IL CELL: 972-52-607-1690 david@haivri.com

Mudar Zahran indicted by Jordanian court

AMMAN, Jordan, Dec. 31 (UPI) — A Palestinian writer and academic says a Jordanian court indicted him in absentia, accusing him of damaging the country’s image and inciting hatred.

“The court has indicted me for the crime of inciting hatred and attacking Jordan’s image and the image of its one nation,” Mudar Zahran told the Jerusalem Post Monday night. If found guilty, Zahran could face three years in prison.

Zahran said the indictment also accuses him of writing for Israeli newspapers.

“The only Israeli newspaper I write for is the Jerusalem Post,” he said.

Zahran, who resides in Britain where he was granted political asylum, has publicly described Jordan as an apartheid regime that resembles the system of racial segregation that existed in South Africa from 1948 until 1994.

Kirk Sowell, the principal of Uticensis Risk Services, based in Amman, told the Post Jordanian law allows even peaceful activism to be prosecuted.

“Zahran is being prosecuted for openly attacking the king, which is illegal here, but there are a number of individuals being prosecuted right now,” Sowell said.

In an article published by Israel Today Dec.11, Zahran accused Muslim authorities of neglecting Temple Mount, site of the al-Aqsa mosque. After visiting the site, he wrote the Islamic Wakf, in charge of maintaining Islam’s third-holiest site, receives $280,000 in donations each month but does not use the money for renovations, maintenance, or caring for the poor and needy.

“It seems we Arabs and Muslims … are harming al-Aqsa, not Israel or the Jews,” he wrote.

Translating Prophecy into Public Relations

Ha’aretz 4 Dec. 2013
http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.561558

If the ultra-nationalist vision once had the country-bumpkin image of plaid-shirted Hanan Porat, meditating about the messianic redemption of the land and people in halting English, Bennett is keenly aware of the need to translate prophecy into public relations and scripture into soundbyte. When Bennett repeatedly referred to human rights (to live in the land), as well as the rights of self-determination and of self defense (against Palestinians), he consciously evoked tropes that would resonate with American audiences imbued with Wilsonian ideals, U.S. constitutional democracy, and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Further, his discussion of civil disobedience and the use of a referendum to protest any future peace deal could be taken straight from Henry David Thoreau or Martin Luther King Jr. Last but not least, his theme of Israel as “lighthouse” nation resonates directly with the notion of a “city on a hill” and the moral responsibility of Zion – new or old – toward the international community. Clearly, Bennett understood the agenda behind his arguments, suggesting on CNN that “values messaging is sometimes better than practical messaging, [where] people are inspired by values and heritage. No one has been talking about our rights and that’s why Palestinians keep winning debates.”

But Bennett is only the lead orator of a new ultra-nationalist PR movement – largely driven by Jewish-American settlers since the 1990s. In fact, while Bennett was courting officials in Washington, Brooklyn-born David Ha-Ivri led a delegation from the Samaria Regional Council and the Shomron Liaison Office who were in New York City for a political spin workshop entitled “Israel Advocacy Conference: Addressing Core Issues and Improving Your Impact.” Alongside other groups like Americans for a Safe Israel, American Friends of the Likud, ZOA and Ha-Yovel (a Christian evangelical group), these settler leaders demonstrated the larger agenda of domesticating the rhetoric of the Israeli radical right into familiar, and Western-friendly terms.

As the U.S. continues to lead diplomatic efforts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict today, it should recognize that the Israeli ultra-nationalist movement is trading on America’s own values. For the Obama administration and American Jewish leadership to successfully re-engage in the region, they must first reclaim a seat at the rhetorical table. If the ultra-nationalist movement is presenting itself to be as American as apple pie, the only way to take a slice out of their arguments is by pointing out the cognitive dissonance and hypocrisy in applying liberal ideals and language to illiberal political programs.

If the U.S. hopes to prevail as an honest broker it must drive a wedge between the Bennett speak that instrumentalizes American ideals and an authentic rights discourse that promotes a peaceful and just outcome to the conflict. For that, both Israelis and Palestinians could be thankful.

Buy blue and white – and orange

With the launch of the international BDS movements (Boycott, Divest, Sanction) against Israeli businesses and companies by anti-Semites disguised as anti-Zionists in the mid 2000s, many pro- Israel hasbara (public diplomacy) organizations have gone on the offensive, encouraging consumers to counter the BDS’ers by “buying blue and white” – or in other words, products “made in Israel.”

The ongoing initiative to support Israeli breadwinners in the face of this displaced and unjustified campaign, which boils down to pure hatred of the Jewish state, should be applauded and supported by friends of Israel around the world. At the same time, the Israelis who are feeling the BDS wrath more than other populations in the country are the Jews of Judea and Samaria, who not only have to fight for their livelihoods, but have to defend the legitimacy of their existence time and time again.

Take for example comments made this week by former US president Jimmy Carter encouraging the European Union to implement a law forcing products coming out of the so-called West Bank to be labeled as such, according to a report in The Irish Times.

As quoted by The Jerusalem Post, Carter said, “The EU has repeatedly condemned settlement expansion in the West Bank, it could therefore introduce a clear labeling of products made in Israeli settlements, which are illegal under international law.”

Carter’s true goal is obvious – to encourage European consumers to think twice before they purchase something produced in “occupied territory,” which would ultimately benefit the “settlers” living there. God forbid that a Jew living in Judea should be able to make a living.

