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September 20, 2014 / 25 Elul, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘property’

More Molotov Cocktails Thrown at Jerusalem Jews by Arab Neighbors

Tuesday, April 24th, 2012

The community of Maale HaZeitim in Jerusalem was again targeted with Molotov cocktails in the early hours of Tuesday morning.  Two homemade firebombs were hurled at the homes of residents in the community, just a 15 minute walk from the Kotel in Jerusalem’s Old City.  Damage was reported to property.  There were no injuries.

On April 16, the community was attacked in a barrage of between 7 -10 firebombs.  Guards on the site shot in the air, after which the single attacker fled on foot.  When police came to investigate, they spent a significant portion of their time interrogating the guards as to why they fired their weapons, according to reports by residents at the scene.

No injuries were reported in that attack, though residents reported that children witnessing the attack became hysterical.  Damage to property resulted from fires lit by the bombs.

On February 24, two United States Congressman on tour in the area were targeted in a rock throwing attack a few feet away from the entrance to the neighborhood.

Maale HaZeitim is located on the Mount of Olives, next to the historic Mount of Olives cemetery, containing the graves of Rabbi Avraham Yitzchak HaCohen Kook, the Ohr HaChaim, Henrietta Szold, Eliezer Ben Yehuda and other notable Jewish figures.

EU Condemns Israel For Returning Property to Owners, Evicting Squatters

Sunday, April 22nd, 2012

The European Union on Saturday condemned the eviction of Arab squatters from a house in Beit Hanina on Wednesday, despite an eight-year court case proving that the land they occupied belonged to Jews.

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement on Saturday in which they “condemn the eviction of the Natche family from their home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina”.

They also stated that they were “deeply concerned by the plans to build a new settlement in the midst of this traditional Palestinian neighborhood.”

The statement follows condemnations of the eviction issued by UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian Territory Maxwell Gaylard.  “Evictions of Palestinians from their homes and properties in occupied territory contravene international law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and should cease,” Gaylard said in a public statement.

The EU’s stance on the ownership of the property comes in contrast to the finding of the courts that the land and two buildings in which the Natche family lived were purchased 35 years ago by a Jew and were also owned by Jewish residents prior to the founding of the state of Israel in 1948.

The repossession of the property was coordinated by Israeli police and overseen by the Israel Land Fund, which will work to develop the property into apartments for Jewish residents.

Squatter Khaled Natche refused to leave the property voluntarily, despite a promise by the Israel Land Fund to waive NIS 250,000 in damages the court ordered paid to the organization if they would evacuate on their own.  Natche’s brother, who lived next door to him in the second of the two illegally occupied buildings, heeded the court order and left the premises a few weeks ago.

Despite his refusal, Khaled Natche and his family were removed from the dwelling on Wednesday, with their belongings removed into a moving truck for transportation.  No violence took place.

The Beit Hanina properties sit on 1.5 acres of land just a quarter of a mile from the Jerusalem light rail.

Now that the property has returned to its owners, the Israel Land Fund will be charged with developing a 50-apartment complex called Nof Shmuel, named for its view on the tomb of the Prophet Samuel.  The project has already been approved by the Jerusalem municipality and the Interior Ministry, and is awaiting construction permits, according to Israel Land Fund president Aryeh King.

Tales of Rachel’s Tomb, a Strange Fire, the Golden Graft, the True Foundation

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

BREAKING NEWS:  An illegal and unauthorized group tried to forcibly enter Beit Bnei Rachel in the Rachel Tomb walled complex today, reported Dov Shurin, a radio host who serves as the house manager.  The police were forced to respond and prevent the trespass, as the group which has made previous attempts to remove any trace of the rightful owner of the building, Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF), continued in their efforts to destroy the foundation. The group accosted one of the women who studies with RCRF for the building key and resorted to trying to break the locks on the back door to enter the building. The group tried to break in again with an axe at  1:30am Israel time and the police have responded again. Damages to doors today are $1000. Damages since their occupation are immeasurable.

The police ultimately denied access to the unauthorized group and instructed them that they must take all of their claims to court.  This sends a strong message to the group that has long evaded the legal process that they cannot continue their strong-arm tactics and invade the property that was purchased by RCRF in 2001.

Despite today’s confrontation, Dov Shurin announced that all RCRF activities will continue as they have for the past decade and encouraged the public to come to Beit Lechem to study, pray, and learn the ancient but timely lessons of Rachel Imeinu.

_________________ Rachel Imeinu, the Jewish Mother par excellence, was – according to Biblical sources – buried “on the way” from Jerusalem to Hebron, in Bethlehem to plead for her children going into exile and to welcome them back upon their return. Bethlehem was the home of Boaz, Ruth, Naomi, and King David. King Solomon exempted the residents of Bethlehem from taxes because of his personal attachment to the place where King David was a shepherd and wrote the Tehillim that we read with passion today when we encounter problems and the need for tikkun. Rachel has always been a symbol of the unity of the Jewish people, whose sacrifice on behalf of her sister has inspired Jewish women to emulate her as a role model.

