My Vote for "Persons of the Year"

Michael Freund,

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Michael Freund
Michael Freund served as Deputy Communications Director in the Israeli Prime Minister's Office under Binyamin Netanyahu during his first term of office. He is the Founder and Chairman of Shavei Israel (, a Jerusalem-based organization that searches for and assists the Lost Tribes of Israel and other "hidden Jews" seeking to return to the Jewish people. In addition, Freund is a correspondent and syndicated columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and authors a popular blog on Middle East affairs, Fundamentally Freund. A native New Yorker, Freund is a graduate of Princeton University and holds an MBA in Finance from Columbia. He has lived in Israel for the past 19 years and remains a loyal New York Mets fan....

Time Magazine the other day made its annual selection for “Persons of the Year”, conferring the honor on Bill and Melinda Gates and rocker Bono because of their philanthropic work on behalf of others.

With all due respect to the editors at the venerable news magazine, I think they overlooked the real heroes of 2005 – the Jews of Gush Katif and northern Samaria, who were expelled from their homes this past summer.

The noble example they set of faith, commitment and determination, continues to resonate throughout society. Despite being so callously thrown off their land, many have tapped deep inner resources of strength, marshalling the energy and fortitude to begin to rebuild their shattered lives and those of their destroyed communities.

Their government has abandoned them, the media overlooks them, but the Jews formerly of Gush Katif and northern Samaria continue to inspire and to motivate us all.

Writing checks and raising awareness for good causes is nice – but also fairly common. What is far less common is to espouse the pioneering spirit exemplified by Gush Katif’s Jews – and to continue to live by it even after enduring a major setback.

And for that alone, the men and women in Orange deserve our thanks, and our recognition.