David Ha'ivri Services

Stop BDS and Stop Destruction of Israel [audio]

Last week I had the privilege of hosting a Shomron Day Experience. We visited Mount Kabir towering over Elon Moreh and the Bibical city of Shechem and the Tirzah Valley through which the children of Israel entered the land 3500 years ago under the leadership of Joshua Bin Nun. Later we met with Avraham the Jewish Shepherd in the fields near Kfar Tapuach. I’ll be speaking about this and more on the show.

What can be done to stop the BDS and their effort to destroy Israel? On today’s show hear how Gedaliah Blum is helping thousands of small businesses in Judea and Samaria to be more effective and reach more markets in Israel and around the world.

Twitter: @No2BDS
Web: www.no2bds.org
Campaign: www.indiegogo.com/projects/no2bds-…ael/x/11467761#/

Last week we spoke with Eli Greenberg who’s home town Amona was demolished. He told how his family and all of his neighbors and now living in a school as the government is not keeping its part of the agreement the they had reached. Today we will be speaking with Aaron Lipkin about 9 more homes in the town of Ofra that have been targeted and destroyed in an ongoing effort to uproot the Jewish people from our Heartland.
Check out more information about Aaron at his site www.lipkintours.com/index.php?dir=s…03&langpage=eng

As always your comments and feedback are welcome

A Hebrew in the Heartland 01March2017 – PODCAST


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A Hebrew in the Heartland Feb. 8, 2017 – Amona Aftermath, Just Shut Up and Build Already

On today’s show our host David Ha’ivri will expose and confront #FakeNews that is working overtime to place a wedge between the newly elected Trump administration and Israel. Learn about how to identify #FakeNews and what their objectives are.

After Amona. Where are the displaced residents of a Jewish town in the Heartland that were thrown out of their homes by the Netanyahu-Bennet government.

Enough talk about building in Judea and Samaria. Just build already. David Ha’ivri will talk about talk and why building new homes in the Heartland is much more important than talking about it.

Be sure to share this show with your friends and send in your comments and feedback.

A Hebrew in the Heartland 08Feb2017 – PODCAST

Featured Hebrew in the Heartland for haivri.com Feb. 8, 2017

Featured Hebrew in the Heartland for haivri.com Jan. 25, 2017

A Hebrew in the Heartland – January 25, 2017 – Kenya, Jordan, and Video Activism

A Hebrew in the Heartland 25Jan2017 – PODCAST

On today’s show David Ha’ivri will be speaking Nejri Elizabeth about Israel Relations and building partnerships with Shomron. Nejri is a Kenyan Israel activist and author of “Israel and Kenya, 50 years and beyond“. Her book is available online on Amazon.

Guest Mudar Zahran will be speaking about the planned move for US embassy to Jerusalem.
Avi Abelow of http://www.israelvideonetwork.com will be speaking about video activism on Social Media and live-streaming from Israel. He will also share insight on the weekly Torah reading and its connection to current events and our expectations from newly elected US President Trump.

Featured Hebrew in the Heartland for haivri.com Jan. 25, 2017


The Mountains of Israel – a Taste of Heaven

Authors: Britt Lode and Rabbi Yitschak Naki

The Mountains of Israel – a Taste of Heaven

Price: $ 34.95 + shipping
Format: Hard Cover
ISBN 10: 8299898129
ISBN 13: 9788299898126
Number of Pages: 160
Year Published: 2015


The Mountains of Israel – a Taste of Heaven takes you on a unique and exciting journey through the mountains of Israel. Today these mountains are perhaps better known as the West Bank, and most people would associate them with decades-old conflict – but these mountains also have another story to tell. About 85 percent of the Bible refers to these mountains, or was written from them. In other words, this area is the Bible’s heartland! Complete with stunning photographs, scriptural quotations and short stories containing nuggets of Jewish wisdom, The Mountains of Israel will leave you with a “taste of heaven”!

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There is a famous story in Jewish tradition about two women who are fighting over a baby, each claiming that the baby belongs to her. They appear before King Solomon, whose wisdom was legendary, to have the king decide between them as to which woman was the real mother. King Solomon’s solution was to cut the baby in half, awarding half the child to each woman. At that point, the true mother stepped forward, heartbroken at the thought of taking a knife to the child, and begged the king not to harm her son. By this act, King Solomon recognized that this was the real mother, and he entrusted the infant back to his mother’s loving care.

This story comes to mind as I watch with outrage the current deliberations over the Land of Israel, as strong voices urge Israel to relinquish land that has borne the name and history of the Jewish people for four millennia

Perennial adversaries of the Jewish people, and even traditional allies, have all aligned themselves with the chopping block, ready to slice up the Jewish homeland. Every excuse is given; every threat of dire circumstances, that will be the result if Israel does not agree to cut out its own heart, is articulated.

All the while, self-professed “friends” of the Jewish people have the indecency to say that this is “for Israel’s own good.”

Hearing besieged Israelis and beleaguered Jews around the world being forced under this attack to defend the importance and centrality of different pieces of the Land of Israel is much like watching a person trying to explain why both his legs and his heart are indispensible.

Pieces of the Jewish homeland have become the fodder for international debate, the heart and limbs callously severed and bandied about by those who clearly do not understand the significance that Yehuda V’Shomron, Judea and Samaria, have for the Jewish people, the significance that the Jewish soul – which we call Jerusalem – has for the Jewish people. The deepest roots a Jew can have are found in these places.

There has been a continuous Jewish presence in the Land of Israel from ancient times until today, and this Jewish presence began in Judea and Samaria; this is the birthplace of the Jewish nation.

In the days of the Patriarchs, we read of our Biblical families in Shechem which is in Samaria. “Abram passed into the land as far as the site of Shechem, until the Plain of Moreh…G-d appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.’ ”(Genesis 12:6-7).

In the third generation, the Patriarch Jacob purchases land in Shechem, at the site where his son Joseph would ultimately be buried. “Jacob arrived…at the city of Shechem…He bought the parcel of land…for one hundred kesitahs.” (Genesis 33:18-19).

During the time of Joshua, the nation of Israel gathered at Shechem to renew their covenant with G-d. “Joshua assembled all the tribes of Israel at Shechem…Joshua made a covenant with the people that day…in Shechem.” (Joshua 24:1-25).

Shechem was the place where King Solomon’s son Rechoboam chose to be enthroned. ”Rechoboam went to Shechem, for all of Israel had come to Shechem to make him king (I Kings 12:1). With the subsequent division of the kingdom, Jeroboam established Shechem as his capital in the northern kingdom. “Jeroboam built (up) Shechem in the Mountain of Ephraim and dwelled in it…” (I Kings 12:25).

The roots of the Jewish people are found throughout Judea and Samaria, each city and holy site reflecting the history of the people of Israel in the land of Israel.

The Matriarch Rachel was buried in Bethlehem, a city in Judea. “Thus Rachel died and was buried on the road to Ephrat, which is Bethlehem. Jacob set up a monument over her grave; it is the monument of Rachel’s grave until this day.” (Genesis 35:19-20).

Centuries later, Boaz would meet Ruth in Bethlehem; she would later give birth to the line of the Davidic monarchy. King David was their great grandson. G-d instructed the prophet Samuel, “Fill your horn with oil and go forth – I shall send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have seen a king for Myself among his sons.”(I Samuel 16:1).

Jews have prayed in Bethlehem at the holy site of Kever Rachel, Rachel’s Tomb, through the centuries. Rachel is seen as a source of comfort and solace; shedding tears on behalf of her children: ”Rachel weeps for her children; she refuses to be consoled…”(Jeremiah 31:14).

In 1830 the Turks issued a royal decree recognizing Jewish rights at this Jewish holy site. The governor of Damascus instructed the Mufti of Jerusalem that “the tomb of esteemed Rachel…they (the Jews) are accustomed to visit it from ancient days; and no one is permitted to prevent them or oppose them (from doing) this.”

This decree was a necessary response to the harassment that Jews had endured in trying to visit Rachel’s Tomb. At times, they were physically attacked; they often had to pay extortion money to the local Arabs to ensure free passage and to protect the holy site from vandalism.

