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.
A few days ago I wrote about Moshe Feiglin and Manhigut Yehudit. Thank G-d, they did very well in the Likud Primaries. Tonight I'd like to mention a friend, colleague and neighbor of mine, who is a candidate on the new "Bayit Yehudi" - "Jewish Home" party list.
Rabbi Hillel Horowitz grew up in Kiryat Arba and his lived for over 20 years in Hebron. For about 15 years he was the director of the Association for the Renewal of the Jewish Community in Hebron and the driving force behind the community's development.
Hillel is one of those people who 'practice what they preach,' in other words, he doesn't just talk. He does. Working around the clock, he was able to 'put Hebron on the map,' helping to jumpstart the community's public relations campaign, ranging from bringing in over 500,000 tourists a year, to major political activities in Israel. Traveling internationally to garner support for Hebron's many activities, Hillel has come to be known as a man of action, whose love for Israel and the city of the Patriarchs knows no bounds.
Personally I think it's about time that Hebron was officially represented in the Knesset. I'm not a big fan of the Knesset, but being that it is the official law-making body in the State of Israel, and being that King David began his reign in Hebron, it would be only fitting that a representative from Hebron be a member of the Israeli parliament in Jerusalem. Hillel Horowitz would certainly bring honor, both to Hebron, the Knesset and Am Yisrael in such a leadership position.
Any Israeli who is registered to vote can participate in choosing the members of the Bayit Yehudi Knesset list. All you have to do is go to www.111.org.il, register on their web site, and then enter the section called 'bechirot' - 'meumadim l'knesset.' There you can choose 15 people who you believe are suitable to represent your (our) ideals in the Knesset. Rabbi Hillel Horowitz' name and photo are on that page. I voted last night, soon after the list was published, and I checked off his name too, as a person who has the ability to lead and influence within Israeli politics. If you want your voice to be heard, if you want to make a difference, make your choice too.
Moshe Feiglin represents the paradigm Jewish leader: a man of faith and conviction Following the brutal expulsion of Jewish families from Beit HaShalom in Hebron, former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu proclaimed, “We must act with an iron fist against the outlaws.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3632769,00.html Of course, this was stated before he spoke with anyone in Hebron to clarify the facts and establish what really happened.
It is quite clear: should Netanyahu be again elected Prime Minister with a parve Likud list, he will continue in the footsteps of one of his predecessors, namely one Bibi Netanyahu, who signed away 80% of Hebron to Arafat terrorists, and continued by agreeing to the infamous Wye Accords.
Today’s menu includes Jerusalem, the Golan Heights and just about all of Yehuda and Shomron. Without any strong brakes to stop him, Netanyahu is liable to form a coalition with Ehud Barak as his Defense Minster and Tzippy Livni as his Foreign Minister. This threesome will undoubtedly get along quite well with Obama, Clinton and Co. The only way to prevent this catastrophe is push the Likud from center-left as far right as possible. And the only way to do that today is to vote for Moshe Feiglin and the entire Manhigut Yehudit list.
Moshe Feiglin represents the paradigm Jewish leader: a man of faith and conviction, with a proven track record. The other candidates on the Manhigut Yehudit Likud Knesset list are of the same caliber, made of the same material. Shmuel Sackett, co-founder of this pair’s first venture into public activism, Zu Artzenu, will be a tremendous boost to a floundering, faithless Knesset. These two men, together with others on the list, will be a true Kiddush HaShem, bringing to Israeli leadership what has long been so lacking: a belief and understanding of the ‘holy triangle’ of Am Yisrael – the Jewish people, Eretz Yisrael – the Land of Israel, and Torah. Their official entrance into formal leadership of the Jewish people will finally put an end to calls for the replacement of the State of Israel by an alternative “Medinat Yehuda.” They will be living proof that it is possible to utilize the existing framework of the State of Israel within the boundaries of Kedusha – holiness, thereby bringing about a major ‘tikkun’ – rectification of the current failings of leaderless leadership.
Tomorrow I’m going to proudly cast my vote for Moshe, Shmuel and ten others, who, when elected to the Knesset, will represent the values and priorities we believe in, and actively work to bring our dreams to reality.
A professor from Bar Ilan University, an expert on ancient affairs, investigated the value of silver thousands of years ago. He concluded that the price our Patriarch Abraham paid for Ma'arat HaMachpela, four hundred silver shekels , the caves where the Patriarchs and Matriarchs are buried, is worth, in today's terms, some $750,000. That's just a little less than what Morris Abraham and his father Mickey paid for Beit HaShalom in Hebron.
Beit HaShalom, (the "Peace house" in English) is a huge, 40,000 square foot structure, just above the main road leading from Hebron to Kiryat Arba. When it became known that the Arab owner of the building, some five years ago, was putting it up for sale, and the Abraham family heard about it, it was a done deal.
