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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)

      Nisan 9, 5769, 4/3/2009

      Let the truth hang out

      After Avigdor Lieberman’s introductory statement yesterday as Israel’s new foreign minister I started thinking about writing this article. This morning, seeing one of the headlines in the Jerusalem Post, that thought was reinforced. However, after the brutal murder of a 16 year old at Bat Ayin, the thought transformed into words on paper.

      You may not have picked up Lieberman’s remarks yesterday, being that most of the major internet news networks didn’t mention the fact that Bibi Netanyahu was sworn in as Israel’s new Prime Minister. I watched CNN, MSNBC and Foxnews all day. The event was totally ignored. What did Lieberman say? That Israel is not obligated by any agreements enumerated in the Annapolis Accords, because they had never been voted on in the Israeli cabinet. He did say that Israel was obligated by Bush’s ‘roadmap,’ but one would imagine that he also believes that the Arabs must also keep their part of the agreement before Israel makes any further concessions. That doesn’t look too promising.

      What about the headline in the Jpost: PA: Death to those who sell land to Jews. Khaled Abu Toameh writes, “The Palestinian Authority has issued yet another warning to Palestinians against selling their homes or properties to Jews, saying those who violate the order would be accused of "high treason" - a charge that carries the death penalty. The latest warning was issued on Wednesday by the Chief [Islamic] Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Sheikh Tayseer Rajab Tamimi, who reminded the Palestinians of an existing fatwa [religious decree] than bans them from selling property to Jews.”

      This is nothing new. I’ve been repeating this to tourists and journalists for years. (The latter very rarely believe me.) This became an issue following Hebron’s purchase of Beit HaShalom, when the Arab owner screamed that he’d never really sold the property. He had no choice but to make this claim; anything less would have led to his immediate torture and death. His initial statements denying the sale came when he was sitting in an Arab jail in Jericho. However, now we have it again, officially, from the mouth of the “Chief Rabbi – Chief Justice” of the Arab terrorist authority, aka, the PA. Can you imagine what would happen if the Israeli chief justice, Dorit Beinish, or one of the Chief Rabbis of Israel would make a similar statement, saying that any Jew selling property to an Arab was to be summarily executed?!

      The previous government, with Olmert at the reins and Barak in Defense, tried very hard to convince the Israeli public that ‘times had changed.’ The atmosphere seemed to be more relaxed. Abu Mazen was behaving himself, and Israel needed to do everything to strengthen him against continued attempts by Hamas to take over all of Arab-occupied Judea and Samaria. Unfortunately, these attempts to continue to deceive the Israeli public started to explode in their collective faces. Two police were killed in the Jordan Valley. A terror-tractorist tried to kill cops in Jerusalem. A car-bomber terrorist almost brought down a mall on hundreds of people in Haifa.

      Here in Hebron we are told that everything is wonderful. Life with the Arabs has become tranquil Real lovey-dovey. So the IDF has notified us that soon the only road leading to Hebron, passing by the western entrance to Kiryat Arba will soon be open to Arab traffic. The last time this happened two Jews were killed on the same day: David Cohen and Hezzy Mualem. Other roadblocks are being opened, ‘gestures’ to the ‘moderate’ PA leadership. Gestures that inevitably lead to bloodshed and loss of Jewish life.

      That brings us to today – a few hours ago. An Arab terrorist (‘militant’ in the language of all journalistic channels) with an axe broke into the municipality building in the Bat Ayin community and starting swinging. Two people were struck: Sixteen year old Shlomo Nativ was killed and a seven year old injured. I don’t know the family of the murdered youth, but his sister studied in high school with one of my daughters and his brother is a student in a Yeshiva where one of my son’s-in-law is his Rabbi. It hits close to home.

      Bay Ayin really is a picture of tranquility. We have friends that lived there for a while and we spent a couple of Shabbats there. Surrounded by the Judean Hills, it’s quiet and picturesque and a lovely place to live. Maybe fifteen minutes south of Gilo, Jerusalem, the population is a mixture of religious Jews who practice their religion with their way of life.

      So, what do you say to people whose teenage son goes out for a little while and comes back home, dead, a week before Passover? The Jerusalem Post quotes Hamas sources, “For its part, Hamas called the attack a natural response to the "occupation." "This attack was committed in the framework of the resistance," Ayman Taha, a spokesperson for the group said. "This is a reaction to the continuing occupation and the continued building of settlements. This is a natural reaction," he said, "especially against the backdrop of Israel attacks. We are a people occupied, and it is our right to defend ourselves and to act in every way and with every means at our disposal in order to defend ourselves."

      So let’s go out and kill some kids.