In 1841, Sir Moses Montefiore was granted permission to build a room onto Rachel’s Tomb; this was to protect both the grave and those visiting it.

Bethel, another city within these regions of Judea and Samaria, was called by the Patriarch Jacob “the gate of heaven.” It was here that Jacob dreamt of a ladder reaching to heaven. It was in Bethel that G-d gave Jacob a second name and made to Jacob the covenantal promise of the land of Israel and the people of Israel. “Then G-d said to him, ‘Your name shall not always be called Jacob, but Israel shall be your name…a nation…shall descend from you, and kings shall issue from your lions. The land that I gave to Abraham and to Isaac, I will give to you; and to your offspring after you, I will give the land.’” (Genesis 35:10-12).

During the time of the Judges, Deborah would sit pronouncing judgments near Bethel on Mount Ephraim.

After the Israelites re-entered the Land of Israel under the leadership of Joshua, they lived according to tribe. If anyone has ever ridden on a bus in Tel Aviv, the Dan bus line is a reminder that the tribe of Dan was situated in the area of modern-day Tel Aviv, along the coast of the Mediterranean.

The tribes of Israel lived throughout the land of Israel, and they lived on both sides of the Jordan River. On the eastern bank of the Jordan River lived the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasheh.

All of the tribes of Israel would gather in Shiloh located in Samaria. Shiloh was the city of Priests where the Mishkan (Tabernacle) was kept before it was brought to Jerusalem. Shiloh was the spiritual center of Israel for centuries. “The entire assembly of the Children of Israel gathered at Shiloh and erected the Tent of Meeting there…”(Joshua 18:1).

It was in Shiloh that Hannah prayed for a son and was answered, later giving birth to the prophet Samuel.


And then there is Hebron in Judea. It would be difficult to find another place with more Jewish history than that which we find in the city of Hebron. Hebron was the very first place acquired by the first Jew, the Patriarch Abraham. He purchased Ma’arat HaMachpela, the cave of Machpela, in order to bury his wife Sarah. “And Abraham weighed out to Ephron…400 silver shekels…And afterwards Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah facing Mamre, which is in Hebron…” (Genesis 23:16-19).

The Cave of Machpelah in Hebron is the burial place for all of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs except for Rachel.

Hebron was the first capital of the kingdom of David, where David ruled for seven and a half years before then establishing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Hebron was an important city for King Hezekiah, when the Assyrians were the world’s aggressors. Hebron was also a critical military area, both at the time of the Maccabees, and during the time of Bar Kochba.


David Ben-Gurion, the first prime minister of the modern State of Israel said, “Three cities hold a great and unique place in the ancient history of our people: Shechem, Hebron, and Jerusalem…Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem’s sister.”

In a complete affront to its millennia-long roots in Hebron, the Jewish community of Hebron was forcibly removed from there, after the massacre of 1929 and the subsequent Arab riots. In August of 1929, the Jews of Hebron, men, women, and children, were brutally massacred. The slaughter was bloody and frenzied; parents were murdered in front of their children; neither the old nor the young were spared. The Mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin al-Husseini had been inciting the Arabs, using the pretext that Muslim holy places were under attack. Then, employing another tactic that was used then as it is today, he challenged the Jewish connection to the Kotel, the Western Wall that sits adjacent to the holy Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism.

Despite the fact that The Supreme Muslim Council itself issued a guide to the Temple Mount in 1925 which clearly states, “Its identity with the site of Solomon’s Temple is beyond dispute,” there has been an ongoing attempt to obscure and deny the Jewish connection to Jerusalem. We are still seeing this ploy today, as those who want to destroy all evidence of Israel’s connection to the land bulldoze the archaeological remains of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem, this most sacred Jewish site.  These uprooted and destroyed pieces of history are regularly discarded into the valley next to the sacred Temple Mount, from which dedicated groups and individuals work to salvage these desecrated remains.

What was the British response to the horrific massacre of 1929, as well as, to the subsequent Arab riots of 1936-39, the British, who, at the unanimous direction of the League of Nations, were tasked at that time with reconstituting the Jewish people in their historic homeland? The British reaction was not to defend the remaining Jews. Their reaction was not to affirm the ancient, historical connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel, the connection which was recognized and ratified by all the nations of the world only a few years earlier in the Mandate that the League of Nations had entrusted to Great Britain to facilitate. On the contrary, the British response was to evacuate this ancient Jewish community and tear the Jews from their roots because England refused to stand up for the truth and confront the Arab aggression.

We see this same rejection and subversion of Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria today. In fact, despite the Jewish roots that go back to the very beginning of Jewish history, these are the regions that are consistently put on the chopping block in any current discussion about Israel.

Furthermore, those Jews who live in Judea and Samaria, who simply refuse to abandon the Jewish home, history, and heritage, are regularly vilified and are the victims of verbal, economic, and even mortal assaults.

Talia and Yitzchak Ames, Avishai Schindler, and Kochava Even-Haim were massacred by Arab terrorists near Hebron in 2010. Talia and Yitchak’s six children were left as orphans, as their pregnant mother and their father were murdered for the “crime” of being Jews. These Jews were vilified for refusing to leave their home and for wanting to live near the ancient Jewish city of Hebron where a Jew purchased property nearly 4000 years ago. Avishai Schindler was a yeshiva student who had just been married. Kochava Even-Haim was a teacher who left behind an eight-year-old daughter.

We see violence perpetrated against the Jews of Samaria, as well. When Jews want to visit Joseph’s Tomb in the city of Shechem, they go under the cover of night and watchful eyes of the Israel Defense Forces, since attacks on Jews visiting the site are common.

Joseph’s bones, which the Children of Israel had brought up from Egypt, they buried in Shechem, in the portion of the field that Jacob acquired…for a hundred kesitahs; and it became a heritage for the children of Joseph.”(Joshua 24:32).

After all of the assurances that the Arab authorities supervising the area would respect this holy site, in October of 2000, the tomb of Joseph was, nonetheless, desecrated, along with the Yeshiva Od Yosef Chai, the Jewish house of study, which stood next to the tomb. The holy site was ransacked and burned. Rabbi Hillel Lieberman, one of the founders of the Yeshiva, was slain as he attempted to save the sacred site and its holy items from destruction.

In 2011, 24-year-old father of four Ben Yoseph Livnat was shot and killed as he and other Breslav Hasidim attempted to visit the tomb.

Joseph’s Tomb in Shechem has been subjected to unceasing acts of vandalism, desecration, and arson. Jews trying to visit and pray at this sacred place are repeatedly met with violence.

In Samaria, near the city of Shechem, the towns of Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Yitzhar, and Itamar were founded. These modern communities are nestled in the hill country, with Mount Gerizim and Mount Ebal towering above, “And all Israel and its elders and officers and its judges stood on this side and that of the Ark opposite the Kohanim, the Levites, bearers of the Ark of the Covenant…half of them on the slope of Mount Gerizim and half of them on the slope of Mount Ebal.”(Joshua 8:33).

The town of Itamar was named for Itamar HaKohen (Priest), son of Aaron the Priest. “The labor of the Levites was under the authority of Itamar, son of Aaron the Kohen.” (Exodus 38:21).

In March of 2011, on a Sabbath evening, Udi Fogel, 36, his wife Ruth, 35, and three of their children, Yoav, 11, Eldad, 4, and Hadas, 3 months, were brutally murdered in their home in Itamar by Arab terrorists from a neighboring town.

They were killed for the “crime” of being Jews who would not leave their home, Jews who wanted to live in the birthplace of the Jewish people.

The rejection and subversion of Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria, and the violence perpetrated against the Jews in these regions, are unrelenting.

The ongoing attempt to obscure the Jewish Biblical, spiritual, historical, and legal rights to Judea and Samaria is extended further by the deceitful claim that Jews are “occupiers” in this land. Given the fact that the Land of Israel was never the sovereign country of any nation but the Jewish one, Jews cannot be deemed “occupiers” in their own land, a fact affirmed by international law.


