Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI and Manhigut Yehudit recently conducted its latest Chizuk Mission to Israel. These missions are designed to cover as much of the contested land of Israel as possible in a jam-packed week of visits to all parts of the country. We visited the Binyamin area, the Shomron, the northern Shomron, the Galilee, the Negev, Hebron – and of course, Yerushalayim.
We visited Galilee hilltops and met the Shomrim HaHadash, the new guardians of Galilee farms threatened by Arab thieves who break into the farms by cutting fences, stealing herds of goats or cows, destroying equipment, and threatening Jewish farmers’ lives.
The methodology is simple. The Jewish farmers are harassed by Arab terrorists, leading to both physical and economic desperation. They are then visited by Arabs ready to purchase their farms for Saudi Arabia-supplied cash. The Shomrim HaHadash, who put their lives at risk by patrolling the farms at night on horseback, strive to prevent the takeover of the entire Galilee by the Arabs. The Israeli police and army seem unable or unwilling to control the situation.
We witnessed this struggle throughout Israel. Arab terrorism, along with Israel’s government policy of appeasement and weakness, is forcing Jews to hold onto the land of Israel by their fingertips. Even at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, the Israeli government discriminates against Jews. Unlike Christians streaming onto the Mount, Jews are forced to surrender their passports for inspection and wait an hour while the documents are checked. When finally allowed entry we were followed by both Israeli police and Arab “guards,” who watched us carefully to ensure that we were not praying on the Mount – something forbidden to Jews.
In Hebron we saw the disgraceful results of government actions against that city’s Jews. Seeking to pacify the overwhelming majority Arab population, Hebron’s Jews live primarily on one street – in a few clusters of homes. The Shalom house, purchased and renovated by Jews at great cost, has been closed by the Israeli government – with the Jews forcibly evicted from their apartments. The courts have yet to decide on the home’s legality, but the Netanyahu government forced out the Jews without waiting for a court order.
In the Negev, where the Gush Katif expellees are trying to build communities in Yevul and Halutzia near the Egyptian border, the Israeli government again betrays its own citizens. Bedouin thieves attack the farms and, just as in the Galilee, there is no police reaction.
Further, the expellees must pay large sums of money for their tracts of land, while many are still paying mortgages on their destroyed homes in Gush Katif. At B’nai Netzarim, a new community of caravan homes, we were told of the government’s demand that they put up 100,000 shekel checks to prove their desire to stay and build permanent homes. Short of compliance, the government would not supply the needed infrastructure.
An ominous, disgraceful sign seen in a number of areas within Israel was the red AREA A sign, saying that the area was under sole Palestinian Authority control and no Israeli Jews were allowed entry. I have never seen a sign anywhere in Israel barring Arabs.
Another sign that brings shame and humiliation (this time on Americans) is the one proclaiming that U.S. aid money has gone to build Arab enclaves. We see this at Shdema, a contested area just outside Yerushalayim. On this former army base’s property, (in Area C, under complete Israeli control), U.S. money has created an Arab oasis. During our visit there, we took great delight in planting little saplings. To our great dismay, we learned that they had quickly been torn out after our departure.
Those Israelis with a national identity crisis seem to be losing a grip on their country. To help thwart the current harmful policies, please do whatever possible to support the aforementioned Shomrim’s slogan, This Land is Not for Steal – or Deal – or Sale.
One way to show support is to reserve a spot for AFSI’s next Chizuk mission, in May 2010, by calling 212-828-2424 or 800-235-3658, or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to read a more detailed version of the trip and view photos of the mission, please visit AFSI’s website at www.afsi.org.
Helen Freedman is executive director of Americans for a Safe Israel/AFSI, and organizer of the AFSI Chizuk missions.