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Religious Settlers Face Pervasive Double Standard

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For anyone with historical memory the expulsion of Jews – by the Romans, English, French, Spaniards, Nazis, and Muslims – instantly evokes tragic episodes in Jewish history. Now the state of Israel expels Jews from their homes. Something is amiss in Zion.

The current round of evictions began, not surprisingly, in Hebron. Ever since the Six-Day War Jews have struggled tenaciously to rebuild their ancient community, destroyed during the murderous Arab pogrom in 1929. Against unremitting government resistance they have reclaimed abandoned Jewish property and, whenever possible, purchased buildings from willing Arab sellers.

Rabbi Moshe Levinger, founding father of the restored Hebron community, insisted: “No government has the authority or right to say that a Jew cannot live in all parts of the Land of Israel.” But from Menachem Begin, who was infuriated when Jewish “invaders” moved into Beit Hadassah in 1979, to Benjamin Netanyahu, who signed off on the recent expulsion from Beit HaMachpelah, the Israeli government has repeatedly tried to prevent Jews from living in Hebron.

A week before Passover fifteen Jewish families moved into a house purchased from a willing Arab seller near Me’arat HaMachpelah, site of the burial place of the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Jewish people. But their presence was labeled an intolerable “provocation” by Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is experienced in the expulsion of Jews from their Hebron homes.

Four years ago a signed purchase and sale agreement, accompanied by a video of the Arab seller receiving and counting his money, provided insufficient proof to Barak of Jewish ownership of Beit HaShalom, strategically located on the main road between Kiryat Arba and Hebron. Resisting what he described as “attempts by small groups of radicals to undermine the authority of the state,” Barak ordered Israeli soldiers and border police to forcibly remove the Jewish families who had lived there for more than a year.

This time, Barak refused to delay the expulsion. Netanyahu, who was willing to permit the new residents to remain in their home until after Passover pending a judicial ruling, quickly capitulated to his defense minister. The new residents of Beit HaMachpelah left peacefully, averting another violent encounter with Israeli soldiers – who might otherwise be expected to protect the right of Jews to live in their own homes. While the Beit HaShalom case still winds its tortuous way through the judicial system, the expelled residents of Beit HaMachpelah have now entered their own Dickensian legal labyrinth.

It is well known that Palestinians who sell property to Jews endanger their own lives. As a Hebron Arab told an Israeli journalist after the purchase of Beit HaShalom: “We will find the seller and chop him up into tiny bits.” When vigilante justice fails, the Palestinian Authority follows Jordanian precedent and imposes capital punishment on the seller. Indeed, the Arab who sold Beit HaMachpelah has now been sentenced to death in a Palestinian court. Under these circumstances, why would any Palestinian seller not claim fraud to save his life?

Ironically, it was Jewish community leaders in Hebron who protested this grotesque display of Palestinian justice. In a letter to the UN, the International Red Cross, Secretary of State Clinton, and Prime Minister Netanyahu, they wrote: “It is appalling to think that property sales should be defined as a ‘capital crime’ punishable by death.” Such a law “points to a barbaric and perverse type of justice, reminiscent of practices during the dark ages.”

But travesties of justice are not a Palestinian monopoly nor are they confined to Hebron. In the town of Beit El, established north of Jerusalem in Samaria in 1977, another housing crisis looms. Once again Defense Minister Barak is at the center of a property dispute involving belated Palestinian claims to land inhabited by Jews.

Thirty Jewish homes in the adjacent Givat Ha’Ulpana neighborhood are scheduled for destruction. According to a Supreme Court ruling, they were built on private land whose Palestinian “owner” only recently decided to reclaim it. Once again Barak cited the necessity to defend the rule of law – invariably at the expense of Jewish settlers, whose legal rights vanish at the whim of the defense minister.

“We are not chess pieces for Ehud Barak to play with,” infuriated residents protested. They insisted that the land was purchased with government mortgages from its Palestinian owner more than a decade ago. They were advised by civil administration officials not to register it lest the seller’s life be endangered. Yoel Tzur, a Beit El resident whose wife and son were killed in a terrorist attack on their way home sixteen years ago, reminded Netanyahu of his promise at the time to build a large community there in their memory.

Several government ministers warned Netanyahu, who relies upon his defense minister for political cover on his left flank, that any further destruction of Jewish communities would risk the dissolution of his governing coalition. Malleable as always under pressure, Netanyahu announced he was committed to “strengthening” settlements in Judea and Samaria. A special ministerial committee quickly decided to finally legalize three outposts that had received government authorization more than a decade ago.