Helping to protect and reclaim the burial site of Rachel Imeinu became my mission in 1995.  I formed Rachel’s Children Reclamation Foundation (RCRF), a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation when Rachel’s Tomb was on the Oslo chopping block. Some government officials suggested giving away Rachel’s Tomb (“Kever Rachel”) or even moving it. Klal Yisrael rallied; Rabbi Menachem Porush and Chanan Porat cried. My organization was instrumental in having hundreds of petitions, proclamations from US officials, as well as children’s letters sent daily in support of retaining Rachel’s Tomb for the Jewish people. PM Rabin responded to the outcry by adding an amendment to the September 28, 1995 Oslo Agreement that put Rachel’s Tomb in area C, completely under Israel control as part of the larger designated area which reaches beyond the area where the separation fence was constructed.

On the day of PM Rabin’s Assassination, 50,000 people were visiting Ima Rachel’s kever on her yahrzeit. On that weekend, I chaired a 3-day Conference of the Women’s Branch of the OU in Washington, DC. The theme of the event was “Breaking the Silence” and the theme song, “We are Rachel’s Children” was introduced that day.

From rallying Rachel’s children to reclaim their identity and holy roots, to purchasing and delivering a Sefer Torah to the empty un-walled streets in front of Rachel’s Tomb, to petitioning to have regular scheduled trips of Egged buses eight times daily, RCRF now finds itself in a dilemma: whether to be silent like Rachel or cry like Rachel. I have learned to have savlanut, patience, but during  the last year and a half conditions at the property for which my foundation provided the majority of funds to purchase and establish Beit Bnei Rachel adjacent to Kever Rachel have continually deteriorated. This has required me to deal with one obstacle after another. I have given not just money, but my heart and soul, and my activities are for all Bnei Rachel.  I work five months a year in Israel doing programming, events, and teaching Derech Eretz in the Rachel’s Tomb complex. While in America I work many hours throughout the night coordinating with the staff and officials in Israel. We had the most lofty dreams when we partnered together to build the Rachel’s Tomb complex, and my foundation originally purchased the valuable property next to Kever Rachel to build a Beit Bnei Rachel in partnership with a group that contributed no funds, but was responsible for purchasing, maintaining and improving the property and assisting us in realizing our dream and establishing a proper yeshivah at the site. The leaders of that group have seemingly abandoned those ideals in an attempt to seize title and control of the valuable land adjacent to Kever Rachel.

Hebron Jews Appeal on Behalf of Arab Seller of Machpela House, Sentenced to Death by the PA

Monday, April 16th, 2012

Jewish leaders in Hebron have called for international intervention to help the Palestinian man sentenced to death for selling a home near the Cave of the Patriarchs to Jews.

Shahala reportedly was sentenced to death for his part in selling what has become known as the Machpela House to a group of Jews. He reportedly confessed to the sale after torture and was subject to a rushed trial. Palestinian officials said Shahala was not authorized to sell the home.

The death warrant still must be signed by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, according to reports.

A letter on behalf of Muhammad Abu Shahala, a former intelligence agent for the Palestinian Authority was signed by Hebron Jewish community leaders David Wilder and  Noam Arnon, and addressed to, among others, the secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon; U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; the president of the European Council of the European Union, Herman Van Rompuy; and the director general of the International Red Cross, Yves Daccord, among others.

“It is appalling to think that property sales should be defined as a ‘capital crime’ punishable by death,” the Jewish leaders write in their letter. ” The very fact that such a ‘law’ exists within the framework of the PA legal system points to a barbaric and perverse type of justice, reminiscent of practices implemented during the dark ages.

“What would be the reaction to a law in the United States, England, France, or Switzerland, forbidding property sales to Jews? Actually, less than one hundred years ago, such acts were legislated and practiced, known as the infamous ‘Nuremberg laws.”

At least seven Jewish families were evicted from the house earlier this month, a week after they entered the home in the middle of the night on March 28 armed with documents saying they had purchased the building from its Arab owner.

Who’s Watching Anyway? (Me’ilah 2b, 9a)

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Summertime in Massachusetts, one often sees flowers for sale at the side of the road. But there is no salesperson present. Instead, there is a sign requesting $10 for the flowers. You leave the $10 bill on the table and go back to your car with flowers in hand. It is an honors system. There is nobody watching to see if you pay only $5 or if you creep back, retrieve your $10 bill and make off with the money and the flowers. Doing that would be a breach of trust.