Not only is Carter’s attack potentially damaging to Jews living in Judea and Samaria, but also to the Arabs living in these areas will suffer from his bullheadedness.

Take for example the Barkan Industrial Zone near Ariel, where according to Shomron liaison director David Ha’ivri near 3,500 Palestinian Authority Arabs are employed, representing around 50% of the work force there. Ha’ivri points out that just last week Italian MP Fiorello Provera, on a visit to Barkan, spoke out against labeling “settlement” products since those calling for such action simply lack information about the facts on the ground, and in reality will only hurt thousands of Arab families.

According to Ha’ivri, “The PA has received billions of dollars in international aid to form [a sustainable] economy for the Palestinians and have failed to do so.

The Jewish-owned factories provide income for those people.” Therefore, he asks, “Who is the boycott meant to punish?” So with all of these anti-settler shenanigans being implemented, the best response for those who understand the importance of the issue and recognize the legitimacy of Jews (along with Arabs) prospering in Judea and Samaria, is to make the extra effort to purchase “orange.”

Orange, of course, is the color synonymous with the plight of the residents of Gush Katif, who unfortunately were thrown out of their homes in 2005 by our own government, trying to appease the Carters of the world. As is clear now, this was a blunder of epic proportions. But the color orange over the years has become associated not only with Gush Katif, but Judea and Samaria as a whole.

The point is, it’s time to thwart the anti-settlers by deliberately utilizing services offered by and buying products manufactured specifically in Judea and Samaria.

Several initiatives are helping to further this cause.

Take for example the Dapei Katom (orange pages) Virtual Center of Yesha. Dapei Katom is a business directory for 2,000 small businesses and companies, allowing them to market their products and services to communities in Israel and all over the world.

Elisheva Blum, who runs Dapei Katom, says her group “creates the tools for both those living inside and outside of Judea and Samaria to support businesses there through their everyday lives.” She says that whether you are looking for a web designer, accountant, or want to purchase gifts for friends overseas, utilizing Dapei Katom “helps create and develop commerce on the ground” in Judea and Samaria.

Blum also notes that while the press may create the image that there is a large voice out there trying to marginalize products coming out of Judea and Samaria – she believes that the boycotters are actually a minority.

Ironically, she says that in some cases “many large companies with corporate headquarters in places like Tel Aviv, who want cheaper overhead, may open a factory in Judea/Samaria, so the boycotts aren’t harming the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, but rather corporate heads in Tel Aviv and the Arab laborers in Ramallah.”

Another new and unique initiative, which is in the developmental stages and slated to be up and running by 2014, is a “gift of the month program,” where people can purchase goods such as honey, perfumes, or clothing made by small businesses in Judea and Samaria and have them delivered to friends and family in the US.

Elie Pieprz, a new immigrant living in Gush Etzion, and creator of the soon-to-be-named project, is confident that those who want to make a difference in assisting small business owners in Judea and Samaria who are unjustly victimized will be highly responsive to this initiative.

Through these initiatives and others, it’s time to stand up and show support for the loyal, proud, army-serving residents of Judea and Samaria, who like Israelis in the rest of the country just want to be able to go to work every day to be able to put food on their table. So the next time you decide to buy blue and white, which you should, don’t forget to buy orange as well.

The writer is a media expert, freelance journalist, and host of Reality Bytes Radio, on www.israelnationalradio.com.

Loonwatch blog: Ha’ivri is a raicist

David Ha’ivri: Blatant Anti-Muslim/Anti-Arab Racism on YNetNews

Posted on 12 April 2012 by Emperor

David Haivri from youtube interview

 

Here are some of the most egregious quotes:

This conversation was a great help to me in understanding the Muslim Arab mindset and culture. Facts are not really so important to them. They can be made up or even changed as needed.

Muslim people celebrate detachment from reality as part of their worship:

Understand that we are dealing with people who celebrate being detached from reality as part of their worship of Allah.

And perhaps the most racist and ridiculous of them all:

It is unrealistic, in my opinion, to believe that we can turn the Arabs into a society that truly embraces western concepts and values – like facts and sticking to truth. It makes much more sense to understand that fantasy and stretching the truth are very deeply embedded in the mindset of the Muslim and Arab culture. I do not mean to say this as an insult, but to suggest that we accept it as a fact, take it as it is and move on.

Tile by tile, Palestinians build Israeli settlements

Rebecca Collard GlobalPost June 26, 2012

High unemployment, low wages and the loss of traditional agrarian livelihoods compel Palestinians to make a difficult choice.

NILI SETTLEMENT, West Bank — In the hilltop Israeli settlement of Nili, a 44-year-old Palestinian mounts electrical fixtures onto freshly painted walls.

He is putting the finishing touches on the office of a real estate firm that will sell new homes in this Jewish settlement in the heart of the Palestinian West Bank. More Palestinian workers frame new houses just down the hill.

Tile by tile, beam by beam, they are among tens of thousands of Palestinians laboring illegally to help Israeli settlers colonize the very land these workers hope will be part of their future sovereign state.

“We have no work. If there was another work, we wouldn’t come here,” says Ziad Abu Nar as he hangs the front door of the new office.

With their traditional farming economy disrupted by the Israeli occupation and the unemployment rate above 30 percent, West Bank Arabs like Abu Nar are left with increasingly limited options for supporting themselves. Although billions of dollars in international aid have helped turn the de facto Palestinian capital of Ramallah into a boomtown, the average West Bank resident hasn’t benefited.

