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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Efrat’

Power Outage Midday Before Shabbat in Gush Etzion

Sunday, February 8th, 2015

Although I am living in what is regarded as a religious Zionist community just south of Jerusalem this year, in many ways it is pretty similar to the community in which I have lived, just outside of Philadelphia, for the past 20 years.

There are some differences, though, and they became more glaring this past Friday afternoon.

I was trying to finish both my work and my preparations for Shabbat when, around noon, the power went out. All of it. Luckily, my daughter and I had already made several of the dishes we planned to serve. We were hosting 11 19-year-olds for Shabbat, and given all the dietary needs – vegan, vegetarian, pescetarian and hungry meat eaters – we had started cooking early.

I’ve already made challah on a grill when my power went out one Shabbat in the States, so figured I could do that here as well.

But why had the electricity gone out? Was it just my house, as has happened many times – almost always on Fridays, just to keep me on my toes this year – or was it the whole neighborhood?

I messaged a number of my friends on the block. We were all without power.

SuperSolAisle

no electricity in the Deckel SuperDeal in Efrat. Feb. 6, 2015.

My neighbor Shari called to say that she was leaving the food market that serves our immediate neighborhood. The electricity was out there as well, apparently it was out throughout Efrat, as well as some other of the local communities, including Neve Daniel and Allon Shvut.

Shari said I should go check it out: the lights and refrigeration were all out at the SuperDeal. Undeterred, the employees at the registers were dutifully writing on pieces of paper the names and phone numbers of each customer, what they were taking, and what each item cost. Credit cards couldn’t be used, of course, and the registers run on electricity anyway.

Yael Meir, cashier at SuperDeal, writing out customers' orders because the electricity was out. Feb. 6, 2015.

Yael Meir, cashier at SuperDeal, writing out customers’ orders because the electricity was out. Feb. 6, 2015.

Yael Meir, the 23-year-old college student cashier whom I recognized from shul, told me the electricity had gone out about an hour earlier. She was completely unfazed. She said that a text message went out explaining that the authorities were trying to fix the problem, which was expected to be resolved within an hour or so.

Another neighbor said she heard an act of vandalism caused the outage – that either Arabs had cut a power line or burnt down an electrical pole. Although several people said they had heard this also, all said it was just a rumor; no one seemed bitter. I asked the person in charge at the market, the one who gave me permission to take pictures inside, whether he knew what happened to the electricity. He was sitting on a bench outside, in the sun.

“No, no one has said what happened. A few people said it might be vandalism, but no one knows.”

Deckel Strip Mall in Efrat. Feb. 6, 2015.

Deckel Strip Mall in Efrat. Feb. 6, 2015.

The SuperDeal market is in a small strip mall, and although the market was largely empty, the pizza parlor and The Scoop deli had customers.

Baruch Rosenstark at The Scoop, in the Deckel strip mall in Efrat. Feb. 6, 2105.

Baruch Rosenstark at The Scoop, in the Deckel strip mall in Efrat. There was no electricity midday on Friday, Feb. 6, 2105.

 

Manning the counter at The Scoop, 18-year-old Baruch Rosenstark (I know his mom, also from shul) explained that although there were customers, the power outage meant that all the ice cream was likely going to be ruined, as was the iced coffee which is usually sloshing round and round in a small tank of crushed ice.

On the other hand, a dad originally from Teaneck and his four children were sitting at the table eating a meal. The dad said they wouldn’t normally eat out on a Friday afternoon, but they couldn’t cook any food for lunch, so they came out to eat.

Stephen, another Efrat resident, told me that his seven-year-old daughter was stuck in an elevator when the electricity went out. While the young girl was inside, another neighbor began pounding on the elevator door, thinking someone was purposely holding it up. The girl calmly informed him that the elevator was stuck. At that point she had been trapped in the elevator for 2o minutes. The fire department finally arrived and rescued her after being trapped for 45 minutes. She emerged, cool as a cucumber.

Within another hour, the lights flickered a few times, and then all was restored. In time to complete cooking for Shabbat.

A power outage just hours before Shabbat in the States would have been a major calamity. And no one would be purchasing groceries “on the honor system” there. In Efrat, the outage barely merited a shrug.