About the Author: Jerold S. Auerbach is the author of “Jewish State/Pariah Nation: Israel and the Dilemmas of Legitimacy,” to be published next month by Quid Pro Books.


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5 Responses to “Religious Settlers Face Pervasive Double Standard”

  1. There is a spanish saying, that goes, ""Mi vino es amargo, pero es mi vino", translated, My wine is bitter, but its my wine. This saying is so apropo to my people Israel, a holy people who act at time so un-holy. The fact that it is horrific how we can treat each other with so much distain, and countless un warranted hatred, such as driving settlers out of what by inheritance is our land, block and discouraging returnees and conversions from sincere people. and or discriminating a jew due to their surnames, is only part of that bitter taste on many tongues. This coupled with what is happening around the world from the recesses of the children of forced ones (anusim) coming back to the fold, low estimates are between 10-15 million), in what I am aware of..( which the Israeli Rabbinate is not even ready to face, (the fifth child throughout the world is coming back), will solve the issue of needed Jews in the land of Israel. The solutions are in our hands, but it takes courageous, and well solid spiritual, philosophical, political, and social leaders well grounded in Torah, to bring the solutions into affect. Those who are not visionaries in this respect, as we have already seen taking place, serve to embitter the wine which ought to be sweet. May Hashem grant all of Israel the merit to restore our leaders to the ancient grandness, and foresight to build Israel on the basis of its actual constitution as a people, The Torah. Without which, we become like a nation like any other.

  2. Martha B. Suarez says:

    Mariano Otero…THE SOLUTION IS LOVE…PLAIN OLE LOVE. I HAVE ENCOUNTERED SO MANY PEOPLE THAT DO NOT WANT TO KNOW ABOUT "GAUD", BECAUSE THEY EQUAL IT WITH A BEING THAT PROMOTES WARS. IN REALITY, WE ARE THE ONES THROUGH OUR SELFISH EGOCENTRIC WAY PROMOTE THE WARS TO ONLY DO ONE THING, 'DIVIDE & CONQUER'. IT AMAZES ME WHEN CHRISTIANS, AS WELL AS JEWS STATE THAT THIS LAND & THAT LAND IS THEIRS & THEN TURN AROUND KILLING WITH THEIR TONGUE, THEIR BROTHER. BECAUSE WHETHER WE LIKE IT OR NOT, PALESTINE IS OUR BROTHER. THEY WEREN'T CREATED BY THE CREATOR TO BE HATED. NO ONE, TO THAT MATTER, WAS CREATED TO BE HATED. SO, WE NEED TO GET AWAY FROM MAN-MADE EVIL AGENDAS & STICK TO THE REAL DEAL, WHICH IS THAT THE CREATOR IS LOVE.

  3. Martha B. Suarez True love does not seek to massacre another wanting to live in peace. Unfortunately, what their own Palestinian people are educating their children is not only hatred, but seek out any Israeli and or Jew to murder with their suicide mission. This is repulsive to all three faith, yet somehow, these extremism have justified for these families, promising a future in the world to come. not fully cognizant due to(high illiteracy among Palestinian populace) that according to their deeds, they will not achieve that bliss state. Their leaders having lied to them in this world,will have to face the ultimate Judge in this world and the next for their actions and misleading their own people.I have a person whose identity will no be revealed, who came to me wanting to go through Orthodox Conversion. When I checked into her matrilineal descent discovered a strong linkage to Jewish heritage. However none of the Orthodox Rabbis and Batey Dinim here, gave her neither the day nor time to explain. She merely stated she was Muslim, and was of Palestinian descent was enough to reject her more than five time. She has been ostracized from her family, and she knows may be killed by her own, for merely wanting to embrace Judaism.Her family has buried her since she has renounced Islam verbally and Oral, which she was not required to do. I asked her why do you want to be part of a people that is hated by your own people to death? Regardless, I don't feel worthy, and wish to be a Jewess. Judaism, does hold the solutions for the problems actually facing the world and Israeli in particular. But many of my colleague are dealing with their own issues. As you know, the Temple Mount does not belong to Islam, and we Jews will not recognize Mohammed neither the Koran or in that case the NT as Divinely given. That position has not changed. Yet we make room for those of other faith to practice as they wish their own form of Monotheism. We should not be ashamed, nor bashful on this point. Judaism provides an answer to even the Islamic world based on the notion of its universal message. Not only Islam, but Christianity as well. But such dialogue in the past has always ended with the Jew at the stake and brunt of their hatred and envy.Go figure. At this point "love" is essential, but correct actions is not only required but demanded.Thus for both groups Actions not mere lip service of "love"is required. Thanks