“If I make 50 shekels a day, I cannot afford life.”

~Ziad Abu Nar

Abu Nar lives in the Arab village of Beit Ur al-Tahta, has three children and says work in the Arab villages is both scarce and poorly paid.

“If you want to buy anything — hummus, a sandwich — it is very expensive. If I make 50 shekels a day, I cannot afford life.”

While the wages are low, prices in the West Bank are not. A liter of milk costs 12 shekels ($3.15), electricity is substantially more expensive than in the US and fuel is nearly twice the price.

Settlement construction jobs pay substantially more than most of the other jobs available, said a 21-year-old named Issa who recently quit his job at a Palestinian food-packaging factory to work in the Nili settlement.

“It’s three times as much,” says Issa, cleaning the grout from between the recently laid floor tiles.

Unsettled

There are now nearly half a million Israeli settlers living in among 225 Israeli settlements and outposts in the West Bank, captured from Jordan by Israel in the Six-Day War of 1967. In 2011 alone, there were 1,850 new buildings started in the settlements.

Some Israelis come to the West Bank guided by the belief that God promised them land, but others move there for more earthly reasons: Cheap, suburban homes and discount living. Housing, taxes, buses and some goods are more affordable here than in urban centers like Tel Aviv.

These settlements occupy hilltops across West Bank, while in much of the territory Palestinians must ask Israeli authorities for permits to build their own homes.

Israel has relatively good legal protections for Israeli workers, but loopholes allow the exploitation of Palestinians in these settlements. Shawan Jabarin, director of Al Haq, a Palestinian rights organization, says Israeli settlers have often hired Palestinians using Jordanian labor law to avoid the worker protections offered under Israeli law — including minimum wage as well as health and employment benefits.

“These laborers have a big fear. They don’t want to speak about [abuses],” says Jabarin.

David Ha’Ivri, director of the Shomron Liaison Office, which advocates on behalf of Israeli settlers, says Palestinians do get the same rights as Israelis.

“All workers who work within Israeli communities are entitled to the same rights. Regardless of ethnicity,” says Ha’Ivri. He argues Israel is strict in enforcing labor law and that anyone suffering abuse should report it to the authorities.

The substantially higher wages offered by settlers, says Ha’Ivri, benefits Palestinian communities. “If the Israeli minimum wage is three times greater than the Palestinian, obviously it’s a benefit. It’s simple math,” says Ha’Ivri. “Which is why so many choose Israeli employers.”

While the Israeli courts have said settlers must respect rights of Palestinian workers, Eyal Hareuveni of the Israeli rights group B’Tselem, says, “there is nobody to enforce it … it has turned Palestinians into second-class citizens.”

More from GlobalPost: Worked Over: The Global Decline of Labor Rights

More than 100,000 Palestinians —including Abu Nar — once legally entered Israel proper for work. With the outbreak of the second Intifada, and frequent attacks and suicide bombings by extremists against Israel, Abu Nar and thousands of other Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza had their permits cancelled.

Now many are given permits to work in Jewish settlements but are not allowed to enter Israel.

Israel replaced most of these Palestinian laborers with foreign workers primarily from Thailand, the Philippines and the former Soviet Union. It seemed like a quick, efficient fix, but now Israel is struggling to deport thousands of these workers — who want to stay in Israel — unable to simply send them back across the Green Line each night.

A sheikh, settlers and MPs meet in Hebron Hills tent

By Tova Lazaroff Jerusalem Post

Sheikh Farid al-Jabari of Hebron grew up on stories of close ties between Arabs and Jews.

In keeping with that tradition, he hosted an unusual gathering of Palestinians, settlers and conservative European parliamentarians on Thursday afternoon in his large tent, set back from the road in the South Hebron Hills.

In the heat, flies buzzed over plates of grapes, peaches and plums laid out on silver trays on the red oriental carpets that adorned the tent’s floor.

“I come from a generation that lived with the Jews peacefully in a brotherly relationship,” Jabari, 64, said, as he looked out at his visitors.

He wore a white robe and a white keffiyeh. At times during the two-hour meeting, he held prayer beads in his hands as people spoke. At other moments, he smoked.

Among those who sat to his right were representatives of Hebron’s Jewish community – Noam Arnon and David Wilder. They sat, like all the guests, on red cushions set up on the floor.

To Jabari’s left were Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika and spokesman David Haivri. Austrian parliamentarian David Lasar and Belgian parliamentarian Filip Dewinter were also there. Shas MK Nissim Ze’ev was briefly present.

Mesika first meet Jabari in Brussels at a conference on the sidelines of the European Parliament about Middle East peace.

Mesika noted that it was symbolic to be part of a meeting in a tent with Jews, Muslims and Christians, in the same place where Abraham had lived.

“Only a wise leader like Sheikh Jabari could bring together the sons of our father Abraham,” he said.

But Arnon and Jabari have been meeting for close to four years. Arnon said that just before Rosh Hashana, Jabari had prevented Palestinians and anarchists from destroying the Hazon David synagogue, a small outpost on the edge of Hebron.

“A few later we visited him and gave him a certificate of merit,” Arnon said.

“Since then there have been warm ties between us and we meet regularly,” he said.

He has brought many other people to meet with him as well.

