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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)

      Adar 22, 5768, 2/28/2008

      FYI-Israel, February, 2008, almost Independence Day #60

      But why stigmatize me for my entire life with a military profile which labels me as a mental case?
      This morning I spent about an hour watching a program broadcast a few nights ago on Israel television. (If you speak Hebrew it's worth watching it yourself.)

      There were two stories presented:

      Israeli kids, actually young men and women, who participated in protests against the expulsion from Gush Katif and other such catastrophes, are not being allowed to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. In many cases they are excused from service because they are issued an IDF profile of 21 – which translated into military jargon, is mental health problems.

      One of the women interviewed, named Techelet, was an honors student who decided to serve in the IDF rather than work as a volunteer for a year or two, as most religious girls do. She said, 'if they don't want me, fine, let them tell me so. But why stigmatize me for my entire life with a military profile which labels me as a mental case?'

      Her military file states that she lives in a community (Maon, in the southern Hebron hills) which is legal (for the time being), which is full of hate to Arabs and that she wants to join the army to take revenge on them.

      (I remember once having heard about similar method, that is, hospitalizing political opponents in psychiatric hospitals. In Soviet Russia.)

      The second story dealt with seven girls, all minors, 14 years old, who were arrested for literally having done nothing, booked, strip-searched as (is done to terrorists) with police males present in the room and held for three weeks. Why? Because they refused to identify themselves, saying that they don't recognize the validity of the Israeli court system.

      Why? First of all, they stated that they believe in Torah law, not secular law. And as their mothers said during the interview, 'after Gush Katif, everything changed. They (the girls) were totally torn apart. We used to treat soldiers almost as royalty. But after the expulsion my daughter told me that if I give a soldier a ride in the car, she'll get out and walk.'

      The girls' parents weren't allowed to see them, talk to them, or make contact in any way. Finally, after over three weeks in a full-scale jail, a judge ordered their release. Fourteen year olds.

      (Presently another women, Tzvia from Elon Moreh, no longer a minor, she's 18 years old, has been in jail for three months because she too refuses to accept the legitimacy of the Israeli court system. There was a period of time when she was denied food. Her heinous crimes include 'trespassing' on Jewish land where Arabs were harvesting olives, 'scaring' five Arab men, and 'pushing' them. (This has been defined, in Israeli criminal law, as 'aggravated assault.') The punishment, (before trial) is three months in prison for refusing to recognize the courts and sign legal documents restricting her movement, and forcing her to pay thousands of shekels bail.)

      Israel, February, 2008, approaching Independence Day number 60. FYI.