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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 10, 5773, 7/17/2013

      A taste of Tisha b´Av


      The question arises: why, in the year 2013, in the State of Israel, should we still fast on the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av – known as Tisha b'Av? We are back in Israel, we have independence, we are back in Jerusalem, so why the necessity of a fast? True, both the first and second Temples were destroyed on Tisha b'Av, but being back in Israel should be enough to perhaps mark this day in a different way, without the severity of a 25 hour fast. After all, the destruction of the Temples was a forerunner to exile, galut; today the directions have been reversed; we are in a period of redemption, geula.

      A few days ago, after the desecration of the Mezuzahs at Ma'arat HaMachpela, we became aware of some very interesting information.

      Ma'arat HaMachpela, the tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, is, theoretically, overseen by the State of Israel. A couple of years ago Prime Minister Netanyahu added this holy place to his list of 'national heritage sites.' The defense ministry, together with the police, have legal jurisdiction at the site.

      However, as with other such significant places, such as Temple Mount in Jerusalem, another organization has official, or unofficial authority, that being the Waqf, the Moslem Religious trust. Any authority they maintain is granted to them by the state of Israel, as these sites are within the state of Israel, part of the state of Israel and under Israeli civilian and security authority.

      The present head of the Waqf at Ma'arat HaMachpela in Hebron is one Tayser Abu Sneneh. He was appointed to this position, it seems, a few weeks ago. He has quite an illustrious past. On the evening of May 2, 1980, he was stationed on the roof of a building across the street from Beit Hadassah. When a group of Jewish men arrived outside the building, beginning to sing and dance in the street, Abu Sneneh and his other 3 compatriots started throwing hand grenades and shooting. Six men were killed, about 20 wounded. Abu Sneheh, it seems, was the organizer and leader of this terrorist operation, in the center of Hebron.

      Abu Sneneh, today a free man, is still quite proud of his murderous, bloody past. His facebook cover photo shows him, with the other murderers, 'victorious.' And this creature is today running the Waqf at Ma'arat HaMachpela.

      Is it any wonder that Arabs should desecrate this site, given the opportunity to do so?

      Shades of Tisha b'Av.

      A few days ago Israel was notified that: "the European Union has decreed that contracts between EU member states and Israel must include a clause stating that east Jerusalem and the West Bank are not part of the State of Israel and therefore not part of the contract.”

      “The decree, which will go into effect Friday, will forbid any cooperation, awarding of grants, prizes and funding for any Israeli entity in the specified areas."

       

      These same countries did nothing while Jews were being shoveled into ovens at Aushwitz, while preventing Jewish immigration to pre-State Israel. Effectively, they assisted in erasing Judaism from Europe. Presently, they are trying to force Jews from their homes in Israel. Refusing to accept Israeli legitimacy in Jerusalem or throughout Judea and Samaria, they have adopted tactics reminiscent of Nazi Germany, demanding that Israeli products manufactured in Judea and Samaria be 'specially marked.' And now, they are demanding that any agreement signed between EU countries and the state of Israel contain a clause, 'recognizing the illegitimacy of Israeli presence in Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem. In other words, Israel is being forced to accept and sign on EU policy in any agreement made with them. If this isn’t blatant anti-Semitism on a grand scale, what is?

       

      But these are the least of our ‘shades of Tisha b’Av.

       

      Exactly eight years ago today, the day after the 9th of Av, the state of Israel began the expulsion from, and abandonment of Gush Katif and the northern Shomron. Some 10,000 people were exiled from their homes. According to statistics posted on Arutz 7-Israel National News, over 50% of those expelled are still lacking permanent housing. Over 16% are still unemployed. And others still have not recovered from the shock of the expulsion.

       

      Of course, among those affected by this horrid act were residents of Tel Aviv, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Beer Sheva, Kiryat Malachi, and just about all the southern area of Israel. Only some 13,000 missiles have been shot into Israel from the land we abandoned to our enemies eight years ago.

       

      And what about our land? What about Eretz Yisrael? Why don’t we hear the crying and wailing of our holy land, being used by enemies to attack our people, land, no longer lived on by Jews, rather by those who wish to eradicate us, from the rest of our land, and, in essence, from existence?

       

      The solutions are relatively easy. Remove the Waqf from all power, from all authority, in Hebron and Jerusalem. Place all our holy sites under total control of Israel, without stuttering and apologizing.

       

      Build, build, build. In all of Jerusalem, in all of Judea and Samaria. Implement the Levy report, allowing Jews to freely purchase and live in property throughout all of Judea and Samaria. Let the nations of the world know that we, and we alone, are the rulers of our land. They will not order us how to live in our land.

       

      And of course, as a grand finale, take back Gaza, take back Gush Katif, repopulate the lands abandoned, let the families go back home, home to their land, their communities.

       

      And let the rest of the world know – we will never, ever abandon our land again. We’ve been expelled by foreign powers, our holy city of Jerusalem ransacked and destroyed. But we’ve come home. Hebron will never again be Judenrein, Ma’arat HaMachpela will never again be off-limits, Jerusalem will remain, in its entirety, our capital city, for eternity.

       

      This is what should be done. Yet, there are those, among us, who still don’t understand, who are will to make the same mistakes again, to expel Jews from their homes and abandon our land to our enemies.

       

      Until all learn, until we realize and actualize our rights to our land, in Jerualem, in Hebron, and throughout all Eretz Yisrael, we’ll have to continue fasting on Tisha B’Av. Because, anyone who breaths deeply, can still smell the smoke pouring out of Beit HaMikdash, the Temple, in Jerusalem.

       

      When we put the fire out, and start to rebuild, we’ll be able to stop fasting, and begin celebrating, on the 9th of Av.