web analytics
November 28, 2014 / 6 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
IDC Herzliya Campus A Day on Campus

To mark IDC Herzliya’s 20th anniversary, we spent a day following Prof. Uriel Reichman, IDC’s founder and president, and Jonathan Davis, VP for External Relations, around its delightful campus.



Yossi Ezra’s Return To Hebron

 


A few weeks ago, I bumped into some journalists in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. Seeing me, they asked about various problems, including threatened expulsion from several buildings here in Hebron.

 

Finishing up their interview, they concluded by saying/asking, “I guess you don’t have too much to be happy about with all of these problems.” My answer: “No, you are wrong. We have a tremendous reason to be in high spirits. The very fact that we are here is reason to celebrate. The fact that today there are some 90 families and well over 300 children in Hebron, in five neighborhoods, is reason to celebrate. The fact that we are still in Beit HaShalom a year after having moved in, despite all the attempts to expel us, is something of a miracle and reason to celebrate.

 

“True, there are problems. There always have been problems and almost always will be – but what of it? That’s the way life is. True, it could be easier; but taking into consideration where we were 60 years ago and 40 years ago, as well as the kinds of politicians running the country and the pressures from so many different sources, the very fact that we are in Hebron at all is, in my eyes, nothing less than a Divine miracle. And for that, we are truly happy.”

 

One of the seeming issues we have today is the right to purchase property in Hebron, and the legitimacy of construction on Jewish-owned land. 

 

For example a couple of weeks ago, on a Friday morning, we had a special visitor in Hebron. Yosef Ezra was born in Hebron in the early 1930′s. However, as he related to us, his family history in Hebron goes back over 400 years. Following the expulsion from Spain in 1492, Jews scattered all over the world. Yossi Ezra’s family made their way from Spain to Eretz Yisrael, and settled here in Hebron. They lived here continuously until the expulsion immediately after the 1929 riots and massacre, but returned with a small group of families in 1931.

 

 



Yosef Ezra carefully examining an ancient Sefer Torah in the Avraham Avinu Shul. Written in the 1100′s, it was brought to Hebron by his ancestors.


 

 

            Most of those families were again expelled in the spring of 1936. However, one family remained in Hebron: The Ezra family. Yossi’s father, Ya’akov, processed dairy products and sold them to Arabs in the city. He refused to leave. He would work in Hebron during the week and return to his family in Jerusalem for Shabbat. Many times his children would come with him, running around in the streets and alleys of Hebron and playing with Arab kids.

 

Until November 29, 1947, that is. The United Nations approved the partition plan, dividing Eretz Yisrael between the Jews and Arabs. The Jewish leadership in Israel accepted the plan. The Arabs rejected it and declared war. Ya’akov Ezra’s friends told him, “When you go to Jerusalem for Shabbat, don’t come back any more.” Only then was the Ezra family, 450 years in Hebron, exiled from the home. That lasted for 19 years.

 

Following the 1967 Six-Day War, the Ezras wanted to return to Hebron and their age-old property. But all requests fell on deaf ears. Moshe Dayan and others weren’t interested in Jews returning to Hebron and refused to speak to them. But today, things have changed.

 

Yossi Ezra comes into the Avraham Avinu neighborhood like a long lost child coming home. Looking around behind the destroyed Jewish homes in the old “Arab shuk,” he declares, “All this was an olive grove that my father worked. Twelve dunam (1,000 square meters – 10,700 feet) of land – all of it here belonged to my father. Here, you see this mosque? My father built it on his land for the Arabs who worked here, so they’d have a place to pray. All the buildings here are on my family’s property.”


Fossil Ezra has been instrumental in assisting Hebron over the past few months. A few years ago the community built a small apartment called Beit Ezra, underneath Beit Nachum v’Yehuda, in an abandoned Arab shop – itself built on Ezra’s property. A military appeals panel recently ruled that the Arabs have no claim to that land. When the three judges visited the site, Ezra pulled a piece of paper from his pocket. “My father paid the water bill here. This is the receipt, from 1932.”

 

A few meters away, inside the Avraham Avinu shul, Yossi Ezra carefully examines an ancient Sefer Torah, explaining that it was written in the 1100′s and brought to Hebron by his ancestors.

 

Yossi Ezra is an authentic example of Hebron’s fascinating history, blending the past, the present and the future.

 

However, the following should be clear: I mentioned earlier about “the seeming issues” plaguing Hebron, as illustrated by the struggle to continuing living in “Beit Ezra.” But the roots of the issues are much deeper and, in truth, have nothing to do with building or purchasing today.

 

Not too long ago, a group of government representatives visited Hebron. While standing outside Ma’arat HaMachpela discussing various ways to improve conditions at the holy site, one of the young “legal experts” piped up, “But there’s a problem here because Ma’arat HaMachpela is registered as belonging to the Waqf, the Muslim religious trust.” One of the Hebron men scratched his head, looked at the lawyer, and reacted. “Gee, I remember reading somewhere that it was registered with someone who preceded Muhammad. Avraham, I think his name was.”


