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September 25, 2016 / 22 Elul, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Gush Etzion’

‘Freedom March’ Spells Pre-Shabbat Nightmare for Gush Etzion Jews

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

A group called Combatants for Peace, in cooperation with the “Standing Together” initiative (not this Standing Together, but a different group which is occupying the same name), plans to gather hundreds of Jews and Arabs to “demonstrate together at the Freedom March on Friday, September 2, at 1:30 PM, by the tunnel checkpoint” in Gush Etzion, to protest Israeli administrative detentions without trial and in solidarity with hunger strikers (suspected terrorists and affiliates).

The Freedom March will begin at the Battir village roundabout adjacent to Route 60, and proceed to the tunnel checkpoint “separating Bethlehem from Jerusalem”.

Their press release wasn’t accurate, as the tunnel checkpoint separates Gush Etzion from Jerusalem, whereas Bethlehem is separated from Jerusalem at the checkpoint on Derech Hebron in Jerusalem at the turnoff to Rachel’s Tomb.

The section of Route 60 known as the Tunnel Road, built by Israel, is a stretch of a little under 1.5 miles, the road crosses the Refa’im range and the Beit Gilo range in two tunnels, one 300 yards, the other 1,000 yards, connected with a large bridge over the Gilo River valley.

Israel began building the bridge and tunnels in 1992 and the stretch was inaugurated on September 2, 1996. There’s a 20 year anniversary coming up in a few days.

It is now the main highway that connects Jerusalem and western Gush Etzion, and was built, in part, to relieve the pressure from the old, scenic Walleja road which wasn’t designed for the volume of traffic that exists in Gush Etzion, and as one of the bypass roads that were built after the Oslo accords were signed.

The unique stretch of this tunnel road allows a few dozen (the organizers will never attract hundreds) protesters to block traffic travelling between Jerusalem and Gush Etzion on Erev Shabbat, as they did back in July, when a group of “former” Arab terrorists and their leftwing Israeli enablers held a protest and for a short time blocked Highway 60, holding up signs saying “The wall is violent,” which, by the way, the year 2006 called and wanted back.

The problem is that these protests are done with approval from the IDF, and so, as long as the protesters are not using violence and stay on the side of the road (which they obviously didn’t do last time) no one cares. But when they block the road, motorists are forced to stay in their cars in an ever burgeoning traffic jam, and wait for someone in authority to come open up the highway.

With Shabbat candle lighting time starting to drop below 7 PM, in a few weeks such protests could pose an enormous inconvenience for hundreds, if not thousands of local residents and visitors.

JewishPress.com inquired with the organizers via email if they invited participants from Judea and Samaria who have protested against administrative detentions and restraining orders against Jews. They responded that “anyone who supports human rights and an end to the occupation is more than welcome.”

So much for cooperation and intersectionality between the downtrodden.

So, if you live in Gush Etzion and plan a trip to Jerusalem Friday — maybe you should stay home and clean up before Shabbat.

David Israel

The Devil is in the Details

Thursday, August 25th, 2016

I was shocked to read last week in the Jerusalem Post that Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the Chief Rabbi of Efrat, is supporting a radical and dangerous leftwing “peace plan,” and worse, this plan is being promoted to the youths of Efrat and other settlements.

“Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, the founder and chief rabbi of Efrat, has expressed support, at the behest of his 18-year-old grandson, Eden, also a resident of Efrat, who has taken a leading role in drumming up support among teenagers and young adults (or, [in the words of the plan’s chief promoter Eliaz] Cohen, “infecting them with the sense of hope that is expressed by this proposal).”

I met and spoke with Rabbi Riskin a few times this week and he wanted to emphasize that he insists he “never accepted the plan.”

Rabbi Riskin said he was approached and was presented with a germ of an idea for a peace initiative, but was not made aware of any clear formulation of the terms of the plan itself.

Rabbi Riskin said he liked the name of the plan, “Two States, One Homeland,” and the concept as it was presented to him: a plan that would allow for peaceful coexistence, and did not require anyone, Jew or Arab, to be expelled from their homes.

Rabbi Riskin is a big believer and proponent of peace and coexistence between Jews and Arabs. He puts his money where his mouth is, and is known to personally get involved in helping Arabs who live in the villages around the town of Efrat. Without a doubt, this Rabbi is one of the reasons there so little friction between Jewish Efrat and its Arab neighbors.

He gave the plan’s advocate some stipulations of what any plan must include if he were to support it:

1) The Israeli-Jewish areas where Jews lived must clearly constitute a strong majority of Jews who would be establishing a Jewish State.

2) Not only would Jews have rights of access – and of course shared ownership – to the Temple Mount,  but would also be permitted to build a synagogue on the Temple Mount.

3) There would be a complete cessation of anti-Jewish and anti-Israel propaganda in Palestinian media and publications.

4) The Arab areas must be demilitarized.