The historical and religious rights of the Jewish people to the land of Israel were affirmed and codified in international law at the San Remo Conference of 1920, a meeting of the Principal Allied Powers of WWI to determine the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire. At this conference, where international agreement was also reached regarding the establishment of other countries in the region, such as Syria, and Iraq, a binding agreement was reached between these world powers “to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders.”

Recognizing the ancient and continuous, historical and spiritual connection between the nation of Israel and the land of Israel, the San Remo Resolution specifically included this spiritual heartland of Samaria and Judea as part of the area designated for reestablishing the Jewish National Homeland, along with all the land that is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, all the land that currently comprises the country of Jordan, as well as, the Golan Heights and Gaza.


This mandate, which was then ratified by a unanimous vote of The League of Nations, affirmed the Jewish right to settle anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which is where these regions of Samaria and Judea are found. This right is enshrined to this day in international law.

The San Remo Conference, along with various treaties following World War I, succeeded in establishing independent countries sought by the Arab nationalists; Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan were all established out of what had been provinces of the Ottoman Empire.

Yet, when it came to similarly recognizing the rights of the Jewish nation to the Jewish homeland, there were those who consistently sought to prevent Jewish self-determination and sovereignty in the Jewish homeland of Israel. This was despite the fact that the world clearly recognized, by international law and treaty, the right of the Jewish nation to reestablish the Jewish National Homeland.

We continue to see this same rejection of Jewish rights to the land of Israel today. We continue to hear the persistent demand that Jews give up their homeland. And we hear the unremitting vilification of those Jews who are unwilling to do so.

Names: The Fight for History by Yonina Pritzker

My Russian History professor in college shared the following joke:
A survey was being conducted, and a man was asked the following questions:
First question: Where were you born?
Answer: St. Petersburg.
Second Question: Where did you go to school?
Answer: Petrograd.
Third Question: Where do you live now?
Answer: Leningrad.
Final Question: Where would you like to live?
Answer: St. Petersburg.
The joke, of course, is that these are all names of the same city at different points in time. Each name reflected the new sensibility, the new reality that was being imposed on the city at various junctures. While physically in the same location, nonetheless, the man does not want to live in Petrograd or Leningrad; he wants to live in the city as it was characterized by the name St. Petersburg.
In 1991(well after my professor told us this joke), the name of the city did, in fact, become St. Petersburg once again. This decision was predicated on lengthy, emotional discussions among the city’s residents who were cognizant of the fact that the name chosen would both highlight certain aspects of the city’s history, and would shape the feeling, focus, and identity of the city going forward.
Language shapes reality. Names and labels have a tremendous influence on outcome.
In school – teachers are instructed to “describe the behavior, not the child.” We learn to separate the student from the unwanted behavior, and take great pains not to negatively label a student, since psychology teaches us that students often live up to -or down to, in this case- the labels we give them.
In linguistics we learn that the existence of open-ended language allowed for human progress because people were able to say things that had never been said before, and in doing so, were then able to move forward toward and create that new reality, solve that new problem, discover a new cure, invent that new technology.
We see the same careful attention to language in the law. When a legal document is drafted, the language is chosen with great specificity, as all the parties know that these words will determine the terms and obligations by which all will need to abide.
In a business setting, companies will offer sensitivity training, teaching workers to give great consideration to what they say and how they say it so as not offend anyone, and so as to ensure that nothing will be misconstrued.
In our social, community interactions, there is a demand for certain terminology that promotes specific values, such as the push to adopt gender-neutral language, for one example.
There has been a recent, national controversy over the name of the football team from Washington D.C., the “Redskins.” People have argued that this name, which has been in use since 1933, should now be changed. Proponents of the change say that this name is offensive and derogatory.
And many a celebrity on their Twitter accounts have had to issue apologies for remarks or labels they used that were in any way construed as being racist.
This joke, then, that my professor shared years ago, is essentially intuitive to us today, given our heightened sensitivity to language. We well recognize that labels and words are essential in shaping our environment. Words matter; they are critical in both dismantling old attitudes and bringing forth new realities.
So why is it that the same people who would demand an accurate legal contract, a gender-neutral news article, a validating, tolerant social vocabulary, and egalitarian workplace terminology, why is it that when it comes to the Land of Israel, there is a complete dismissal, and even suppression, of the accurate language and historical record?
There are terms that are misused on a daily basis regarding the State of Israel, and yet, anyone who tries to raise the issue and restore the accurate history and terminology is immediately painted as extreme, as too sensitive, as a fanatic.
Among the most egregious misuses of language regarding Israel is seen in the attempted renaming of many places in Israel, cities and regions, including the Jewish spiritual heartland of Samaria and Judea.
In the Land of Israel, the regions of Samaria and Judea represent the spiritual center of Jewish history.
This is the area where the Jewish people always lived, where the history of the Jewish nation took place, and where the prophets of Israel delivered their message.

In these regions, we find Hebron which was the first capital of Israel, burial place of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of Israel. Here we also find Bethlehem, the city where the Matriarch Rachel is buried, where Ruth gave birth to the line of the Davidic monarchy. Shechem was the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. It is the city where Joseph is buried. Shiloh, the city of Priests, housed the holy Tabernacle before it was brought to Jerusalem. We read of Joshua in Jericho, Amos in Tekoa, Jeremiah in Anatot, and Jacob in Beit El. These regions of Shomron (Samaria) and Yehuda (Judea) constitute the Jewish spiritual heartland which is steeped in Jewish history dating back to Biblical times.

In a complete affront to Jewish rights and Jewish history, the Arab armies of Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan (as Jordan was initially called), Syria, and Iraq attacked Israel after Israel declared her independence in 1948. Jordan then occupied Judea and Samaria, expelled all of the Jewish communities of these regions, barred any further Jewish access to these areas and holy sites, and attempted at that time to rename the region the “West Bank.”
This generic, geographic label conveniently obscures all of the Jewish history that took place there: It is much more difficult to try to claim that Judea does not belong to the Jews, than it is to claim that a parcel of land with a vapid, geographic name does not.
The duplicity in this attempt to erase the history of, and Jewish connection to, Judea and Samaria was then extended further by the deceitful claim that Jews are “occupiers” in this land.
“Occupation” refers to the holding and control of an area by a foreign force. Given the fact that the Land of Israel was never the sovereign country of any nation but the Jewish one, Jews cannot be deemed “occupiers” in their own land, a fact affirmed by international law.
The historical and religious rights of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel were affirmed and codified in international law at the San Remo Conference of 1920, a meeting of the Allied Powers of WWI, to decide the future of the former territories of the Ottoman Empire. At this conference, where international agreement was also reached regarding the establishment of other countries in the region, such as Syria, and Iraq, a binding agreement was enacted between these world powers “to reconstitute the ancient Jewish State within its historic borders.”
Recognizing the ancient and continuous historical and spiritual connection between the nation of Israel and the Land of Israel, the San Remo Resolution included the regions of Samaria and Judea as part of the area designated for reestablishing the Jewish National Homeland, along with all the land that is between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, all the land that currently comprises the country of Jordan, as well as, the Golan Heights and Gaza.
This mandate, which was then ratified by a unanimous vote of The League of Nations, affirmed the Jewish right to settle anywhere between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, which is where these regions of Samaria and Judea are found. This right is enshrined to this day in international law.