            This is the real issue! When Jews in the State of Israel of 2008 can conjure up such a statement as, “Ma’arat HaMachpela belongs to the Arabs” (while keeping in mind that they wouldn’t allow Jews access to this site for 700 years), it’s clear that something in our national and religious psyche is tainted.


On the other hand there is a cure, a medicine to alleviate all such ills. On the same day that Yossi Ezra visited Hebron, I came upon a large group outside in the Machpela garden. A group of first-graders from Efrat had come to celebrate the conclusion of studying Chumash Bereishit – the Book of Genesis. The festivity included a wonderful play, depicting Abraham’s purchase of the Caves of Machpela almost 4,000 years ago.

 

This is the recipe to heal such a disease that threatens to destroy our roots: children outside Ma’arat HaMachpela, acting out the purchase of this sacred site. In reality, it’s not only a play. It’s reality! Every day, Jews who visit, pray and identify with this hallowed place are recreating and reinforcing – with their very presence – Jewish ownership of our land. This is our strength, our legacy, and our future.


             Yossi Ezra represents where we came from. These children represent where we are going.


It’s a good thing Abraham didn’t need anyone’s permission to buy Ma’arat HaMachpela.  

About the Author: David Wilder is the spokesperson for the Hebron Community and a regular contributor to Tazpit News Agency.


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.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Yossi Ezra’s Return To Hebron”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz delivers lecture.
IDF Chief Rabbi: Nothing is Holy to Muslims on Temple Mount except Al Aqsa
Latest Sections Stories
West-Coast-logo

Lester Crown, a perennial member of the Forbes 400 list since 1982 and founder of the prestigious Covenant Foundation, took the stage in Washington, D.C. before a room of high-powered dignitaries, philanthropists, and innovators.

Collecting-History-logo

Not as well known, however, is Keller’s involvement with Jewish and Israeli communities.

Creativity without clarity is not sufficient for writing. I am eternally thankful to Hashem for his gift to me.

This core idea of memory is very difficult to fully comprehend; however, it is essential.

Sometimes the most powerful countermove one can make when a person is screaming is to calmly say that her behavior is not helpful and then continue interacting with the rest of the family while ignoring the enraged person.

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples shall divide within you.”

Divorce from a vindictive, cruel spouse can be a lifelong nightmare when there are offspring.

There were many French Jews who jumped at the chance to shed their ancient identity and assimilate.

As Rabbi Shemtov stood on the stage and looked out at the attendees, he told them that “Rather than take photos with your cellphones, take a mental photo and keep this Shabbat in your mind and take it with you throughout your life.”

Yeshiva v’Kollel Bais Moshe Chaim will be holding a grand celebration on the occasion of the institution’s 40th anniversary on Sunday evening, December 7. Alumni, students, friends and faculty of the yeshiva, also known as Talmudic University of Florida, will celebrate the achievement and vision of its founders and the spiritual guidance of its educational […]

The yeshiva night accommodates all levels of Jewish education.

More Articles from David Wilder, Tazpit News Agency
The town of Ma'aleh Adumim as seen from the E1 area, with menorah up front.

Three thousand new apartments should be transformed into 30,000 new apartment buildings.

Hebron Tent City on Shabbat Chaye Sarah

Toward early mid-afternoon the tents start popping up on the lawn in the park across from the Cave of Machpela.

The present Jewish community of Hebron tries to continue walking in the footsteps of our illustrious Forefathers, learning from their deeds, and acting accordingly. Therefore, when Rabbi Shalom Alkobi, then director of the Machpela authority, realized he had an opportunity to seek a blessing from one of our generation’s most righteous people, he did so, without thinking twice.

Last year Minister Saar initiated a new program whereby Israeli schoolchildren would visit Hebron and Ma’arat HaMachpela, the roots of the Jewish people. Since the inception of this program, hundreds of children have visited Hebron.

Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority, has been sentenced to death, following a hurried trial. His crime: selling property to Jews in Hebron. What would be the reaction to a law in the United States, England, France, or Switzerland, forbidding property sales to Jews?

When the storm-troopers crashed the party early Wednesday afternoon, very few people were home. Most were at their “other homes,” getting ready for Passover. It only took a few minutes for the hundreds of police, border police, soldiers and riot squad to round up a few women and kids, and see them to the door. Quiet, peaceful, almost pastoral. Almost. But not quite.

USAID continues to offer funding to Arab ‘development and humanitarian projects’ in Hebron despite Abu Mazen’s attempt to unilaterally declare a ‘Palestinian state’ at the UN in September 2011.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/community/yossi-ezras-return-to-hebron/2008/07/30/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: