Inside Israel 2:44 AM 12/12/2013
Jewish World 12:13 AM 12/12/2013
Middle East 3:42 AM 12/12/2013
The Tovia Singer Show
Tamar & Tovia Dynamite
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.
Links to sites David recommends:
(others to be added)
Joshua said, "it is a very very good Land"
I don't often pat myself on the back - but today I'll make an exception. But I'm not only 'yeah'ing myself. I'm celebrating with about three million others - (yes, I'm in good company) - we all have something in common. We've all made Aliyah to Israel since inception of the state, sixty years ago.
Reading an INN article about international Aliyah day, initiated by my friend Yishai Fleisher, I was thrilled to see how many Jews have decided to make Eretz Yisrael their home. Of course, I'll be even happier when another 3,000,000 come over, and hopefully it won't take another sixty years. It shouldn't take more than five or ten years, at most. Actually, I wouldn't mind if they all came over tomorrow.
Every once in a while visitors here in Hebron, or in the US during speaking engagements, ask me what they can do for Israel. There's a limit how many times you can tell people to contribute or write letters to the editor. So when they push me into a corner I tell them: If you really want to help Israel, come live here. There's nothing more important a Jew can do than to come live in Israel. Another million Jews here, and the Arabs will start to get the message. Another half a million or so in Judea and Samaria and the Arabs will leave, voluntarily. But more importantly, having nothing to do with Arabs, we will be home, letting G-d know that we appreciate the unbelievable gift He gave us - The Land of Israel.
Today was the anniversary of the death of one of the first people to realize this - Joshua. He was one of the two spys Moses sent to Israel to search out the land. Only he, together with Kalev, realized how good the land really is, and tore their clothes when the other 10 spys slandered Eretz Yisrael. He said it is "a very very good land."
Today, for the first time, thanks to Yishai's great idea, Israel recognized all 3,000,000 of us who made the move, because we wanted to - because we WANT to be in Israel, and nowhere else. All of you who are reading this in "Chul" (Chutz l'Aretz - Outside of Israel) are invited to be among the next batch of 3,000,000. Eventually you will all come over, so why not now?! - The more the merrier and the faster the better.
See photos and video below.
(UPDATE: Afternoon Mincha prayers will take place today (Sunday) at 19:00
at the site of the destroyed synagogogue, followed by several
speakers, evening prayers. Following evening prayers, those present
will begin to rebuild the synagogue.)
Last week I blogged in asking if the Chazon David Synagogue would merit another prayer service. That night the synagogue was slated to be destroyed again. It's already been razed over 30 times.
That night there were too many people present; the security forces postponed the
The hangman had arrived, bringing not a rope, rather an IDF-supplied tractor.
execution. But not for too long. After all, in honor of our 60th independence day we must give a worthy present to the visiting president next week.
Last night, or rather early this morning, just before 3:30, the phone rang and the beeper buzzed. The hangman had arrived, bringing not a rope, rather an IDF-supplied tractor. The road was closed, declared a 'closed military zone' until the sentence was fully carried out. By the time I could get through the synagogue was a place of the past. However, the forces remained behind to make sure we didn't get too close, in order to start reconstruction immediately.
A group from Hebron and Kiryat Arba played cat-and-mouse with the police and as soon as daylight approached, an early morning service took place in the street, opposite the ruins of the shul.
Some of the forces were uncomfortable being photographed; after all, the Hebron Arab Shech Ja'abri had saved the site from destruction just over a half a year ago, and last week we marked Holocaust Remembrance Day. Photos of destroyed synagogues were fresh in everyone's memory.
The original synagogue was built over seven years ago and destroyed well over 30 times. However the present structure stood for about three years. Why now? Simply Olmert has to have a gift-wrapped present for Bush to sacrifice on the alter of piece (and another piece and another piece) and it seems that again, we are the victim to be done away with. A synagogue, a place of prayer, in memory of two men killed at and adjacent to this very site.
There are no words: except that the synagogue will be rebuilt and rebuilt and rebuilt until it is recognized as a permanent structure, to stand forever.
People who participated in and cooperated with the destruction:
What will they tell their parents, their wives, their children?
Why not flirt a little at the site of a destroyed synagogue?
Police holding hands at site of destruction
Rabbi Shimon Ben-Tzion being carried out of area
Yehudit Katzover being carried out of area
Yehudit Katzover and Nadia Matar
Police sitting on synagogue furniture
Garbage left on the street
Kiryat Arba Mayor Tzvi Katzover
Synagogue activist Yaakov Eichenstein
Nothing like a bite to eat
Go Away! You're not wanted here!
