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August 29, 2014 / 3 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Efrat’

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.

The Long List of Arab Riots Throughout Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem

Friday, September 27th, 2013

There has been an escalation of Arab attacks all week long, but since early Friday afternoon, Arabs have been violently rioting throughout Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem following Arab calls for violent demonstrations.

Dozens of attacks have been reported today, here is a partial roundup of some of the attacks:

Local Mount of Olive residents were told to bring in their Sukkahs overnight, after they received advance warning that Arabs were planning to burn down their Sukkahs on Friday with firebombs.

Hundred of Arabs were stoning Jews with cinder-blocks and stones on the road leading to the Mount of Olives neighborhoods.

Undercover police officers managed to identify and apprehend the ringleaders of the riot, and dispersed the remaining Arab hooligans.

From Tazpit News Agency:

Approximately 100 Arabs are rioting near Kever Rachel.

Two pipe bombs were thrown near Kever Rachel.

Near Sha’ar Shechem (Damascus Gate) in Jerusalem, a policeman was lightly injured by Arab rock throwers.

A soldier was injured near Beit Omar from stone throwing. His teeth were broken when a stone hit him in the face.

Near Assawiyah in Jerusalem, Arabs are throwing stones and burning tires.

Arab are throwing stones at Beit Hadassah in Hebron.

Arabs are burning an agricultural field near Hebron.

Arabs are rioting near Shechem.

Arabs threw stones at cars near Efrat in Gush Etzion.

A firebomb was thrown at IDF troops near Beit Omar.

On road 60, between Gush Etzion and Hebron, Arabs are throwing stones at cars and policemen.

Arabs lit up a tire between Beit Fa’jar and Migdal Oz in Gush Etzion.

Violent riots have been reported near Ne’elin. One person was injured.

Sukkot Hike Raises Money for Camp Koby

Monday, September 23rd, 2013
Sukkot hike raises money for Camp Koby.

Sukkot hike raises money for Camp Koby.

More than 60 people took part in a special one day Kilometers for Koby Sukkot hike along the Israel Trail and the Burma Road this week to help raise funds for Camp Koby, established in memory of terror teenage victim Koby Mandell.

He and a friend were killed nearly 13 years ago in a terrorist attack while hiking near their home in Tekoa, east of Efrat in Gush Etzion. The tragedy spurred his parents, Rabbi Seth and Sherri Mandell, to create The Koby Mandell Foundation to benefit the families of others who have lost loved ones to terror and other tragic circumstances. The   hike began at Neve Shalom and ended in Park Eshtaol and included both Israelis and American tourists.

‘Dream Road’ from Gush Etzion to Dead Sea May Explode Peace Talks

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

Palestinian Authority-Israeli “peace talks” might be short-lived following the unveiling on Tuesday of a new Gush Etzion-Dead Sea highway Tuesday that would destroy Palestinian Authority ambitions to include all of the Jordan Valley and the Judean Desert in its planned future state.

While foreign and Israeli media reported that Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas  has made it clear there is no room for compromise on PA territorial demands in the area, two Cabinet ministers senior Knesset Member Avigdor Liberman toured the proposed route of the new highway, with work slated to begin in only four months.

News of the new west-east road, which would revolutionize travel and the tourist industry, has barely been reported, but once the Palestinian Authority gets a hold of it, it undoubtedly will demand that there is no sense in talking unless Israel calls off the bulldozers and asphalt trucks.

“Israel will not be present between us and Jordan,” Abbas said in Jericho  this week. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has consistently said that Israel will retain a presence in the Jordan Valley as a security measure.

Abbas on Sunday rejected an Israeli military presence, adding that he might consider an international force to back up PA security forces.

The planned $10 million highway makes mincemeat out of Abbas’ grand vision and could set off the fuse that would explode the PA-Israeli discussions that Palestinian Authority negotiators insist are going nowhere.

The route for the new road was unveiled during a tour of the area on Tuesday by Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, a strong Likud nationalist, Agriculture Minister Yair Shamir of Yisrael Beiteinu , and Liberman, chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Security Committee and leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu faction in the Likud party.

The highway would cut through “Area C,” determined by the Oslo Accords to be under Israeli control, and would carve through some of Israel’s most awesome natural areas.

Planners  claimed that the route was approved by environmental experts,  but any work that would scar the Judean Desert cliffs, parts of which are virgin area occupied only by wildlife, would meet a storm of protests from environmentalists.

The political story from the Palestinian Authority will be just as fierce, but comments by Israeli  officials touring the route Tuesday were full of enthusiasm and praise.

“I have been dreaming of this road for 20 years,” said Motti Dahaman, chairman of the Megillot Regional Council in the Dead Sea area north of Ein Gedi.

“This road is part of a vision or tourism and will connect Gush Etzion to the Dead Sea and Megillot with Jerusalem,”  He said. “The highway will make it easier form tourists form Bethlehem to come to the Dead Sea.” The highway if it can bridge the political divide, will cut travel time from Gush Etzion to the Dead Sea to only 27 minutes. Today, the only way to reach the Dead Sea, except by four-wheel vehicles, is via Jerusalem to the north or  Arad to the south, with travel time of nearly 90 minutes.

Gush Etzion Regional Council chairman Davidi Perl called the highway an “historic event” and added, “Today there are only two roads to the Dead Sea. The significance of this new highway is that it will bring the center of the country to the Dead Sea and encourage tourism there and in Gush Etzion and the Judean Desert.

The road would include the current Beit Shemesh-Gush Etzion route, which would be widened into a super highway, and it then would carve out a new path, over dirt roads, east of Efrat and then south east, bypassing virtually impassable cliffs.

Beit El Residents Hit Back at Arab Assailants

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Residents of the “Nof” neighborhood of Beit El found themselves under a barrage of stones this evening as they were outside building their Sukkahs.

The Arab assailants were very surprised to discover that these Beit El residents weren’t very passive when it came to responding to the Arab attacks. The Beit El residents quickly reacted, damaging the vehicles of the assailants.

In other stone throwing incidents today, Arabs threw a rock into an oncoming car near Ramallah. There were no injuries in that attack.

There were also quite a number of other stone throwing incidents today near Hebron, Afikim, Itamar, Efrat, Beit El, Mevoh Dotan, El Hadr, and along Road 60. Vehicles were damaged in some of the attacks.

Reports for HaKol Hayudi were used in this report.

Firebomb Near Efrat

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Arabs through stones and a firebomb at cars driving on road 60, near the northern entrance to Efrat.

Earlier in the afternoon, Arabs through massive amounts of stones at cars at the El Hadr/Beitar junction.

No injuries were reported in either attack

Firebomb Near Efrat, Carjacking Near Dolev

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

Hatzalah Judea & Samaria reports that firebombs were thrown at an Israeli car driving between the northern entrance of Efrat and the El Hadr junction leading to Beitar. No damage or injuries were reported.

In a separate incident, a resident of Hadera was just carjacked by Arabs at the Doar Junction in the Shomron.

The Israeli, a car dealer, had set up to meet with a Palestinian Autority Arab resident from Harvata near Ne’elin to sell a car. The Arab man convinced the Israeli to drive to the Doar Junction, where two other Arabs, apparently waiting for him, attacked him and stole his Audi A6.

Police are searching for the car. The man did not require medical treatment and is currently in the Dolev settlement with the security department.

Earlier in the evening, 100 Arab rioters shut down Highway 60 near Shilo for a short period of time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/firebomb-near-efrat-carjacking-near-dolev/2013/09/10/

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