Efrat Nursery, Kindergarten Teachers Learning Self-Defense

Sunday, February 1st, 2015

It might look a little like a video from ‘Krav Maga‘, but this is deadly serious: the Efrat Municipal Council in Gush Etzion is sending its local kindergarten and nursery school teachers and assistants for training in self-defense in case of terrorist attacks. For real.

One of the fastest growing communities in Israel, Efrat lawmakers decided it was better to prepare teachers to confront any possible scenario as reasonably as possible. The most vulnerable of all were those with the youngest charges, those in kindergarten and nursery grades.

The wave of terror that has swept Israel in recent months prompted the Council to make sure the teachers know how to defend themselves and their young charges in case a terrorist penetrates the school’s security fence and gets past the schools’ guards and patrols.

Teachers are to be equipped with pepper spray and taught how to use it effectively as well.

The decision comes in the wake of the horrific terror attack a few months ago that left a synagogue swimming in the blood of four English-speaking rabbis, three dual citizens from the U.S. and one dual citizen from the UK. A Druze police officer also gave his life to redirect the slaughter away from the rest of the congregants during the bloodbath in the Har Nof synagogue that day.

In addition, there have been numerous other terrorist stabbings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Gush Etzion, making it clear the third Intifada is well underway.

“We should not have to wait for something to happen,” said Nava Assis, coordinator for the local effort. “Instead, we must be proactive. It’s better to think one step ahead and create a sense of personal security.”

When Wearing Love of Israel as a Badge Masks Danger

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

I was returning to my home in Israel after being in the States for a month.

Near the end of the ride, the airline attendants gave the 15 minute warning, after which everyone would have to stay seated, buckled-up in preparation for landing.

I was near the front of the line, waiting.  A heavy-set man, perhaps in his early sixties, began speaking to me in Hebrew. I turned and smiled, and explained my Hebrew was not very good. He then continued speaking, this time in a broad mid-western American English.

I asked the man how it was that his Hebrew was so good, and he explained he had served in the IDF in the 1970’s. I was a little surprised, as he was not very rugged looking (or sounding), but I thanked him for serving.

He asked me whether I had been to Israel before, and I explained to him that I have been many times before and was living in the country for this whole year.

So far so good. An easy, smile-filled patter continued briefly, although I sensed a small dip of disappointment, perhaps realizing he would not be able to play the role of informed insider to a wide-eyed new visitor.

And then everything changed.

It changed when I told him where I was living this year.

Once I told him I was living in Gush Etzion, in the community of Efrat, a prickly shell began forming.

“Oh, one of my relatives lives there. He’s very right-wing,” he said to me.

“Really?” I replied, “What does that mean?” Perhaps my gaze became a little more focused at this point, perhaps a shell began coating my soft outer flesh.

“Oh, well, I know many settlers, I met them when I was serving in the West Bank, actually many are very nice.”

“But?” I prompted, still gazing intently at him.

“Well, like my friends, and as all of the major military figures agree, I know that the only hope for Israel is the new party with Herzog and Livni*,” he said, assuming that because there are former members of the Israeli military championing his dream ticket, he would win this round.

“What do you mean, the only hope for Israel?” I asked.

“Well, the only hope for peace,” he explained.

“So, you think Israel is the obstacle to peace?” I asked. That was the end of the conversation. He looked away, found a teenage girl who had come up behind us, and began querying her about her future plans. I heard him encouraging her to consider applying to the midwestern state university where he teaches.

It took a few minutes for my blood to cool.

I am sure my airplane bathroom line partner really believes he knows what’s best for Israel. He has to believe he loves Israel. And yet, he actually believes that Israel is the obstacle to peace. He firmly believes that unless a less “hardline” regime is voted in, Israel is doomed.

Never mind that Ehud Olmert tried to hand over control of Israel’s security to the moderate terrorist sitting in the driver’s seat over at the Palestinian Authority. Never mind that from before the time Israel was reborn she has never had true peace no matter who was sitting in the Prime Minister’s office, left, right or center.

On whom can we blame this man’s misguided thinking? And how can we hope to counter the message he so quickly shares on bathroom lines and, no doubt, in his classroom and synagogue listserv and possibly at public speaking events in his midwestern community?