      So, as we approach the Passover holiday, with the advent of a ‘new government’, let’s start anew. Israel has no obligations to the Americans, the Arabs, the Europeans, or anyone else. Some 3,500 years ago G-d gave birth the Jewish people by taking us out of Egypt and leading us to the Promised Land, to Eretz Yisrael. He created us, He made the rules, and He commanded us to follow those rules. First and foremost, to live in our land. Our first responsibility is to those rules, to freely in our land as a free people. Our government’s first commitment is to its people, to ensure their safety, to ensure their lives in their land.

      Israeli governments have always been very good at shirking this responsibility. Hebron’s Jewish residents were abandoned to their fate when then Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu gave our Arab neighbors the hills surrounding the Jewish neighborhoods, leading to Arab shooting at Hebron for over two years. A few days ago Hebron marked the eighth anniversary of the murder of 10 month old Shalhevet Pass, shot and killed by a sniper from those very hills.

      Gush Katif came under Arab mortar fire for years on end, with virtually no attempt to end the attacks by the Israeli government. So, too Sderot, hit by rockets for years and years; despite the Olmert-Livni-Barak supposed attempt to put an end to these attacks, they continue. Need more be said?

      The question is what will Bibi do now – ten years later? Bibi has always said the ‘right’ thing, but done the wrong thing. Will he change his ways and start acting as a proud Jewish leader should? Prior to the elections he espoused the ‘right’ thing – opposition to a ‘two-state solution.’ Any normal human being with eyes in his head and a semi-working brain understands that a ‘palestinian state’ can only be catastrophic. Lieberman’s comments yesterday were greeted with consternation by staff of the Israeli foreign ministry. Lieberman’s first job should be to find those who expressed dismay at his statements and fire them. It’s time that Israeli policy changed, and there is no need to hide the truth behind locked doors. The Israeli government must encourage land purchases such as Beit HaShalom in Hebron, working to further such deals rather than trying to squelch them.

      And last, but certainly not least, this administration must act quickly and decisively following today’s brutal murder of a sixteen year old at Bat Ayin. The response to such attacks must be immediate and equally brutal. The first reaction to the Hamas statement must be an unequivocal decision refusing to release Hamas murderers from prison in exchange for Gilad Shalt, killers who will surely return to their old ways once released from Israeli custody. Other measure, which need not be enumerated here, must be implemented, letting all know, Israeli lives cannot be, and will not be, trampled on. Our children, our women, our families, our citizens, are not cattle fodder, and any and all attempts to harm us will be answered appropriately.

      Let the truth hang out!

      Adar 16, 5769, 3/12/2009

      Purim parade and photos from Hebron

      Adar 13, 5769, 3/9/2009

      Purim Sameach from Hebron

      It's been a while - sometimes a bug bites and you can't stop writing - other times it bites and you feel paralyzed. At least, that's the way it is with me. I wrote a piece about Netanayu - the JPost didn't want it - posted it a few days ago - waiting to see if A7 posts it under 'opinion' - if not, I'll post it here towards the end of the week. 

      In any case, Purim festivities have started here in Hebron - yesterday the kids all costumed up and that will continue tonite, after Ta'anit Ester is over and we read the Megillah. If you want to see photos, go to:
      http://tinyurl.com/726rx8 for a photo gallery of first-in pix from the kids, yesterday. More will be coming. In the meantime, Purim Sameach - we should witness a true 'v'na'afochu' - everything should turn upside down- the good should be revealed and the bad, buried (or hung from a big tree)!

      Shevat 22, 5769, 2/16/2009

      A defeated Ehud Barak making last-minute decisions?

      Shevat 7, 5769, 2/1/2009

      The Eretz Yisrael Committee

      The Eretz Yisrael Committee  a budding group of holy activists is dedicated to reinfusing the Jewish People with love for the Land of Israel, by supporting the settling of the Land through financial, political, educational and spiritual means.

      For far too long the official Jewish leadership has abandoned our heritage, the holy Land of Israel, to foreign claim. The Land, which the Almighty God of Israel swore unto our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is being abandoned and the time has come to physically and mentally reclaim it! The Eretz Yisrael Committee  is also  hoping to create a genuine opposition to any attempt or statement aimed at weakening Jewish control over our land.

      In the several days since its founding, the committee has already seen significant growth. The home page has already garnered over a thousand hits and fourteen new chapters have opened up around the US and one in Israel as well. The committee is planing a large scale campaign in the coming weeks to help strengthen the ongoing return to Chomesh and the reversal of the expulsion of 2005. While the campaign is still in the planning stages the public is urged to recruit family and friends to help create a mass support base in order that each campaign will be as successful as possible. Two campaigns, however, are already in progress and they are for the Temple Mount and for our imprisoned brother Jonathan Pollard. The the public is urged to get involved in these campaigns, which may be found on the home page of the Eretz Yisrael Committee . 

      Yosef Rabin
      Founder and Coordinator of the Eretz Yisrael Committee