Arab national entities were designated for other areas of the former Ottoman Empire. The San Remo Conference, along with various treaties following World War I, succeeded in establishing independent countries sought by the Arab nationalists; Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan were all established out of what had been provinces of the Ottoman Empire.
Yet, when it came to similarly recognizing the rights of the Jewish nation to the Jewish homeland, there were those who consistently sought to prevent Jewish self-determination and sovereignty in the Jewish ancestral homeland of Israel. This was despite the fact that the world clearly recognized, by international law and treaty, the right of the Jewish nation to reestablish the Jewish National Homeland.
This is the same rejection and subversion of Jewish rights to the Land of Israel that we are seeing today.
The attempts to rewrite – and rename – history and, thereby, deny the Jewish connection to the Land of Israel, are reflected, as well, in the fraudulent language regarding the holy city of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, the city which holds the very soul of the Jewish people, has always been central in Jewish life.
On Passover Jews say L’shana ha’bah b’Yerushalayim, “Next year in Jerusalem.”  On Tisha B’Av each year, Jews sit in mourning and weep lamentations over the destruction of the holy city and Temple.  When building a home, Jews leave an unfinished corner to remember the destruction of Jerusalem, and at every Jewish wedding, the groom breaks the glass, showing that he places Jerusalem above his highest joy.  The ancient sages taught that ten measures of beauty were given to the world; of these, Jerusalem was given nine.
Jerusalem has been the capital of Israel for over three thousand years, and
The Temple Mount, the site of Solomon’s Temple remains Judaism’s most sacred site. Unto this day, every Jew turns towards the Temple Mount to pray.
During the nineteen years of Jordan’s illegal occupation of Judea and Samaria, beginning with the 1948 War of Independence, the city of Jerusalem was divided in two for the first time in history. The Jews who had been living as a majority in Jerusalem since the middle of the previous century were expelled by the Jordanians and barred from those areas that were within the walls of the Old City, where the holiest Jewish sites are found.
In 1967, besieged by hostile Arab armies, Israel liberated and recovered the regions of Samaria and Judea and reunited the city of Jerusalem.
Today, however, references are often made to an “East” Jerusalem in an attempt to perpetuate the myth that there are two distinct parts to the city. And the duplicitous corollary, once again, is that Jews are “occupiers” in “East” Jerusalem; this, despite the fact that Judaism’s holiest sites are found in precisely that area.
In the United Kingdom, an agency that monitors the accuracy of advertisements upheld a complaint about an ad for trips to Israel.  The ad displayed the various places that could be seen on a brief visit to Israel. This agency rejected the ad for use within the United Kingdom, saying that it was misleading because it showed a picture of the Western Wall, the Jewish holy site that sits adjacent to the Temple Mount.  According to this agency, it is debatable as to whether the Western Wall, (the Kotel), is in Israel, debatable as to whether the holiest place in the world to Jews, belongs to Israel, as this is part of the area that many regularly try to label as “occupied;” this is the precise area from which many are again trying to ban Jews.
Changing the name of Jerusalem to “East Jerusalem” is a ploy often used by those who want to erase history and wrest the Jewish homeland away from the Jewish people.
It is outrageous to rename the Jewish homeland, obscure its history, and then accuse Jews of being occupiers there. But that is precisely what is happening today. And the international community, whether through lack of information or lack of good will, is allowing, and at times aiding with, this ongoing injustice.
If something so clear, so straightforward, so indisputable as the Jewish connection to Samaria and Judea, if something as unmistakable and irrefutable as the Jewish connection to Jerusalem can be so rewritten, so misrepresented, and Biblical, spiritual, historical, and legal rights so resoundingly dismissed, if those around the world can literally invert history and accuse Jews of being occupiers in the very cradle of Jewish history and civilization, then the level of deceit knows no bounds, and the absolute necessity to stand up and fight against this attempt to subvert the truth and rob Jews of their history, heritage, and homeland has never been more clear.
The ancient Sages who devised the Passover Seder were wise. Citing the Torah, they emphasized “v’higadita l’vincha bayom hahu leimor” “And you shall tell it to your children on that day, saying…” (Exodus 13:8)  The message is clear: we must keep telling and retelling our history, so that the truth is honored and not obliterated.
The fight for language is the fight for history. It is one in the same.

Are Christian Zionists a Threat to Israel?

Doesn’t it sound a little silly, not to mention paranoid, when we kvetch all day about the world being against us, and then when we discover people who actually like us, we work overtime to convince ourselves that they must really be out to get us and are covering it up with a smile?

I am very clear on my stand: I do not, have not and will not work with any group that has a missionary agenda targeting Jews. I will be happy to cooperate with friends of Israel, regardless of their theology, be they Muslim, Christian, Druze, Buddhist or whatever. The fact that there are some Christians who would like to convert Jews does not at all prove that all Christians embrace that agenda. There are about 5000 different schools of thought that all come under the “Christian” banner, and some of those totally appreciate the Jewish people’s unchanged “chosen” status and our Torah mission. There are probably others who believe that Jews must fulfill the rebuilding of the State and Temple to promote their own Messianic visions. That doesn’t worry or even interest me.

Some who claim the position of “anti-missionary activists” are not objective and manipulate information in an attempt to prove that any Christian who smiles at a Jew is doing so in order to convert them. I do not appreciate the harassment and bullying tactics they frequently resort to, but I am not afraid of them, either. I read and consider articles attacking Glenn Beck as a missionary. I’m sorry to say that they commonly show a very shallow understanding of the topic they are writing about. Beck, Waller, Gohmert and even Hagee are not missionaries. If they were, they would be really lousy ones, considering the fact that with all of the effort they have put into helping Israel, they have failed to make any Jewish converts at all.

If you believe sitting at home and reading Tehillim is all a Jew needs to do to deal with international pressures on Israel, then I wish you luck. But, if you think that we should actually try to build alliances with others outside the Jewish people, then I have news for you: people who are not Jewish have their own theological beliefs (that should be obvious – if they are not Jewish, then they are something else). If they appreciate the Jewish people and understand that helping Israel is beneficial to both sides, then there is nothing wrong with interacting with them. Of course, the Halacha and common sense guide us on ways to do so without compromising our Jewish identity and national respect.

With all of that said, and with no intention to insult our friends, we really should not have such an inferiority complex. If our own religion is the real thing, and so naturally superior to theirs, do you really think that some guy is going to say “the J word” and Jews are going to be so impressed by that as to question our own faith? Nu, b’emet. [Common, really.]

On one hand, if you come by a group that is offering a service – like a club with attractive facilities – but they are also offering classes in Christian faith for Jews, it is obviously a front, and they are probably taking advantage of you and trying to attract other Jews to their classes. But on the other hand, if a Christian offers you money to buy needed equipment and help produce books and discs, or for Jewish development of the land of Israel and asks for no involvement in your content whatsoever, only asking that you bless them by continuing your work, then they are helping you spread your message. In the second case, I would not even sweat worrying that they might come back some day and ask for something else – because even if they do, you can say “no” (and there is a good chance that they will not, because they are genuine lovers of Israel with no other agenda). Yes, we should always be careful with whom we do business, but I don’t have to tell you that there are other Jews who can lead you astray into dangerous avenues, as well.

No, not all gestures of friendship by Christians hide an intention to missionize us. I do not accept that as a given. I am not talking about a relationship in which one side is manipulating the other. Neither am I saying that I think I can trick them into helping us without allowing them the prize of converting us. I would not cooperate with Christians who wish to convert us any more than I would cooperate with Muslims who wish to slaughter us. I will gladly work with goyim who appreciate the Jewish people for who we are and wish only for us to become the best Jews we can be.

Believe it or not, there are goyim who believe in the words of the Bible – and they trust that G-d did choose the Jewish people for a special mission – to be a light unto the nations. They actually look to us for direction. But living in fear and exile for hundreds of years has corrupted us. Now that we have returned to our land and the nations are witnessing the fulfillment of prophecies and look to us as teachers, we go running for cover, fearing they mean us harm. We must seize our opportunities as they arise, stand proudly and teach the nations the truth of the Torah. We possess G-d-given greatness and blessing; we need not fear; G-d is on our side.




“We have neither taken foreign land nor seized foreigners’ property,
we only took the inheritance of our fathers, which had been unjustly
taken by our enemies. Now that we have the opportunity, we are
firmly holding onto the inheritance of our fathers.”

– Shimon Hatarsi, Judean King and High Priest. ca. 100 BC


“The Jewish nation has none to take its part, as it lives under
exceptional laws which are necessarily grave and severe,
because they inculcate the highest standard of virtue.”

– Philo of Alexandria, Hellenistic Jewish philosopher. 20 BC – 50 AD


“As for us Jews, we ascribe no honor or power to asses, as do the
Egyptians to crocodiles and asps, when they esteem such as are
seized upon by the former, or bitten by the latter, to be happy
persons, and persons worthy of God.”