IDF Foils Gush Etzion Terror Attack Planned by Nephew of Kidnap-Murderer

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014

The IDF has foiled a plan by terrorists to stab Jews in Gush Etzion, and of the two terrorists who were caught Tuesday is the nephew of one of the Hamas kidnap-murderers of three yeshiva youth last June.

Soldiers had been placed on high alert Monday after reports that the nephew, 34-year-old Mohammed abu Eisha, was reported missing.

Tuesday’s terrorists, one of them armed with a knife, were caught as they approached Tekoa located across the highway from Nokdim, the home of Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman. A security officer at Tekoa was suspicious of the two men who were approaching the community, and he called the IDF, whose soldiers arrested them.

The security officer may have identified abu Eisha from pictures that Israel security personnel circulated Monday night.

Abu Eisha is from Hebron and the second terrorist, Jabrin Muntaz, 17, is from Yatta, a large city immediately to eh south of Hebron. They admitted they were planning to kill Jews.

Abu Eisha was part of the Hamas terror cell that kidnapped and murdered Naftali Fraenkel, Eyal Yifrah and Gilad Shaar, last June.

Gush Etzion has become the most popular target for terrorists the past year. The three teenagers who were murdered fell into the hands of their Hamas captors west of the Gush Etzion junction.

Last month, there were at several terrorist attacks at or near the junction, including a hit-and-run attack and two stabbing attacks at the intersection, including the murder of Dalia Lemkus, 26, of Tekoa,

It is not clear why terrorists are targeting the area.

There usually are a number of Jews at the bus stop-hitchhiking station at the junction, but the IDF maintains a constant presence there. Furthermore, there are several smaller, more rural and less protected Jewish communities in the area.

Gush Etzion is home to a large number of English-speaking Israelis, particularly in Efrat, Alon Shvut and Neve Daniel.

The area is constantly mentioned as being in the “consensus” to be under Israeli sovereignty in the event of the creation of the Palestinian Authority as a new Arab country.

If terrorists can make life unbearable for Gush Etzion residents and create public pressure to remove it from the consensus, no other Jewish community in Judea and Samaria would stand a chance of remaining a home for Jews.

 

Funeral of Gush Etzion Terror Victim Dalia Lemkus [photos]

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

The sister of Gush Etzion terror victim Dalia Lemkus, murdered while hitchhiking on Monday, appealed to Israelis during the funeral for her sister to continue hitchhiking and not give Arab terrorists “the satisfaction” that they can stop Jews from living a normal lives.

Lemkus, 26, was from the community of Tekoa, east of Efrat, and was run over by the terrorist’s car. He then got out of the car and stabbed the victim along with two others, one of whom is in serious condition.

She previously had survived a terrorist stabbing attack several years ago and afterwards told her sister Michal she would not stop hitchhiking. “Do you think I am going to let them defeat me?” she asked rhetorically.

Michal Lemkus told hundreds of mourners at the funeral, “I want to scream at everyone, ay my country and especially at myself, ‘Don’t stop hitchhiking.’”

Her appeal was opposite the attitude of Israel’s center-left establishment after previous terrorist attacks on hitchhikers, which have prompted the media’s asking why people take the risk.

Are they right?

Yes, it would be a lot less risky to live in Tel Aviv, except that another funeral was held today for a soldier who was stabbed to death on Monday by an Arab terrorist near a Tel Aviv train station.

The body of Daliah Lamkus being escorted from the site of the funeral to the cemetery in Tekoa.

The body of Daliah Lamkus being escorted from the site of the funeral to the cemetery in Tekoa. Photo: Marc Gottlieb

 

Friends and family mourn during the funeral ceremony of Dalia Lemkus at the Jewish Tekoa on Tuesday.

Friends and family mourn during the funeral ceremony of Dalia Lemkus at the Jewish Tekoa on Tuesday. Photo: Flash 90

 

Michal Lamkus, speaking at the funeral of her sister Dalia Lamkus. Photo: Marc Gottlieb

Michal Lamkus, speaking at the funeral of her sister Dalia Lamkus.

The body of Dalia Lamkus being escorted from the site of the funeral to the cemetery in Tekoa. Photo: Marc Gottlieb

The body of Dalia Lamkus being escorted from the site of the funeral to the cemetery in Tekoa.

 

 

 

What Do They Mean She’s a ‘Settler’?

