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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)

      Iyar 22, 5768, 5/27/2008

      A victory for Hebron at Beit Ezra:The Jews are staying!

      The significance of this decision is that the Jewish residents will be able to continue living in Beit Ezra.

      A military appeals panel today publicized its decision concerning "Beit Ezra" – the Ezra house, in Hebron.

      The decision by the military appeals panel regarding Beit Ezra – The Ezra House – in Hebron includes:
      1. Heavy criticism targeted at the custodian for abandoned property concerning stolen Jewish property.
      2. A legal outline which will obligate the property to be leased to the Hebron Jewish community.
      3. A ruling that past Arab vendors have no legal rights to the building; at the most, they may be entitled to possible financial compensation.

      "Beit Ezra" is property owed by Mr. Yosef Ezra, whose family lived in Hebron for hundreds of years, prior to the 1929 riots, massacre and expulsion. Presently two Jewish families live on property owned by the Ezra family. During the years of Jordanian occupation this property was stolen by Hebron Arabs and used for as Arab shops. Hebron's Jewish community redeemed this property and today utilizes it in coordination with Mr. Ezra. Arab vendors, instigated by Peace Now, brought a legal suit against the community and the families, arguing that the land had been stolen from them. A military appeals panel heard the suit and today ruled.

      In the decision, which ranges over 30 pages, the three panel judges heavily criticize the custodian for abandoned property in Judea and Samaria. They ruled that he did not utilize proper judgment as dictated by his job, as a guardian of the property, which he is obligated to protect. He left the property abandoned, deteriorating and vacant, and was wrong to demand eviction orders for the Jews living there. The custodian did not take into account the good of the property or take into consideration the will and desire of the original owner, Mr. Yosef Ezra, as he is obligated to do.

      The panel also ruled that the Arab vendors haven't any legal rights to the property, and certainly not as 'protected residents.' At most, if they can prove that the property was legally rented, they may be eligible for monetary compensation due to cessation of their lease. The panel ruled that in his previous ruling, the custodian took into consideration only the rights of the former Arab vendors, when in reality, they have no legal rights whatsoever.

      Concerning the Jewish residents, the panel ruled that they inhabited the property without receiving permission from the custodian and as a result must evacuate the property. However, in light of the fact that their residency in the property is compatible with both the good of the property and the desires of the owner, and in reality is the only way to fulfill both these obligations, the panel outlined a method which will allow the Jewish residents to remain living in the property:

      1. The residents must evacuate the property within 60 days.
      2. Within 60 days Mr. Yosef Ezra and/or the residents and/or the Hebron Jewish community may forward a proper request to lease the property. An appeal will immediately postpone the evacuation from the property until a final decision is rendered.
      3. The custodian is obligated to consider the request in accordance with 2 criteria in obligation of his role: a) the good of the property; 2) the will and desire of the owner.

      The custodian may not take into consideration the rights of the Arab vendors as 'protected residents,' because these rights do not exist. The custodian's decision to the request must be given within thirty days. This decision may be again appealed to the military appeals panel.

      The significance of this decision is that the Jewish residents will be able to continue living in Beit Ezra.