Prayer and ruins
Good News! - At twelve midnight word was received that the 'authorities' decided to postpone the destruction of Chazon David due to the number of people present at the site, ready to physically protest the razing of the synagogue. Chazon David still stands!
A number of years ago two Jews were killed the same day in Kiryat Arba. In the morning David Cohen, sitting in his car near the western gate leading out of Kiryat Arba to Hebron, was shot and killed by terrorists. Later that night the Kiryat Arba municipal council protested the opening of a checkpoint which had allowed the murder to occur. While gathering outside the Kiryat Arba fence, near the location of the recently opened checkpoint, terrorists opened fire on the group. Several people were hit. Councilman and longtime Kiryat Arba resident Hezzy Mualem was killed.
In memory of the two men Kiryat Arba founded the Chazon David synagogue, on empty land between Kiryat Arba proper and the Givat Avot neighborhood, to the west. The synagogue was recognized by the government as an illegal 'hill-top settlement,' and a few years ago was destroyed a couple of days before Passover. Army tractors bulldozed the synagogue to the ground.
However Kiryat Arba - Hebron residents refused to accept the decree and rebuilt the synagogue. A game of cat and mouse ensued. People would reconstruct the synagogue and every once in a while, in the middle of the night, it was destroyed.
Last Rosh HaShana the Israeli left, together with local Arabs, decided to burn the synagogue down. However the plan became known to Sheikh Jabri, the leader of the largest Arab clan in Hebron, and he forbade the destruction.
According to intelligence reports received by Hebron-Kiryat Arba residents, sometime tonight, or early tomorrow morning, the Israeli army is planning on perpetrating the act forbidden by a Muslim Arab Sheikh from Hebron. They are planning on destroying the synagogue again.
Anyone able to get to Kiryat Arba in the next few hours is asked to do so and to assist in trying to stop this sacrilege.
Earlier tonight I prayed evening prayers at the Chazon David Synagogue and photographed. Below are some of the photos of the synagogue as it is today. Will Chazon David merit another prayer service tomorrow? Will Jews again be able to recite Shema Yisrael at this holy site?
The group of Jews who initiated and participated in that ‘Seder’ in Hebron in 1968 were the sparks that set the fire of the return of the Jewish people to themselves after two thousand years.
On Saturday night we will participate in one of Judaism’s most ancient ceremonies, and certainly one of the year’s most treasured events. We sit around a table and conduct a Seder – the annual recitation of the story of Israel’s redemption from Egypt.
Rabbi Avraham Yitzhak HaKohen Kook, Israel’s first Chief Rabbi, writes that that exodus had a two-fold purpose. On the one hand, it was a goal in and of itself, that being liberation from Egyptian bondage. However, he teaches that the exodus was also a means to an end, that end being the reception of the Torah at Mount Sinai, and eventually, observance of that Torah in Eretz Yisrael. The exodus as a stand-alone event was momentous, but its real significance came to pass only years and decades later.
We are currently marking the sixtieth anniversary of Israeli independence. The Jewish people have made tremendous leaps and bounds over the past six decades. Who could have expected, in May of 1948, the power and prestige a Jewish state would command at the beginning of the twenty-first century. This is especially notable considering the fact that the Jewish people, coming out of a 2,000 year old exile, had to virtually recreate its national being from scratch, having been totally removed from exercises in sovereignty for two millennium. On top of this we can never forget that Israel was reborn from within the ashes of Auschwitz. Jews have prayed, day in and day out for thousands of years for not only a return to Zion, but also for Techiat HaMetim, the revival of the dead. Israeli independence is no less than revival of the dead. For this, we rejoice and give thanks to the L-rd for have granted us this most magnanimous gift of national life.
That’s the up side. The down side is all too well known. From the very beginning there was a concerted effort made to oppress the foundations of Jewish being. The founding fathers, or most of them, were not great fans of observant Judaism. The kidnapping and forced resettling of over 1,000 Yemenite children is perhaps the quintessential example of attempts to eradicate Judaism from the Jews. Yet Ben Gurion was known to have answered, in reply to a question about Jewish legitimacy to settle in Eretz Yisrael, that the source of Jewish rights to the Land is the Bible.
The relationship between Israel’s leadership and our Land has been overtly problematic. Eretz Yisrael was almost viewed as a ‘card’ to be dealt at the proper time. This was explicitly felt both prior to and following the 1967 Six Day war, when Israeli leaders attempted to refrain from liberating Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and following their liberation, expressed a desire to abandon them at the first possible opportunity. So it was that Israeli paratroopers, having captured the Old City of Jerusalem and Judaism’s most sacred site, Temple Mount and the Kotel (The Western Wall) were told to prepare to leave only a short time after the victory.
