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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Gilo’

Respected Poll: Large Majority Favor Sovereignty in West Bank

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

A surprising 80 percent of Israelis support the idea of Israeli sovereignty over all or part of Judea and Samaria, according to a new poll released by the respected Geocartography research institute.

The survey was commissioned by the University of Ariel, located in central Samaria, in advance of its annual Conference for Law and Mass Media.

The idea of Israeli sovereignty began to win popularity last year when a government-commissioned report by three legal experts, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Edmund Levy, concluded that Israelis have the right under international law to live anywhere they want in Judea and Samaria.

The “Levy Committee” also debunked the popular concept, adopted by the United States and almost all of the international community, that Israel “occupies” Judea and Samaria.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu quickly shelved the report for “further study,” obviously not wanting to upset the Obama administration’s continuation of the long-buried “peace process” that it still promotes to an audience of none.

The most surprising results in the Geocartography poll related to the views of those who have left-wing views. More than a majority, in fact 60 percent, stated that Israel has to take sovereignty over at least part of Judea and Samaria.

Even among those who consider themselves thoroughly left wing, 42 percent agreed that international law must recognize Israeli sovereignty in part of the areas that the Palestinian Authority demands for itself, if it ever becomes an independent country

Overall, more than one-third of Israelis support Israeli sovereignty over all of Judea and Samaria, and 25 percent think that it should apply to part of the area.

Most support for sovereignty undoubtedly is for Maaleh Adumim, a city of more than 40,000 located only 10 minutes away from Jerusalem, and the Gush Etzion communities, the largest of which is Efrat, heavily populated by Americans.

The nationalist Women in Green movement applauded the data that emerged from the poll.

“These figures might be surprising for a part of the Israeli public, but this comes as no surprise to us,” said Women in Green leaders  Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar.

“ In recent years we have been traveling throughout Israel  and wherever the question of sovereignty is raised, the idea is received favorably, with extensive support,” they added.

Asked by the Jewish Press if proposing sovereignty makes any sense in the wake of the American insistence to continue with its peace process plan, they said, “The Americans know that ‘two states for two peoples’ is, thank God, not a reality.”

Matar and Katsover also argued that with the failure of the peace process, there is no other alternative on the table, making Israeli sovereignty more of a viable option.

They dismissed many problems with sovereignty leaving Israel with a large Arab minority that could wreck the country’s Jewish identity.

The Women in Green leaders explained that there are several solutions to the problem but “first of all, let’s implement sovereignty and then we will deal with the arguments.”

Four different  proposals on coping with the demographics have been proposed, they said.

One idea is to offer all Arabs citizenship on the condition that they pledge loyalty to Israel as a Jewish state.

Another idea to the opposite extreme is to pay Palestinian Authority Arabs to leave Israel.

A third proposed solution is to grant them the status of residents without citizenship.

The fourth idea is to recognize that Palestine is Jordan, where the Arabs in Judea and Samaria could move.

European Union and American officials would be aghast at any of the suggestions, but after 22 years of failed diplomatic attempts to build up a Palestinian Authority that can self-govern and guarantee security for Israel as a neighbor, the peace process in retrospect seems even more far-fetched than Israeli sovereignty.

EU Urging Boycott of Companies Threatening Two-State Solution

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

An EU report calls for member states to prevent support for the settlement enterprise.

An internal report issued by the EU recommends that member states completely prevent financial transactions that support settlement activity in Judea and Samaria. The report, entitled “Jerusalem 2012,” was compiled by the heads of European Union missions to Jerusalem and Ramallah.

According to the report, Israel’s construction in the southern neighborhoods of Jerusalem is the greatest threat to the two-state solution and defines it as “systematic, deliberate and provocative.”

The report notes three neighborhoods specifically: Har Homa, Gilo and Givat Hamatos, warning that if construction there continues at the present rate, it may create by the end of this year a buffer zone between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem. The report argues that such a buffer, when completed, would make it difficult to implement the two-state solution, and might mean its demise altogether.

Israel’s relations with the 27-member EU have been extremely tense in recent months, as the European organization has been voicing its discontent over a long list of Israeli construction programs involving construction of at least 5,000 new homes in and around East Jerusalem.

The EU is Israel’s largest import and export market, and should it implement punitive trade sanctions it would affect the already stumbling economy of the Jewish State.

According to the report, tenders were issued for 2,366 new units in 2012, which was “more than twice” the total number issued over the preceding three years—only 1,145, the report said.

Most of them were for construction in Har Homa, “significantly expanding the existing footprint of the settlement’s built-up area.”

Israel liberated East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it, a move which is yet to be recognized by the international community. In fact, most Western countries, including most notably the U.S., don’t even fully recognize West Jerusalem, within the 1949 armistice “green line,” as Israel’s capital—preferring to keep their embassies in Tel Aviv.

