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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)

      Cheshvan 20, 5771, 10/28/2010

      MKs & Ministers show support for Hebron



      When one visits Hebron and, above all, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one cannot leave without understanding that the roots of the Jewish people have been deeply planted in the Holy Land for thousands of years
      Shabbat Chaye Sarah in Hebron

      Ministers and Members of Knesset Offer Congratulations, Moral Support, and Assurances

      No fewer than fourteen ministers, five deputy ministers, and twenty-four Members of the Knesset from the coalition and the opposition, headed by the Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin, responded to the request of the Jewish community of Hebron and the Kiryat Arba Local Council by sending congratulations on the occasion of Shabbat Chaye Sarah. In their remarks, these elected officials demonstrated much knowledge of the history of the City of the Patriarchs, recognized the city’s value and importance, expressed strong appreciation of its residents, and, no less important, gave commitments to the building and development of Hebron and the reinforcement of its status as a proud and flourishing Jewish town.

      Knowledge of the History of Hebron

      ·                     MK Menachem Eliezer Mozes quotes the adage in Zohar that describes the Tomb of the Patriarchs, situated “near the gateway to the Garden of Eden,” as the burial place of Adam and Eve as well.

      ·                     The Minister of National Infrastructures, Uzi Landau, is reminded of the Shlah-Lekha Torah reading, of all things: “Calev ben Yefuneh walked to Hebron alone and prostrated himself at the tombs of the Patriarchs there. The leaders of the Israelite tribes did not visit Hebron and failed the test when the time for action came. Only Calev ben Yefuneh, who imbibed the sublime power of Hebron […] said, “Surely we will ascend to and inherit [the Land of Israel] … the Land is very, very good.”

      ·                     The Minister of Culture and Sports, Limor Livnat, notes, “The city lost none of its importance and grandeur throughout the entire biblical era; it served as one of the country’s largest and most populous cities and even as King David’s capital in the first years of his reign.” MK Danny Danon quotes Rabbi Kook: “Hebron is the foundation of the Jewish monarchy; it was there that David’s timeless kingdom, which is everlasting and will be so forever, was established and perfected.”

       

      ·                     MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem notes, “Hebron has been a city of Torah and Judaism for centuries, the home of magnificent communities and towering rabbis such as the authors of Sede Hemed and Hesed le-Avraham, to name only two.”

      ·                     The Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister. Silvan Shalom, writes, “For hundreds of years our ancestors were not allowed to cross the seventh step and enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs.” He mentions “the riots of 1929 […] that serve as an urgent reminder that our enemies around the world have not yet given up on the idea of slaughtering and killing our people.” The Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, notes, “The Jewish community of Hebron existed uninterruptedly in all generations and was tragically cut down due to the massacre in 1929.” MK  Zeev Elkin, Chair of the Coalition and of the Land of Israel Lobby, notes, “Jewish settlement in Hebron persisted for thousands of years until the Jews there were murdered and evicted in the events of 1929.”

      ·                     MK Zion Pinyan says, “The restoration of the Jewish community of Hebron after the town’s liberation in the Six-Day War is a historical act of justice that was deserved. We will never allow lowly murderers to expel Jews from the Land of Israel. The Jewish community of Hebron is flourishing and developing. Additional families are moving into town; children play in its streets. It’s a vision coming true.”

      Recognizing the Value and Importance of Hebron

      ·                     The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin, writes, “Our right to the Land [of Israel] as a just right, as a moral right, [and] as an unchallengeable property right was established in Hebron.”

      ·                     The Minister of the Interior and Chair of the Shas Movement, Eli Yishai, notes that the Tomb of the Patriarchs is “the gateway to the Garden of Eden” and writes, “It is one of three places where the nations of the world cannot cheat the Jews by saying that we’ve stolen it.” The Minister of Science, Rabbi Daniel Hershkowitz, also quotes this rabbinical dictum and writes, “At a time when the nations of the world subjecting the State of Israel to political pressure and attempting to deal a blow to Jewish settlement, it is especially important for the unity of the entire [Jewish] people to strengthen and intensify our toehold in the Land of Israel.”

      ·                     The Minister of Communications and Chair of the Likud Central Committee, Moshe Kahlon, writes, “From Hebron all prayers from all over the world ascend to heaven. In other words, Hebron is our ‘communication center’ vis-à-vis the Holy One; we must look after it with the utmost of care!!!”

      ·                     The Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, notes, “Our nation’s link to Hebron generally, and to the Tomb of the Patriarchs particularly, has a historical, religious, and emotional dimension.” Minister Michael Eitan wrote instead about “the relationship and the continuity that exist between the Hayei Sarah Torah reading and Israel’s Declaration of Independence. The two texts combine religious sanctity and the national ethos to create one of the most important fundamentals in the existence of the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.”

      ·                     The Minister of the Environment, Gilad Erdan, writes, “When one visits Hebron and, above all, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one cannot leave without understanding that the roots of the Jewish people have been deeply planted in the Holy Land for thousands of years.” The Minister of National Infrastructures, Uzi Landau, notes that Hebron has been “the source of the Jewish people’s strength for generations.”

