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      From the Hills of Efraim
      by Yisrael Medad
      This blog will be informative, highlight foibles, will be assertively contentious and funny and wryly satirical.
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      Yisrael Medad is a revenant resident of Shiloh, in the Hills of Efrayim north of Jerusalem.  He arrived in Israel with his wife, Batya, in 1970 and lived in the renewing Jewish Quarter, eventually moving to Shiloh in 1981. 

      Currently the Menachem Begin Center's Information Resource Director, he has previously been director of Israel's Media Watch, a Knesset aide to three Members of Knesset and a lecturer in Zionist History.  He assists the Yesha Council in it's contacts with the Foreign Media in a volunteer capacity, is active on behalf of Jewish rights on the Temple Mount and is involved in various Jewish and Zionist activist causes.  He contributes a Hebrew-language media column to Besheva and publishes op-eds in the Jerusalem Post and other periodicals.

      He also blogs at MyRightWord in English and, in Hebrew, at The Right Word.

      Cheshvan 5, 5772, 11/2/2011

      Will Israel reclaim its identity?


       

      Israel is facing an identity theft threat.

      The "Islamic Temple Mount Denial Syndrome" has been around for years (see here, too).  I thought maybe it had come to an end.

      Then there was Rachel's Tomb which, it was claimed, was really a mosque.  Even PM Netanyahu got upset about that.

      And now, with the acceptance of UNESCO of an entity called "Palestine", the confrontation looms, as we learn:


      West Bank religious sites first for world heritage request

      Significant religious sites throughout the West Bank, including the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem and Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, will be among the first to be pushed forward for world heritage status now Palestine has been granted membership of UNESCO.

      A Palestinian Authority spokesman there were many sites and shrines in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip that until now had been unprotected because of a lack of recognition and funding.

      ''Now we will be able to protect them and make sure they are known around the world,'' he said. ''We believe that becoming a member of the UNESCO is an overdue right for a country that has such a significant amount of heritage sites.''

      ...The authority claims agreements such as the 1994 Paris Protocol severely restrict tourism and therefore economic development in the Palestinian territories.  Joseph's Tomb in Nablus - a site important to Christians, Jews and Muslims - has been at the centre of deep sectarian conflict. With UNESCO membership, the Palestinian Authority would now be responsible for ensuring the site was protected, the official said.

       

      This resonated to my mind with a previous instance - the 1930 dispute over who 'owned' the rights at the Western Wall.

      The Jewish case is contained in this memorandum (and a review is here).

      I previously have gone into this here where I wrote about a White Paper, Command 3229 of November 19, 1928, just as Muslim-Jewish tension were escalating over mutual claims at the Western Wall after the pulling down of the mechitza on Yom Kippur. That White Paper affirmed that no benches or screens could be brought to the wall by Jews, since they had not been allowed during Ottoman rule.
      a White Paper, Command 3682, 27 May 1930, which welcomed an investigation by an international commission of the conflicting claims to the Western Wall (see here) and that International Commission of Inquiry established by the British Mandatory authorities which then issued a report that resulted in unjust restrictions on Jews by the Western Wall in addition to awarding to the Muslim Waqf the ownership of the Wall and the small courtyard which served as the worship site.

      What we are witnessing is a matter of identity theft. See here for what appears to be an article translated from the Arabic to comprehend their thinking.

      If this is the culture UNESCO will be promoting at the initiative of its new member, there will be two outcomes.

      The first is a reframing of the Arab-Israel conflict in terms of religion and national ethos.  To my mind, it is about time that will come to the fore.  Even Benny Morris now admits his reading of the 1947-1949 battles was wrong and that it was a jihadist struggle.

      The second is the reorientation of Jewish concerns on our rights to Eretz-Yisrael.  This is Jewish land.  The state is a Jewish state.  The character of Zionism is Jewish nationalism with Jewish values, Jewish character, Jewish essence.  It does not mean any other ethnicity or religion is to be excluded or oppressed or ignored.  It simply means that the primary geist of the country is Jewish.

      It may be difficult at the outset but good will come out of it in the form of a strengthened Jewish national character.

      ^