Arnon added that he views Jabari as a brave man and a friend.

Wilder, who also has recently started to visit Jabari, said he was surprised when Jabari called him right before Shavuot to wish him a happy holiday.

Arnon said that both he and Jabari oppose a Palestinian state.

Jabari is not a Zionist, said Arnon. He is advancing his own Muslim ideas. “But,” he added, “they come together in some ways with our ideas.”

Jabari recalled a meeting he held in his home in 2008 with Hebron settlers. “We spoke honestly.

We put everything on the table. What are our requirements and needs,” he said.

After that, he said, “people [Palestinians] turned against me.”

However, their resistance did not deter him.

“This is a small ball that keeps rolling,” he said. “I hope we made progress in changing the way of thinking for some people who did not have anything to do with the peace process.”

Jabari added: “The Israeli nation is ready for peace. The Palestinians want peace.

“I just hope that we can lift this occupation…We would like to feel our dignity and freedom.”

Jabari later explained to The Jerusalem Post that his vision for the future was not two states, but one democratic state for all of its citizens in which Jews and Palestinians lived as equals.

Although he has never been to the United States, he imagines a state like it in Israel and the Palestinian territories with a similar type of democracy.

“There won’t be two states,” he said, as he looked out at the surrounding hills through an open flap in the tent. It is not possible, because Islam does not allow its followers to relinquish land, he said.

“In our religion, Tel Aviv is like Hebron,” he said.

The land belongs to God and the entire Muslim world, he said.

“I cannot sign away something that is not mine,” he said. But he can live together with Jews in one state, in which Palestinian rights and Jewish rights are preserved.

He said that if in the US, the son of a student from Kenya can become president, then in this region Jews and Palestinians can live together as equals in one country.

“This will happen,” Jabari said.

Good Neighborliness: Jabari and Mesika Present an Alternative

A tour of the Samarian mountains led to an unusual conference at the European Parliament in Brussels. Sheikh Jabari of Hebron spoke of trust between himself and the Hebron settlers, and the Vice-Chair of the (European) Union related his positive impressions of coexistence in Barkan and at Ariel University. Not a word about occupation or apartheid.
by Asaf Gabor, Brussels
(Makor Rishon, “Yoman”, p. 20)
——-
The Bibi-Mofaz trick that produced a unity government instead of elections, again brought to the fore the issue of contacts with the Palestinians. PA head Abu Mazen sought to return to dialog, but conditioned it on stopping construction in the settlements, agreement to form a Palestinian state within the ’67 borders and release of prisoners. Attorney Yitzchak Molco, the Prime Minister’s emissary, sent a letter to the Palestinians making Netanyahu’s position clear, that he is willing to return to negotiations without preconditions. In the end, the usual political ping-pong ended with a promise to hand over 100 terrorist corpses to the Palestinian Authority as an Israeli gesture.
Jabari and Mesika Present an Alternative

Jabari and Mesika Present an Alternative

As if divorced from the political reality on the ground and from the cycle of negotiations sunk deep in the mire, the European Union this week decided to ratify Barack Obama’s two-state solution.

On Tuesday, a day after the Union’s decision, a historic visit by a remarkable delegation took place at the home base of the Union in Brussels. No, not another delegation of human rights or Israeli leftist organizations, together with members of the PLO Executive Committee or senior officials of the Palestinian Authority. This time, it was a unique group of people who daily live with the problems and challenges in the area.
The chairman of the Samaria Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, was an unusual character on the European Parliament scene, being the first settler to speak from the conference stage. Another figure attracting the eye of the Europeans was Sheikh Farid al-Jabari,”leader of the Palestinians in Hebron”, according to the description of him in the program. The conference, titled “Peace in the Middle East”, for the moment abandoned the terms “occupation”, “territories”, “illegal construction” and the rest of the terminology routinely bandied about in the European dialog on the Israeli-Palestinian dispute, and turned over the stage to the parties who live side-by-side.
The special get-together was directed by the Vice-Chair of the Foreign Affairs Ministry of the European Union, Fiorello Provera. He opened the conference with a purview of the chaos in Arab states after the revolutions, and the threat of extremist Islam prevailing in those countries – as well as in ever-expanding areas in European countries. “We see ourselves as fighters for human rights and democracy, and at the same time we in Europe are being threatened by extremist Islam”, said Franz Obermayr, a member of the European Parliament, before the conference. “Israel is in a reality of perpetual threat from the terror organizations, and this reality needs to be solved, but the solution of two states for two peoples is making headway everywhere, so we must try to find alternative ways.”
Small Steps on the Ground
At the dinner preceding the alternative summit conference, one could have the personality of Provera dominate, as an Italian from the province of Portalina. It was evident that he believes in people. His warm Italian temperament blended in with the Middle Eastern temperament, the Arabic on one hand and the Israeli on the other.
Later on, wearing a necktie, Provera explained on the speaker’s platform how he sees the conflict: “Contrary to the popular opinion that we hear all the time, the suffering of the Israelis and the Palestinians is not caused by arguments over land. The fact is that the steps Israel has taken, such as the Israeli withdrawals from Lebanon in 2000 and from the Gaza Strip in 2005, have not brought it any closer to peace or improved the lot of the Palestinians. The reality in the Middle East will not necessarily change with the help of territorial compromise, but with confidence building steps taken by people.”
Provera, who four months ago toured Samaria, underwent an “awareness revolution”, according to the definition by the Strategy Unit of the Samarian Regional Council. The Unit deals with public relations, spokesmanship, visits and tours in Samaria, and in the words of Unit head Yossi Dagan, “everything that is out of the box”. The Liaison Office, which operates under the auspices of the Strategy Unit, has maintained contacts for a year and a half with tens of European Unity Parliament members. Thirty of them, belonging to the conservative stream, came for a condensed visit. Twenty more, among them Provera, came for a private visit. “He’s a very busy man. In the original plan, he agreed to dedicate half an hour to a tour, no more”, says Dagan. “We decided to take him straight from the airport on a 20-minute trip to the observation point in the town of Tzofim in Samaria. From there, he could see the lights of the Samarian settlements on one side, and on the other side the lights of Tel Aviv and Ben-Gurion Airport. He was astounded, and he immediately called to cancel the meetings he had planned during the next two days. We took him on the routes that we take for senior media officials, leading opinion makers and foreign leaders. The reaction was the same. At first, people’s eyes are opened to a reality that they were not familiar with. Afterwards, their minds open up to different ideas, which become clear to them once they feel the reality on the ground.”
Jabari and Mesika Present an Alternative