      ·                     The Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, writes, “Hebron is the stone from which we were hewn.” Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel writes, “Hebron is one of the four holy cities, it’s the very soul of the Jewish people, it’s the Jewish people’s birth certificate, its ID card, and its pledge of allegiance.”

      ·                     Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon writes, “Hebron embodies the Jewish people’s connection with the Land of Israel.” Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara writes, “Hebron reminds us of the Jewish people’s right to dwell, settle, and live in all parts of the Land of Israel.” MK Michael Ben-Ari mentions “the commandment to inherit and dwell in the land.”

      ·                     MK Uri Orbach writes, “Hebron is the City of the Patriarchs, the city where the monarchy began and where the reestablishment of a toehold in the entire Land of Israel began.” MK Alex Miller terms Hebron “the first Hebrew city, the cradle from which the Jewish people arose.”

      ·                     MK Uri Ariel notes that Hebron symbolizes “the second dimension of eternal possession of the Land of Israel: the human essence, the test of action, to fulfill the divine promise via human action. And the action is to return and to build.” MK Moshe Mutz Matalon writes, “The Tomb of the Patriarchs was the first Jewish possession […]. In Israel of 2010, there is not only the right of possession but also the obligation of possession—one that we as Jews are duty-bound to fulfill.”

      ·                     MK Tzachi Hanegbi writes, “The Tomb of the Patriarchs is the first Hebrew possession in the Land of Israel. Practically speaking, its purchase by our Patriarch Abraham thousands of years ago determined the worldview of the Jewish National Fund—buying land at full price in order to cement our historical entitlement and divine promise in property rights as well.”

      ·                     MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev writes, “This is the true location of the Jewish people’s most exalted figures and the site of the nation’s roots in the Land of Israel.” MK Ronit Tirosh wrote, “We can derive inspiration from our Patriarchs, who are interred in Hebron, for the importance of educating in the timeless Jewish values.”

      ·                     MK Yoel Hasson writes, “In the religious sense, Hebron is the second most important city for the Jewish people, surpassed only by Jerusalem. For generations, Jews prayed to return to Hebron and dwell there. The city is a symbol of the connection between the Jewish people and its land.”

      ·                     MK Yaakov Katz (Katzeleh) writes, “Hebron is the city of the living, a city that gives life and that links parents with their offspring.” MK Carmel Shama Hacohen adds, “Hebron symbolizes the past, the present, and the future rolled into one.”

      Strong Appreciation for Its Residents

      ·                     The Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin, wrote, “Due to your actions, your ardent faith, your motivation, and your resolve—pioneer-brethren who march before the camp—the country is being built and is sharing its fruit with its offspring.”

      ·                     The Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, writes, “It is you who enable hundreds of thousands of Jews to ascend to our Patriarchs’ graves.” MK Miri Regev noted, “By virtue of the Jewish community of Hebron and its devotion, Jews from all over the world and in Israel are able to ascend to and worship at the tombs of the holy Patriarchs and Matriarchs.” MK Rabbi Nissim Zeev congratulates the residents “for their steadfastness amid the ordeals of the time and their faith in and adherence to the city of our Patriarchs […]. More than half a million Jews from all over Israel and abroad visit Hebron each year. There is no doubt that there were no Jewish community in Hebron, such a flow of visitors could not exist.”

      ·                     The Minister of Religious Affairs, Yaakov Margi, defines the settlement project in Hebron as “a pioneering settlement enterprise for the safeguarding and security of the Land of Israel, a symbol and paragon for the entire Jewish people.”

      ·                     MK Arieh Eldad, Chair of the Land of Israel Forum, noted that the residents of Hebron “wage a daily heroic struggle to strengthen their grip on the cradle of the Jewish people and to resist anyone who wishes to loosen this grip.” MK Rabbi Haim Amsalem mentioned “their steadfastness against opponents from within and without,” and MK Zevulun Orlev, Chair of the Jewish Home faction, writes, “By doggedly clinging to this location, they are making a meaningful contribution.”

      ·                     MK Danny Danon termed Hebron “the vanguard of settlement in Judea and Samaria [. . .]. The steadfastness of the people of Hebron in the past few decades despite being targeted by waves of terror is a miracle and a paragon for us in the process of the Jewish repatriation.”

      ·                     MK Tzipi Hotovely wrote, “Dear residents of Hebron, you are the true heroes of the Jewish people, you are the torch that leads the camp, that reminds us all where we came from and who the national patriarchs are.”

      ·                     MK Yariv Levin wrote, “The residents of Kiryat Arba are an outstanding example of the rebirth of the Jewish people in the land of our Patriarchs […] a spearhead.”

      Commitment to Building and Development Hebron and to the Reinforcement of Its Status as a Proud and Prosperous Jewish Town

      ·                     The Minister of Construction and Housing,, Ariel Atias, wrote, “As the person who oversees the Ministry of Construction and Housing […] I am committed to strengthening the place where the nation’s Patriarchs lie in rest [. . .]. Hebron has deep historical and Jewish roots; we do not wish to disengage from it, nor can we.”