– Yosef ben Matityahu, Romano-Jewish historian. 37 – ca. 100 AD


“Israel may be considered as contributing the element of form to
the world’s otherwise chaotic and undisciplined character. And if
Israel should, God forbid, perish, the whole world would fail.”
– Rabbi Judah Löw ben Bezalel, German-Jewish scholar and philosopher. 1520 – 1609 AD


“It is certain that in certain parts of the world we can see a peculiar people, separated from the
other peoples of the world and this is called the Jewish people… This people is not only of remarkable
antiquity but has also lasted for a singular long time… For where as the people of Greece and Italy, of
Sparta, Athens and Rome and others who came so much later have perished so long ago, these still
exist, despite the efforts of so many powerful kings who have tried a hundred times to wipe them
out, as their historians testify, and as can easily be judged by the natural order of things over such
a long spell of years. They have always been preserved, however, and their preservation was
foretold… My encounter with this people amazes me…”

– Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist and philosopher. 1623 – 1662 AD


“Nowhere could poverty be more bearable than in the Hebrew State, where
loving kindness towards one’s neighbour, i.e. your fellow citizen, had to be
practised with the utmost piety, so that God their King would look with favour
on them. So things could go well with the Hebrew citizens in their own country,
and only there: outside it ·they could expect· only loss and shame.”

– Baruch Spinoza, Dutch-Jewish philosopher. 1632 – 1699 AD


“The soil of Palestine still enjoys her sabbaths, and only waits for the return of her
banished children, and the application of industry, commensurate with her agricultural
capabilities, to burst once more into universal luxuriance, and be all that she ever was
in the days of Solomon.”

– John Lindsay, 20th Earl of Crawford, Scottish peer and colonel. 1702 – 1747 AD


“It pleased God to make one nation the medium of all His communications with mankind: This the nation of the Jews
has done to a considerable degree in all ages. As civilization extended, they by one means or another became most
wonderfully dispersed through all countries; and at this day they are almost literally everywhere, the most conspicuous,
and in the eye of reason and religion, the most respectable nation on the face of the earth.”

– Joseph Priestley, English theologian and political theorist. 1733 – 1804 AD


Intelligence Minister Steinitz has been quoted by news sources as saying that “if the trickle of rockets from Gaza continues, we’ll have no choice but to enter and eliminate the Hamas rule, allowing the Palestinian Authority (PA) to rule Gaza again”. His comments came following another rocket attack on Friday night emanating from Gaza and directed towards Eilat.

The question of whether or not Israel should attack Hamas, invade Gaza, or carry out an operation to replace the rule of the Gaza strip with the PA is flawed. If Israel intended to fulfill any of these objectives it should have done so already. As always timing of military actions is of the utmost important.

Some of the likely results from attacking Gaza at this point in the game should be clear.

1) Israel carries out a largescale operation against Hamas and other Gaza based terrorists: Such an operation will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the so called ‘peace process’. Abbas may be backed into a corner of pulling out of the talks when civilians are consequently caught in the crossfire.

2) Israel carried out a largescale operation to the point where Hamas is totally dismantled and other terror groups suffer significant losses: Such an eventuation would only take place with much loss of life on both sides. The duration from start to finish would be relatively long when compared to other operations that have only sought to deter Hamas.

Perhaps the most significant result would be increased US, EU, and world pressure for Israel to sign a ‘peace agreement’ with the PA since the latter would now be in control of all the territory it claims to desire and represent.

Regardless of what Israel chooses to do it will make their political positions more difficult to maintain. They will be unable to remain committed to the ‘peace process’ if they take the first option, and they will suffer from increased pressure and leverage if they elect to go with the second option.

Despite the downfalls of either of the two options, and the unacceptability of having rockets fired at its civilian populations, one has to wonder on what basis Steinitz has made such a bold declaration. If the trickle of rocket fire by non-Hamas affiliated groups is enough to warrant such comments and intentions then surely the same should and must be said of Judea and Samaria (the “West Bank”). The number of casualties—whether injury or death—is far greater from terrorists based from these areas. They two are mostly unaffiliated with the PA, although many are affiliated with Fatah: the party that PA leader Mahmoud Abbas still heads.

If threat of injury from terrorists warrants a widescale operation to remove the governing body who Israel views as responsible for the area from which the terrorism emanates, then Judea and Samaria should be scaled well above Gaza on any ‘List of Priorities’.

Some would say that such a suggestion threatens the ‘peace process’. They would be correct. However it would only threaten the ‘peace process’ as much as Steinitz’s Gaza operation plan and with arguably more security and political benefit.

Originally posted on Times of Israel blogs

Confusing The World With the Facts on “Palestine” by Eli Hertz

The Arabs invented a special national entity in the 1960s called the Palestinians, specifically for political gain. They brand Israelis as invaders and claim the geographic area called Palestine belongs exclusively to the Arabs.

The word Palestine is not even Arabic. It is a word coined by the Romans around 135 CE from the name of a seagoing Aegean people who settled on the coast of Canaan in antiquity – the Philistines. The name was chosen to replace Judea, as a sign that Jewish sovereignty had been eradicated following the Jewish revolts against Rome at that time.

In the course of time, the Latin name Philistia was further bastardized into Palistina or Palestine. During the next 2,000 years, What had been renamed Palestine was never an independent state belonging to any people, nor did a Palestinian people, distinct from other Arabs, appear during 1,300 years of Muslim hegemony in Palestine under Arab and Ottoman rule.

Palestine was and is solely a geographic name. Therefore, it is not surprising that in modern times the name ‘Palestine’ or ‘Palestinian’ was applied as an adjective to all inhabitants of the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River – Palestine Jews and Palestine Arabs alike. In fact, until the 1960s, most Arabs in Palestine preferred to identify themselves merely as part of the great Arab nation or citizens of “southern Syria.”

The term ‘Palestinian’ as a noun was usurped and co-opted by the Arabs in the 1960s as a tactic initiated by Yasser Arafat to brand Jews as intruders on someone else’s turf. He mendaciously presented Arab residents of Israel and the “Territories” as indigenous inhabitants since time immemorial. This fabrication of peoplehood allowed Palestinian Arabs to gain parity with the Jewish people as a nation deserving of an independent state.

Historically, Before the Arabs Fabricated the Palestinian People as an Exclusively Arab Phenomenon, No Such Group Existed

Countless official British Mandate-vintage documents speak of ‘the Jews’ and ‘the Arabs’ of Palestine – not ‘Jews and Palestinians.’

Ironically, before local Jews began calling themselves Israelis in 1948 (the name ‘Israel’ was chosen for the newly-established Jewish state), the term ‘Palestine’ applied almost exclusively to Jews and the institutions founded by new Jewish immigrants in the first half of the 20th century, before independence.

Some examples include*:

• The Jerusalem Post, founded in 1932, was called the Palestine Post until 1948.

• Bank Leumi L’Israel was called the “Anglo-Palestine Bank, a Jewish Company.”

• The Jewish Agency – an arm of the Zionist movement engaged in Jewish settlement since 1929 – was called the Jewish Agency for Palestine.

• The house organ of American Zionism in the 1930s was called New Palestine.

• Today’s Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, founded in 1936 by German Jewish refugees who fled Nazi Germany, was called the “Palestine Symphony Orchestra, composed of some 70 Palestinian Jews.”

• The United Jewish Appeal (UJA) was established in 1939 as a merger of the United Palestine Appeal and the fundraising arm of the Joint Distribution Committee.

Encouraged by their success at historical revisionism and brainwashing the world with the ‘Big Lie’ of a Palestinian people, Palestinian Arabs have more recently begun to claim they are the descendants of the Philistines and even the Stone Age Canaanites.

Based on that myth, they can claim to have been ‘victimized’ twice by the Jews: In the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites and by the Israelis in modern times – a total fabrication.

Archaeologists explain that the Philistines were a Mediterranean people who settled along the coast of Canaan in 1100 BCE. They have no connection to the Arab nation, a desert people who emerged from the Arabian Peninsula.

Contradictions abound, Palestinian leaders claim to be descended from the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Jebusites and the first Christians. They also co-opt Jesus and ignore his Jewishness, at the same time claiming the Jews never were a people and never built the Holy Temples in Jerusalem.