Jabari and Mesika Present an Alternative

The visit to the European Parliament is in fact a reciprocal visit by the Samarians. That visit certainly left its mark, according to Provera’s words. The senior European parliamentarian went on with his speech, relating his experiences in Israel: “During my latest trip to Israel I visited extensive areas of Judea and Samaria, and also Ariel University, where I saw scenes that many of those who speak of a two-state solution don’t see. Jewish and Arab students studying side by side there, working on joint academic projects which in the end will improve their economic situation. At the Barkan Industrial Park I saw enterprises where Palestinians and settlers worked together in one factory. As opposed to that splendid reality, the head of the Palestinian Authority Abu Mazen is working with all of his might to prevent joing projects between settlers and their Arab neighbors. Ever since Sala’am Fayad’s call to boycott goods produced in the territories, many Palestinians who used to work in such places, have joined the ranks of the unemployed and sit at home doing nothing. In my opinion, small steps towards partnership such as these, lead to far more significant progress than speeches about far-reaching agreements.”

“The Oslo Agreements have failed”
Sheikh Farid al-Jabari, a man of action, not words, attacked the Oslo Agreements that in his view have failed the test of reality, taking their toll in blood from both sides and leading to a worse-than-ever state of affairs for the Palestinians. “To our dismay, for the last 20 years we have not succeeded in making peace, and the two peoples have paid a heavy price in blood and loss of life. The Oslo agreements have proven themselves to be agreements leading only to conflict. The fact is that every five years there has been either a war or an intifada. For 64 years we have tried all different ways to defeat each other in war, conflicts that led to loss of life and in failed talks, too. War will not lead to a solution, and neither will terror. We want peace with dignity”, said the Sheikh.
A few days before the Brussels summit, Jabari invited me to his tent in the Ziv desert and let me in on his preparations for the meeting. “The reality is that we live without basic medical services, money to feed our children, and most importantly – without dignity. The corrupt Palestinian Authority plays a significant part in this. The money sent by the European Union to the PA does not get to us. The only hospital in the Hebron area has  no basic equipment, such as ultra-sound.”
A few days later on the Brussels stage, the Sheikh announced unequivocally: “I deny the view that land justifies killing innocent people. We cannot negotiate about this land, because it does not belong to Arafat, to Abu Mazen or to me. This land is holy according to religious faith. Islam teaches us that you cannot cancel me out and I cannot cancel out your reality. If this is the reality imposed on us, then let’s learn how to live in real peace, not with the illusions that people coming from outside try to sell us, in the wake of the Oslo Agreements.
“Education of our children needs to be changed on both sides. We must build trust, not slogans. When you guard the honor of the other person, you are preserving your own honor. The Jews living in Hebron have been labeled with the stigma that they are the most extreme Jews in the State of Israel. In spite of that, we have proven that we can come to a mutual understanding, and today they say that if the Sheikh says something, we stand behind him. I respect their leadership’s word, too. When people want to live together, it’s possible to help one another. Problems can’t be solved by filling pockets with money and hoping the reality will change and that the “other” will just disappear from the scene. We are here together, let’s learn to get along together in one state.”
The words of the Sheikh and of Fiorello Provera stirred up the Parliament members. The conference, which at first went smoothly, took on an interesting and exciting nature, and the extraordinary words spoken caused those present to sit up straight in their cushy seats.
“Turn off the faucet”
Gershon Mesika opened by making it clear that just like the speakers from the Palestinian side, the settlers are also working against the security fence, which is hurting the settlement movement and is forcefully attempting to change the reality on the ground. He clarified before the attendees the strategic importance of Samaria from an Israeli viewpoint. “This is the cradle of the Jewish people’s homeland, a place of strategic importance to the State’s existence. Israel’s width from the sea to the river is only 70 kilometers. Of this, Samaria takes up 55 kilometers. Whoever visits Samaria – and some of the distinguished MKs were with us on tours of the area and can confirm my words – sees with his own eyes Samaria’s importance as the safety belt of the State of Israel. Those in Europe who are pushing the idea of forming a Palestinian state, are in fact sticking a knife in Israel’s heart and putting Israel in real existential danger. Just like what happened with the expulsion from Gush Katif, when we settlers leave, terror comes in to replace us.
“Israel is the only democratic country in the region, and it is essentially the dam that blocks the Islamic flood threatening Europe, too. Without settlement in Judea and Samaria, the existence of the State of Israel is not feasible.”
Mesika also asked the representatives of the European Union to turn off the faucet to the extreme Leftist organizations working against the settlement enterprise. “These are extremist organizations that have a minimal influence on the public, trying with all their might to incite the world against the State of Israel by means of false accusations against it. The funds that the European Union sends them for purposes of peace, in fact are used by them as weapons against the State of Israel. I don’t see the logic, in a difficult economic reality where some European countries are on the brink of collapse and their stronger cohorts are forced to part with considerable funds to rescue them, that specific bodies in Europe consider it right to spend billions of Euros on the activities of these organizations”, said Mesika.