Alas, the good Rabbi was not thinking like a good radical leftist, and didn’t consider the far more dangerous provisos that any typical leftwing “peace plan” might include.

Nothing New at All

The Jerusalem Post article’s author, Andrew Friedman, claims “the plan is a departure from the classic two-states-for-two-peoples formula,” but it’s anything but that.

It instead takes elements from some of the worst proposals, ideas that even Peres, Beilin and Sarid refused to entertain, and makes them the cornerstones of the plan.

But that’s not what makes this plan dangerous. The danger lies in the fact that this peace plan’s proponents are targeting Jewish settlement youths and older settlers who truly believe that coexistence is possible, repackaged to make the plan sound benign.

Unlimited Arab Refugees Allowed to Overrun Israel

The “Two State, One Homeland” website clearly states (emphasis added):

Immigration and naturalization Both states will have the right to define their own laws of immigration and naturalization within its boundaries. The State of Palestine would be at liberty to naturalize Palestinian refugees as it sees fit, and the state of Israel will be at liberty to naturalize the Jews of the diaspora, as it sees fit.

The Open Land vision a. The two states would be committed to a vision of one land, within which the citizens of both states have the right to travel and live in all parts of the land;

If their intentions aren’t clear enough from the text above, let me explain it, a fundamental cornerstone of the plan allows for the new Palestinian State to freely invite in millions of “Palestinian Refugees”.

Two million Jordanian Arabs, half a million Lebanese Arabs, and half a million Syrian Arabs (for starters) will be offered citizenship and entry into the new Palestinian state, where they will then be granted free access to the entire country — including the state of Israel, or what’s left of it.

Rabbi Riskin was surprised to learn this was a cornerstone of the plan, and made it clear that he in no way supports such an idea.

Efrat to Become Part of the Palestinian State

Rabbi Riskin was actually shocked to learn that his own town of Efrat would be transferred over to the Palestinian State, and any of its Jewish residents who choose to remain might be allowed to obtain Palestinian State citizenship, or otherwise will be granted “permanent residency” status.

It’s implied in the plan that the Jewish residents remaining inside the Palestinian State will be disarmed.

While he believes there can be land concessions in exchange for peace, Rabbi Riskin said he could never accept a plan that transfers sovereignty of the settlement blocs, and of Jews, away from the State of Israel.

What Demilitarized State?

While the plan calls for some “demilitarized zones” and decommissioning “armed militias and unauthorized organizations,” the Palestinian State will be anything but demilitarized.

In the Q&A section, the authors make it clear that the State of Palestine will be a completely independent sovereign entity with its own independent security force – but not to worry, the plan’s Arab co-authors say “they have no interest in tanks and planes.”

With a plan like this, they won’t need them.

By the way, all the plan’s Arab co-authors “are senior Fatah officials, all of whom served long stints in Israeli jails for murder,” according to the Jerusalem Post article.

Don’t you feel safer now about their intentions?

Conclusions

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

This plan is nothing more than a regurgitation of the worst of the radical left’s most dangerous ideas.

But the authors are actually playing a different game.

They are trying to get it support from the settlers and the settlement youth, apparently through obfuscation of the dangerous ideas in the plan and playing off the naiveté and idealism of those they approach.

One peace-loving settler, who asked not to be named, told me he was approached by this group to attend one of their parlor meetings. He quickly caught on to their con.

But what about all the idealistic youths who are being targeted and don’t yet have the sophistication to ask the right questions or realize they are being hoodwinked?

One can only hope that Friedman is correct when he writes, “Predictably, the proposal has yet to make headway in the settlement community where distrust of the Palestinians is trumped only by a religious commitment to the Whole Land of Israel.”

It’s also trumped by sheer common sense, shared by about 70% of Israel’s voters who have been leaning decisively to the right over the past ten years. It’s highly doubtful they would buy this plan either – once they know what it actually says.

Stephen Leavitt

Gush Etzion Host Its First Dog Show

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

When dog breeder and groomer Micha Katz of Efrat (for transparency, Micha Katz is the author’s son) wanted to show his dogs in competitions around Israel, he felt he was pounding on a brick wall. After attending countless meetings in kennel clubs, he saw that some clubs (like the Poodle Club) were opening up to the idea of Friday competitions, but most dog organizations were satisfied with their turnouts and perhaps did not feel the need to change the day of their shows in order to accommodate the religious community.

Over the past many years, more and more Orthodox Jews have started participating and excelling in a myriad of sports. While they have reached high ranks in their sport, they have often been side-lined when they reach major competitions. They find themselves at a huge disadvantage, because most competitions take place on Shabbat.

Some trainers who acknowledge the excellence of their religious pupils, try to schedule them later in the day on Saturday, so that they can make Havdalah (end the Sabbath) and still participate before the competition is over. They try to reach out to sports organizations for an alternative competition time. When that is not possible, observant sportsmen are forced to choose between their love of and adherence to the laws of the Sabbath and their love of the game.

