Yishai Fleisher, international spokesman for the City of Hebron, gave a tour of the city of Hebron to New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman and Opinion Editor Kathleen Kingsbury, on Thursday. It was Friedman’s first time in Hebron in many years, and it should be pointed out that Friedman is not known for writing particularly pro-Israel columns.
Writing on Facebook, Fleisher said about the tour:
“A privilege to tour Thomas Friedman of @nytimes in ancient and reborn Jewish #Hebron and at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs. I told him that what he wrote “The Israel We Knew is Gone” is all wrong, rather, “The Israel We Knew is BACK” – that is, the badass Jewish State that protects the Jewish ethnic minority in this region has returned. Israel went liberal for a few years, but it weakened our basic security. Now, Jewish nationalism and pushing back on local antisemitism is what the people of Israel are yearning for.”
Besides the Cave of the Patriarchs (Maarat HaMachpelah) Fleisher took Friedman and Kingsbury to the Beit Menachem overlook in the Tel Rumeda neighborhood, a site leftwing activist guides generally avoid. From there one can see the massively developed Arab-controlled, but Judenrein city of Hebron, and how it compares to the small section of Hebron where Jews are permitted to live, which is the section that is always in the news.
Fleisher told JewishPress.com that he hopes that Friedman now understands the Jewish people’s narrative in Hebron and Israel a little better. Referring back to a recent Friedman post, “The Israel We Knew is Gone,” Fleisher pointed out that Israel is returning to its healthy roots, and the correct article should have been “The Israel We Knew is BACK.”
Fleisher also pointed out to the Friedman and Kingsbury how upbeat the IDF soldiers protecting the area are, and how the soldiers understand the importance of their mission in Hebron, despite the challenges they face.
Will Fleisher’s new insights into Hebron and the region positively affect Friedman’s writing on Israel, or will he simply come out with another generic Friedman piece on the region. We’re actually looking forward to see what happens.