There Has Never Been a Sovereign Arab State in Palestine

The artificiality of a Palestinian identity is reflected in the attitudes and actions of neighboring Arab nations who never established a Palestinian state. It also is expressed in the utterances and loyalties of so-called Palestinians.

Only twice in Jerusalem’s history has it served as a national capital. The first time was as the capital of the two Jewish Commonwealths during the First and Second Temple periods, as described in the Bible, reinforced by archaeological evidence and numerous ancient documents.

The second time is in modern times as the capital of the State of Israel. It has never served as an Arab capital for the simple reason that there has never been a Palestinian Arab state.

The rhetoric by Arab leaders on behalf of the Palestinian Arabs rings hollow, for the Arabs in neighboring lands, who control 99.9 percent of the Middle East land, have never recognized as a Palestinian entity. They have always considered Palestine and its Arab inhabitants part of the great ‘Arab nation,’ historically and politically as an integral part of Greater Syria.

The Arabs never established a Palestinian Arab state when the UN offered a partition plan in 1947 to establish “an Arab and a Jewish state” (they did not term it a Palestinian state, it should be noted). Nor did the Arabs recognize or establish a Palestinian Arab state during the two decades prior to the Six-Day War when area of Judea and Samaria (“West Bank”) was under Jordanian control and Gaza was under Egyptian control; nor did the Palestinian Arabs clamor for autonomy or independence during those years under Jordanian and Egyptian rule.

Well before the 1967 decision to create a new Arab people called ‘Palestinians,’ when the word ‘Palestinian’ was associated with Jewish endeavors, Auni Bey Abdul-Hadi, a local Arab leader, testified in 1937 before a British investigative body – the Peel Commission – saying: “There is no such country [as Palestine]! Palestine is a term the Zionists invented! There is no Palestine in the Bible. Our country was for centuries, part of Syria.”

What Are We Negotiating? By Michael Wolfowicz

Recently, as many as 100,000 readers were delighted to receive their copy of the second issue of the new ‘Sovereignty’ political journal.  This publication was started by Nadia Matar’s Women in Green movement and was made available in both Hebrew and English.  The need for such a publication, and the important void which it has filled was long overdue.

For decades the right has left the war of ideas to the left and instead has focussed on changing facts on the ground.  In light of the most recent push—led by US Sec. of State Kerry—to give up our heartland for the creation of another Arab state, the time has most definitely come to dispel the rhetoric that has plagued and infected the Israeli discourse for decades.

Even Bibi has apparently bought in to the left’s traditional arguments.  Israel basically has two options, according to the now broadly accepted premise:  Carry out a ‘two state solution’ in the creation of a ‘Palestinian’ state and in turn maintain Israel’s Jewish and Democratic character.  Fail to do this and end up with a bi-national state in which either the Jewish or Democratic features will ultimately have to be sacrificed.

What Sovereignty has done, and is doing, is highlighting the fact that Israel need not be constrained to such a choose-one-or-the-other’ fate.  It has thus far presented a number of different ideas that could be alternatives to the ‘two state solution’.  Arguably the most right-wing alternative is Annexation of Judea & Samaria, and then coming up with solutions about how to maintain the desired characters of the state following that step.  This idea denies that Israel must give citizenship to all 1-2 million Arab residents following annexation (something that is not outrageous by any means).

Does Israel really need an alternative?  Does Israel need to formally annex the territories?  I believe that after the nationalist camp has advertised the fact that alternatives do in fact exist, it will eventually need to band together around one single plan in order to succeed against those who would eagerly give up our land, our rights, and our sovereignty.  There is that word again, ‘sovereignty’, and this is the idea—as is the name of the political journal—around which the right can and should be rallied.

The state of Israel, created in 1948, can trace its foundation back to a single and regularly overlooked document, the San Remo document of 1920.  This document describes the outline of the ‘Land of Israel’, (or ‘Jewish National Home’) an important term when dealing with subsequent documents relating to Israel, the State of Israel, and Israeli law.  The ‘Land of Israel’ was never changed in international law after San Remo, only facts on the ground changed, the most important of which was the creation of Trans-Jordan (Jordan), which cut off some 70% of the ‘Land of Israel’ (together with modern day Israel constituting the British Mandate for Palestine).

In 1948, following the War of Independence, Ben Gurion used an interesting law in order to formerly incorporate—not ‘annex’—territories held by the Israeli forces that fell outside of the 1947 partition plan lines.  This included places such as Beer Sheva, where the world today doesn’t dare question Israel’s sovereignty.

Unfortunately and erroneously, on June 27, 1967, Section 11B of the Law and Administration Ordinance was enacted.  Disregarding the 1967 victory, and till today, the law states that:

“Any law applying to the whole of the State of Israel shall be deemed to apply to the whole of the area including both the area of the State of Israel and any part of Palestine which the Minister of Defence has defined by proclamation as being held by the Defence Army of Israel”

Since Judea and Samaria were part of the British Mandate for Palestine, they are also part of the Jewish National Home as defined at San Remo, and since the IDF had declared its hold over the area by proclamation, both in 1967 and until this day by way of action, the law of the State ought to have been applied to it – and could have been applied to it, but wasn’t.

According to the late legal expert Howard Grief, Israel thus

“failed at the appropriate moment to utilize the leading precedent established in his [sic Meir Shamgar] own country when, during the War of Independence, additional areas of the Land of Israel were recovered by the IDF, that were thenceforth subject to the law of the State. The above facts and precedent were simply ignored or never even thought of”.

If the precedent law would have been followed, or if it were to be followed, then another Israeli law would make the act of annexation at this juncture unnecessary.

Israel’s Basic Law-Israel Lands reads:

The ownership of Israel lands, being the lands in Israel of the State, the Development Authority, or the KKL, shall not be transferred either by sale or in any other manner.

It is unlikely that in 1967 the Eshkol government, acting on the advice of its top legal authority Meir Shamgar, could have foreseen the predicament we face today.  While it is undoubtedly important and overdue to express counters to the ‘Two-state solution’, Israel’s right must rally around a single idea if they wish to see that form of national suicide defeated.  And that idea is sovereignty, the rights enshrined at San Remo and later supported by Israel’s own laws.

Could it be that based on this rendition it is actually illegal vis-à-vis Israeli law for anyone to try and transfer any parts of the Jewish National Home to any other entity?  Have all governments since 1967 that have negotiated parts of the Jewish National Home been acting in contravention to Israeli law?

After all, what is actually being negotiated at the moment?  Our sovereignty.

In the late 1970’s, former Indonesian FM Malik said in reference to demands on the Philippines for Mindanao sovereignty; ‘no sovereign state worthy of the title could agree to such a thing’. ”

*(Note:I must credit the great work of the late Howard Grief, ZT”L for his excellent research on the legalities of Israel’s borders).

Inappropriate Use of the Fourth Geneva Convention by Eli Hertz

Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War Does Not Effect Jewish Rights to the Land of Israel


The language of Article 49 was crafted in the wake of World War II and the Nazi occupation – an occupation that led to a war of aggression in which Nazi Germany attacked its neighbors with impunity, committing a host of atrocities against civilian populations, including deportation and displacement of local populations in occupied Europe. Millions were sent to forced labor camps and those of particular ethnic origin, most notably the Jews, were sent to their deaths in the gas chambers. The drafters of Article 49 were concerned with preventing future genocide against humanity. Critics and enemies of Israel, including members of the UN and organs such as the International Court of Justice (ICJ) have come to use the Geneva Convention as a weapon against Israel, even when statements by authoritative analysts, scholars and drafters of the document contradict everything said by those who distort history for politically motivated reasons.

It is common knowledge that from its birth, Israel follows customarily international humanitarian law without being told or forced to do so by outside authorities.

“Occupied Territory”

The term “occupied territory,” which appears in the Fourth Geneva Convention, originated as a result of the Nazi occupation of Europe. Though it has become common parlance to describe the West Bank and Gaza as “occupied territories,” there is no legal basis for using this term in connection to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Professor Julius Stone, a leading authority on the Law of Nations, categorically rejected the use of the term “occupied territory” to describe the territories controlled by Israel on the following counts:

(1) Article 49 relates to the invasion of sovereign states and is inapplicable because the West Bank did not and does not belong to any other state.

