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December 20, 2014 / 28 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Efrat’

Drive-by Shooting in Gush Etzion

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

Shortly after 8:30 PM on Tuesday, there was a drive-by shooting in Gush Etzion at some IDF troops.

The shooting took place at the junction between Maaleh Amos and Tekoa, which is east of Efrat.

No one was injured in the attack.

Family Injured in Terror Attack Between Efrat and Tekoa

Friday, November 8th, 2013

A firebomb was thrown at a car travelling between Efrat and Tekoa in Gush Etzion on Friday morning at 7:45 AM. A mother and two children in the car were injured.

MDA is transporting them to Hadassah Ein Karem.

The car was destroyed by the firebomb.

Gaza Terrorists Attack Israel with Mortar Shells

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Terrorists from Gaza attacked southern Israel Sunday afternoon with two mortar shells, but the government and the IDF have not commented. No damage or injuries were reported.

The attacks may have been timed with the expected release of more terrorists this week as part of the four-stage plan Israel announced in July to free 104 terrorists in return for the privilege of Israeli negotiators sitting down to talk with their Palestinian Authority counterparts.

Hamas, which rules Gaza, would like nothing more than to embarrass the rival Fatah movement, headed by the Obama administration’s peace partner known as Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and cause casualties on the Israeli side that might abort the second stage of the plan.

The military policy, dictated by the Defense Ministry, has been to “retaliate” for every mortar attack by bombing a weapon storage depot or a tunnel, leaving a few hundred other “terror sites” remaining. After all, if Israel were to knock all of them out, what could the IDF do next time around when Hamas or Islamic Jihad terrorists strike the country with missiles and mortar shells? Invading Gaza or bombing areas where terrorists hang out among civilians would be considered a “disproportionate” response.

That strategy goes by the boards if, God forbid, one of those mortar shells or Kassam missiles explodes on a kindergarten.

But as long as that does not happen, Israelis living in the Gaza Belt region continue to be victims of the government’s version of Russian roulette.

In between the mortar shell and Kassam rocket attacks, there is no scarcity of attempts to kill soldiers. The IDF last week prevented a possible mass casualty attack when soldiers discovered a large roadside bomb that was intended to be detonated as a vehicle drove by. Army sappers neutralized the explosives, and no one was hurt.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu does not want to rock the boat right now and punish Hamas, face an escalation in terrorist attacks and then risk a suspension of the talks, which are being conducted under the misguided hand of President Barack Obama’s personal Middle East envoy Martin Indyk.

The Prime Minister is dead-set to go through with the second round of freeing terrorists even though it has all of the right reasons not do so. The Cabinet agreed in July to spread out the release of terrorists to test the Palestinian Authority’s ability and intentions to preserve the peace, at least until all of the terrorists are safely home where they can return to terror.

Since the start of the talks, terrorists have murdered four Israelis and tried to murder several others, including a nine-year-old girl.

Prime Minister Netanyahu told the Cabinet Sunday morning, “We have to honor government decisions even if it is difficult and unpleasant; we can’t constantly change our stance.”

But which promise? No, not the promise that Abbas keep up his end of the agreement.

The only promise that Israel has to keep is the one that Netanyahu made to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to resume the so-called negotiations.

There is one other promise that Netanyahu may keep, although almost a year late. He said earlier this year than 3,000 more homes would be built for Jews in Judea and Samaria and in parts of Jerusalem that Abbas wants to turn into the capital of a Palestinian Authority state without any Jewish residents.

To this date, zero new homes have been built in PA-claimed Jerusalem, Efrat, Maaleh Adumim, Kiryat Arba, Beitar Illit and other cities. There have been announcements of new homes, which is good material to keep the nationalists in line, but facts on the ground equal zilch.

In the horse trading that reduces the human factor to a piece of paper on which Abbas can sign another agreement to be tossed in the waste can , Netanyahu is prepared to start building homes in return for freeing terrorists.

Once upon a time, Israel negotiated with terrorists by killing them.

Then, Israel started trading them for a handful of Israelis who had been kidnapped.

And the Olmert government under the leaderless Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, agreed to release heavy-duty terrorists for corpses of IDF soldiers.

Two years ago, the Netanyahu government freed 1,000 terrorists for the release of a single soldier, Gilad Shalit.

Beit Shemesh – We Was Robbed

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

I was at a wedding on Monday night, and sat with some fine, educated and well informed people from Efrat.

I started to discuss the next day’s municipal election in Beit Shemesh.