Israel officially considers all of Jerusalem its “eternal, undivided” capital and rejects the view that construction in the eastern sector as settlement building.

But since the Palestinians want East Jerusalem to become the capital of their state, they— along with many in the international community—consider settlement construction in East Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria to be equally illegal.

This is born by an erroneous reading of the Geneva Convention Rule 130: “States may not deport or transfer parts of their own civilian population into a territory they occupy.” Technically speaking, the area formerly known as “West Bank” was never recognized widely as belonging to the state of Jordan, whose army occupied it in 1948. Since the area remained as a no man’s land until 1967, Israel’s taking of it did not constitute an occupation.

U.S. official policy refers to the area, as well as to Gaza, as “disputed territories.”

“If the implementation of the current Israeli policy regarding the city continues, particularly settlement activity, the prospect of Jerusalem as a future capital of two states — Israel and Palestine — becomes practically unworkable,” the EU report’s executive summary said. “This threatens to make the two-state solution impossible.”

Turning the Public into Private

Friday, July 6th, 2012

A Haredi man stands on a ladder to hang the Eruv wire, near the Gilo neighborhood in south Jerusalem, on a Friday.

An Eruv Techumim (mixing of boundaries) is a legal fiction that transforms areas from public into private, depending on some prerequisite conditions. Once the Eruv is up, it is permissible for Jews to carry their belongings inside its boundaries.

Carrying one’s belongings on Shabbat in the public domain is one of the 39 labors that are prohibited on Shabbat.

Jewish Birthrate Exceeds Arab in Jerusalem

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

The Jewish birthrate per capita of Jewish mothers in Jerusalem is now higher than that of Arab women in Israel’s capital city.

According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, the average birthrate of Jewish women in Jerusalem is 4.2 children, compared to 3.9 children.

In 1999, the birthrate was just 3.8 for Jewish mothers compared to 4.4 for Arabs.

The total population of Jerusalem as of 2011 is 801,000.  Jerusalem’s three biggest neighborhoods are Ramot, Pisgat Ze’ev, and Gilo, all of which exist in areas liberated by Israel in 1967.

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

Contrary to statements by the White House, the natural growth of Gilo, a popular suburb on the outskirts of Jerusalem, is in no way a political statement or a land grab on the West Bank.

In fact, it is within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries, not in East Jerusalem – erroneous reports by the Guardian and The New York Times notwithstanding. None of this has stopped some who have jumped on this issue as an example of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s allegedly violating his promise to suspend expansion in the West Bank for 10 months.

Recently, members of the European Union seemed intent on appropriating this issue as well and attempted to use it to push a resolution through their body that would call for the designation of East Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine.”

Following intense lobbying from the Israeli government throughout December, they settled on the statement “If there is to be a genuine peace, a way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of two states.”

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs only fueled this manufactured fire by saying that, “at a time when we are working to re-launch negotiations, these actions make it more difficult for our efforts to succeed.”

Whether Gilo is allowed to grow to accommodate more Israeli families has more to do with urban planning than it does the peace process and it is far beyond the purview of the United States, the European Union or the United Nations to comment on. It is a suburb, not a settlement, and is part of the natural growth of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel. Advertisement

I worry that the administration is levying too much criticism at Israel in an attempt to allay fears that a peace process negotiated by the U.S. will be a lopsided endorsement of Israeli policy.

The real problem is accountability, and it always has been. Promises were made in Madrid, in Oslo, at Camp David and in Annapolis. In all of those negotiations, concessions were agreed upon, but the Palestinian Authority has never lived up to its end of the bargain and has never been held accountable for their failure to do so.

The Congress passed, and President Obama signed, legislation that prohibits aid to Hamas and the Palestinian Authority. Just like previous presidents, Obama signed a waiver, known as a presidential determination, allowing aid to continue to flow into the West Bank and Gaza. I will be requesting that upcoming foreign aid packages continue to include a provision prohibiting all aid to the West Bank and Gaza until the Palestinian Authority comes back to the negotiating table, and I will ask the president not to sign a waiver unless this goal is met.

Gilo, like other areas populated by Jewish Israelis, is frequently the target of terrorist attacks. Parents living in other sections of Jerusalem often, out of fear, forbid their children from entering Gilo. But the families in Gilo have thrived and the neighborhood is expanding.

The approval to expand Gilo was given not by Prime Minister Netanyahu but by Jerusalem’s Construction and Planning Committee, which has jurisdiction over all of Jerusalem, not just Jewish neighborhoods. Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, succinctly commented: “Israeli law does not discriminate between Arabs and Jews, or between east and west of the city. The demand to cease construction just for Jews is illegal, as in the U.S. and any other enlightened place in the world. The Jerusalem municipality will continue to enable construction in every part of the city for Jews and Arabs alike.”