(2) The drafting history of Article 49 [Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War] – that is, preventing “genocidal objectives” must be taken into account. Those conditions do not exist in Israel’s case.

(3) Settlement of Jews in the West Bank is voluntary and does not displace local inhabitants. Moreover, Stone asserted: that “no serious dilution (much less extinction) of native populations” [exists]; rather “a dramatic improvement in the economic situation of the [local Palestinian] inhabitants since 1967 [has occurred].”

Deportation and Forced Transfer

Arab opposition to Jewish settlements is based on the last paragraph of Article 49. The “Occupying Power” may not “Deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.”

One can hardly believe this baseless ICJ assertion that Israel, the only free and democratic country in the Middle East used “deportation” and “forced transfer” of its own population into “occupied territories.”

Article 2 of the Fourth Geneva Convention

Article 2 of the Fourth Geneva Convention applies only to conflicts that “arise between two or more high Contracting Parties,” which is not the case at hand, as Israel is the only High Contracting Party (or state) in this conflict, and Jordan never was. Thus, the Fourth Geneva Convention is inapplicable!

Professor Stone touches on the applicability of Article 49 of the Geneva Convention, writing on the subject in 1980:

“That because of the ex iniuria principle [unjust acts cannot create law], Jordan never had nor now has any legal title in the West Bank, nor does any other state even claim such title. Article 49 seems thus simply not applicable. Even if it were, it may be added that the facts of recent voluntary settlements seem not to be caught by the intent of Article 49 which is rather directed at the forced transfer of the belligerent’s inhabitants to the occupied territory, or the displacement of the local inhabitants, for other than security reasons.

Support to Stone’s assertion can be found in Sir Professor Elihu Lauterpacht’s writing in 1968:

“Thus Jordan’s occupation of the Old City-and indeed of the whole of the area west of the Jordan river-entirely lacked legal justification; and being defective in this way could not form any basis for Jordan validly to fill the sovereignty vacuum in the Old City [and whole of the area west of the Jordan River].”

Professor Eugene Rostow, past Dean of Yale Law School, U.S. under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and a key draftee of UN Security Council Resolution 242, concluded that the Fourth Geneva Convention is not applicable to Israel’s legal position and notes:

“The opposition to Jewish settlements in the West Bank also relied on a legal argument – that such settlements violated the Fourth Geneva Convention forbidding the occupying power from transferring its own citizens into the occupied territories. How that Convention could apply to Jews who already had a legal right, protected by Article 80 of the United Nations Charter, to live in the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip, was never explained.” It seems that the International Court of Justice never explained it either.

Article 80

Article 80 of the United Nations Charter specifically created in San Francisco on 26 June 1945, recognizes the continued validity of the rights granted to all states or peoples, or already existing international instruments including those adopted by the League of Nations, such as the “Mandate for Palestine.” Jews legal rights of settlements survived the British withdrawal in 1948.

The International Court of Justice [ICJ], Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court [ICC), and the Fourth Geneva Convention lack the authority to affect ownership of the Territories of Judea and Samaria known also as the West Bank.

What is Judea and Samaria?

Judea and Samaria – or Yehuda v’Shomron, in Hebrew – make up the heartland area of Israel to the south and north of Jerusalem. These regions were under Jordanian occupation from 1948 until 1967. While under Jordanian control, the region was dubbed “the West Bank” (referring to the west bank of the Jordan River), and many in the international community continue to use that terminology. For Israelis, it continues to be known by its Biblical and historical designation, Yehuda v’Shomron. In the Six Day War of June 1967, the Israeli army (IDF) liberated these areas, along with eastern Jerusalem. During the same war, Sinai was taken from Egypt and the Golan Heights from Syria. In the early 1980s, the government of Israel extended Israeli law over all parts of Jerusalem and the Golan. But up until now, the government has refrained from declaring Judea and Samaria to be officially part of the state of Israel, and continues to negotiate its standing with the PLO. While the area has been under Israeli control for the past 47 years, many Jewish communities have grown and developed in Judea and Samaria. According to official counts, there are today some 750,000 thousand Israelis who live in over 200 towns in Judea and Samaria, and in eastern Jerusalem. The Biblical significance of this area cannot be understated, as many, many important Biblical events in the lives of the fathers and mothers of the nation of Israel occurred in the cities of this region. Road number 60 on the modern map of Israel is actually the highway of the Bible (also known as the Road of the Patriarchs) and connects the Biblical locations of Shechem, Shiloh, Beit El (Bethel), Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron and Beer Sheva, among others.

Don’t take your pants off for Israel

A few weeks ago, I wrote a response to a provocative pro-Israel OpEd that was published on an anti-Zionist website. After consulting with some wise friends, I decided to place my response on hold and not publish it because the response, by its nature, would provide more attention to the piece that it was referring to, when I would rather that it just disappear, less noticed, in the flow of information being posted on the web.

The author of the piece I am referring to is a friend and a colleague, and one whom I would like to think shares common goals and core values. Inevitably, the offensive OpEd piece has rolled down the time-line and I doubt that it is fresh in anyone’s memory. Had I published my comments then, there is a good chance that it would have opened a discussion and raked in more popularity.

So why, you might ask, am I bringing this up now? Subsequently, the author of this piece went on to produce a YouTube spoof of an American popular recording artist. My feelings about the video, like the OpEd before it, were ambivalent. On one hand, I am glad to see Jews making a clear and eloquent argument for Zionism. I also appreciate the perspectives of people who see things from different angles than my own.

But now, as a second YouTube video spoof has been launched, a realization of what is so wrong with these productions is becoming clear to me. Zionism, for me, is about restoring the dignity of the Jewish people. The basis of our rights to freedom, safety and self determination do not come from Thomas Jefferson and the U.S. Constitution, nor do they have any affiliation with some musical striptease artist from MTV.

The Jewish people are a holy nation with a rich and ancient history and culture. The public relations concept that calls for re-branding Israel using cold beer and beautiful girls in bikinis on the beaches of Tel Aviv is self defeating and degrading to our heritage.

We did not gather from four corners of the earth and fight endless wars for the right to be a cheap imitation of America here in the middle of the desert in the Middle East. I do not believe that showing Jewish women’s bare skin is going to convince the nations of the world that we have a right to the land that the IDF captured in 1967. But I do have reason to believe that our expression of our loss of traditional values and our imports of the American culture of permissiveness are a big part of what scares our neighbors and leads them to mistakenly conclude that Zionism is a front for western imperialism.

Please do not make that mistake. The Jewish people have returned to our homeland in order to fulfill an historic calling: to be a light unto the nations – a people with values worth imitating. Our mission is not to be a Hebrew speaking, gun-toting western society with no values. That, we could do in Los Angeles.

So, with great appreciation for your good intentions and creativity, I request that you put your clothes back on and preach a message that we can all take pride in.

Holding On to Our Homeland: No You Cannot Tell My People By Howard Teich

An interesting thing happened when I watched the movie, Mandela: Long Road to Freedom.  I listened, and learned, and applied his thinking to Judea and Samaria. His concern was apartheid and that the powerful people in South Africa were directing the destiny of his people, and he asked the right question, “Am I to allow that powerful person to tell my people where to be!”

Well, I say the same thing, “Are we to allow the world powers to tell the Jewish people that they cannot live in their Biblical homeland, Judea and Samaria, and take away our rights to control our own destiny there?  I say no on every level.

Let’s really take a look.  The Israel of today is a small sliver of land; one country carved out of the wide expanse of the former Ottoman Empire, with the Arabs being given the overwhelming bulk of the land for their numerous countries and kingdoms, including a country for the Palestinian people, Jordan.  With the League of Nations unanimously declaring in 1920, “whereas recognition has been given to the historical connection of the Jewish people with Palestine, and to the grounds for reconstituting their national home in that country,” and with the Balfour Declaration, the San Remo Conference and the Treaty of Sevres, the League of Nations, the U.N.”s declaration of statehood, and so many wars and treaties later, the issue of Israel’s right to all the land that it now has reclaimed must be a closed issue.

