Posts Tagged ‘Gush Etzion’
A large scale military exercise has begun in Gush Etzion – including Beitar, and will continue until Wednesday afternoon.
The exercise will include the IDF, police, MDA and other emergency services.
Residents should expect to see a lot of security related personnel, traffic and activities, and are asked to be careful.Jewish Press News Briefs
Arabs piled up stones across the road approximately one kilometer west of the T-junction in Gush Etzion.
As a result, an Arab taxi-van driving on the road hit the stone roadblock and flipped over.Jewish Press News Briefs
State Dept. Spokesman John Kirby on Friday told a press conference in DC that the Administration is “deeply concerned about the [Israeli] Minister of Defense’s decision to expand the existing settlement boundary of the Gush Etzion Regional Council to include a former church compound, which effectively creates a new settlement on 10 acres in the West Bank.” Kirby noted that “some 70 percent of the West Bank’s Area C has already been unilaterally designated as Israeli state land, or within the boundaries of these regional settlement councils.”
The Oslo II Accord divided Judea and Samaria into three administrative divisions: the Areas A, B and C. The distinct areas were given a different status, according to the amount of self-government the local Arabs would have over it through the Palestinian Authority, until a final status accord would be established. Areas A and B were chosen in such a way as to contain only Arabs. Areas surrounding Areas A and B were defined as Area C. Fewer than 100,000 Arabs lived in Area C (PA sources inflate this number to 300,000 Arabs in Area C), in 532 residential locations. An estimated 420,000 Jews live in Area C in 235 Israeli towns, villages and outposts.
The compound in question includes 8 buildings at a strategic location on Route 60, connecting Hebron and Jerusalem, facing the al-Arroub refugee camp. The compound was built in the 1940s by an American missionary and served as a hospital for tuberculosis patients and later as a hostel for pilgrims, until the Presbyterian Church that owned it had run into financial difficulties and was forced to sell it.
The area in question is a church compound named Beit Beracha (Beit al Baraka), purchase by an American association supported by Jewish millionaire Irving Moskowitz, the benefactor of many Jewish settlement endeavors in eastern Jerusalem. According to Ha’aretz, the purchase was done through a pro-Israeli Norwegian Christian woman, who founded a front company in Sweden that presented itself as a religious entity looking to purchase the American church. The sale was made in 2010, then in 2012 the Swedish company was liquidated and the property was picked up by the Moskowitz association.
After an article in Ha’aretz exposed the operation, the Gush Etzion Regional Council officially requested to add the compound to its municipality, and a few weeks ago Defense Minister Ya’alon, whose office is the highest authority in Judea and Samaria, gave his approval and the local IDF commander signed the appropriate decree.
According to State Dept. Spokesman Kirby, “the new decision only expands this significant majority of the West Bank that has already been claimed for exclusive Israeli use. Along with the regular retroactive legalization of unauthorized outposts and construction of infrastructure in remote settlements, actions such as this decision clearly undermine the possibility of a two-state solution.”
Kirby reiterated that “our longstanding position on settlement activity is clear and has not changed. We view it as illegitimate and counterproductive to the cause of peace. Continued settlement activity and expansion raises honest questions about Israel’s long-term intentions and will only make achieving a two-state solution that much more difficult. As we’ve previously made clear, we continue to look at both sides to demonstrate with actions and policies a genuine commitment to a two-state solution, and actions such as yesterday’s decision, we believe, does just the opposite.”
The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said in a statement: “Adding the al Baraka compound to the Gush Etzion municipality was examined according to criteria set up by the professional echelon, approved by the political echelon, and executed according to the law.”
And that was that. Ten acres of land were added to the Jewish side, everybody was upset, life goes on.JNi.Media
By Alexander J. Apfel/TPS
Beitar Illit (TPS) – In an effort to bolster security in the ultra-Orthodox city of Beitar Illit, located in Judea, which has experienced several knife attacks, the city municipality announced that a sale of handguns and various gun accessories will take place on Wednesday evening, January 6 in the Matnas on 2 Breslev Street. Representatives from the area’s security division will provide assistance to those seeking a gun license.
“Due to the current security situation, there will be a discount sale this evening in Beitar Illit where Glock handguns, accessories and holsters will be sold at extremely cheap prices. Representatives from the security division of the town will also provide assistance to applicants for gun licences,” related a local announcement.
In an interview with TPS, a Beitar Illit municipality spokesperson, who asked to be unnamed, explained that residents of the city should acquire guns for self defense as the community is flanked by three Arab villages in the Gush Etzion bloc. A terror attack back in November was perpetuated by an Arab villager from the local Husan village.
“Beitar Illit is located in Gush Etzion. The whole of Israel is in a stormy period and a large majority of Beitar Illit residents don’t carry a weapon,” the spokesperson said. He added that the precarious security situation combined with the cultural and religious nature of Beitar Illit rendered the area a particularly sensitive target for terrorist attacks.
“It is a haredi town so most of the residents don’t do the army, they don’t understand guns but they do want to. Therefore the municipality decided to put on an advisory evening where license forms will be distributed and explanations will be given on what they need to do to acquire a gun.”
The spokesperson also said that many of the terrorist attacks attempted or carried out thus far were thwarted by civilians who carried a gun. However, given that there is a conspicuously low number of civilians who have a licence to bear a firearm, “security guards, the police and ministers have called upon the residents to carry weapons. The people themselves understand the need also,” he said.
He added that “more and more people are applying for weapons throughout Israel.” Indeed, statistics shared with TPS by a spokesperson at the Ministry of Public Security seem to corroborate that many people in Israel do see the need to acquire a gun license.
