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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)

      Elul 5, 5768, 9/5/2008

      Looking for a better place in Hell

      We must not, ever ever forget, that the main course is ALL OF ERETZ YISRAEL
      Lately I've received a number of emails, all labeled urgent, dealing with 'secret talks' between Israel and our enemies. The idea was to forward them to as many people as possible, ASAP. The subject line read something like, "Jerusalem is on the table."

      Of course the issues are critical, but with all due modesty, let me repeat a few elementary lessons concerning Israeli diplomacy.

      At least since Oslo, which exploded with the force of a few nuclear warheads, we cannot afford ourselves the luxury of acting the role of innocent bystanders. Unfortunately, there are still those, sometimes wearing masks and costumes of politicians, pretending to be leaders, who will proclaim, 'when the 'core issues' like Jerusalem come up for negotiations we will leave the coalition, and presently we have assurances from the Prime Minister that these issues are not being dealt with.' Nonsense. As if they don't know.

      It's never fun to be a 'dark prophet', always espousing black predictions. But today these cannot even be defined as predictions. Anyone with even the dullest perceptions comprehends what's going on.

      Where do we stand? Olmert is on his way out. Either via indictment, or primaries, or an act of G-d, he's finished. Except for one problem. He wants to take the ship down with him. It's called reversion, a degeneration to the days of old. One of the first examples were the draconian expulsion orders issued a few weeks ago to three young men in the Shomron. As a rule, Israeli medicine doesn't practice too much preventative medicine; it's considered to be too expensive. But Israel does apply what might be called 'preventative crime.' I should add, 'selective preventative crime.' Crime of the highest order. Preventing possible disturbances while Arabs harvest grapes. The presence of these three men anywhere in Judea and Samaria might endanger the 'peace' of the area.

      (But of course when it comes to allowing the most extreme elements of the Israeli left to demonstrate in Hebron, inciting Arabs against Jewish residents of the city, thereby endangering theirs lives, well, that's another story.)

      The orders were signed by General Gadi Shamni, commander of the central region, but were undoubtedly initiated by higher-ups, in the ranks of the defense and intelligence offices. And they are certainly only the beginning.

      The news seems to be overflowing like a geyser. Barak is talking about the neighborhoods in East Jerusalem as parts of the capital of the Palestinian state. Yesterday we learned how generous Barak really is. Permitting electricity in Beit HaShalom, not under any circumstances. But allowing the terrorists another 1,000 rifles and ammunition, no problem. And Olmert, together with his best friend (criminals tend to hang out together) Haim Ramon, is expected to discuss Pinui – Pitzui – the expulsion-compensation edict decreed on Gush Katif, but this time around, concerning those of us living in Judea and Samaria. The maiden saint of Kadima is opposed; no, not opposed to the concept, rather that such a discussion can only occur following establishment of final borders. Great!

      The maiden saint's shadow and primary opposition also opposes; the entire discussion weakens Israel's position. Which position? What negotiations, Mr. Mufaz?

      And the Likud? Can we dare believe anything they say during the current pre-election era?

      (There are a few people with brains in the Middle East, like Syrian president Bashar Assad, who cancelled the next round of Israel-Syria Golan-abandonment talks due to the 'political situation' in Israel. If only he was a member of the Israeli cabinet!)

      But the real problem has yet to be addressed. It's not the renewed pinui-pitzui (expulsion-compensation) discussion, and it's not the division of Jerusalem, or even Olmert's mighty attempts to reach an initialed agreement with Babu-Mazen prior to the upcoming Kadima primaries.

      It's not that Jerusalem isn't on the table; it is. It's not that Judea and Samaria aren't on the table; they are. But they are appetizers and first course. We must not, ever ever forget, that the main course is ALL OF ERETZ YISRAEL. This is what they want, and they're not bashful about it.

      I have a map, purchased in the Hebron Casbah, which is a map of 'palestine.'

      From north to south, east to west, all of the State of Israel, all of Eretz Yisrael = palestine. This is what they want and this is what they intend to get, and we continue to play into their hands.

      There's no need to search for secret piece talks, with Babu Mazen, Assad, or anyone else. It's an ever present aspect of our reality. The way it is. And the person still conducting the orchestra is Ehud Olmert.

      Olmert would like nothing better than to leave office in a blaze of glory: an agreement with the Fatah element of the PA, with Syria, and who knows, maybe he really is conducting secret talks, with none other than Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad!?

