The Israel Museum has reconstructed part of the inside of the ancient Susiya (Susya) synagogue. You can see what a magnificent building it must have been.
The excavated Jewish synagogue in Susiya dates from the 4th to the 7th century CE and was in continuous use until the 9th century CE.
(The Israel Museum) The magnificent synagogue of Susiya in the southern Hebron hills stood for hundreds of years and underwent many renovations. Its bema (podium) was built next to the long northern wall, which featured three arched niches. The central one likely held the Torah Ark, and the two others each held a menorah. The bema’s carved and incised motifs included menorahs, animals, and plants. Numerous donor inscriptions on the walls and floor attest to the community’s active participation in the building’s construction.
The State of Israel has the right to demolish 30 illegal structures built in the new and illegal Arab “village” of Susiya, according to a draft document to be submitted Wednesday to the High Court of Justice.
Although usually the Defense Ministry Civil Administration decides these issues, this time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would make the call on whether or not to demolish the structures, rather than Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, the document stated.
The prime minister’s review would take until the end of October, after the completion of the Jewish high holy days, after which time the state would inform the Court whether the shacks would be legalized, or demolished.
The state warned the Court, however, that legal remedies would remain in place against any new construction that appears in the area after 2014, and that laws against illegal construction would be enforced.
The Regavim nongovernmental organization (NGO) has consistently researched and litigated the case against any new building by Arabs from the Palestinian Authority in the area, which is completely under the control of Israel.
Regavim is calling on Israel to demolish all illegal structures post-2014, regardless of international pressure.
The modern Jewish community, established in 1983 under the Mount Hebron Regional Council, is located next to the ancient city of Susiya, now an archaeological site featuring a 5th-8th CE synagogue with a magnificent mosaic floor, and the mosque that replaced it.
The site was formally declared an archaeological site in 1986 by the Israel Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration; the Arab population chose to locate its “village” precisely on the same spot.
The IDF expelled the squatters, who began with 25 families in 1986, despite opposition from the United Nations which claimed they were living in “houses” at the time. The Arab villagers were moved instead to a site few hundred meters southeast of the original ancient city.
Just 13 families comprised Arab Susiya in 2008. But as it became more fashionable in the international community to target Israel’s right to govern Area C of the Oslo Accords, Mount Hebron and the area around it rose to prominence as a key battleground. Arab Susiya did too, and by 2015 the “village” rose to its current population of 50 families, comprising several hundred people.
The US Administration has warned Israel against demolishing the Arab village of Susiya in south Mt. Hebron, according to a story in Ha’aretz this week. Both Israeli and American senior officials have warned that should Israel go ahead and demolish the village, US response would be harsh.
Susiya is a legitimate archaeological site in the southern Judean Mountains that bears the archaeological remains of a 5th century CE enormous synagogue, one of the largest and most magnificent ever discovered, which was turned into a mosque by the Arab invaders in the 8th century.
The name has bee usurped by Bedouins who have stayed in area caves during grazing season. It is also the name of a religious Jewish community established in 1983 under the jurisdiction of Mt. Hebron Regional Council. In 1986, the area of Susiya claimed by the Bedouin shepherds was declared an archeological site by Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), and the IDF expelled the Bedouins, who then moved a few hundred yards southeast of the original location.
The Zionist Regavim movement, whose goal is to reclaim areas of the land of Israel from Arab occupiers, has been conducting a bitter court battle to declare Bedouin Susiya illegal and to remove its structures, which are, for the most part, tents and lean-tos. It should be noted that since 1994 the Arabs have been establishing illegal settlements in the entire area between Jerusalem and Susiya, which Israeli governments have failed to challenge for more than two decades. Susiya is only the tip of the sand dune (somehow using the iceberg metaphor in August, just doesn’t work).
As Jewish Press Online reporter Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu wrote back in 2013 (The Saga of Ancient ‘Palestinian Susiya’ – The Town That Never Was), “None of the land was ever registered as owned by anyone. During the Ottoman Empire, and under the British Mandate, the rulers of Hebron would sit in their living rooms and parcel out lands arbitrarily. That was the extent of ‘ownership.’
“When Jews came to Beit Yatir, the Arabs followed. Three families from Yatta, a city adjacent to Hebron, fled because of family crimes, such as rape, and set up camp on a hill adjacent to Yatir, Their village quickly became known as the ‘Thieves’ Village,’ for obvious reasons. They claim, of course, that they have been living there from time immemorial.”
