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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)

      Av 12, 5769, 8/2/2009

      Bring on the Crowds (Tzir Tzion Reopened)

      The most natural and healthy reaction to Barak's madness is the opposite of what he wants and desires
      Ehud Barak is an expert in death and destruction.  Some nine years ago, as Prime Minister, Barak gave the Israeli army orders to flee from southern Lebanon, thereby abandoning Israel's northern border. The direct result of this criminal negligence was the strengthening of Hizballah, and the 2nd Lebanon War, which left almost two hundred Israeli soldiers and citizens dead. Hundreds of terrorist rockets blanketed Israel's north for over a month.

      Barak's second death trap came a few months later, in July, 2000. During the 2nd Camp David talks, Barak offered Arafat about 95% of Judea, Samaria and Gaza. The direct result of this insanity led to the Oslo War, aka the 2nd Intifada, which cost the lives of almost 1,500 Israelis from October, 2000 to the middle - end of 2002.

      Barak is no stranger to expulsion and destruction. Eight months ago Barak gave orders to expel Jewish families from Beit HaShalom in Hebron, leaving the building in ruins. It should be recalled that the community paid over one million dollars to purchase the building, thanks to the generosity of Abraham family from Brooklyn.

      Ehud Barak today continued on his unique path of damage and danger. This morning the Israel Defense Forces, under orders from Defense Minister Barak, ordered the reopening of Tzir Tzion – the Zion Road, leading into Hebron, to Arab traffic.

      The road had been closed to Arabs since the double murder of David Cohen and Hezzy Mualem on that road on July 12, 2001. The road had been closed off to Arab traffice prior to that date, but had been reopened that morning. An Arab terrorist, taking advantage of the situation, drove through, shooting and killing Cohen next to the entrance to Kiryat Arba. Later that night, during a protest by members of the Kiryat Arba town council, Councilman Mualem was shot and killed on the road. From that date on the road was closed to Arab vehicular traffic.

      A couple of months ago Ehud Barak announced reopening of the road to 'select' Arab traffic, limiting the vehicles only to people who live on or near the road. Despite Hebron community protests, the date was set. A day before the planned opening, at a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, Israeli's intelligence chief revealed his opposition to the road's reopening. As a result Tzir Tzion was left closed. The committee requested that Barak refrain from any further measures until they had a chance to study the issue and publicize their own recommendations.

      Two weeks ago, again Barak announced that the road would be reopened by the end of July. As so it was that this morning concrete barriers were removed at three points along the road, leaving a gate and soldiers to check those coming and going.

      Senior IDF officers have tried to sooth the Hebron Jewish Community's concerns, saying that the vehicles permitted on the road will be limited, all cars will be checked, and security will not be affected.

      We've heard such saying before. Such as in January 1997, when Hebron was divided, leaving over 80% of the city under control of the PA terrorists, and leaving Jews access to only 3 percent of Hebron. We were told that 'should one shot be fired at you, we'll send in the tanks.' It took about two and a half years of shooting at Hebron's Jewish community before the Israeli government decided to 'send in the tanks.'  It is very likely that for some period of time the road will remain quiet, leading to further concessions, after all, 'look, we opened the road and nothing's happened.' Unfortunately Hebron is familiar with such situations, and G-d forbid, it's only a matter of time until 'something happens.'

      It is sadly ironic that Barak chose these days to continue on his path of death and destruction. Presently we are marking the fourth anniversary of destruction and expulsion from Gush Katif. In addition, next week Hebron will mourn the eightieth anniversary of the Tarpat-1929 riots and massacre, during which 67 Jews were slaughtered in Hebron and the survivors expelled from the city. It seems that Ehud Barak's would like to continue the policies of Amin el-Husseini and the then ruling British.

      There are some who have expressed concern that the reopening of the road to Arabs will scare people, making many potential visitors stay away from the city of the Patriarchs. However, this will not happen. Even during the most difficult of times, visitors flocked to Hebron, showing support and encouragement, letting their 'feet do the talking.'  During the Oslo war terrorists shot at thousands of people during the annual Succot music festival. Two women were hit. The next day the festival continued and thousands more thronged to Hebron.

      The most natural and healthy reaction to Barak's madness is the opposite of what he wants and desires. People of all religions will undoubtedly continue to confirm their faith and belief in the Jewish people's right to live freely and securely in Israel's first Jewish city, Hebron.  Bring on the crowds!