Friday, September 30, 2005

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Arutz-7 News: Friday, September 30, 2005

Arabs Attack, Jews Arrested
Children of Hevron's Jewish community say they identified an Arab who attacked them, but the soldiers simply let him go free - and the Jews were arrested instead.

 1. Arabs Attack, Jews Arrested
 2. Getting Ready for "Operation Lulav"
 3. Mixed Messages Reflect the Reality
 4. Request to Stop Arab Take-Over of Jewish Hevron Land
 5. Basic Judaism… in Espanol

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1. Arabs Attack, Jews Arrested
By Hillel Fendel

Children of Hevron's Jewish community say they identified an Arab who attacked them, but the soldiers simply let him go free - and the Jews were arrested instead.

This is how spokesman Noam Arnon summed up the incident, which occurred late Thursday afternoon: "Arabs jumped on and attacked our children, stole a goat, and injured one of the children with a rock. The children identified a suspect, and soldiers detained him, but the officer who arrived let him go - and then four of our people were taken in for questioning."

The basic facts of the story, as reported by those who took part, are as follows:

A 6th-grade boy of the Hevron Jewish Community was walking and leading one of his family's goats along King David St., the main road between the Avraham Avinu and Beit Hadassah neighborhoods. At one point, he encountered a group of Arab youths who had cut through barbed wire to get into the Jewish area. The Arabs hit the boy, threw rocks at him, and stole his goat.

The Jewish boy and several of his friends then ran into the Casba open-air market in an attempt to retrieve the goat. They also called several adults, in response to which Arnon and a few mothers arrived on the scene.

The adults asked the Arabs in the market if they had seen the boys who stole the goat. Israeli security forces soon arrived, and the Jewish boys asked them to detain one of their attackers whom they had identified in the interim.

"The suspect was detained," Arnon said, "but unbelievably, after a few minutes, the Arab attacker simply left the place, in front of the officer and soldiers, and they did nothing to stop him. The children called out, 'He's getting away!' but the officer refused to arrest him and refused to explain why. Instead, he called for Yassam police officers, who started pushing the Jews out of the area."

Four Jews were arrested in the course of their being pushed away, including the boy who had been attacked, another boy, and two women.

The Shai District Police released a statement saying that "three settlers were arrested after they entered the Arab market, threw stones at Arabs, and held an illegal assembly."

"The Hevron police, as usual, cover up for Arab criminal behavior," Arnon said, "with false arrests of Jews and libels as if the Jews are suspected of criminal behavior."

The Hevron Jewish Community is considering taking the officer and the other policemen to court, in light of their part in letting the suspect - and a likely lead to the recovery of their stolen goat - go free. "We had hoped that the police had changed their ways," a Hevron resident said, "but we were wrong. We demand fair treatment and enforcement of law on Arabs as well." Jewish residents of Hevron have long complained of unfair treatment at the hands of police.

A complaint was submitted to the IDF Judea Brigade Commander, Col. Moti Baruch, who said he would investigate.

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2. Getting Ready for "Operation Lulav"
By Hillel Fendel

On Thursday of the upcoming Sukkot holiday, at 3 PM, hundreds of yeshiva students will take to the streets - replacing "fear of the street" with "influencing and connecting."

Organized by students of the Ramat Gan Hesder Yeshiva, known for its outreach activities, the project involves the holiday's Four Species, musical instruments, good will and a desire to connect with the people. The students will set up stands in many dozens of central spots throughout the country, and begin "working."

As modest as the promotional literature is - black print on a half-size piece of pink paper distributed in synagogues and yeshivot - that is how grandiose is the ambition of the organizers. "On Sukkot, we start to influence," the paper reads, "connecting the nation to holiness, connecting to the nation with holiness. Coming with the Four Species [citron (etrog) and palm (lulav), myrtle and willow branches] and musical instruments, bringing the joy of Sukkot to the street. Talking with Jews who gather around, singing together... Offering them the chance to fulfill the holiday commandments of lifting the lulav and etrog and of eating in the sukkah, talking relaxedly about Sukkot, about sanctity, about goodness, about the Nation of Israel, about G-d... Peeling away the rinds and the blocs, touching inside, and connecting."