The children of our father Abraham
During the coffee break, people walked all around us – the strange ones with kippas on their heads, people thirsty for information. The size of the population in Samaria, the height of the mountains, water problems in the Hebron area and the cooperation between the settlers and Sheikh Jabari – all of these topics replaced the usual dialog on the ’67 borders, apartheid and occupation.
“The reality you are experiencing today in your home country, already exists in specific areas by us, too”, says Carla, an intern in one of the European lobbies. “The policy of two states for two peoples is still the leading policy of the Union, but the internal Islamic problem is starting to cause young people to speak and to see the problem in a different way.”
Right before MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas), who was also present at the event, raised the painful issue of the Jewish refugees who escaped from Arab countries and left behind all their possessions, Gershon Mesika related in his speech the story of his two older brothers who perished in the Holocaust in Libya: “I, Gershon the son of Yosef and Gita Mesika, whose two older brothers Amos and Ya’akov were murdered by the cursed Nazis in the Jado concentration camp in Libya, stand before you and declare to the whole world that the Jewish People have a state of their own, and not only are we not selling it out, but we are buying it again and again with our blood and are paying for the right of our state to exist, to protect it and to settle it.”
Ze’ev spoke about the Arab Spring and the chaos prevailing in the Middle East, in the context of the Union’s position on the Israeli-Arab conflict. “The European Union needs to take their blindfolds off and look at the realities before them”, he told the MKs. “There is still education towards violence and terror. The leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, Ismail Haniya, announced that his organization has no intention of honoring any agreements signed with Abu Mazen. Therefore, the European Union should understand the complicated situation and not make the general-regional solution dependent on the solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Ze’ev emphasized that the Arabs in Israel today enjoy security and possibilities for development that don’t exist for them in other places, and certainly nowhere else in the Middle East. “We can’t ignore the fact that in Arab countries there is poverty, corruption and violence by the authorities. This is the main obstacle to the peace process, not the building of a balcony in Ramat Shlomo. The European Union must recognize the rights of the Jews to the Land of Israel as the children of father Avraham who was in Israel long before Islam.
“Just as it cannot be that an outside country decides that a specific region in Europe does not belong to Europe, it also cannot be that outside countries will decide that Judea and Samaria and parts of Jerusalem are outside the homeland of the Jews. They must encourage the Jews and the Palestinians to come to an agreement that will satisfy all the children who live in the region. Two million Arabs live safely within Israel. There is no reason that Jews cannot live on their land, in the cities mentioned in the Torah – Bethlehem, Jerusalem and Hebron.”
Sheikh A’ataf Krinoway of Rahat, spoke of the ability of the Beduins to serve as a bridge between Israel, Egypt and Jordan. “Peace is made with people, not with politicians. We ourselves need to work for the sake of peace”, said Krinway.
(photo captions)(p. 20) To live in peace, not in illusions that outsiders are trying to sell. Jabari.
 “Israel is a dam holding back the Islamic flood threatening Europe, too”. Mesika
(p. 22) “Reality will not change with territorial compromises, but with confidence-building measures between peoples.” Provera (center) and his guests.

Jodi Rudoren: Not counting ‘todahs,’ ‘shukrans’

Jerusalem Post

Jodi Rudoren knew her new post was a sensitive one, but she had no idea how closely her words would be watched, the incoming Jerusalem bureau chief for The New York Times said on Thursday.

“I was a little surprised. I was aware of the level of scrutiny surrounding this position and the level of intensity of the debate on the issues,” she told The Jerusalem Post by phone from New York. “Yesterday someone tweeted that the New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief shouldn’t tweet. I hope that’s not true.”

Rudoren, the Times’ education editor for the past year, has come under fire from pro-Israel activists for social media postings they describe as revealing an underlying bias against the Jewish state.

“There are people who are very upset about the tweets, and others have defended my right to talk to certain sources,” she said. “The notion that reaching out to Ali Abunimah is some big sin – I think people have moved on since then.”

Rudoren said she had heard of Abunimah and Philip Weiss – founders of the Electronic Intifada and Mondoweiss websites, respectively – before reaching out to them on Twitter, but was not aware of the specifics of their work.

“I knew some things about them, but not everything. I’ve reached out to many many people of different stripes,” she said.

“One of the people I followed before reaching out to Abunimah was David Ha’ivri,” she added, referring to the Israeli settler activist. “I don’t want to have people keeping score – I’m trying to find a balanced Twitter diet.”

Rudoren dismissed criticism that her repeated use of the Arabic “shukran” – instead of the Hebrew “todah” – to thank well-wishing Twitter followers was indicative of bias.