Israel remains the only true partner of the United States in the Middle East and the sole democracy in the region. While it is certainly President Obama’s right to voice his opinion, in recent statements I think he has stepped over the boundary in how one speaks about another democracy’s internal affairs – and this has hurt the peace process by isolating our ally, Israel.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Involving Young Children in Hands-on Chesed Activities

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

One of the goals we all share as parents and educators is to instill an appreciation for the mitzvah of tzedakah (charity giving) in our children.

I have found that one of the most effective methods of achieving this is to present young children with hands-on opportunities to participate in charity projects that are child-centered and age appropriate. There are those who take the attitude, especially as far as school-based programs for boys are concerned, that these are a distraction from limudim.

I beg to differ. In my opinion, this is an integral component of their limudim. And these projects breed a sense of communal achrayus (responsibility), teach true ahavas Yisrael, and engage children spiritually. Our great rebbe, Rav Avrohom Pam, zt”l, often spoke to us about the importance of giving 10 percent of our time for chesed activities, such as learning with a weaker classmate. I feel honored to pass on this message to my talmidim.

In Yeshiva Darchei Noam, where I serve as dean, we conduct chesed campaigns with our talmidim each year. The criterion I set for the programs are that all of our students can easily understand its objective, contribute something to it, and, quite literally, put their hands around the items they are donating.

Over the past 11 years we sent 400 toys to the children of Gilo, Yerushalayim, during the first few weeks of the 2000 intifada, built a playground for them in 2002, created a laptop lending library in partnership with the local Bikur Cholim for use by bedridden ill children, and sent 150 Israeli terror victims on an all-expenses-paid Chol Hamoed Pesach trip.

We also distributed hundreds of $20 Toys ‘R’ Us gift certificates to Tomchei Shabbos families to purchase afikoman gifts for their children, and in 2005, “adopted” a Gush Katif school, sending them school supplies, sports equipment and bicycles over two years following the Disengagement. In many of these projects, our talmidim wrote cards to the recipients of their gifts – and received many thank you cards from them in return.

While teaching our children to place money in a pushka (charity collection) box is a wonderful thing to do, it is difficult for a school-age kid – especially those in younger grades – to comprehend how those coins he/she parted with actually helped a needy person. Allowing kids access to the latter phases of the tzedakah chain is often far more meaningful to them.

For example, several years ago when we partnered with Tomchei Shabbos in our annual chesed drive, we purchased several hundred rolls of cake with the money we collected to add to each needy family’s box of Shabbos food. We placed the boxes of cake in the yeshiva hallway so the children could see what their money purchased. On Thursday evening, one boy from each class – selected by lottery – went with their fathers to the Tomchei Shabbos distribution center and helped place the cake in each of the boxes designated for the recipients. The next morning, each of the class representatives shared with their classmates their experiences from the previous evening.

When these activities are geared to children, they really “get it.” I will never forget the call I once got from the proud parent of a five-year-old talmid in our yeshiva. He was in Toys ‘R’ Us with his son purchasing a toy for the children of Gilo and suggested that they buy a soccer ball because Israeli kids love to play that sport. He was stunned when his son patiently explained to him that it would probably be wiser to buy indoor games because the children of Gilo could not play outdoors due to the gunfire from the nearby Arab village.

Over this past month, yeshiva parent Mrs. Ava Hamburger involved Darchei Noam talmidim in a project she has been working on for more than five years: sending food packages to Jewish-American soldiers stationed in the Mideast. Students of all grades sent dozens of Chanukah gifts and foodstuff to the troops, and a number of our general studies teachers used the opportunity to incorporate the letter writing as a practical component of their language arts curriculum.

When I noted earlier that children involved in chesed projects “get it,” I was referring to the fact that these activities trigger all sorts of wonderful, long-term chinuch lessons far richer and deeper than the isolated act of charity giving. For an idea of the impact activities like these has on children, here are two paragraphs from a self-created, unedited essay written by Zevi Shuster, a 5th grader in our yeshiva:

“Can you imagine how it would be if you were an American soldier stationed far from home, [and] away from family, during the Chanukah holiday? Surprisingly, one day you get packages and letters from Jewish children. Now you see that you are not alone and forgotten – and others care about you.

“Some may think you can only do kiruv with people in your own neighborhood, but Yeshiva Darchei Noam has shown that you can do kiruv as far away as Iraq. Not only that, but all the non-Jewish soldiers see how caring the Jews are. What a Kiddush Hashem!”