The Torah calls breach of trust “me’ilah.” It cites several examples of me’ilah on a social level: One who accepts an item from another on deposit and then denies that she was ever given the deposit in the first place; one who finds lost property but denies she found it and keeps if for herself; one who takes unfair advantage of a fiduciary relationship; one who breaches the trust of a spouse and enters into an extramarital relationship – all such persons are guilty of me’ilah.

There is also a breach of trust toward God. We give God something of value, but when He is not “looking” we take it back or use it for ourselves. The way we give God something is by pronouncing an item “kodesh” or “hekdesh.” That pronouncement, uttered even in solitude with no witnesses present and even before the kohen knows about it, has the power to transfer the property in the item to the Temple.

“Just words!” one might say, “and besides, no-one was watching. Let’s change our mind and take it back.” That would be a breach of trust, a me’ilah against God. The Talmud discusses this type of breach of trust in tractate Me’ilah.

Me’ilah in connection with Temple property can be intentional or it can be inadvertent, such as when one was genuinely unaware the item one was enjoying belonged to the Temple. The sanction for intentional me’ilah is lashes and monetary restitution. The sanction for unintentional me’ilah is threefold. In order to atone for the transgression, the perpetrator must offer up on the altar a guilt offering – asham meilot – in the form of a ram worth two Shekalim (38.2 grams of silver) and must make restitution for the item misappropriated. In addition, the perpetrator must add a fine equal to one quarter the value of the misappropriated item. Thus if the item is worth four quarters, one must pay five.

Me’ilah applies to items that are intrinsically holy – kedushat haguf – such as various types of kornbanot including animal offerings, bird offerings, flour offerings known as menachot, the Show Bread, known as lechem hapanim, the two loaves of bread offered up on Shavuot known as shtei halechem, the libations of water known as nesachim and the incense known as ketoret.

Me’ilah also applies to items dedicated to the Temple to assist in its upkeep. These items, which are either used in the Temple in the form they are given or sold so that their proceeds are given to the Temple, are known as kodshei bedek habayit. Although items donated for bedek habayit are not intrinsically holy, once they are dedicated to the Temple they too, like the korbanot, are subject to the laws of me’ilah.

The underlying principle of me’ilah is that nobody may derive any benefit from an item that is kodesh laHashem – that belongs exclusively to God. It follows that once an item ceases to belong exclusively to God in the sense that the Torah permits humans to derive some benefit from it, it is no longer subject to me’ilah.

Some korbanot always belong exclusively to God in the sense that there is never a time when a human may benefit from them. An example of such an item is the korban olah, no part of which was eaten by the kohanim and which, (apart from its hide, which was given to the kohanim) was entirely consumed by the fires of the altar. Accordingly, any misappropriation of the korban olah, from the time it was dedicated to the Temple to the time its burned ashes were removed from the altar, was subject to the laws and penalties of me’ilah.

Other korbanot belonging to the kodshei kodashim category start out belonging exclusively to God but are subsequently permitted for consumption by the kohanim. Examples of such items are the sin offering, known as the korban chattat, certain types of the guilt offerings, known as korbanot asham, and communal peace offerings such as the lambs sacrificed on Shavuot known as kivsei atzeret.

Once the blood of these animals has been sprinkled on the altar in a procedure known as zerikah, the kohanim are permitted to eat certain parts of the animal, (the breast and part of the right thigh). Accordingly, from that point on the animal no longer belongs exclusively to God and (except for the fat, kidneys and liver of these animals, which are always consumed by the fires of the altar) these animals are no longer subject to the laws of me’ilah.

More On Temurah (Temurah 2,3 and 9)

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

The act of temurah, consecrating another animal in place of an already consecrated animal, incurs the punishment of malkot, lashes. This is somewhat surprising. There is a halachic rule that a prohibition that does not involve an overt act does not incur the punishment of malkot – “lav she’einbBo ma’aseh, ein lokin alav.”

Thus, even though the Torah prohibits one from hating another person in one’s heart, no malkot are administered for doing so because no act is involved. But neither does temurah involve an act. It merely involves the articulation of the words “zu temurat zu,” “this animal is a substitute for that hekdesh animal.” Why then does a person incur malkot?

The answer is that the rule lav she’ein bo ma’aseh, ein lokin ala does not apply to a situation in which the lo ta’aseh, the prohibited act, violates not just one injunction of the Torah but two. In the case of temurah, there are two injunctions involved. The first is expressed by the words of the Torah “lo yachlifenu” – “he should not exchange it,” and the second is expressed by the words “lo yamir” – “he shall not substitute it.”

This also explains why another exculpatory rule that would ordinarily absolve a violator from the punishment of malkot does not apply in the case of temurah. This exculpatory rule is known as “lav hanitak le’aseh.” It provides that a person does not incur lashes for violating a commandment if the Torah prescribes a cure for such violation.