“It was certainly not some kind of purposeful thing. The New York Times announced my new job, people tweeted congratulations to me and I responded,” she said, adding that – as with her outreach to Abunimah – she had believed the postings were private messages not visible to the public.

“I was not counting my todahs and shukrans,” said Rudoren, who speaks functional Hebrew but not Arabic.

“The Arabic thing is the newest to me. I’m Jewish and have been in Jewish and Hebrew settings my whole life. That doesn’t say anything about my feelings on issues or biases.

“If anything it’s the opposite – it’s being aware that my background until now is in the todah variety and not the shukran, and this job is about looking at both. I’ve e-mailed Israelis with todah and lately have been using shukran.”

Rudoren, 41, grew up in Newton, Massachusetts, and spent summers at Camp Yavneh, a Jewish camp in New Hampshire.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in history from Yale University, she embarked on a journalism career that included stints as the Times’ deputy metro editor and Chicago bureau chief – a post she held for five years – before being appointed education reporter less than a year ago.

Much of her reporting was done under her maiden name, Jodi Wilgoren (Rudoren is an amalgam of that name and her husband’s – Ruderman). She and her husband live in Brooklyn with their two young children, and will arrive in Jerusalem in late April for a three-to-four-year stay.

On Thursday, the conservative website Washington Free Beacon asked Rudoren whether she describes herself as a Zionist.

In response, she tweeted, “What I told @freebeacon re whether I’m a Zionist was simple: the only ‘ist’ I use to describe self is ‘journalist.’” Speaking to the Post, the veteran journalist conceded she has little to no experience covering the Middle East: “I’ve never reported from the region. I’ve written plenty of stories about religion, particularly about Jewish and Muslims Americans. After 9/11 I wrote quite a bit about Muslims in Detroit. I’ve written various things about Jews in my career, but not about the conflict.”

Still, Rudoren insisted there should be no doubt she is qualified for her new position. “I’ve been a reporter since I was 13, and professionally for 20 years. I’ve covered politics, religion, immigration, breaking news,” she said. “I’ve done stories on more and less controversial subjects; I’ve been an editor for the last five years; I’ve run a small department and helped run a large department; I’ve been an innovator in Web and print – it’s a surprising question to me.”

“Are you asking if only people with a lot of expertise in the region should cover the Middle East? Some people have that opinion, but I don’t, and its not how the New York Times works. Broadly speaking it’s a paper that believes in generalism, and bringing in fresh eyes and insights,” she said.

She added that her predecessor Ethan Bronner “is not the same – it was his third tour as a Jerusalem correspondent – but the paper doesn’t always make its decisions the same way. Having a mix is a good thing.”

“Am I qualified? Absolutely,” she said. “I wasn’t even aware people were asking that question.”

US Congressmen Tour Heartland

By Gil Ronen Arutz 7 13 Nov. 2011

(R-TX-1st) with Gershon Mesika, the Director of the Samaria Regional Authority. (Photo: Heather Meyers)

(R-TX-1st) with Gershon Mesika, the Director of the Samaria Regional Authority. (Photo: Heather Meyers)

On November 9, five US Congressmen ventured into otherwise uncharted territory, at least by the standards of traditional diplomatic delegations to Israel. A strong affinity to Israel and genuine frustration with repeated fatal failures of “peace processes” drove these American leaders to take a fresh look at Israel’s heartland.

The tour is a manifestation of the “Judeo Christian” teamwork that has been growing deeper in recent years, as pioneering Jews in Judea and Samaria and Christian Zionist leaders in the US and elsewhere learn to trust each other. In the face of genocidal Muslim fanaticism, leaders of the nations that have the Bible in common are seeking common political ground as well.

The historic visit began with a bus tour led by Mayor Ron Nachman along the Trans-Samaria highway, where the delegates learned about Israel’s narrow waistline, security needs and strategic provisions. At the Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks Mayor Nachman discussed co-existence, the 4,000 Arabs employed at the factories and the indiscriminate boycotts imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and European Union on products from the factories. Mayor Nachman also showed the group the layout of the Ariel Bloc of communities, and the short distance from the Tel Aviv Coastal Plain.
The Congressmen learned about Judeo-Christian teamwork and at Israel’s primary outdoor training facility, the Ariel National Leadership Development Center. From there the group proceeded to the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts, where they enjoyed a private performance by Ariel’s young singers and internationally renowned dancers.

Before travelling north, the visit to Ariel culminated with the inaugural Samaria Summit luncheon, where municipal leaders, industrialists, business-people and professional athletes from across Samaria and the Jordan Valley gathered to discuss issues of relevance.
Lior Shachory, CEO of the Ariel based Incentive Technology Incubator presented some of the R&D at the award winning center, whereas Eldad Halachmi, VP at Ariel University Center, made reference to U.S. State Department boycotts of R&D funding for academic research due to Ariel’s location beyond the green line. The Samaria Summit was the first time that a Congressional delegation engaged face to face with the geo-political realities in one of the most media-covered regions in the world.

