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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.davidwilder.net
      www.hebron.com (English)
      www.hebron.org.il (Hebrew)
      www.machpela.com
      www.ohrshlomo.org (Hebrew)
      www.ohrshalom.net (Hebrew)
      www.womeningreen.org
      www.zoa.org
      (others to be added)

      Av 17, 5768, 8/18/2008

      Gestures




      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.