      With all that, I must admit that what really bothers me about Olmert is his incredible chutzpa, to initiate discussions for expulsion-compensation from Yosh only days prior to conclusion of his catastrophic premiership. There is almost across-the-board agreement that the abandonment of Gush Katif was a disastrous error. Many too many of the almost 10,000 people tossed from their homes and jobs are still homeless and jobless. Yet Olmert and some of his friends want to go it again. Impossible to fathom.


      There is an explanation. Olmert was one of the primary authors and backers of the Gush Katif fiasco. His decisions during the Second Lebanon War cost Israeli lives. He is about to be indicted for repulsive crimes committed as a 'public servant.'

      All this totals a spacious room in deepest, darkest grottos of the next world. But this doesn't seem to be enough for him. He's simply looking for a bigger, better place in Hell.

      Looking for a better place in Hell

      Av 28, 5768, 8/29/2008

      Ten years without Rebbi Shlomo

      Tomorrow, Shabbat, it will be ten years. Ten years ago, Thursday, the eve of the first day of the last month of the Hebrew calendar. Ma'arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs was fully open to Jewish worship. In early evening Rabbi Ovadiya Yosef arrived in Hebron, the first time he had visited the city and holy site in many years. At about 11:00 PM, as he concluded speaking to the hundreds present, beepers started buzzing. A terrorist had infiltrated the Hebron neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. Very quickly Ma'arat HaMachpela emptied and Hebron residents started making their way to Tel Rumeida. Details started to filter out: the victim was Rabbi Shlomo Ra'anan, sixty three year old grandson of Israel's first chief Rabbi, Rav Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook. The terrorist had stabbed him. Walking/running from the Ma'ara in the direction of the neighborhood I called a friend, a neighbor of the Ra'anans and also a paramedic. "What's his condition? " I asked. David answered me, in a voice barely audible: "There was nothing we could do, we couldn't do anything to save him. He died."

      Soldiers at the bottom of the hill leading up to Tel Rumeida attempted to prevent us from climbing the hill but I was not about to give in to their demands. Running, crisscrossing the street, I escaped their outstretched arms and continued to the top. As I arrived Rebbetzin Chaya Ra'anan, Rav Shlomo's widow, was being placed in an ambulance. It wasn't clear if she too had been injured but she surely looked in shock. 

      Inside the neighborhood there was a smell of recently extinguished fire. The terrorist, following the murder, tossed a Molotov cocktail inside their caravan home, hoping to burn it to the ground. Fortunately neighbors were able to extinguish the fire before it spread to other caravan homes. Rabbetzin Chaya had managed to pull her dying husband outside before the living room went up in flames.  Only minutes before she had been involved in a tug-of-war with the terrorist, with her fatally injured husband in the middle, being pulled by both of them. However the terrorist had a knife and continued to stab his victim, puncturing his heart, killing him. He then jumped out a window and ran across the street, only meters away, into the Arab-controlled zone of Hebron, abandoned to the PA only a year before. According to the Hebron accords, Israel security forces were forbidden to enter that area and search for the killer. As a result, that same terrorist perpetrated a second attack on Yom Kippur, some six weeks later, injuring over twenty soldiers. Still not apprehended, a few weeks later he made his way to Beer Sheva, hoping to toss some hand grenades at civilians in the city's central bus station. Only then was he captured and eventually imprisoned.

      The dead rabbi was lying on the ground outside his home, covered by a blanket. A little while later he was moved into a home, his body surrounded by candles. I spent the night in the office, looking for a photo I'd taken of him not too long before. The next morning the funeral  began there in Tel Rumdeida, and continued to Jerusalem, where he was buried at Har HaZaytim – the Mount of Olives, next to his illustrious grandfather and uncle, Rabbis Avraham Yitzhak HaCohen Kook, and Zvi Yehuda Kook.

      My reaction was almost instantaneous: I'd been negotiating for an empty apartment in Hebron. No more negotiations, no more demands: a week later my family moved from Kiryat Arba, where we'd lived for 17 years, to Beit Hadassah. I'd already been working here for four years, so it was sort of a closure. I felt like I'd come home.

      Why? Very simply: the terrorists use murder and other types of violence in an attempt to force us to leave. The only appropriate reaction is to do the opposite; not to leave, rather to move in. That's exactly what we did.