According to the ministry, between October and December 2015, there were 13,124 applications for a gun license, of which 7,500 were approved. Between the months of May and July 2015, there were just 1,500 applications.
In the beginning of October as the terror cycle escalated, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, called upon civilians who were legally permitted to own a gun to carry them in the streets.
“Every time there is tension, I instruct people who are licensed to carry weapons and are experienced in using them to carry their guns with them. You’ll see that in many cases, those who neutralized terrorists were citizens who weren’t necessarily police officers,” Barkat told Army Radio.TPS / Tazpit News Agency
An Arab terrorist attempted to ram his vehicle into a group of IDF soldiers standing at the bus stop near the junction in Gush Etzion.
The terrorist got out of the vehicle and stabbed an IDF soldier before other troops neutralized him.
The soldier, a reservist, is in his 30s and was lightly wounded in the attack with a stab wound to the upper body.
The victim was treated at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics prior to being taken to Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.
The terrorist was shot and killed.
An IDF investigation has been launched.Hana Levi Julian
Hub Etzion is a new, vibrant and exciting coworking space located in the burgeoning “Industrial Park” nestled in the Gush Etzion hills just across from the town of Efrat, and 5 minutes from almost every community in Gush Etzion. As coworking hubs go, Hub Etzion is pretty standard – even modest. At 3000 sq. feet, it’s quite small compared to the 15000+ sq. feet WeWork locations in Tel Aviv and Herzliyah.
Yet in the mere two months since opening, Hub Etzion has been receiving national – and international attention. Including, a special visit today from MK and Former Israel Ambassador to the US Michael Oren.
Why such inordinate attention? As any real estate agent will tell you, the answer is location, location, location.
While Gush Etzion has been in the news lately as the address for increased terror attacks, and notably the vicious murder of American yeshiva student Ezra Schwartz, z”l one month ago, it is also the home to a large, independent-minded community of Olim, many of whom live in Israel while owning or consulting for companies overseas, from the comfort, or shall we say, the discomfort of home.
Hub Etzion aims to meet this strong and current market need, providing a sophisticated, professional space in which to work for those who telecommute, run their own businesses, work from home or all of the above.
At the same time, the founders of Hub Etzion perceive their business as a response to the ongoing terror attempts – and to BDS.
“Yesterday, I went to a memorial ceremony at Oz V’Gaon Park in memory of Ezra Schwartz, z”l” Hub Etzion co-owner and founder Rachel Moore told JewishPress.com. “Racheli Fraenkel [JP: mother of Naftali Fraenkel one of the three boys kidnapped and murdered last year] spoke and tried to give comfort to Ezra’s family, who had flown in from the US to be with us, here, in Gush Etzion. She spoke about how the Jewish people respond to a culture of death and destruction by celebrating life and rebuilding. We at Hub Etzion believe that the response to BDS is the same; rather than divestment and negative attacks, we need to build up and ‘INvest’; in people, in enterprise, in technology and advancements for all of the residents of Gush Etzion. That is the only way to bring about progress and solutions. We face the current situation – and our ongoing situation by increasing prosperity and success – locally and proudly.”
This approach to the current attacks on Israel, from terrorism to the rhetoric on campuses and in cities around the world, seems to resonate a great deal with thought leaders.
During today’s visit, it was clear that MK Oren already understood the Hub culture, and the need for a coworking space in Gush Etzion.
But what he wanted to talk about was the decision of the Hub – and more importantly the businesses that reside there – to remain in Gush Etzion, clearly, unapologetically.
As the coworkers gathered for a photo opportunity with Oren, he addressed the crowd and said (in Hebrew) “People have been trying to remove the Jewish presence from this area throughout the history of Israel. Those of you working here, this amazing place, Hub Etzion, is as important to the long term success here as the soldiers out there working hard at the junction and checkpoints, protecting us”
Hub Etzion was also called out recently at a new Lobby at the Knesset for Startups and Hubs, started by MKs Yoav Kish and Yoel Hasson. MK Kish, of the Likud Party, specifically mentioned Hub Etzion as an example of the “need for more Hubs and tech eco-systems outside of the mercaz [Tel Aviv] and in the rest of the country.”
Alan Weinkrantz, “Product Ambassador” from Rackspace, the world’s largest provider of managed cloud storage, has also brought international attention to Hub Etzion. In a recent post, he wrote that “It’s interesting to see workspaces and hubs like…Hub Etzion that are no more than 30 minutes from Jerusalem, and dot landscape and the periphery of the Nation’s Capital. These communities and workspaces are sort of like being in Fairfax, VA or Chevy Chase, MD, but with a slightly longer time line that go back to the cradle of civilization.”
Coinciding with MK Michael Oren’s visit, Weinkrantz came to Hub Etzion today for a day of consultations and help for the co-working /start-up community of Gush Etzion. He had an opportunity to personally present MK Oren with a Rackspace poster that points an arrow at Israel as “The Five-Thousand Year Old Startup”.
“We are a private enterprise that is focused on empowering the people and businesses of Gush Etzion and Efrat to thrive and grow.” co-owner Amy Shuter told JewishPress.com. “We have so much more to do. We know that as long as our region is an area of controversy we will garner attention to what we are doing. But we are going to help the next huge idea turn into the next huge startup, right out of our modest Hub. This is only the beginning. We hope that the international attention continues, but for the benefit of the businesses we serve. “
Below is a short excerpt (in English) from what MK Michael Oren said during his visit to Hub Etzion.
Jewish Press Staff
Video courtesy: Alan Weinkrantz