And now, apparently, the future of the Middle East depends on those few dozen shepherds getting to graze their flocks on rightfully owned Jewish land, and so, following intense propaganda from the Palestinian Authority, the US, the UK and the EU, as well as several international NGOs have been threatening that should Susiya be wiped off the map, they, Israel’s friends in the world, would find it difficult to continue defending it in international forums.
Israeli senior officials have told Israel’s many friends that at this point it has no intention to demolish the Susiya “homes” (a term that is being used generously), and that Israel would act based on the expected ruling of the Supreme Court. While Regavim has been pushing the case against the Bedouin enclave, a group called Rabbis for Human Rights (RHR) has appealed the pending evacuation and demolishing of Susiya in the high court.
RHR is a foreign agent representing anti-Zionist entities in Europe and the US. Its annual budget of $1.6 million (most recently reported in 2014) is funded by AECID (Spain), European Commission, Misereor (Germany), Trocaire (Ireland), Norwegian Church (Norway), Kerk in Actie (Netherlands), Church of Sweden, Foundation for Middle East Peace (US), New Israel Fund, Social Justice Fund, and Moriah Fund (source: NGO Monistor).
A fictional Palestinian Authority village is on the throes of becoming a reality that threatens a Jewish presence next to the Talmudic-period Jewish village of Susiya and which would be a catalyst to support the blood libel that all of Israel was stolen from Arabs.
Arab Susiya, with several dozen tents and structures, has been built like a Broadway stage, complete with props that enable the Arabs to spin the yarn that it has existed for centuries but that the mean IDF is trying to destroy their ancient lifestyle.
The U.S. State Dept., the European Union and lazy and inherently biased international media have swallowed the tale that is chock full of romanticism and anti-Zionism.
The southern Hebron Hills until recent years was a forgotten rural region. Archaeological evidence clearly proves that Jews lived in Biblical and Talmudic times until as late as the 9th century, coinciding with the birth and rise of Islam.
Modern aerial photographs and academic researchers have categorically established that Arabs never lived in Susiya, but the world prefers to believe starry-eyed fairy tales that Jews are land thieves.
For centuries, only a few thousand Arabs populated the relatively vast southern Hebron Hills. Other Arabs came from the Hebron area to stay in caves for two months during the season for planting and reaping wheat or to grave sheep and goats.
Other than that, they were never to be seen because their homes were elsewhere.
All of that changed soon after the early 1980s when the Jews returned after 1,500 years.
The presence of Jews in the southern Hebron Hills woke up the Arab neglect of the region, where the Ottoman Empire, the British Mandate and the Jordanian occupation after the War for Independence in 1948 never issued a solitary deed of land ownership.
Yasser Arafat in Ramallah and Arabs in Hebron started getting antsy about the Jews moving into a strategic area from which Arabs staged several deadly terrorist attacks before the Six-Day War in 1967, but they had a problem. Arabs did not want to move from the urban areas of Hebron and adjacent Halhoul and Yatta and into the mountain desert where the biggest crop is rocks.
The European Union and leftist organizations came to the rescue. They pay Arabs to live in the region and to claim that their families have done so for centuries.
B’Tselem, the EU and other pro-Arab group built structures for Arabs, gave them tents, solar power and water purification systems.
They have built new villages that never existed before, dotting the hillsides with a nearly contiguous presence trumpeted with a fictitious “historical claim.” For the record, the Jews have an older historical claim, as evidenced by the ancient synagogues in Susiya and in neighboring Samoa.
The focus of the creation of this lie has been Susiya, the largest Jewish community in the area, although less than 200 families live there. It is located several hundred yards from the Talmudic=period village, which is protected as a natural park.
The European Union and leftist groups have invested tens of thousands of dollars to bring Arabs to the narrow stretch of land separating modern and ancient Susiya. The IDF, with the approval of the Supreme Court, has issued demolition orders for some – but not all – of the illegal Arabs structures.
Most of them exist with the classic Bedouin and Arab ruse of cement buildings covered by tents to give the romantic impression they are inhabited by a group of Arabs whose love for the land is greater than the temptations to live a life of convenience in the city.
Their love for money and the love for hating Zionists are even greater.
The EU and leftists fund the Arabs to allow them to live through cold, windy and sometimes snowy winters, as well as the hot and sultry days of summer.
There are aerial photographs from two decades ago showing that not one Arab lived in Susiya, but the European Union is giving away free tickets to a play that is being billed as reality.
It has all of the elements that the anti-Israel establishment needs to beat their breasts and berate Israel for being so cruel as to destroy the lifestyle of Arabs and expel them from their ancient lifestyle, which in truth dates back to approximately 10 years.