“Are the elections tomorrow?” he asked me. It transpired that neither he nor his wife were even aware of Municipal Domesday, which was happening the following day…

In many small town elections, a main contention might be whether to have a swimming pool, or a tennis court. Should certain streets be turned into pedestrian-only zones…and other such day-to-day important mundanities.

Here in Beit Shemesh the contentious issues seemed to mainly resolve around God and godliness.

That’s rather a Biggy, and therefore, rather than being a gentlemanly contest between parties for seats on the town council, it resembled jihad.

Try as the non-Chareidi candidate, Eli Cohen, might, to address regular municipal issues, such as parks, cleanliness, safety, education, cultural events and transport….the ever-present issue was really that Eli Cohen’s chosen lifestyle is Sephardi traditional, whereas the incumbent mayor,Moshe Abutbol, is Sephardi ultra-orthodox.

Beit Shemesh has a history of religious flare-ups and civil disturbance, ever since thousands of ultra-orthodox families started to move into the traditional Sephardi town, about twenty years ago.

Today, the town of 80,000 residents is split evenly between ultra-orthodox residents, and “miscellaneous others” (National Religious, traditional Sephardim, secular, Ethiopians, Russians..).

The ultra-orthodox campaign used highly charged language and tactics – blessings and curses (and lies) dispensed by rabbis from pulpits, holocaust imagery in political adverts, slurs of “Nazis!” hurled at anyone non-Chareidi in the streets, production & use of fraudulent rabbinical approbations, criminal use of fraudulent ID cards, cheating during the voting process, stone-throwing at political opponents, illegal use of educational facilities and institutions, illegal use of child labour, importing and paying national religiously dressed school-kids to appear to support the Chareidi candidate, as well as the more humdrum pathological smearing and lying about the competition and provable facts.

Perhaps the most startling chareidi innovation of this election was the ‘permit/heter’ issued to Abutbol supporters to desecrate the holy Shabbos – such as by tearing down ‘enemy’ banners and materials after candle-lighting on Friday nights.

These and many other outrageous behaviors were not occasional aberrations, but were an intrinsic part of the ultra-orthodox campaign.

The message to me was clear – in a Holy War, all tactics are permissible.

Indeed, in the main rabbinical approbation (Kol Korei) of the campaign, signed by over 20 leading Chareidi rabbonim, both national and local, which was republished ad-nauseam, stated that supporting Abutbol and the “Chen” Agudat Yisrael party, was a mitzva (commandment) and that not voting, or voting for someone else, or another list, was an aveira (sin against the Torah).

Ominously, the document’s call to action instructed the public to use “all means possible” to influence people to vote for Abutbol +  Chen list. Although this may have been seen as purely rhetorical – it was clearly interpreted as a carte blanche to engage in criminal and unethical activities for The Greater Cause.

The end results of this filthy campaign, published today (following the soldiers’ vote count) showed an Abutbol victory by around 1000 votes (out of 50,000 registered voters).

[Around 500 were accounted for by the maverick 'spoiler' non-chareidi Meir Balayish - the third no-hope candidate in the mayoral race].

The 1000 votes can surely be explained by the criminal/illegal elements – for example, around 200 ID’s were discovered by police as a voting scam (8 people arrested, so far); countless others were also presumably used. Thousands of voters were coerced, blackmailed, misled and intimidated into voting Abutbol.

I am willing to be part of a losing team – particularly one which loses by fighting cleanly and with integrity.  Indeed, as a member of the National Religious camp I have got used to this role – as a group, we endeavor to play straight, and this often puts us at a disadvantage in the cynical rough-and-tumble of the the ‘real world’.

However, I am not willing to be a victim of a crime.

Eli Cohen supporters, and other citizens who do not approve of the behaviour they witnessed, in the streets, in the communal institutions and in the voting stations – have appealed to the Supreme Court to over-rule the election results.

Election Results for Jerusalem and Israel

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

Overall, municipal election turnout in Israel was record low on Tuesday.

In Jerusalem, Nir Barkat easily won over candidate Moshe Lion, where only 35% of potential voters even bothered to vote.

Current results appear to indicate that Aryeh King won a seat on the Jerusalem city council.

In Efrat, Oded Ravivi won by a wide margin.

In Elad, UTJ’s candidate Yisrael Porush, beat Aryeh Deri’s candidate Tzuriel Krispel.