Yamit, Oslo, the Hebron accords, Gush Katif and the northern Shomron all speak for themselves. Other words are superfluous.
Where does this leave us, after sixty years?
In my humble opinion, the state of Israel isn’t really sixty years old. Yes, if we count from 1948, to 2008, the result is sixty. But in reality, we couldn’t really call ourselves a full-fledged sovereign entity while our heart was still in captivity. That heart being Jerusalem and Hebron. They go hand-in-hand, together. David began in Hebron for seven and a half years before moving up to Jerusalem. Hebron was lost in 1929; Jerusalem in 1948. Jerusalem was liberated on the 28th of Iyar and Hebron the following day. Hebron was chopped into two parts in January, 1997. Ehud Barak offered Arafat 90% of Jerusalem only a few years ago. The fates of these two eternal, holy cities are inextricably combined and cannot be separated.
Following the Six Day war former Jerusalem residents, expelled during the 1948 War of Independence were repatriated. Moshe Dayan, then Minister of Defense, refused to speak to former Hebron Jewish homeowners who had lost their property to Arab marauders following the 1929 riots and massacre, and subsequent final expulsion in the spring of 1936. Only in 1968, exactly forty years ago this Friday, did Jews return to the first Jewish city in Israel.
As with many such stories, from close-up they seem almost ordinary. In reality, not only a physical reality, but also a metaphysical truth, such events are earthshaking, or perhaps better put, ‘heaven-shaking. ‘ The return of a small group of Jews, that 1968 Passover in Hebron, with the guidance of Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda HaKohen Kook, with the participation of Rabbis Waldman, Druckman and Levinger, was the forerunner of a massive awakening, a returning to the heart of our land throughout Judea and Samaria. But this awakening too was not only a corporeal return to the land; rather, it was, primarily, a spiritual arousing, the voice of the Jewish people bursting through the ages, an almost primal expression of the faith buried so deep inside the souls of the Jewish people, who for centuries had cried out ‘next year in Jerusalem,’ whereby ‘Jerusalem’ was the keyword representing all our land, Eretz Yisrael. Without Jerusalem, without Shechem, without Hebron, we were as a body without a soul, a golem, whose bodily movements were predefined, perhaps classified as ‘natural.’ But the spirit, the inner essence, the heart, the soul, was missing. Only with the liberation of Jerusalem and Hebron and with them the rest of Judea and Samaria could we really and truly say, ‘we are back home – we have returned.’
That Passover, forty years ago, was the breaking of the ice – the trailblazer, the results of which are the authentic rebirth, physically and spiritually, of the Jewish people. As Jews began returning to their physical roots, so too did they commence the return to their spiritual roots; the numbers of Jews who have ‘returned,’ who have come back to observant Judaism in the past 40 years is beyond numbers. And that homecoming, as such, began with, and was initiated by our return to our land, our return to our heart – to Jerusalem and Hebron. The group of Jews who initiated and participated in that ‘Seder’ in Hebron in 1968 might not have known it then, and maybe some of them are still unaware of it today, but they were the sparks that set the fire of the return of the Jewish people to themselves after two thousand years.
Just as the exodus from Egypt had a double goal; one immediate and the other long-term, so too did our statehood in 1948 have a double agenda; one immediate – announcing before all the world, we, the Jewish people have not died out, we have escaped the bondage of galut, of exile, you have not been able to extinguish us; and also long-term – to bring the people back to all their land, to all their land and to all their heart and soul, physically and spiritually.
So as we celebrate sixty years and forty years, we can conclude that really, only now, are we beginning. The Jewish people spent forty years in the desert before entering the Land, forty years fraught with problem and crises. Now, we too have finished forty years, also filled with unimaginable predicaments. And just as then, when we came into the land the problems didn’t come to a swift end, we too, today, may still face unbearable situations. But those aren’t the key. The key is, we are home, we are in Israel, we have returned to Hebron and to Jerusalem, we have rediscovered ourselves, we have been granted the Divine gift of life, we are here to stay.
Happy Passover, Happy 60, Happy 40!
We are gearing up for a joyous holiday season in Hebron this Passover. Please see our website at www.hebron.com for more information on Tuesday's Hebron Music Festival and our special holiday tour schedule. Bring your friends to celebrate Pesach in Hebron!