      Yesterday, marking the 10th anniversary of the Rabbi's killing, a large group of people gathered at the Gutnick Center, outside Ma'arat HaMachpela. Only meters away, thousands were visiting that holy site; being the eve of the new month of Elul, the entire building was open to Jewish worshipers.  Exactly as it was that fateful Thursday, ten years ago.

      For a few hours several important Rabbis delivered words of comfort and words of Torah to those present, including members of the Kook-Ra'anan-Shlissel families, and many others who came to pay their respects to the Rabbi and family. Those speaking included Rabbi Eliezer Waldman, Rosh Yeshiva of the Kiryat Arba Nir Yeshiva, Rabbi Hananel Etrog, Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Shavei Hevron, at Beit Romano in Hebron, Rabbi Doron Avichzar, Dean of the Netivot Dror Torah Academy at the Telem community, and Noam Arnon, who MC'd  and also spoke about the connection between Rabbi Kook and Hebron.

      However, the most important speaker, in my opinion, was  Rav Michael Hershkovitz, Rabbi of the community Neria in the Binyamin region, and a teacher at Yeshivat Merkaz HaRav in Jerusalem.  The theme of his dvar Torah was quite fitting: Learning Torah is important, but no less important is doing, implementing what you learn. He spoke at length describing how Rav Shlomo Ra'anan did just this: living in a caravan in the Hadar Adar community and following that, moving to another caravan at the Tel Rumeida neighborhood of Hebron. 

      For years the Rabbi studied and taught the value of settling the land of Israel, Eretz Yisrael. But realizing that words are not enough he followed in the footsteps of the teachings of his grandfather and uncle, not only talking, but also doing. This is Torah.

      It's not easy living in small caravan homes. Tel Rumeida, somewhat isolated from the other neighborhoods of Hebron, is not the easiest place to live. Every morning, rain, snow or shine, the Rabbi would walk down the hill by himself to pray early morning prayers with a 'minion,' a prayer quorum of ten men. Every day he travelled back and forth to the Merkaz HaRav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, where he participated in Torah study and instruction.  Not easy for a man in his late 50s, early 60s. But the Rabbi always had a smile on his face, knowing all of Hebron's children by name, always ready to help, with an easygoing personality humbly concealing his Torah genius.

      Concluding his remarks, Rabbi Hershovitz added, "Rebbe Shlomo, I just want to let you know, even though you probably know from where you are, that your extended family has continued in your footsteps, following your example of Torah and deeds, settling the land, Eretz Yisrael Israel, just as you did."

      Rebbetzin Chaya, sitting with her daughter Tzippy, both of whom today live in Tel Rumeida, only meters from where the Rabbi  was murdered,  despite the pain, couldn't help but smile, knowing that the direction she and her husband had taken was being continued by their offspring.

      The Rabbi's presence could definitely be felt amongst the participants, but for sure, all still feel the pain of his death and the vacuum his murder left, for his family, for his friends and neighbors, and for all of Am Yisrael.  Zechar Tzadik l'vracha  - HaShem Yikom Damo.

      Av 17, 5768, 8/18/2008


      This afternoon a group of people gathered at the ancient Jewish cemetery in Hebron to participate in a memorial service on the anniversary of the killing of Hebron resident Elazar Leibovitch six years ago. Murdered at the same time were three members of the Dickstein family- the mother, father and young son.

      Elazar Leibovitch was murdered, by the Hebrew calendar, on the 17th day of the month of Av. On the same date, at almost the identical hour, Shmuel HaLevy Rosenhaltz, nicknamed “the Matmid’ or perpetual student, was the first victim of the 1929 riots and massacre in Hebron. The next day, another 66 men, women and children were killed. Tomorrow a group of people will gather at the same cemetery, only a few meters from Elazar’s grave, and mark the 79th anniversary of that horrific event.

      This week the Israeli government decided to commemorate these two events in a unique way. They decided to release 200 terrorists, as a ‘good-will’ gesture to Holocaust denier, Abu Mazen, presently head of the palestinian authority. In order to express support for one Jew-hater over another Jew-hater (Hamas), the Israeli government is freeing 200 terrorists from prison. Not only isn’t Israel getting anything in return; they didn’t even bother asking for anything in return. What could Israel dare request? Perhaps little things, like Abu-Mazen’s full cooperation in successfully achieving the release of Israeli POW Gilad Shalit. But no, that would be too much to ask for. This time Israeli has to give something for nothing, thereby showing Abu-Mazen’s supporters and not so much supporters just how good he is, just how strong he is, just how much he can twist the long arm of the Zionist enemy and get murderers released from jail. Without paying any price.