The spokesman for the fake Arab Susiya is Nasser Nawaja, the author of today’s fiction presented as “opinion” by The New York Times. He wrote, and is quoted over and over by dummy journalists, that his mother was born in Khirbet Susiya.
And I was born in Antarctica, and you, dear reader, were born in Saudi Arabia.
Nawaja makes his living as a paid servant for B’Tselem and the European Union and whose job is to dupe the United States to adopt the illusion on which is based the Palestinian Authority claim to the rest of Judea and Samaria as well as all of Israel.
The oft-documented reports that the Palestinian Authority teaches that Haifa and Jaffa (Yafo) are part of “ancient Palestine” always were laughable and ridiculous, so thought the Israel government.
It now has woken up, years too late, and Foreign Minister spokesman Emmanuel Nachson shared with The JewishPress.com a directive it issued to its emissaries around the world to put a finger in the dike to stop the flood of fabrications.
Unfortunately, the Foreign Ministry is using logic, which is of no use, and rests its case on “long-standing agreements between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, including the Oslo agreements,” which no longer are a reference point for anything except for a study of idiocy.
The Foreign Ministry also told its foreign staff:
These clusters of structures… were built illegally and adjacent to an ancient Jewish archeological site.
Contrary to Palestinian claims that these structures have been permanently inhabited for decades, in fact, only a handful of families resided there in the 1980s and they only used the structures on a seasonal basis….
On 4 May 2015, the Supreme Court declined to issue another temporary injunction preventing demolitions.
The government is not taking to heart Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely’s advice to emissaries when she took office two months ago and said that the world needs to be reminded that Israel – all of Israel – belong to Jews by Biblical birthright. Anyone who does not agree can take his complaint to God.
The European Union the United Nations and especially the Obama administration do not care about the logic of legal or illegal buildings because they have adopted the entire Palestinian Authority hate libel that Israel is an “occupier” and that Jews have no right to live where Arabs want to live.
This has nothing to do with the “West Bank.” It has to do with all of Israel.
The “government of Tel Aviv” has closed its eyes for decades to the Bedouin and Arab rape of the Negev, well inside the “Green Line.” The squatters, many of whom have been imported from Judea and Samaria, have stolen tens of thousands of acres of state land – their “ancient land” – and the government has done nothing except to pay them to procreate their population bomb by winking an eye at polygamy and doling out outrageous child benefits.
“Arab Susiya” will be Israel’s Waterloo if it falls to international ignorance, in which the State Dept. has a stake.
When Indian reporter Goyal Raghubir, supposedly one of the better journalists covering Foggy Bottom, asked State Dept. spokesman John Kirby last week if he has “a reaction to reports that Israel may demolish part of a village called Susiya in the West Bank for expanding settlements,” the spokesman was ready with a prepared answer:
We’re closely following developments in the village of Susiya in the West Bank, and we strongly urge the Israeli authorities to refrain from carrying out any demolitions in the village. Demolition of this Palestinian village or of parts of it, and evictions of Palestinians from their homes would be harmful and provocative. Such actions have an impact beyond those individuals and families who are evicted. We are concerned that the demolition of this village may worsen the atmosphere for a peaceful resolution.
A “peaceful resolution” in the eyes of the Palestinian Authority, the European Union and the Obama administration is the expulsion of every Jew from all of Judea and Samaria, the Golan Heights and half of Jerusalem.
The “peaceful resolution” is build on the foundation of the lies of the “Palestinian people” and of Israel as “ancient Palestine.”
The international community has hidden its inherent anti-Semitism under propaganda spewed out as the truth by such groups as B’Tselem and Rabbis for Human Rights, who hand out to the media a perfume bottle full of a poisonous potion.
The Palestinian Authority-based Ma’an News Agency, one of the foreign media’s favorite sources for lies, told its readers last week that “Susiya villagers reportedly built homes in 1986 on agricultural land they owned, after being evicted by Israel from their previous dwellings on land declared as an archaeological site.”
I have been living in this area since 1991 and frequently visited the archaeological site of Susiya. There never was a single structure in “Arab Susiya” until the late 1990s.
The State Dept. will not believe me. The European Union will not believe me. The United Nations will not believe me.
It is not because I am an “occupier;” it is not because I am a “settler'” and it is not because they care about Arabs, or “Palestinians.”
