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April 18, 2014 / 18 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Har Bracha’

Bar Mitzva in Judea and Samaria

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

We’ve decided to dedicate the bar mitzva of our second son to life in the communities of Judea and Samaria, with guests and family from Hebron, Itamar, Eli, Gush Etzion, Har Bracha. I have led a number of unforgettable Taglit-Birthright trips. They were inspirational, fun and historically comprehensive, except for one glaring omission. The young Americans never saw the burial place of Abraham in Hebron, the ancient ruins of the Tabernacle in Shiloh, the fantastic mausoleum ruins of Herodian, or the beautiful and picturesque winery at Psagot.

All these things and more, contained in the ancient biblical heartland of Judea and Samaria, are off-limits to Birthright trips and not one of its 25-odd providers crosses the Green Line.

That is, except when this policy is brazenly violated by every single Birthright trip when it visits the Old City of Jerusalem and the Western Wall – a contradiction which is conveniently overlooked.

This refusal to allow young Jewish Americans to witness the smiling children and inspired lives of these sunlit communities in the desert reinforces the fraudulent notion that they are mere settlements, lacking permanence, when many are highly developed and well-integrated towns, with every amenity, including very established educational institutions.

Our family is blessed with six daughters and three sons. We’ve had five bat mitzvot already, but this weekend will be only our second bar mitzva, that of our son Yosef Yitzchak, named after the sixth Rebbe of Lubavitch. And we’ve decided to dedicate the bar mitzva to highlighting Jewish life in the communities of Judea and Samaria, from visiting, with guests and family, Hebron, Itamar, Eli, Gush Etzion, Har Bracha and more. All these communities are beginning to feel the pressure of yet another “peace” deal, which puts them squarely in the cross-hairs as the principal obstacles to said peace.

US Secretary of State John Kerry travels to Israel on a near-weekly basis to foster an agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. The principal focus of this deal is Israel’s retreat from the biblical lands of Judea and Samaria in the West Bank. Call it Gush Katif redux.

But just as the withdrawal of Gaza has led to war and eight years of rocket and terror attacks against civilians, Israel’s withdrawal from Judea and Samaria would have much more serious consequences.

Every obituary of Ariel Sharon, whose passing we mourn this week, must of necessity include two themes.

First, that he fought like a lion throughout his life to advance Israel’s security and second, that the final act of his life involved a massive retreat.

I vividly remember the communities of Gush Katif that he dismantled, having taken my children there twice just prior to their 2005 destruction.

Our children were among the last to plant trees in Gush Katif on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, and we did so amid great rejoicing – even though we knew they might be uprooted a few months hence.

The communities of Gush Katif were miraculous, growing green peppers out of the sand dunes of Gaza and sporting a well-stocked zoo to distract the children from the daily horrors that Jewish life in Gaza entailed.

Every tour given to us by a resident involved tragedy. There was hardly a family that had not had a member or friend murdered by Palestinian terrorists, who treated the Jewish residents of Gaza as target practice. To be sure, the IDF responded, and sometimes ferociously. But for all that, the people of Gush Katif, with their beautiful synagogues and scholarly yeshivot, accepted that they were sitting ducks, bringing a civilizing element, agriculture and budding industry to one of the most destitute areas in the world.

The Fix Is In: Suddenly Abbas Agrees to Negotiations

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is meeting today, Thursday, with senior Palestinian officials to discuss the resumption of peace talks with Israel.

The talks within the PLO brass come a day after Abbas’s meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who is optimistic about a possible return to negotiations.

Kerry told reporters in Jordan on Wednesday that his meetings with Israeli and Palestinian officials have been able to narrow differences between the two sides.

“Despite everything else that is happening in the region, despite all of the pressures of neighboring states, of refugees, conflict, despite the pressures of a volatile neighborhood, the fact is that both sides continue to work, up to this point, in good faith, in a good effort in order to try to find a way to succeed,” he said.

“Everybody understands that if Abu Mazen (Abbas’s nom de guerre) all of a sudden agrees to the negotiations, it’s because he was promised that everything he demanded as a precondition before negotiations – he’s going to get during and following the negotiations,” former MK Yaakov “Ketzaleh” Katz wrote on his Facebook page today.

Ketzaleh, who is one of the owners of Arutz 7, was probably at his finest when he served as assistant to then Housing and Development Minister Ariel Sharon, and was responsible for building more than 35,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, Gaza and the Golan Heights. Under his guidance the Jewish population beyond the Green Line was doubled.

And so, I tend to trust Ketzaleh’s information now, when he says that the document of understanding between Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and Secretary Kerry talks about uprooting the Jewish villages circling Shchem: Einav, Shavey Shomron, Yitzhar, and har Bracha. Some 10 thousand Jews, more than the entire population of Gush Katif, are already slated for evacuation, he says.

“It is Netanyahu, who would not permit issuing [construction project] bids in Judea, Samaria and the Golan, who is, in effect, drawing the contour lines for the Europeans… Wherever he freezes construction – there the Europeans bring down their decrees.”

Har Bracha Reinstated into Hesder

Monday, July 8th, 2013

Two and half years after then Defense Minister Ehud Barak removed the Har Bracha yeshiva from the Hesder program, the new Defense Minister, Moshe “Boogie” Ya’alon reinstated them.

Ehud Barak kicked the Yeshiva out of Hesder following statements by the Rosh Yeshiva, Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, where he said that he supported not following all army orders in certain circumstances, and refused to retract that statement.

In the Hesder program, National-Religious men combine a year and a half of army service with three and a half years of Torah study.

Ya’alon added two additional yeshivas were added to the Hesder program.

Prominent Samaria Rabbi: ‘Great Mitzvah to Serve in the army’

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Rabbi Eliezer Melamed, head of a well-known yeshiva in Samaria, wrote an opinion extolling the IDF, saying that it “is a great mitzvah to serve in the army to defend the people and the Land of Israel.”

In a reply to a student’s question, the Rabbi also said that enlisting fulfills the mitzvah of living in Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/prominent-samaria-rabbi-great-mitzvah-to-serve-in-the-army/2012/01/22/

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