      Of course, in their opinion, this isn’t enough. All prisoners must be released, unconditionally. But, this is a good beginning, a step in the right direction.

      This is how the Olmert administration is marking the 79th anniversary of the 1929 riots, instigated and initiated by Amin el-Husseini, who later met with Hitler in Berlin, formed the Muslim Brigades, and had plans to annihilate all the Jews living in Eretz Yisrael when they expected Rommel to invade during World War Two. Amin el Husseini’s direct successor was Abu-Mazen’s predecessor, Arafat. Abu-Mazen is trying hard to follow in his footsteps.

      However, the government’s decision was not enough to mark the current occasion. They had to go just one step further, stick the knife in just a little deeper.

      The common rule of prisoner releases over the years has been to refrain from freeing terrorists with ‘blood on their hands.’ In other words, those that just helped, or attempted to kill but didn’t succeed, and the like, they’re ok to set free. But those who actually pulled the trigger, they’re another story.

      That’s the way it was, until today. For the first time, the Israeli government decided to release a couple of ‘real terrorists,’ those who went all the way, and did the dirty act to its fullest degree.

      So, who’s being released, in celebration of the anniversary of the killings in Hebron? One of the two is Ibrahim Mahmoud Mahmad, who twenty years ago murdered Yehoshua Saloma, a young Yeshiva student studying in the Kiryat Arba Yeshiva. Saloma, a new immigrant from Sweden, who came to Israel alone, had walked into Hebron from Kiryat Arba to buy some dried fruits for the upcoming Tu B’Shvat holiday. While making his purchase in the Hebron Kasba, he was brutally murdered from behind by Ibrahim Mahmoud Mahmad. Saloma is still dead. Mahmad is still alive.
      And if Olmert et al have their way, he will soon be free. This is the message to the world that Israel is making on the days when Hebron is marking the murders of 68 other Jews by Arabs: 67 in 1929, and Elazar Lebovitch, 6 years ago.

      Yehoshua Saloma hy"d

      It’s interesting to note: Yehoshua Saloma was the first Jew to be killed in Hebron since the 1929 riots. His murderer is about to be freed by the Israeli government. Can you image Israel releasing a few of the barbarians who butchered Jews during those few hours on a summer Saturday in 1929? What’s the difference between the barbarians of 79 years ago, the barbarians of 20 years ago, the barbarians of 6 years ago, or the barbarians of today?

      Ah, what’s the difference you ask? Very simple. In 1929 we could (rightfully) blame the British. Today who do we have to blame? We need only look in the mirror and point a finger at the image we see.

      But, then again, it’s only a gesture.

      Tammuz 28, 5768, 7/31/2008

      Yossi Ezra's Return To Hebron

      A few weeks ago, I bumped into some journalists in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Seeing me, they asked about various problems, including threatened expulsion from several buildings here in Hebron.

      Finishing up their interview, they concluded by saying/asking, "I guess you don't have too much to be happy about with all of these problems." My answer: "No, you are wrong. We have a tremendous reason to be in high spirits. The very fact that we are here is reason to celebrate. The fact that today there are some 90 families and well over 300 children in Hebron, in five neighborhoods, is reason to celebrate. The fact that we are still in Beit HaShalom a year after having moved in, despite all the attempts to expel us, is something of a miracle and reason to celebrate.

      "True, there are problems. There always have been problems and almost always will be - but what of it? That's the way life is. True, it could be easier; but taking into consideration where we were 60 years ago and 40 years ago, as well as the kinds of politicians running the country and the pressures from so many different sources, the very fact that we are in Hebron at all is, in my eyes, nothing less than a Divine miracle. And for that, we are truly happy."

      One of the seeming issues we have today is the right to purchase property in Hebron, and the legitimacy of construction on Jewish-owned land.

      For example a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday morning, we had a special visitor in Hebron. Yosef Ezra was born in Hebron in the early 1930's. However, as he related to us, his family history in Hebron goes back over 400 years. Following the expulsion from Spain in 1492, Jews scattered all over the world. Yossi Ezra's family made their way from Spain to Eretz Yisrael, and settled here in Hebron. They lived here continuously until the expulsion immediately after the 1929 riots and massacre, but returned with a small group of families in 1931.

