aware of the events taking place throughout the world and in Israel.

      But one thing perturbed her: Why were people like us - Hebron residents, and others throughout Judea and Samaria - seemingly persecuted by our own people? My explanation was very simple.

      "Understand, there are people who don't want us here because they believe we are living in, and occupying, an 'Arab' city, and are 'obstacles to peace.' These same people are convinced that we will sooner or later be expelled from Hebron and other communities in Judea and Samaria. However, it's not easy to decree expulsion. Such actions are quite harsh, and not easy to implement. Therefore it is necessary to prepare the public at large psychologically for such a possibility.

      "The best way to do so is to vilify the future victims of expulsion, creating an atmosphere whereby it seems that 'they deserve what they get.' In other words, an attempt is being made to delegitimize us, depicting us as 'enemies of peace,' and as such, 'opponents of the state.' That being accomplished, it is much easier to throw us out of our homes, no questions asked, no holds barred.

      "An example of such deception is the most common word used to describe people living in Judea and Samaria, as well as the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights. We are all lumped together in the category of 'settler.' Should I move to Tel Aviv, the moment my official identity card is stamped by the Interior Ministry, I am a 'resident' of Tel Aviv even if I've only lived there for a day. However, even after having lived in Hebron for 28 years, I'm still labeled a settler - a word with negative connotations today, symbolizing 'colonization' or in the words of others, 'occupation.' Settlers equals occupiers equals evil."

      AS WORLD pressure on Israel seems to be mounting, originating in Washington and running through Paris, Madrid, London and most other capitals, an even more disturbing element of delegitmization seems to be emerging. That is, the comparison of settlers with terrorists.

      A New York Times article by Ethan Bronner on June 6 overtly compares the Israeli Right to Hamas terrorists. Bronner wrote: "There are striking parallels between the hard-core opponents of a peace deal on each side." Quoting Yossi Alpher, he added: "Look at how settlers go to wealthy Jews and evangelical Christians to raise money, and how Hamas taps into a huge reservoir of Islamist money."

      This, of course, ignores the fact that Hamas's stated goal is the destruction of the State of Israel, and toward that aim it has participated in murdering thousands of Jews in cold-blooded terror attacks and has launched thousands of rockets into Israeli cities. It's implied that the "Jewish Hamas" has yet to reach such stages of bloodshed and violence.

      A series of articles written by Dina Kraft for JTA is titled "Special Report: Jewish Extremists." One article, headlined "Israel wrestles with settler challenge" depicts settlers as rampaging, radical and lawless. The article quotes attorney Michael Sfard, who represents the most left-wing groups in Israel but does not speak with anyone from Human Rights in Yesha, which represents a different point of view.

      In a second article called "The view from a West Bank hilltop," Kraft, writes about residents of such communities. "Critics, including some voices within the mainstream settler movement, say they pose a violent and dangerous threat to the future of Israeli democracy." Of course, this is said without quoting anyone by name. The author also refrains from speaking to anyone who has anything positive to say about hilltop youth or their communities.

      TWO RECENT articles point in the same direction. Writing in Haaretz, Yair Sheleg seemingly rejects the comparison between Hamas and the Jewish Right, but readily accepts that there is Jewish terror: "I do not intend this as a justification of settler terror... It is not enough to fight terror; it is also necessary to drain the swamp in which it breeds."

      His solution is to leave Jews in Judea and Samaria following an Israeli withdrawal. "If it is possible to enable Palestinian sovereignty without uprooting 200,000 Jews from their homes, this would be the most just and moral solution of all. There is also a practical advantage: If the settlers do not accept the offer, the justice of evacuating them will increase."

      Sheleg conveniently forgets one significant point, that being the security of the Jews "morally left behind." The article is aptly titled, "Leave the settlers there."

      Writing in The Jerusalem Post, Larry Derfner, who offers a similar answer, did not forget this aspect of the issue: "I don't think there would be a wholesale slaughter of settlers in a newly independent Palestine, because I don't think any Palestinian leadership that made peace with Israel would want to enter the international community with such a thing on its head. But I do think there would be individual acts of revenge against settlers... and if a few nut cases, a few modern-day Masada types, want to die sanctifying God's name or something, I'm sorry - let them."

      NEXT MONTH will mark the 80th anniversary of the 1929 riots and massacres which left hundreds of Jews dead, wounded and maimed. The worst of these riots was in Hebron, where 67 were killed, 70 injured, and the survivors expelled by the then-ruling British.

      The 1929 massacre was the direct result of hateful incitement spewed out by the Mufti Haj Amin el-Husseini against the Jews living in pre-state Israel. The day before the riots began, on Thursday, August 22, four Jews belonging to the Hagana, including Rahel Yanait, future wife of Israel's second president Izhak Ben-Zvi, visited Hebron. Warning the city's Jewish leadership of impending violence, they offered to leave weapons for self-defense. The weapons were refused because Hebron's Jews believed their Arab neighbors would protect them. That naivety led to the annihilation of a Jewish community that had existed for thousands of years.

      At present, the major source of incitement is not entirely clear. On the one hand, US President Barack Obama and the Europeans maintain exceedingly clear expectations; a total building freeze is only the first step. Following that, the demands to empty Judea and Samaria will certainly follow. That is no surprise.

      What is much more troubling and problematic is the systematic effort from within Israel to demonize our own people, even to the point that Jews do not really care if other Jews live or die.

      Some months ago I met a man in Hebron who identified himself as a journalist for a publication called Yisrael Hayom. The bottom line of our conversation was his concluding remark: "I think a good settler is a dead settler." Sheleg, Derfner, Kraft and others seem to be walking in the footsteps of the mufti, whose vile agitation led to the 1929 atrocities. Is this really the road Israel is traveling 80 years later?

      Tammuz 9, 5769, 7/1/2009

      Israeli car crashes in Hebron due to rock-throwing

      What a welcome to Hebron!
      Ben Yosef Livnat (Limor Livnat's nephew), a student at the Ohr Shlomo Kollel, was today moving into his new home in Beit Hadassah in Hebron. However, while driving from Kiryat Arba into Hebron via Tzir Tzion - the Zion Road, Arabs pelted his car with rocks, causing him to lose control of the vehicle and crash into a wall. Fortunately he wasn't badly hurt, but, G-d forbid, it could have been much worse. What a welcome to Hebron!

      Tzir Tzion has been closed to Arab traffic for years, due to security threats on the road. The army was planning on opening this street to Arab traffic, but was stopped at the last minute due to oppostion from the head of Israeli intelligence Yuval Diskin. Subsequently, the Knesset Security and Foreign Affairs Committee requested that the road not be opened until they had a chance to examine the issue.

      If this is what happens when the road is closed, what would happen were it to be opened to Arab tra
      What would happen if the Zion Road was opened to Arab traffic?