web analytics
April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Mission To Israel Inspiring – And Upsetting


Share Button

Reflecting back on the experiences our AFSI Chizuk group shared on its 31st mission to Israel, opposing words, thoughts and images come to mind.

Israel was physically magnificent. The weather was perfect as we experienced the beauty of the Shomron mountains, the flatlands of the Golan, the stark moonscape of the Judean desert, the sparkle of the Mediterranean, the glories of Jerusalem.

Jerusalem is luxurious. One can walk down King David Street, enjoy a drink poolside at the King David hotel, continue on to the lovely David Citadel with its magnificent veranda view of the Old City, and then on to the strikingly handsome, brand new Mamila hotel.

One strolls along Mamila past lovely artwork, enticing shops, appealing restaurants, and proceeds right through Jaffa Gate into the Old City. One leaves the new world of Jerusalem and is abruptly caught up in the traffic, smells, sights and sounds of the old city. This sharp contrast exemplified our stay in Israel.

Visiting our good friends from Gush Katif, expelled almost six years ago from their beautiful homes and communities, always gives us a sharp stab in the heart. Dror Vanunu, Rachel and Moshe Saperstein, Laurence Beziz, and Anita Tucker are so amazing in their determination to recreate their lost Gush Katif communities and lives.

We were pleased to visit with Alon Davidi in Sderot and see the soccer field donated by members of the AFSI Chizuk mission. We also enjoyed seeing the work of Ofek Chadash in trying to give services to the youth of the community.

What a treat it is to attend the Moskowitz awards ceremony at Ir David in Jerusalem, even though they are always interrupted by deliberately blaring sounds from the predominantly Arab Silwan, just across the valley.

Hebron, Israel’s second holiest city, and a contested one for that reason, is one of our must-visit places. David Wilder, the city spokesman, always generously gives of his time.

The agricultural intifada was explained to us by visits to Sussia, south of Hebron, and by Nadia Matar, co-chair of Women in Green with Yehudit Katzover. The battle between Jews and Arabs in Netzer, a piece of state-owned land between two Jewish communities, Alon Shvut and Elazar, is one example of the inch by inch attempt by Arabs to take over Jewish land. They do it through unchecked building and planting. When incidents occur between Jews and Arabs, it is usually the Jews who are given restraining orders, as was the case with Nadia Matar.

Our group participated in a festive Yom Yerushalayim event at Beit Orot, overlooking the Mount of Olives. We enjoyed the music, dancing, and dining, all the while aware of the Arab desecration of graves on the Mount, and their regular stoning of attendees and police.

We learned from Aryeh King, head of the Israel Land Fund, that Arabs are building a mosque on the graveyard. Though a cease-and-desist order has been given, the illegal building continues. King told us that there are 30,000 illegal Arab buildings in east Jerusalem and 2,000 illegal Arab buildings in the Jewish Quarter.

The Temple Mount in remains a mockery to Jews. Put under control of the wakfbut under guard of the Israeli police, the restrictions on Jewish entry to the Mount are humiliating and disgraceful. While we hate the ritual of being kept waiting for entry while non-Jews stream past us, we insist on being there with Rabbi Chaim Richman on every Chizuk visit.

Driving north from Jerusalem one sees the proliferation of Arab homes, many of them mansions. There is no need for fencing, since Jews are no threat to those communities. The Jewish communities, by contrast, are all fenced in, with special lighting, smart fencing, guards at the entrance, etc., and still there is need for groups of rapid response teams like those trained by Israel Danziger’s Mishmeret Yesha.

At Adei Ad, in the Shilo bloc, we found Jews living in buses. At Alei Ayin, close by, we found the Israeli police had destroyed the outpost just hours before our arrival. We viewed the rubble of a home, a car, a truck, agricultural equipment, and personal belongings. Was this another “sacrifice for peace”?

We went from there to visit the Fogel home in Itamar, where the massacre of five members of the family had been perpetrated by Arabs from nearby Awarta. Yedaya Shoham’s response to this was to immediately start a new outpost, Givat Aryeh, just outside Itamar. I’m proud to say that Jack Ross, an AFSI Chizuk member, has purchased a new Torah scroll we will dedicate at Givat Aryeh in November. That is the AFSI’s answer to murderous terrorism.

At Chavat Gilad, where we are working to reverse the government decree against water and electricity supplies to the community, we once again bonded with the families there.

The Golan was glorious in its vistas and archeological wonders. Aharon Pulver, of the Israel Independence Fund, met us at the innovative technical school in Hispin, where haredi, Ethiopian, and Russian boys are learning to be technicians in the Israeli Air Force. Traveling down the Jordan Valley, we stopped at Maskiot, the new home for Gush Katif refugees from S’Dot Yam.