Well, not quite. It took a few years to actually complete the transaction. Jews purchasing property from Arabs in Hebron is not an everyday occurrence, and is not easily accomplished. It is a task which requires, among other things, a tremendous amount of money, fine attorneys, much time, nerves of platinum, and most of all, a huge quantity of Divine assistance.
Thank G-d, it all came together, and about 20 months ago, having received a green light from the lawyers, residents from Hebron's Jewish community moved in.
It wasn't easy. From literally the moment we moved in, there was someone trying to have us removed. There were those who claimed that we 'stole the building' from the Arab owner. There were others who said, 'we don't care if they bought it legally. Jews shouldn't be in Hebron, period. Throw them out!"
However, we had a lot going for us. First of all, the building was purchased legally. At one point the community released a film of the Arab counting the cash he received.(When he later denied the sale during a police investigation, and the police showed him the video, he exclaimed, "I later cancelled the deal and gave them the money back!")
Hebron's commanding IDF officer was ecstatic about the purchase, being that the building is located at a very strategic position, overlooking all of Kiryat Arba, just across the road, and most of Hebron.And an initial police investigation of the documents was positive. The documents were authentic.
But facts don't necessarily mean much in Israel. A court ruled that there was enough seeming evidence to prevent us from being evicted, but too many question marks to allow 'life as usual.' So a status quo was ordered. We could stay, but without making any major changes in the building. That meant, for example, that windows could not be installed in the empty spaces in the walls. Nor could the building be hooked up the Hebron electric grid.So, as winter approached, the people inside were a little cold. A small generator was running, providing minimum electricity to keep the heaters running. But a building without windows, in a snow storm, is quite a bit to weather.Big sheets of plastic in place of glass don't really do the trick.
Finally, in the middle of a snow storm, and as a result of massive public pressure, cabinet ministers started pounding on Defense Minister Ehud Barak's desk, demanding that the government allow windows to be immediately installed. The pressure worked, and finally windows were brought in. They refused to allow window shades or shutters; that was too much. But glass windows were okayed.
But the left refused to give up and intensified efforts to have the Jews residents expelled from the building. Police suddenly decided that many of the sale documents were counterfeit, but refused to reveal which ones were faked. Finally the court forced them to allow the community an opportunity to defend itself and they had no choice but to divulge which papers were suspect. The community, via a former police officer, an expert on such affairs, was able to easily dispel the doubts as to the authenticity of the documents.
Ata recent Supreme Court hearing, the judges, (two of the most left-wing members of the court together with an Arab judge, hearing the case), accused the community of 'taking the building by force' from its Arab owner. In response the community gave the court new, startling evidence: an audio recording of the Arab owners saying, in plain language, that he sold the place and received full compensation for the building. He also declared that he had come under great pressure from Palestinian authority intelligence forces to 'change his story.'
Last week the Supreme Court announced its decision. The decided to ignore the facts in the case, not letting them get in the way of their own political biases. They announced that they would not get involved in the previous government decision to expelthe building's residents until the question of ownership was decided in a lower court. They gave the people living there 72 hours to leave of their own accord. If they did not voluntarily evict themselves, the government would then have legal permission to expel them.
As of this writing, new families and many youth are moving into Beit HaShalom, in order to reinforce Jewish presence atthat building , which clearly belongs to Hebron's Jewish community. One family, Nahum and Revital Almagor and their 15 year old daughter came from Brooklyn to participate in the struggle for the building.
Last week, a retired judge, Uri Struzman, harshly criticized theSupreme Court ruling, calling it political and a sham. Another retired Supreme Court judge, Ya'akov Turkal, said that the Supreme Court decision did not demand that the families be removed from the building, rather that the government could remove them, if they so desired. In other words, the decision of expulsion is in the hands of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
At the moment, the building's many families: men, women and children, are willing to put up with a cold winter; (we expect that the cost to heat Beit HaShalom this winter at over $150,000 – money which the community does not presently have;) but they have no intentions of leaving their beloved home, Beit HaShalom, the building that Morris Abraham gave to the Jewish people of Hebron. A representative council of men and women from Hebron and Kiryat Arba, and other activists, has announced that the group will not initiate any violent acts against Israeli security forces, but should those forces attempt to expel them, there will be fierce resistance. However, the level of violence will be determined by the expulsion forces. MK Uri Ariel, speaking at an emergency community meeting last week, with over 1,000 people present, clearly stated that should those in the building be attacked and beaten, that they have a right to defend themselves.
Last Shabbat close to 25,000 people visited Hebron, hearing the Torah tell how Avraham Avinu purchased the Caves of Machpela some 3,800 years ago. Many of those people also visited Beit HaShalom, showing their support and encouragement. How fitting that a family named Abraham should buy a building for almost the same price Avraham Avinu paid for Ma'arat HaMachpela, a piece of property just five minutes from the first Jewish-owned land in Eretz Yisrael.