      Most of those families were again expelled in the spring of 1936. However, one family remained in Hebron: The Ezra family. Yossi's father, Ya'akov, processed dairy products and sold them to Arabs in the city. He refused to leave. He would work in Hebron during the week and return to his family in Jerusalem for Shabbat. Many times his children would come with him, running around in the streets and alleys of Hebron and playing with Arab kids.

      Until November 29, 1947, that is. The United Nations approved the partition plan, dividing Eretz Yisrael between the Jews and Arabs. The Jewish leadership in Israel accepted the plan. The Arabs rejected it and declared war. Ya'akov Ezra's friends told him, "When you go to Jerusalem for Shabbat, don't come back any more." Only then was the Ezra family, 450 years in Hebron, exiled from the home. That lasted for 19 years.

      Following the 1967 Six-Day War, the Ezras wanted to return to Hebron and their age-old property. But all requests fell on deaf ears. Moshe Dayan and others weren't interested in Jews returning to Hebron and refused to speak to them. But today, things have changed.

      Yossi Ezra comes into the Avraham Avinu neighborhood like a long lost child coming home. Looking around behind the destroyed Jewish homes in the old "Arab shuk," he declares, "All this was an olive grove that my father worked. Twelve dunam (1,000 square meters - 10,700 feet) of land - all of it here belonged to my father. Here, you see this mosque? My father built it on his land for the Arabs who worked here, so they'd have a place to pray. All the buildings here are on my family's property."

      Yosef Ezra carefully examining an ancient
      Sefer Torah in the Avraham Avinu Shul. Written
      in the 1100's, it was brought to Hebron by his ancestors.

      Yossi Ezra has been instrumental in assisting Hebron over the past few months. A few years ago the community built a small apartment called Beit Ezra, underneath Beit Nachum v'Yehuda, in an abandoned Arab shop - itself built on Ezra's property. A military appeals panel recently ruled that the Arabs have no claim to that land. When the three judges visited the site, Ezra pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. "My father paid the water bill here. This is the receipt, from 1932."

      A few meters away, inside the Avraham Avinu shul, Yossi Ezra carefully examines an ancient Sefer Torah, explaining that it was written in the 1100's and brought to Hebron by his ancestors.

      Yossi Ezra is an authentic example of Hebron's fascinating history, blending the past, the present and the future.

      However, the following should be clear: I mentioned earlier about "the seeming issues" plaguing Hebron, as illustrated by the struggle to continuing living in "Beit Ezra." But the roots of the issues are much deeper and, in truth, have nothing to do with building or purchasing today.

      Not too long ago, a group of government representatives visited Hebron. While standing outside Ma'arat HaMachpela discussing various ways to improve conditions at the holy site, one of the young "legal experts" piped up, "But there's a problem here because Ma'arat HaMachpela is registered as belonging to the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust." One of the Hebron men scratched his head, looked at the lawyer, and reacted. "Gee, I remember reading somewhere that it was registered with someone who preceded Muhammad. Avraham, I think his name was."

      This is the real issue! When Jews in the State of Israel of 2008 can conjure up such a statement as, "Ma'arat HaMachpela belongs to the Arabs" (while keeping in mind that they wouldn't allow Jews access to this site for 700 years), it's clear that something in our national and religious psyche is tainted.

      On the other hand there is a cure, a medicine to alleviate all such ills. On the same day that Yossi Ezra visited Hebron, I came upon a large group outside in the Machpela garden. A group of first-graders from Efrat had come to celebrate the conclusion of studying Chumash Bereishit - the Book of Genesis. The festivity included a wonderful play, depicting Abraham's purchase of the Caves of Machpela almost 4,000 years ago.

      This is the recipe to heal such a disease that threatens to destroy our roots: children outside Ma'arat HaMachpela, acting out the purchase of this sacred site. In reality, it's not only a play. It's reality! Every day, Jews who visit, pray and identify with this hallowed place are recreating and reinforcing - with their very presence - Jewish ownership of our land. This is our strength, our legacy, and our future.

      Yossi Ezra represents where we came from. These children represent where we are going.