In Beit Shemesh Hareidi candidate Moshe Abutbul won by a very close margin. Now we’re waiting to see if an exodus of non-Hareidi residents begins.

In Modiin, Likud’s Haim Babas appears to have won.

In Ma’aleh, Adumim Benny Kashriel was reelected.

In Netanya, Miriam Feirberg was reelected.

In Tel Aviv, Ron Huldai won again.

PA Mourns Failure to Take over Rachel’s Tomb as Muslim Holy Site

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Tens of thousands of Jews are visiting Rachel’s Tomb Tuesday, the anniversary of her death as described in the Torah, to pray for Rachel to cry for them that their prayers be answered.

No tears need be shed for the Palestinian Authority, which can mourn for itself for not being able to hoodwink the world to believe Rachel’s Tomb is a Muslim holy site.

The Torah states in Genesis (B’reisheit’), “And Rachel died, and was buried on the way to Efrat, which is Bethlehem. And Jacob set a pillar upon her grave: that is the pillar of Rachel’s grave unto this day.”

Before the Palestinian Authority campaign to rewrite the Bible and ancient history, Muslim authorities for centuries had acknowledged that Rachel’s Tomb is Jewish.

Excited by their blood-letting suicide bombings, firebomb and shooting attacks on Jews in the 1990s, the Palestinian Authority suddenly stopped referring to the site as “Rachel’s Dome” and called it the Mosque of Bilal ibn Rabah.

The manufactured tradition became more popular as Muslim clerics in the Arab world pounded the pulpit that the binding of Isaac (Yitzchak) actually is the binding of Ishmael, that the Holy Temples never existed and that the Western Wall really was the hitching post for the Muslim prophet Mohammed’s horse, may his and it memories be forgotten.

More amazing than the fibs that the Palestinian Authority invented was the acceptance of them by the anti-Israel crowd, especially  UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). Last year won UNESCO support that the ancient site also belongs to Muslims even though the Tomb, “Kever Rochel” in Hebrew, existed long before Islam came into existence.

In December 2012, UNESCO director Irina Bokova accepted the view of its chief critic of Israel, Robert Serry, who also serves as UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process. He warned that Israel’s defining Rachel’s Tomb and the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hevron as holy sites would be bad for the sacred ghost known as the peace process.

UNESCO said Rachel’s Tomb also belongs to Christians and Muslim, which at one time built over the Tomb. That is like saying that JFK airport is a Jewish site because there is a synagogue there.

Two years before UNESCO’s sentence to the Jewish site, Palestinian Authority  chairman Mahmoud Abbas warned that there would be a “holy war” over Rachel’s Tomb if Israel did not accept the Muslim claim that that is was an ancient mosque.

Iran went one step further  with its foreign ministry declaring that Israel’s decision to make Rachel’s Tomb a national heritage site “rises from the regime’s strategy for cleaning all the sanctities of the Muslims and Christians in the occupied Palestine to give them a Zionist identity.”

The Palestinian Authority succeeded 13 years ago in taking over Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem, a direct violation of the Oslo Accords, but the efforts of Jewish leaders in the Shomron (Samaria) the past two years have enabled Jews to worship there under IDF guard.

The Oslo Accords interim agreement in 1995 states that security arrangements must “ensure free, unimpeded and secure access to the relevant Jewish holy sites.”

The Palestinian Authority has no problem with that. All it has to do is drive out the Jews with terrorist attacks and then convince UNESCO that Rachel’s Tomb is not a Jewish holy site.

That is the impetus for the Palestinian Authority to call Kever Rachel the  Bilal ibn Rabah mosque.

Jews traveling to pray at Rachel’s Tomb on her yahrzheit Tuesday can thank none other than former Haredi Knesset Member Menachem Porush that they are able to do so.

During the height of the Oslo mirage in 1995, Chief Rabbi Israel Meir Lau and MK Porush appealed to Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin not to go through with his plan to turn Rachel’s Tomb over to the Palestinian Authority.

Rabbi Lau told the Prime Minister, “One does not part from one’s mother, and MK Porush broke down in tears, crying on Rabin’s shoulders.

Rabin surrendered, and today, the Palestinian Authority can mourn to Mohammed that truth has triumphed over at least one of its lies.

Thousands of Jews at Rachel's tomb on the even of the anniversary of her death.

Thousands of Jews at Rachel’s tomb on the even of the anniversary of her death.

Brooklyn-Born Candidate Running for Efrat City Council Seat

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

JewishPress.com  met with Avraham Ben-Tzvi, an American-born resident of Efrat running for the Efrat Municipal Council in the upcoming municipal elections this month.