For example, the Torah commands us not to steal. But the Torah also provides a cure for theft. It requires the thief to return the stolen article. Similarly, the Torah commands us not to take the eggs from under the nesting mother. But the Torah also provides a cure by instructing one to send the bird away if one does so. Accordingly, neither the act of theft nor the act of taking the eggs from under the nesting bird incurs the punishment of malkot.

Temurah, it would seem, should be no different. True, the Torah proscribes the violation of temurah. But it also gives the cure, namely that both the substituted animal and the original hekdesh animal remain hekdesh. Why then does the rule of lav hanitak le’aseh not absolve the person who violated the laws of temurah from receiving the punishment of lashes?

The answer is as before – that this exculpatory rule does not apply in a situation in which one prohibited act violates two negative commandments.

Since temurah is a way – albeit a prohibited way – of making an animal hekdesh, it follows that, as is the case with hekdesh, a person can only effect temurah with an animal that belongs to him but not with an animal that belongs to someone else. Accordingly, a kohen cannot effect temurah with an animal of a non-kohen that is offered up on the altar as a chattat, a sin offering, or an asham, a guilt offering.

Even though the kohen has ownership rights in certain parts of the chattat and asham animal that are not burned on the altar, these rights are only triggered once the animal is slaughtered and its blood is sprinkled on the altar. Before that occurs, no part of the chattat and asham offering belong to the kohen and he therefore has no power to effect temurah with respect to them.

Similarly, a kohen cannot effect temurah with a firstborn – bechor – animal that an Israelite dedicates to the him because at the time of dedication, the bechor animal still belongs to the Israelite. A kohen could, of course, effect temurah in a bechor that was born to his own flock.

It is only the person who receives atonement from the sacrifice of the animal that has the power to effect temurah but not someone who donates the animal for the atonement of someone else.

An animal owned by more than one person cannot be rendered hekdesh through temurah because, in describing temurah, the Torah uses the singular form, thereby excluding a jointly owned animal. Similarly, an animal brought for communal atonement rather than individual atonement is not subject to the laws of temurah.

Temurah can only be effected with respect to animals that are intended for the altar but not with respect to animals that are given to the Temple for sale for their proceeds to be used for bedek habayit, the upkeep of the Temple. Neither can temurah be effected with bird offerings or with menachot, meal offerings.

In the absence of the Temple, the laws of temurah might seem a little detached from our lives. But they send an important message. Just as we cannot take our property with us after our lifetime, we cannot claw back property that we have given during our lifetime.

Knesset Event Spotlights plight of Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

The Knesset conference on Compensation for Jewish Refugees from Arab Countries, hosted by MK Nissim Zeev (Shas), raised the profile of his cause and will lead to the creation of a Knesset caucus.

Speaker Reuven Rivlin, Vice Prime Minister Benny Begin, Israeli MKs, foreign leaders, and diaspora groups of Arab-country origins filled the Knesset’s Jerusalem Hall for a few hours to discuss their views and exchange ideas.

Speaker Rivlin said that a peace treaty with any of our neighbors will be impossible without the compensation of the Jews expelled during the Jewish-Arab wars. He said that the theft of Jewish money, property, and belongings can’t be tolerated and must be resolved in any signed agreement.

Vice Prime Minister Begin (Likud) used the occasion to slam Fatah. MK Lia Shemtov (Yisrael Beitenu -Y.B.) echoed Rivlin’s sentiments, saying there can be no peace with our neighbors without compensation for the Jewish refugees, adding that the compensation must be full and 100%.

MK Orly Levi-Abekasis (Y.B.) said that it is a humanitarian need to compensate Jewish refugees. She stressed that even in countries where Jews weren’t killed, all of their property was left behind. She added that many Jews died on the way to Israel and asked: ‘who will compensate their families?’ She charged that the plight of the Jewish refugees is never discussed and they currently have no rights. She concluded that justice requires us to compensate Jewish refugees for everything that was left behind.

MK Einat Wilf (Independence) said there are only 30,000 Arab refugees from the Jewish-Arab war, not 5 million, as the United Nations’ UNRWA claims. She said a baby born in Gaza is not a refugee. She stated the world only knows half of the story, noting there are Jewish refugees, not just Arab refugees, and stressing that any settlement must include compensation for both sides. She said there is an ethnic cleansing of Christian cities in Muslim countries because the Jewish cities were already cleansed sixty years ago. She concluded that any compensation must go both ways because there were victims on both sides of the Jewish-Arab war.

Vice-Chairman of the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, Fiorello Provera, Italy’s outgoing Interior Minister, and a Swedish parliament member were among the European dignitaries who spoke and supported the initiative.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/knesset/knesset-corner/knesset-event-spotlights-plight-of-jewish-refugees-from-arab-countries/2012/02/22/

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