In an initiative to enable observant dog owners to participate in dog shows and competitions without violating the Sabbath, Micha founded a kennel club in Gush Etzion. Kennel Club Gush Etzion is providing a team of professional trainers and dog handlers to help the region’s dogs get in shape to perform in their first show on Tuesday, August 30.

“Whether you are a dog owner, dog lover or supporter of the participation of Sabbath-observant sportsmen in competition, the Gush Etzion Dog Show is the place to be,” said Gary Schickman, owner of the Scoop Café and Philly Pizza in Efrat, and a sponsor of the event. Gush Etzion’s First Dog and Pet Show will be held at Achuzat HaKlavim in Gush Etzion on Tuesday afternoon, August 30, from 5:30 to 8 PM. Information: 052-691-9989, 02-502-3731.

Gush Etzion’s First Dog Show is sponsored by Gary Schickman, Falafel Tamar and Nissim Mobile.

Sneakers, a defense and Search and Rescue dog, who is also a trained movie stunt dog.  Sneakers will be performing at Gush Etzion's First Dog Show.

Sneakers, a defense and Search and Rescue dog, who is also a trained movie stunt dog.
Sneakers will be performing at Gush Etzion’s First Dog Show.

Sharon Katz

More Arab Stone Throwing in Gush Etzion

Sunday, August 21st, 2016

Arabs threw stones at cars driving near the Hussan Bypass on Sunday morning. This is the main road between Highway 60 and Beitar Ilit in Gush Etzion.

Unlike last night’s attack, no one was injured and no damage was done.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Firebomb Thrown Near Northern Efrat Entrance

Monday, August 8th, 2016

A firebomb was thrown at a group of IDF soldiers near the northern entrance of the town of Efrat on Sunday night around midnight, according to a TPS report.

No one was injured and no damage was done.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Israelis and Arabs: “Etzion Bloc Should Be Center of Peace, Not War”

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

By Anna Rudnitsky/TPS

Efrat (TPS) – Arabs and Israelis met on Tuesday evening at the library of the Etzion-bloc community of Efrat to learn about the history of Jewish-Arab relations in the region and about the cooperation that has existed between them throughout the past century.

“We thought that it was important to show that Jewish-Arab relations do not have to be hostile and that they actually used to be friendly, at least here in Gush Etzion. We think that there is even hope for this today, despite the difficult and often bloody reality we live in,” Kfar Etzion Field School Director Yaron Rozental, who helped organize the event, told TPS.

Historian Yohanan Ben-Yaakov shared stories about the establishment of Jewish settlements in the region that he said may not be as well known as others. “Israelis are usually familiar with war stories about the Etzion bloc, about brave Jewish fighters and the numerous sacrifices that they made,” he said. “It is always presented as a very simple story—there were good guys and bad guys, and the good guys won. Relations between Jews and Arabs here were not always that black and white.”

Ben-Yaakov spoke about the settlement of Migdal Eder, the inhabitants of which were saved during the pogroms of 1929 by Arabs from the neighboring village of Beit Ummar, and about Kfar Etzion founder Shmuel Holzman’s son, a Jewish doctor who opened an infirmary near the Etzion bloc junction in 1929 with the intention of helping the local Arab population.

“It’s written in the Torah that Esau hates Yaakov, and everybody remembers these words. Few know what is written later, that he kissed him with his whole heart. These two feelings go hand in hand here today as well and it is up to us to choose between love and hatred,” Ben Yaakov concluded.

The event also featured speakers such as Dr. Yitzhak Glick, brother of MK Yehuda Glick, who received the Moskowitz Prize in 2012 for the free medical assistance he has provided to the people of the Etzion bloc, including to Palestinians, who know him as “our doctor.”

“Gush Etzion must be the center of peace not just in Israel, but in the world,” Dr. Glick maintained.

The event was also organized by Roots, a grassroots initiative which regularly facilitates meetings between Israelis and Arabs. The organization helped bring several Arabs from the nearby villages of Beit Ummar and Yatta to the event. Roots co-founder Khaled Abu Awwad said that he believes that such events could be more effective in bringing peace to the Middle East than meetings between Abbas and Netanyahu.

“Peace between our peoples must grow from the bottom up and only we can break the walls of alienation and hatred that have been put up between us,” he said. “We belong to this land, but the land does not belong to anyone so we must learn to live here together in peace.”

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

Gush Etzion Water Supply Low

Wednesday, July 27th, 2016

During the IDF raid and fighting that captured and killed members of the Hamas terror cell that murdered Rabbi Miki Mark of Otniel, a high power line near the village of Tzurif was damaged.

This power line supplies electricity to the Gush Etzion area, and specifically to the regional water pumps.

As a result, the Gush Etzion and Efrat water tanks are very low on Wednesday morning, and residents have been asked to minimize water usage until the electric company can fix the line.

UPDATE: The electric line was fixed around 7:45 AM, and the regional water tank are now being refilled.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/water-supply-low-to-gush-etzion/2016/07/27/

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