We visited Mevo’ot Yericho, close to PA-controlled Jericho, which is struggling to survive despite the lack of government help. Residents must cope with fences broken and herds of sheep stolen by Bedouins.

It is good to hear Prime Minister Netanyahu speak about a strong Israel; however, when we see some of the upsetting things described above, we have to wonder when the strong arm of enforcement will come into play. Until then, we work and pray, and continue to make plans for our next Chizuk mission to Israel.

Helen Freedman is executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI.

Share Button

About the Author: Helen Freedman is executive director of Americans For a Safe Israel/AFSI. She can be contacted at afsi@rcn.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Mission To Israel Inspiring – And Upsetting”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Flyers ordered Jews to appear at a designated location in Ukraine, in Sept., 1941. The next day, the Jews lined up at the Babi Yar Ravine.
‘Jews Must Register’ Flyer in Ukraine an Echo of Babi Yar
Latest Indepth Stories
Masked Palestinian Authority Arabs hurl blocks at Israel Police during and after "worship" at Temple Mount mosque. (archive photo)

When we are united with unconditional love, no stone will be raised against us by our enemies.

Haredim riot after draft-dodger is arrested.

The reporter simply reports the news, but it is greater to be inspired to better the situation.

Bitton-041814

The Big Bang theory marked the scientific community’s first sense of the universe having a beginning.

MK Moshe-Feiglin

Freeing convicted murderers returns the status of Jewish existence to something less than sanctified.

“The bigger they are the harder they fall” describes what God had in mind for Olmert.

We, soldiers of the IDF, who stand guard over the people and the land, fulfill the hopes of the millions of Jewish people across the generations who sought freedom.

How much is the human mind able to grasp of the Divine?

Jews have brought the baggage of the galut (exile) mentality to the modern state of Israel.

The Haggadah is an instruction manual on how to survive as strangers in strange lands.

It’s finally happened. New York Times public editor Margaret Sullivan reported on her blog that “many readers…wrote to object to an [April 2] article…on the breakdown in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians,” claiming “[they] found the headline misleading and the article itself lacking in context.” Ms. Sullivan provided one such letter, quoted the […]

Nor did it seem relevant that according to widely circulated media reports, Rev. Sharpton was caught on an FBI surveillance video discussing possible drug sales with an FBI agent.

Jewish soldiers in the Polish forces often encountered anti-Semitic prejudice.

When the state was established, gedolim went to Ben-Gurion and asked him not to draft women and, later, yeshiva bachrim.

Perhaps worse than all the above is the acute lack of unity among Jews

More Articles from Helen Freedman
titanic israel

What we saw was Arab arrogance, audacity, and terror that was completely out of control.

Five thousand evangelical Christian supporters of Israel from throughout the U.S. and Canada filled the halls of the Washington, D.C. Convention Center July 18-20 for the sixth annual Washington Summit of Christians United for Israel.

Reflecting back on the experiences our AFSI Chizuk group shared on its 31st mission to Israel, opposing words, thoughts and images come to mind.

Herbert Zweibon, founder and chairman of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, died on Jan. 19 at the age of 84. It was Tu B’Shevat, holiday of the trees, which only seems fitting because Herb was someone who spread his branches wide, sheltering not only his beloved family but an array of people and causes, planting seeds of wisdom and truth.

It is now five years since the mass expulsion of Jews from Gush Katif. The anniversary falls on Tisha B’Av, when we mourn the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. We also mark the modern-day destruction of Jewish life.

The May 9-17 AFSI Chizuk mission was another remarkable exploration into the enigmatic world of Israel. In that beautiful country live remarkable Jews who put their lives on the line every day. As Hizbullah in the north, Hamas in the south and the PA’s Fatah in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem threaten Israel, the Netanyahu government has the unenviable task of making life and death decisions while contending with pressure from the Obama administration, which seems unwilling or unable to comprehend the dangers.

We gathered on Manhattan’s Park Avenue, diagonally across from the Waldorf Astoria hotel, on a balmy evening last week to serve as a counter-protest against those who would defame and denigrate the IDF.

Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI and Manhigut Yehudit recently conducted its latest Chizuk Mission to Israel. These missions are designed to cover as much of the contested land of Israel as possible in a jam-packed week of visits to all parts of the country. We visited the Binyamin area, the Shomron, the northern Shomron, the Galilee, the Negev, Hebron – and of course, Yerushalayim.

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/mission-to-israel-inspiring-and-upsetting/2011/06/29/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: