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Having recently returned from a three week trip to Israel, I’m sorting out the information and impressions gathered from traveling throughout the country and meeting with many good friends, all dedicated to preserving Am Yisrael in Eretz Yisrael.
Viewed from the U.S., one sees the enormity of the problems, mostly caused by the fecklessness and ineptitude of Israel’s leaders, who seem determined to lead Israel off the cliff. There’s no need to itemize the list of abominations promoted by the government, beginning with its abandonment of the security and welfare of its Jewish citizens.
In the northern city of Safed, I found that the people are still suffering from the after-effects of last summer’s Lebanon war. In Jerusalem, I went to the demonstration tent set up by the unemployed farmers of the former Gush Katif communities who are demanding that the government fulfill its promises to find a “solution for every person.”
At a lunch meeting, Joel Golovensky of the Institute for Zionist Strategies presented me with an excellent booklet his organization had produced titled “Constitution of the State of Israel.” In addition to working on a constitution, IZS is trying to halt illegal Arab construction and has prepared a lengthy presentation regarding the ruling of the Israeli Supreme Court that land purchased by Jews, for the express purpose of developing it for the benefit of Jews, should now be available to Arabs and all non-Jews.
I took the 160 Egged bus to Hebron to meet with David Wilder, my good friend and the community’s spokesman. David took me to Beit HaShalom, the large building the Jewish community bought for $700,000 and for which they are now fighting in the courts, and then drove me up to Tel Rumeida, the highest point overlooking Hebron. He showed me a home, adjacent to the Jewish houses and caravans on the Tel, which belongs to a Hamas terrorist. Left-wingers from Israel and around the world have come to that home to “protect” it from the Jews.
In Kiryat Arba, I visited Rabbi Eliezer Waldman of the Nir Yeshiva, along with his longtime assistant, Celia Ofer. Rabbi Waldman, upset about President Bush’s speech of July 16, declared that no one, not even the president of the United States, has the right to dictate to Israel, a sovereign country, where it may settle its people. “The State of Israel is a divine creation of the God of Israel,” said Rabbi Waldman, “and only He determines its destiny.”
Back in Jerusalem, I met with Dr. Yitzchak Klein of the Israel Policy Center, which has produced publications such as an “Interim Report on Political Interrogation and Non-Induction of Candidates for Military Service into the IDF.” Candidates for the IDF who demonstrated against the Gush Katif expulsion are interrogated and in many cases marked as mentally unsuited for the army, which in Israel is akin to branding for life young people as unfit for other pursuits.
My next destination was Mitzpe Ramon, in the Negev, with a change of buses in Be’er Sheva. As soon as we were on the outskirts of the city, I saw Bedouin houses and tents sprawling in the now sandy landscape. The Bedouins are being mobilized by leftist groups like the New Israel Fund to demand land from the government – at a time when Jews throughout Israel are being crowded out of their land.
I returned to Jerusalem and met Chaim Silberstein of Uvneh Yerushalyim, (Rebuild Jerusalem), for a late afternoon tour of Kever Rachel, the grave of Mother Rachel in Bethlehem. The bus had to pass through the 25-foot-high walls that flank the approach to Rachel’s Tomb. Despite this ugliness, Chaim is very excited about his plans for both a bat mitzvah center and a woman’s learning center at the kever.
The night before the Ninth of Av, Women In Green held its traditional walk around the Old City walls, led by MK Arieh Eldad. We met the group at Safra Square for the reading of Eicha. The mood was somber, as befitted this sad occasion of remembrance. One could not help, however, but enjoy meeting so many old friends.
Black-helmeted police on motorcycles, and mounted police on the German horses that had played such a cruel part in the Amona expulsion, seemed to be everywhere. We finished our walk at the Kotel. The plaza was packed with people talking, praying, and crying.
About the Author: Helen Freedman is executive director of Americans For a Safe Israel/AFSI. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors
It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.
Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”
The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.
The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.
How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?
In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities
Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.
But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.
If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.
Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.
One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.
What we saw was Arab arrogance, audacity, and terror that was completely out of control.
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.
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