  4. I saw haredi youths throwing rocks at a car for driving on Saturday, I also saw harassing women in miniskirts. Let's face it, some religious Jews in Israel are as bad as radical islam. Thank God Judaism doesn't have fatwas nor does it rewards martyrs with virgins nor does it desire for the entire world to be Jewish.

  5. Martha B. Suarez says:

    Mariano Otero THERE COULD NEVER BE TRUE SHALOM WITHOUT LOVE. HATRED IS LEARNED, IT IS TAUGHT. PALESTINE'S & JEWS LEARN TO HATE EACH OTHER BECAUSE THERE IS AN UNDERLYING DARK SIDE THAT IS DRIVING THEM TOWARD THIS DEMONIC STATUS. IT HAS AN AGENDA. THOSE THAT ARE ON THE SIDE LINE WATCHING BROTHER TO BROTHER KILL EACH OTHER ARE THE GOVERNMENT & MAN-MADE RELIGIOUS ELITE THAT ARE CREATING THIS NON-SENSE. IN EVERYTHING, IT GOES BOTH WAYS. EVERYTHING IS ALSO SPIRITUAL, & THE SPIRITUAL REALM MANY TIMES MANIFEST IN THE PHYSICAL REALM. I REMEMBER ONE TIME WHEN I WAS A SUBSTITUTE TEACHER FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL 'SYSTEM' HOW A LITTLE, SKINNY 4TH GRADE PALESTINE GIRL CAME TO ME & BEGAN TO EXPRESS HOW HER PEOPLE WERE BEING KILLED. SHE HAD SO MUCH INSIDE. OBVIOUSLY, SHE HAD HATRED. I THEN ASKED HER THE SIMPLE QUESTION, "DO YOU BELIEVE IN A HIGHER BEING THAT CREATED ALL?" SHE SAID, "YES." I CONTINUED & STATED, "THEN, IF YOU DO, HOW CAN YOU HAVE HATE OF ANY KIND? YES, YOUR PEOPLE ARE GOING THROUGH TOUGH TIMES, BUT SO IS THE REST OF THE WORLD, THE SAME ONE THAT THE CREATOR THAT YOU KNOW OF CREATED. ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS TO LOVE IN ORDER TO BE THE DIFFERENCE." SHE JUST STOOD THERE & STARED AT ME INTENSELY. SHE THEN PROCEEDED TO GIVE ME A LETTER, WHICH IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL LETTER THAT I HAVE EVER HELD IN MY HAND THANKING ME FOR BEING ABLE TO UNDERSTAND WHERE SHE WAS COMING FROM. WE ARE A PRODUCT OF THESE DISGUSTING POWER THAT BE'S THAT PROGRAM THE MIND TOWARD HATRED. NO MATTER WHAT THE CASE MAY BE, THE CREATOR IS ONE OF LOVE. HIS TORAH IS NOT ONE OF HATRED. & ALTHOUGH YOU REFUSE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YEHWEHSHUO HA'MASHIACH, & GO AS FAR AS DENYING THE BRIT HAKEDESH (NEW COVENANT), THERE WAS SUCH A MAN THAT CAME TO SHOW & MUCH MORE, TO LIVE THE EXAMPLE OF LOVE. THE TORAH & THE OLD COVENANT SPEAKS OF HIM CLEARLY ALTHOUGH THE ORTHODOX JEWS DENY HIM OVER & OVER AGAIN. AS FOR ME, IT IS THE REASON WHY I DO NOT DESCRIBE MYSELF AS ANYTHING ELSE BUT A TRUTH SEEKER. I DON'T EVER WANT TO CALL MYSELF ANYTHING THAT HAS ORGANIZED, MAN-MADE RELIGIOSITY IN IT. ONE CAN BE THE BIGGEST SCHOLAR OF ALL, BUT IF ONE DOES NOT HAVE LOVE, IT IS ALL FUTILE. SHALOM..SELAH… )~;@ <3

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