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

I wanted my mother to come and see how absurd it is for the entire world – including virtually the entire Jewish world, and that includes most Jews who think of themselves as pro-Israel – to refer to the Jewish towns and communities beyond the 1949 Armistice Line as “settlements” in the “West Bank.”

But I never anticipated she would be at my side as we heard and saw, from a distance of just a few miles, a horrific terrorist attack.

This was the attempt by an Arab terrorist to run down and murder several Jews – any Jews, it didn’t matter who – with his car. When he failed to hit anyone, he jumped out of his car and began stabbing Jews who were just standing on the side of the road at a bus stop.

It happened yesterday, and by now most people who care about Israel have heard about Nov. 10, a day of rage, sadly one of many, a day of disparate attempts to murder as many Jews as possible. Attacks took place within the ’49 Armistice Lines and outside of them. It doesn’t matter, they want to kill us wherever we are.

One of the stabbing murders took place in Tel Aviv.

Just a few days ago one of my daughter’s friends, a young woman who is studying in Israel also this year, told us she really likes to go to Tel Aviv.

“Why?” I asked her.

“Because I never have that weight on my shoulder, wondering if there is going to be some horrible terrorist attack, like we have in Jerusalem.”

But now they’re everywhere.

Everywhere Jews try to live normal lives in their own state, the one country Jews are supposed to feel safe. The one place from which we can’t be thrown out, hunted down or forced to convert. So far it’s still true, but even here it is becoming harder and harder and in my opinion it is because we apologize when we try to protect our people.

For some inexplicable (to me) reason we still have a greater fear of offending those who either hate us or who sympathize with those who do, than we do of constantly burying our own. Our own who die as a direct result of hatred towards us.

My mother and I were just starting our walk back from another residential area here in Efrat when we heard the first siren. I was on the phone with my younger daughter, it was around 5:00. We were discussing when she was going to walk over to the house for dinner. Her classes had ended for the afternoon and she didn’t have to be back at the seminary until 8:30 p.m.

She remarked that she could hear the siren over the phone and also outside of her building. Mom and I walked down to the main road to start back when the catch in my stomach grew. I kept hearing more sirens and seeing ambulances and police cars race by and out of Efrat, heading east.

There were too many.

My mother said there must have been a car accident, but I didn’t think so.

I could see from where we were walking that the emergency vehicles were congregating near a place I know well. Alon Shvut. It’s one of the Jewish communitites in Gush Etzion. It’s right next to where the big supermarket and the gas station are.

It’s also right next to the spot from which the three Jewish teenagers were kidnapped in June. The boys – we all called them “Our Boys” whose abduction set off a manhunt for two weeks, ending with the discovery of their bodies. Our boys: Eyal Yifrach, Gilad Shaar and Naftale Fraenkel.

Cabinet to Vote Sunday on Cutting Gush Etzion Off from Jerusalem

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

PM Netanyahu’s Cabinet is set to vote on Sunday on part of the path of the Gush Etzion security barrier, according to an IDF Radio (Galei Tzahal) report on Thursday night.

For years, Arab and Jewish residents of Gush Etzion have strongly protested against this security fence, as both sides are against its construction. They managed to get the construction of the fence frozen until now.

In 2006, radical leftwing groups filed petitions to have the path of the fence moved onto the pre-67 side of the 1949 armistice line, rather than including Gush Etzion.

The entire fence, besides being an eyesore on some of the most pristine and beautiful landscapes in Israel, would cut off Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, and part of the fence would split Gush Etzion in two.

It would also potentially cut off the planned road from Gush Etzion directly to the Dead Sea, which is only 20 minutes by car.

Gush Etzion Mayor David Perl told Galei Tzahal that Netanyahu previously promised him that the fence was frozen and would not advance further.

Perl promised to continue to fight the fence construction.

Efrat activist Nadia Matar spoke with JewishPress.com and said, “We are very shocked. It is not logical that after the past war this summer, when it was proved that in no way should we ever create a PA state in our heartland, nor should we have fences – that now they are going to vote on this. It’s insanity! We call upon all the cabinet ministers to vote against it.”

It is not clear why the vote is being brought up in the cabinet at this time.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/cabinet-to-vote-sunday-on-cutting-gush-etzion-off-from-jerusalem/2014/09/18/

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