(Note to readers from Rabbi Horowitz: A significant portion of the gifts was sent for the use of all soldiers in those units – not only the Jewish ones.)

Chazal (sages) point out that the Hebrew root word “nasan,” which denotes giving, is a palindrome – meaning it reads the same forward and backward. This informs us that one who gives charity is rewarded by receiving bounty from Hashem. Here’s another application of this thought, namely that exposing your children to the beauty of enriching the lives of others is a gift that keeps on giving. They will apply the lessons learned, and grow into more sensitive adults imbued with nobility of spirit.

The Letter Bibi Should Write Barack: No Construction in the Capital – and Palestine for Palestinians!

Wednesday, November 25th, 2009
Dear Mr. President,
In recent days you have called for a freeze on all construction activities in the southern Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo. It is your opinion that this is “occupied territory” because it lies outside the 1949 ceasefire lines that separated Israel from the Kingdom of Jordan while the latter illegally held East Jerusalem until 1967.
Gilo of course has also been the target of numerous terrorist attacks from the very same chaps your State Department would like to see seize control of Gilo – and of Jerusalem’s holy sites in the Old City.
           Well, Mr. President, I have taken your words under careful consideration and concluded that you are correct. It is indeed time to put a stop to construction in the capital city in the area of disputed ownership beyond the Green Line. The disputed area must remain as it is, with no new building at all, until a new state is erected that can take it over and perhaps even establish its national capital there.
I am of course referring to Alexandria, Virginia. Alexandria – as is true of all the Virginia territories that lie across the Potomac and were seized by the United States using force of arms – is outside the legitimate boundaries of Washington. Alexandria and the other Virginia territories lie across the Green Line, by which I mean the Potomac River, which turns green in the summer. Obviously, Alexandria is part of the sovereign state of Virginia.
Now, it is true that no Confederacy exists today, just as no Palestinian state exists. But who’s to say that none will ever arise within the framework of diplomatic free exchange? And if the Confederacy does achieve statehood and independence, its leaders will naturally wish its capital to be in Alexandria. Richmond is a little too far away.
Since the ultimate status of Alexandria is a subject of contention, the only fair thing to do is to halt all American construction activity there at once. Ditto for Arlington. To continue to build there is a provocation and an obstacle to peace. And we really do think the time has come to remove that military outpost and illegal settlement you maintain in Arlington known as the Pentagon.
I realize that some people reject the idea of an independent Confederacy as inherently racist, and that various extremist groups would be happy to see such an independent state. But those groups are light years more progressive, peaceful and tolerant of ethnic differences than are the Islamists to whom you are trying to grant statehood in the Palestinian-occupied Jewish homelands.
And, Mr. President, speaking of Palestinian liberation, I have come to the realization that the only way to create stability and peace in the Middle East is through creating a new independent state in Palestine, and moving all the Palestinians into it.
I refer to Palestine, Texas.
As I am sure you know, there is a town deep in the Texas heartland, Bush country really, named Palestine. And, frankly, I think it would be a wonderful place to erect a homeland for Palestinians.
The weather there is not all that different from what we have here in the area of the Land of Israel, referred to incorrectly by some people as Palestine.
Moreover, there are oodles of advantages to moving all the Palestinians to Palestine (Texas).
First, their water problems would be solved. Palestine, Texas is home to the lovely Lake Palestine. Second, the largest employer in Palestine is the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Who better to host the large number of Palestinians moving into town and make them feel snug and comfortable?
Moreover, Palestine has a rich cultural and historic heritage. The town’s web page claims there are more than 1,800 historical sites in the town. It even has its own Old City, called “Old Town.”
It also has a wonderful history of accommodating itself to those with strong religious beliefs. David Koresh, the prophet who ran the religious cult calling itself the Branch Davidians, set up his first religious camp in Palestine, Texas.
The Palestinians could name the site “Al Aksa,” if they wish. After all, they have as much bona fide theological connection to that site as they do to East Jerusalem. The founder of the Branch Davidians wanted to set up the new Kingdom of David smack dab in Palestine, Texas. And he also liked the idea of having dozens of virgins as his reward.
Palestine, Texas has parks and a library and a YMCA – just like Jerusalem! There is a nice branch of the University of Texas at Tyler that operates in Palestine. I am sure it could be renamed Bir Zeit or Ben-Gurion University. It has a gazebo. And there is even some oil in the ground nearby.
Best of all, it is not that far a commute to Fort Hood – just in case any Palestinians would still want to protest their “occupation.”

Respectfully yours,

Benjamin Netanyahu

Jerusalem – Capital of Israel

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-letter-bibi-should-write-barack-no-construction-in-the-capital-and-palestine-for-palestinians/2009/11/25/

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