“Mr. Bean” has the answer in his portrayal of someone at the entrance to Hell, where the devil tells the Christians, “Yes, I am sorry. I am afraid the Jews were right,”
The world cannot admit it, and that is why it adopts the lie of an “Arab Susiya.”
Roi Abecassis has been appointed to the post of director of World Bnei Akiva by its World Council.
He is the current deputy director and formerly was the Bnei Akiva emissary (shliach) in Scandinavia.
Abecassis learned at Yeshivat Har Etzion and has a degree in Law and Political Science. He also has served as the Director of the Hagshama Department in the World Zionist Organization.
He will replace Rabbi Noam Perel, who served his four-term after leading the Bnei Akiva yeshiva high school in Susiya, in the southern Hebron Hills.
Speaking after his appointment, Abercassis said, “World Bnei Akiva will continue to deepen the roots of Jewish children throughout the world, connecting them to Israel and encouraging Aliyah. I am excited to develop our relationship with our communities around the world, and creating links with new ones.”
Avidan Ofer is in Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital recovering from head and face wounds at the hands of Arab attackers, but a widely-quoted Palestinian Authority media agency has reported that Ofer and several other Jews were the attackers and Arabs were the victims in Monday’s terrorist attack between Kiryat Arba-Hebron and Arad-Be’er Sheba.
Ofer told The Jewish Press the Jews that he and other farmers from Mitzpeh Yair, were plowing their fields when 10 Arabs chased after them and beat them with rods and sticks. The land was clearly part of Mitzpeh Yair. I know that for a fact because it is located two miles from my house in Beit Yatir.
He said he could identify the assailants, who are from an illegally built village a mile to the south and which has grown thanks to assistance from foreign leftists and the European Union.
The IDF confirmed there was a fight” between “settlers and Arabs” and that one Arab and three Jews were “lightly injured.” One of those suffering from light injuries is also in Hadassah Hospital with a set of broken teeth and wounds to his jaw, after having been beaten by the attackers until soldiers responded to a distress call.
A military spokeswoman told The Jewish Press that police arrested seven Jews and two Arabs but could not comment on who initiated the attack. However, since the Jewish farmers were farming their land, the answer is clear.
Why didn’t the Jews defend themselves? After all, they had guns.
The answer is disturbingly simple. Any Jew who shoots a bullet, even in the air, is going to be arrested by the friendly Israeli police, and his weapon will be taken away from him. The Jews use their guns only when they are on the verge of having to say “Shema Yisrael,” the first words of the prayer said before someone dies. That is the extent of Jewish self-defense in most of Judea and Samaria.
The IDF “protects” Jews by tearing up their farms and blindly accepting Arab claims that the land is theirs, and the police dutifully record Jews’ complaints and often end up arrest them after an Arab files a complaint. Arabs almost never are arrested in “routine” assaults and stealing.
The IDF is very aggressive when it comes to talking about protecting Gaza Belt residents from Kassam rockets, even if their actions don’t match their words. When it comes to “settlements,” the military plays down almost every incident except clear murders.
It is a lot easier to pretend there is no trouble with the Arabs. No extra work. Peace and quiet.
So the IDF confirmed their was a “fight.” The government does not want to ruin U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s attempt to convince himself that Mahmoud Abbas really wants Jews to stay alive and in peace.
One of the debilitating factors in the efforts of Jews to hold on to any inch of land they can in the southern Hebron Hills is the Palestinian Authority propaganda machine and the silent guns of the Israeli government media folks.
Here is how the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency reported Monday morning’s attack, under the headline “Palestinian farmers clash with settlers in south Hebron hills.”
The report stated, “The clashes occurred after settlers attacked a group of farmers tending their land. Ismail al-Adra said that ten settlers attacked him and several other farmers while they were on their way to tend their fields…. Another farmer, Mousa al-Adra, was also attacked and injured, together with a foreign solidarity activist who was filming the settler attack….Israeli forces arrived at the scene and detained a number of farmers, accusing them of attacking settlers….
“There are several radical Jewish outposts in the south Hebron hills, with settlers regularly attacking local Palestinians with impunity.”
This conflicting report is obviously a lie, even to those who have not taken Journalism 101.
In every Palestinian Authority report of alleged Jewish attacks, some of them true and many of them questionable, the location is noted. Bethlehem-based Ma’an apparently decided not to define the area because it would open it to counter-claims of a confirmed lie. If, as the article states, Jews attacked the Arabs who were “tending their land,” where was that land? The answer is clear. “Their” land was in Mitzpeh Yair, just like all of the land in Judea and Samaria is “their” land.