      It's a good thing Abraham didn't need anyone's permission to buy Ma'arat HaMachpela.
      Printed in the Jewish Press - Thursday, Aug.1, 2008
      Also appearing at: http://tinyurl.com/5ns9dc

      Tammuz 15, 5768, 7/18/2008

      Eretz Yisrael is obtained with hardship

      Yitzhak Herskovitz: I want to help guarantee the survival of Israel.
      The Talmud in the tractate Brachot teaches us that three prizes are obtained via hardship: Torah, the Next World, and Eretz Yisrael. Yitzhak Herskovitz has first-hand experience with the adversity involved in redeeming and settling Eretz Yisrael, the Land of Israel.

      R' Yitzchak made aliyah over 20 years ago. A carpenter by trade, he remodeled the lift he used to transport his belongings to Israel into a wonderful home in Kiryat Arba. But a home outside Hebron wasn't enough to quench his thirst for settling our holy land. Back in 1988 he began proceedings to purchase a home in south Jerusalem, near Gilo, today called Givat HaMatos, bordering a neighborhood called by the Arabs, Beit Tsafafa.

      The transaction took a few years to finalize but in 1992 he received the papers and the property was his.

      Almost. But not quite.

      That's because his new home had visitors who had no plans to leave. Arab squatters, the Salach clan had moved in and the new Jewish owner of the property didn't impress them. They stayed.

      Yitzhak Herskovitz

      Yitzchak Herskovitz did what any good citizen would do. He went to the police and eventually to the courts. That's where the case has remained for the past sixteen years.

      During the first Magistrate court proceedings, experts proved beyond any doubt that the papers presented by the Arabs, purporting to support their claims, to be forgeries. After years and years of court sessions, the judge ruled in Herskovitz' favor. An order was issued demanding that the police remove the illegal residents from the property. Over the years some seven eviction notices have been issued. But the Salach clan is still there. The police, despite the court order, refused to expel the illegal squatters.

      Following Herskovitz' victory the Arabs appealed to a Jerusalem District Court, claiming that they owned the property. The judge decided not only to hear the appeal, but also to retry the case from the very beginning, forcing Herskovitz to keep paying an attorney and bring back all his past witnesses for a second round of court sessions.

      Herskovitz' attorney, Ms. Anat Ben-Dror explained that the original court verdict did not rule on ownership of the property, rather regarded the case as an 'eviction hearing.' The Arabs, after losing the first case, then filed an 'ownership suit,' and the judge fell into the trap they set for him and began hearing the case for a second time.

      Herskovitz pointed out that when the Arabs made a verbal claim of ownership twelve years ago, the Magistrate Court judge told them in no uncertain terms: 'if you claim ownership, file a claim in the District Court which has authority to rule on such an issue.' The fact that they did not follow the judge's instructions then basically proved that they themselves knew that they had no case.

      Not too long ago R' Yitzchak won a small victory in court. The judge ruled that the Arabs would have to deposit all back rent as well as a monetary bond covering future costs, in order for him to cancel the eviction notice issued and still standing against them. However, as of this writing they still have not paid the money, and are still living in the house.

      Yitzhak Herskovitz has himself authored a number of documents concerning his property:

      " I spent 15 years of my life in court. I spent hundreds of thousands of shekels in legal fees, court expenses, investigation and expert research of their documents, which the police crime laboratory and my hand writing expert found to be fabricated. All of this just to pursue justice.

      The police do not enforce the law when it comes to Arabs. Should I not be upset when I see and feel the injustice of this?

      I understand that there are squatter's rights when they are legitimate. But when they are illegitimate, that person is a trespasser. A trespasser is a criminal. He should be put in jail so the public will know that trespassers go to jail.

      I do not believe a person can fathom the pain of what trespassing does to me. The restraint that I bear goes beyond comprehension. I have been told by many not to trust the Israeli courts. I now understand why. It goes without saying: the courts and the government are responsible to protect the property rights of their citizens.

      This is the primary function of the government. This is their duty and responsibility. They must provide for the safety and security of their citizens in Hebron, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem or in Beit HaShalom and in Givat Hamatos.

      Many of my of my acquaintances and friends keep telling me: Sell it and forget it!

      The best answer I can give is that I love my children, I love my family and I love my people. I want them to have a home that they can come home to. We cannot allow Arabs to occupy our homes and our properties, to steal and rob our Land from us.

      I want to help guarantee the survival of Israel.

      (This article was first printed in the Jewish Press Magazine, Page M8, July 18, 2008 issue)