The Jewish Press: Hello Avraham, tell us a little about yourself

Avraham Ben-Tzvi: Well, I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY where my parents still live. By the way, they are avid Jewish Press readers, as were my grandparents of blessed memory, who always had the weekly copy in their home. I went to school k-12 at Yeshiva Torah Vodaas in Brooklyn. Following High School I studied at Yeshiva University and spent a year in Israel at Yeshivat Kerem B’Yavneh. In 1994 I made Aliya and worked in banking and then business development for Israeli hi-tech companies, and I have been living with my family in Efrat in Gush Etzion since 2003. A number of years back, I studied law in Israel and have since been working as a corporate and commercial lawyer.

JP: What attracted you to Efrat?

Ben-Tzvi: Naomi, my wife, and I were looking for an affordable place to live located in the Jerusalem area, where we would be able to give our children a good education as well as be part of a religious community – yet still have access to many types of services that would be found in larger cities. Efrat, which is the central town in the Gush Etzion region, fit the bill perfectly. We found a wonderful, new and growing community in the Zayit hill neighborhood in Efrat, where construction began around the year 1999. Today the neighborhood is home to many hundreds of families with children who attend the Efrat schools.

JP: How does voting work in a town like Efrat?

Ben-Tzvi: In Israel, local municipalities like Efrat have elections every five years. The voters elect a mayor on one ticket, and a slate of candidates for the municipal council. Those can be, and often are two separate and distinct choices.

One of the candidates for mayor of Efrat, Dovi Schefler, a current Efrat council member, asked me to join his list for the town council election. Everything he said made sense to me and I realized that he is the person who can take Efrat forward and turn it into the capital city of Gush Etzion, which it was intended to be. So I responded affirmatively. I haven’t stopped since.

JP: What’s your role on Shefler’s list?

Ben-Tzvi: The plan after the election is that I will be tasked with handling matters related to new immigrants, as well as dealing with environmental issues, such as development of open spaces and green areas. I hope to institute town sponsored community gardens, to be run by a community committee, as well as garden allotments developed by the town and made available to rent to people who live in apartments without a garden. There is much available open land which will likely never be built on, and can be used for these purposes. I also see these and other types of open spaces as part and parcel of proper town planning. It’s not just about pouring concrete…

JP: Speaking of environmental issues, I understand you’re known to have been involved in fighting to force the local construction companies to comply with noise and safety regulations, and that’s been an issue that’s been ignored.

Ben-Tzvi: There’s that, and I plan to continue to make progress on enforcing safety and noise regulations on building sites in Efrat for the good of the residents.

JP: Why would you run for elected office in a volunteer capacity?

Ben-Tzvi: The reality is that while the Knesset elections and national politics get the most attention in the Israeli and international press, what affects and interests the average resident the most on a daily basis is tied into local politics – their children’s education, clean sidewalks, shade in the parks (or even having parks altogether), social welfare services, housing development, recreational activities—including swimming pools and athletic fields—are just some of the basic, day to day things that impact us at the local level.

While I had previously volunteered on various town committees and community activities, after Dovi Shefler asked me to join his campaign, I thought about it and realized that the most effective way to really bring about positive change would be to sit at the main table – on the council. That’s where the real action is.

One of the valuable things I learned from my teachers and co-workers since studying law in Israel, is that knowledge of the law brings a skill set that can be used to help people in all sorts of situations. The Israeli lawyers I work with, despite our heavy workloads, are all very active with various pro-bono and community volunteer activities, and in this context it is only natural for me to want to give back to the great community that has given me and my family so much.

JP: Tell us about new housing in Efrat.

Ben-Tzvi: In Yehuda and Shomron, the local municipality plays a very important role in promoting new development. As housing in Yesha is a politically charged issue, very often if a mayor is proactive and pushes forward new housing solutions – and works together with various bodies involved in settlement activities such as the Yesha Council and Amana, the development arm of the council – his town will grow. On the other hand, if this is not a top priority for the mayor, the town will stagnate. In recent years, many children of Efrat residents who got married had to leave to other locations, since there was no suitable housing for them here. The town actually didn’t even have sufficient housing for tens of new immigrant families from the US, the UK, France and other western countries, who wanted to settle in Efrat. There simply wasn’t and isn’t available housing.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/brooklyn-born-candidate-running-for-efrat-city-council-seat/2013/10/06/

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