As Churchill voiced it, the Jewish people returning to its land in Palestine are “further development of an existing community,” and he added that it should be known that the Jewish people “are in Palestine as of right.”

Fact:  The Arabs refuse to recognize the right of the Jewish people to have even one state of their own, notwithstanding the reality of Israel as a leading country in the world.  The Arabs want to destroy Israel, and the Jewish community wants it to continue to exist.  That is the essence of the continuing problem.  Israel has shrunk its land in the name of peace, sacrificing its rightful land – land it reclaimed in wars brought against it by the Arabs with the directed intention of destroyingIsrael, or as they term it, throwing Israel and the Jewish people back into the Sea.

Fact:  With 700,000 Jewish people now living in Judea and Samaria, including post-1967 Jerusalem, the Jewish homeland is now being reconstituted in its ancient homeland after 2,000 years.  Hebron, Beit-El, Shiloh, Shechem, and Bethlehem are all Jewish centers of great significance in our biblical history, and each continuing to thrive with Jewish people living on the land.  Dani Dayan, chief foreign envoy of The Yesha Council, put it succinctly, “The Jewish communities of Judea andSamaria are not only legal but are impeccably legitimate. Shiloh in Samaria and Hebron in Judea are the cradles of Jewish civilization, and as such the centers of the Jewish sovereignty, preceding even Jerusalem. These are the sites in which the ancient Jewish Tabernacle stood and where the founding fathers and mothers of the Jewish people were buried, where King David set up his first capital and where Jews have lived from time immemorial.”

Now, let’s take a realistic look at what will happen if this land would be handed over to the Palestinian Arabs as part of a supposed peace plan.  First, all Jews would be forced to leave, be forced to march out of their sacred land and remove remnants of their current civilization there.  In fact, if the withdrawals for peace with Egypt in the Sinai, and with the Palestinians in  Gaza are a guide, not only will every Jewish person, house, synagogue, greenhouse and flower have to be removed, even every Jew who was buried there will have to have their graves moved out.  Yes, all of that was required when Israel left Yamit and Sharm El Sheik in the Sinai, and Gush Katif in Gaza,.  We will never forget, and we cannot ever have that happen.  Never again!

This is not just an Israeli issue.  It affects all Jewish people, in Israel and in Diaspora, for after withdrawal the worldwide Jewish community can expect to never visit its sacred places again, as we would not be allowed back on the land.  And, there may not be another opportunity for future generations, as one could reasonably expect that the Palestinian Arabs, with control in their hands, will attempt to destroy each and every Jewish site in Judea and Samaria, to essentially eliminate all remnants of a Jewish civilization on that land.  That’s their way of insuring an end to a Jewish future there, by destroying a Jewish past.

Well, world, that’s not who we are.  As a Jewish people, we will not stand by and let that happen.  Jewish survival has always been based on forging ahead.  Going back to the time of Moses, the Jewish people were not willing to remain as slaves, and a leader emerged to take us out.  Whenever we have faith, and believe in a guiding hand, we forge ahead.

When Moses was told to lead his people into the Promised Land, Canaan, the Jewish people knew they would face battles from people who did not want them to live there. Yet they had faith, and were victorious.  In the multiple wars in Israel, with odds against the Jewish people, Israel won each time.  Notwithstanding the Holocaust where the Europeans destroyed six million of our own, the Jewish people forged ahead when they may have collapsed, and now live in a golden age in our history, in Israel, in America, and throughout the Diaspora.

We have seen Jewish land and property taken away previously in Europe and in the Arab countries.  So, is this a surprise?  Not really.  We have seen the removal of Jews from their territory previously in Europe and in the Arab countries.  So, is this a surprise?  Not really.  We have seen worse previously from Europe and the Arab countries, threatening our very existence, so if they press for policies today that once again, though more subtly, threaten the very existence of Israel and the vibrancy of a Jewish civilization in Judea and Samaria, we should not be really surprised.

A great Jewish Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky, in the early 1900s took a tough stand when the British controlled the lands  that were to be divided into the countries of the modern Middle East.  He rightly stated that what comprised Judea, Samaria, Jerusalem and Israel was always Jewish land, and that any Arab claims on the land would simply be attempts to steal the land.  So, it is time today for the Jews to surprise the world, and to say, in his words, “no, you cannot steal our land”.

Let’s be clear about the land in question.  Israel has every right to each and every inch of that land, by historical and legal right.  It is outrageous that the world today should declare once again its position that Jews have no place in their ancestral homeland, and should essentially say, “get out.”

Israel was attacked in 1967 and 1973, defended itself, and in the process was able to reclaim land that was wrongfully taken from it:  Judea, Samaria and part ofJerusalem.  Jordan controlled that land for years, although only two countries in the world had recognized their claim to it.  In 1988. 10 years after Israel made a great sacrifice for peace by giving back nearly 50 percent of its land, Sinai, to Egypt, and in the midst of the first intifada by Arafat, the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies issued a landmark report, “Israel’s Options for Peace”.  Six options were given after much study, with a seventh recommendation forming the basis for the two-state solution.

The Jaffee Center Report called for defensible borders for Israel, and security arrangements, never calling for the return of all the land.  It was the expectation thatIsrael would retain control of the Jordan Valley, and that Jews would remain in Judea and Samaria after the Palestinian state was established side-by-side withIsrael.  There would be demilitarization of the land, early warning and air-defense systems, a significant transition period for testing before any sovereignty was given up, and peace treaties in the works with other Arab countries..  It was never intended, nor even contemplated, that Jews would entirely leave the land as part of the peace, for that’s no peace at all.

Today, from the history of negotiations and current statements in the media, thinking exists that Israel should return to the 1967 land status, trade parts of its land if it wants to remain in any part of Judea and Samaria, force all Jews to remove themselves and their communities of generations, as well as IDF forces and outposts, even early-warning stations, and then have on the table discussion of the status of Jerusalem, and have the Temple Mount remain off-limit to Jews.  And of course, there’s the issue of refugees.

This is insanity at best, and relative suicide at worst.  Changes since 1988 include the total withdrawal from Gush-Katif; the establishment of a Hamas-led Gaza with no Israeli controls; a Hezbullah power-center in Lebanon; turmoil and danger in Syria;  Egypt continuing in a revolutionary swirl; and an enemy in Iran with its stated policy of eradicating Israel, and thousands upon thousands of missiles targeted for Israel, with the future potential of nuclear and chemical warheads.

So, when powerful people in the world see fit to cast their design on the future of the Jewish people, we have to say to them, “No, you cannot tell my people to give up our ancestral homeland that Israel reclaimed in wars defending their land, and that is my history and my legacy, and now guards the security perimeters required potentially for Israel’s future existence.”    Whether the recent policy decisions on Iran prove right or wrong, we’ll see in the future.  What is now more eminently clear is that the case for remaining in Judea and Samaria became much stronger.

Forge ahead, the world Jewish community must, for this is the historic land of the entire Jewish community.  So, we say to Israel, which is our front-line there, build communities today, and continue to rediscover our ancient communities lost for thousands of years.  That must be the plan.  I have called for annexation of Judea and Samaria for years, and once again call on the Knesset and Prime Minister to make that choice.  Do it in 2014, for Israel and for all the Jewish people in Diaspora.

The Palestinian Arabs can choose to remain in Judea and Samaria, a choice the Jewish people would not have if that land ever became a Palestinian state.  The fact is that Jews and Arabs live together on that land today, and their economy is doing well, and the fact is they are living mostly at peace and mostly well.  Yes, there are limitations today, and in a new situation of peace without leadership impediments, the future can be bright for all peoples on that land.  So, forge ahead, Israel, and we will be with you.

Once again citing the words of Nelson Mandela from the four walls of his cell, as taken from President Obama’s eulogy, “It matters not how strait the gate, how charged with punishments the scroll;  I am the master of my fate,  I am the captain of my soul!”

No, world, you cannot tell my People what to do with our land.  The Jewish people’s  history and future are in Judea and Samaria.  It is time to take a stand for our claim, our right and our legacy, and it is time to do so now.

Published in the Long Island Jewish World/ Manhattan Sentinel, January 10-16. 2014

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