      ·                     The Minister of the Environment, Gilad Erdan, promised “to continue doing everything I can to help and support this wonderful community and its inhabitants.”

      ·                     The Minister of Communications and Chair of the Likud Central Committee, Moshe Kahlon, wrote, “Saying that Hebron isn’t ours is like saying that Jerusalem isn’t ours. Anyone who wants to hand Hebron to foreigners is cutting off the branch on which we sit […]. Hebron is ours, on deposit from the Holy One, and we have no authority to hand it to anyone.”

      ·                     The Minister of Transport, Yisrael Katz, wrote, “The Jewish people’s return to its land and the restoration of the settled Jewish presence in Hebron and Kiryat Arba are one and the same, inseparable […]. In my capacity as Minister of Transport, I undertook to reinforce Hebron, Kiryat Arba, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to bring them closer to the entire Jewish people—a physical connection that in turn will reinforce the psychological connection […]. [I promise] to continue acting to build roads to the hearts and to the Tombs of the Patriarchs, and we will assure the strength of the Jewish community in Kiryat Arba and the City of the Patriarchs.”

      ·                     The Minister of Culture and Sports, Limor Livnat, notes, “I am firmly confident that we will continue, as before, to appreciate the strength and solidity of the Jewish community of Hebron, and the State of Israel will continue to develop and build in Judea and Samaria and ensure the inhabitants’ security and well-being.”

      ·                     The Minister of Education, Gideon Saar, notes, “I have decided to include Hebron and Kiryat Arba among localities that entitle their residents to subsidized preschool education for children aged 3–4.”

      ·                     The Minister of Finance, Yuval Steinitz, writes, “Now more than ever, we need to continue building, developing, and striving in Hebron and the Kiryat Arba area.”

      ·                     The Vice Premier and Regional Development Minister, Silvan Shalom, writes, “It is our commitment as elected officials to make sure that the city of Hebron will continue to exist as the very heart of the State of Israel [. . .]; we are sovereign at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and we will be here forever.”

      ·                     Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel writes, “We came this Shabbat to pledge allegiance and tell the entire world, aloud and erect, that this is our land and the inheritance of our forefathers. Hebron is the eternal city for the eternal people; it is not an object to be partitioned, transferred, or leased out.”

      ·                     Deputy Minister Lea Ness wrote that we, much like the Patriarch Abraham, “bear the heavy responsibility of settling the Land of Israel and keeping it in Jewish hands, as an adjunct to the divine promise that we were given.”

      ·                     The Deputy Minister of Education, Rabbi Meir Parush, wrote, “I will continue to do whatever I can, as I have in the past, for the building and development of the renewed Jewish community in the holy city of Hebron.”

      ·                     MK Zeev Elkin, Chair of the Coalition and of the Land of Israel Lobby, notes, “The Land of Israel Forum struggled successfully to have the Tomb of the Patriarchs included on the list of heritage sites […]. It is our obligation and privilege to support and assist the residents of Hebron and Kiryat Arba.”

      ·                     MK Zevulun Orlev, Chair of the Jewish Home faction, notes, “To make sure that Israel continues to control Hebron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to keep them from being handed over to the Palestinians, I have presented the Knesset with a Hebron and Tomb of the Patriarchs Bill.”

      ·                     MK David Azoulay wrote, “As a member of the Knesset of Israel, I feel committed to the city of my patriarchs, Hebron—to its building, development, and preservation as Jewish city of cardinal importance.”

      ·                     MK Tzipi Hotovely wrote, “We elected officials must act in every way to keep Hebron [...] a safe, flourishing, and prosperous Jewish locality.”

      ·                     MK Yoel Hasson wrote, “Due to its value and importance to the Jewish people, I am convinced that the Jewish people’s special relationship with the city of the Patriarchs will continue in the future as well.”

      ·                     MK Yariv Levin wrote, “I am determined to continue helping to ensure the prosperity and safety of Kiryat Arba as a proud and thriving Jewish town […] and to strengthen the settlement enterprise in all of the Land of Israel.”

      ·                     MK Avraham Michaeli wrote, “As our rabbis’ emissaries, we have been ordered to preserve and develop the city of Hebron as far as possible and will do everything that we were told.”

      ·                     MK Alex Miller wrote, “It is our privilege and duty to support, strengthen, and develop the Jewish presence in Hebron.”

      ·                     MK Zion Pinyan, coalition whip in the Knesset Finance Committee, wrote, “We will act for the continued building and development of Hebron and the Jewish community, for the Jewish people and for posterity.”

      ·                     MK Carmel Shama Hacohen wrote, “Governments of Israel in all generations have resolved to strengthen the Jewish community of Hebron, and it’s our privilege and obligation to apply these resolutions in actions […]. It will be my pleasure to help in all matters.”