Rep. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th) addressed the Summit by stating his unwavering support for Israel’s peace and security. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5th) discussed Israel’s inherent value and the commitment of the Congressional Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus which he co-chairs. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), who is known for his instrumental role in arranging for Prime Minister to deliver his acclaimed speech to both houses of Congress in May, 2011, explained how Israel cannot sacrifice its own security by relinquishing land to those who are committed to its destruction. They were joined by Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-4th) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th), who shared the sentiments of their colleagues.
The travels through Samaria included a stop at Joseph’s Tomb Lookout Point, where David Ha’Ivri of the Samaria Regional Council Liaison Office explained the discrepancies between popular rhetoric concerning the status of Arabs living in Shechem and the PA’s insistence on preventing refugees under their jurisdiction from improving their quality of life.

Ha’Ivri introduced the delegates to Rav Eliezer Melamed, Rabbi of Har Beracha. The congressmen were pleasantly surprised to discover that Rav Melamed recently published an article which encourages Israelis to be welcoming rather than suspicious of Christians who choose to support Israel. The group then proceeded to the vineyards in the community of Har Beracha, where they met with the Director of the Samaria Regional Authority, Gershon Mesika. Tommy Waller and the Christian volunteers from across the US who accompany him in the fields of Samaria greeted the group with some of their original music.
Following a visit to the site of the Tabernacle in Shilo, the delegation had dinner at the Psagot Winery. Yesha Council Director Naftali Bennet challenged the Congressmen to change the anti-Israel rhetoric prevalent in the media by describing the realities that they encountered, and to help their colleagues and constituents understand that the Iranian nuclear program is not merely a threat to Israel but a threat to the free world.
The 2011 Congressional Initiative was arranged by Heather Johnston, who identified the need for America’s leading Congressmen to become familiar with Judea and Samaria and develop ties with Members of Knesset.

Photos by Heather Meyers.

Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman addresses group.

Ariel Mayor Ron Nachman addresses group.

Rep. Louie Gomert with Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and David Ha'ivri

Rep. Louie Gomert with Rabbi Eliezer Melamed and David Ha’ivri

 

Mondoweiss: Five Republican congressmen take Christian Zionist solidarity tour of settlements

Left to right, Avi Zimmeman – Ariel, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), Tony Perkins – President – Family Research Council, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA-4th), Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th), Rabbi Eliezer Melamed – Har Bracha, David Ha’ivri -Shomron Liaison, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th) (Photo: Heather Meyers)

Left to right, Avi Zimmeman – Ariel, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), Tony Perkins – President – Family Research Council, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA-4th), Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th), Rabbi Eliezer Melamed – Har Bracha, David Ha’ivri -Shomron Liaison, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th) (Photo: Heather Meyers)

From the Arutz Sheva article “Congressmen with ‘Judeo-Christian Spirit’ Tour Heartland“:

On November 9, five US Congressmen ventured into otherwise uncharted territory, at least by the standards of traditional diplomatic delegations to Israel. A strong affinity to Israel and genuine frustration with repeated fatal failures of “peace processes” drove these American leaders to take a fresh look at Israel’s heartland. . . .

(R-TX-1st) with Gershon Mesika, the Director of the Samaria Regional Authority. (Photo: Heather Meyers)

(R-TX-1st) with Gershon Mesika, the Director of the Samaria Regional Authority. (Photo: Heather Meyers)

The historic visit began with a bus tour led by Mayor Ron Nachman along the Trans-Samaria highway, where the delegates learned about Israel’s narrow waistline, security needs and strategic provisions. At the Ariel and Barkan Industrial Parks Mayor Nachman discussed co-existence, the 4,000 Arabs employed at the factories and the indiscriminate boycotts imposed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and European Union on products from the factories. Mayor Nachman also showed the group the layout of the Ariel Bloc of communities, and the short distance from the Tel Aviv Coastal Plain.

The Congressmen learned about Judeo-Christian teamwork and at Israel’s primary outdoor training facility, the Ariel National Leadership Development Center. From there the group proceeded to the Ariel Regional Center for the Performing Arts, where they enjoyed a private performance by Ariel’s young singers and internationally renowned dancers . . .

Rep. Randy Forbes (R -VA-4th) addressed the [inaugural Samaria] by stating his unwavering support for Israel’s peace and security. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO-5th) discussed Israel’s inherent value and the commitment of the Congressional Republican Israel Caucus and the Israel Allies Caucus which he co-chairs. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX-1st), who is known for his instrumental role in arranging for Prime Minister to deliver his acclaimed speech to both houses of Congress in May, 2011, explained how Israel cannot sacrifice its own security by relinquishing land to those who are committed to its destruction. They were joined by Congressman John Fleming (R-LA-4th) and Congressman Jim Jordan (R-OH-4th), who shared the sentiments of their colleagues.

 

The mission:

The tour is a manifestation of the “Judeo Christian” teamwork that has been growing deeper in recent years, as pioneering Jews in Judea and Samaria and Christian Zionist leaders in the US and elsewhere learn to trust each other. In the face of genocidal Muslim fanaticism, leaders of the nations that have the Bible in common are seeking common political ground as well.

The lobbyist:

The 2011 Congressional Initiative was arranged by Heather Johnston, who identified the need for America’s leading Congressmen to become familiar with Judea and Samaria and develop ties with Members of Knesset.

It looks like Johnston is here. She’s religious, and splits her time between northern California and Birmingham, Alabama.

Heather is the spiritual director of summer staff at JH Ranch and is responsible for JH Ranch curriculum development. She helps lead our tours to Israel and overseeing the JH Ranch partnership with the city of Ariel, Israel to develop a national youth leadership program.

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