"We no longer have to look at the street and be afraid," the organizers say. "We no longer think that we are small and weak. We're making a switch. We're onto the right source - the links with G-d. Let's go connect all of Am Yisrael with G-d! With courage, with love, with happiness, with ease, and with G-d's help! And this is just the beginning!"

Yedidya, a Ramat Gan student who is coordinating the project, says, "These are our brothers, and it's our responsibility to watch out for them." He and his friends are contacting students in other yeshivot and members of Torah core groups around the country - "everyone, actually" - to take part in their respective towns as well. "The goal is to have as many little groups as possible with musical instruments and Four Species. We already have 35 signed up, and we expect to have double that, at least."

"This is the opening salvo of a great revolution in our sector," Yedidya feels, referring to the religious-Zionist sector. "Until now, we haven't gone out [very much] to influence - but we just have to switch diskettes and know that we have what to offer. We start by giving them a chance to do mitzvot; that's the most basic level of showing our concern. For some people, it will be their first time ever holding a lulav and etrog."

Yedidya's view on current events is that "everything that happened here recently is of a spiritual nature. When Ariel Sharon built the Land of Israel, he did it because his heart told him to - and then one day, he asked himself, Why should we stay in Gaza? The disengagement had no security value, but he dragged everyone else along with that question. Ask a taxi driver on the street why he supports Sharon, and he won't know - but now everyone is asking what happened, what's the story, and we have to give the answer."

Other groups involved in the project or similar ones are Ma'yanaei HaYeshuah, Shaalei Torah, the OU Israel Center, Machon Meir, Rosh Yehudi, Makom BaLev, Nehora, and more.

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3. Mixed Messages Reflect the Reality
By Hillel Fendel

Criticism of the message of the "Orange Thanks" event continues. Former Gush Katif spokesman Eran Sternberg said it shows the "mixed-up" situation in which the religious-Zionist camps finds itself.

Excerpts from Sternberg's article, which appears in the original Hebrew on the website:

"At least 10,000 youths were there at Sacher Park in Jerusalem at the 'Orange Thanks' event [this past Wednesday night] - those wonderful youth who were willing to give up their freedom and be arrested and imprisoned in order to prevent the expulsion of Jews from parts of the Land of Israel.

In truth, when I saw the organizations that sponsored the event, I knew that I should not have high hopes. These were the same bodies that used the public's longing for unity, gathered the tens of thousands under their wings, and led a strong political battle - while making sure that a serious struggle would not develop on the ground, even though the public was tremendously ready for it, and especially in Kfar Maimon. Not to mention that some of the organizing bodies condemned the idea of refusing orders...

In truth, I did not understand why the event took on a festive nature, when the expellees are still in hotels, caravans and tents. Where is the great victory here? ...

I came with full knowledge that this event would not herald the liberation of the national-religious camp from the bonds leashing its collective consciousness - but I also didn't expect such patent darkness. This was darkness whose meaning was that since we supposedly won by holding ineffective protests, not only is there no need to change our strategy, but the opposite is true: We should continue the same way even more forcefully.

First, one rabbi got up and said that we love and embrace the IDF and will continue to enlist and influence; at least he didn't say 'with sensitivity and determination' [the phrase used by those who implemented the expulsion]. These words, for me as an expellee, were like a sword in my heart. How can the rabbi love those who destroyed our lives and threw us out? My little children even now tremble when they see an army uniform. Isn't it a bit early, honored rabbi? Right after he spoke, they showed a chilling film of the destruction of N'vei Dekalim, the beautiful town destroyed by those the rabbi had just embraced...

Later, a 15-year-old girl was called to the stage, one of the heroines who sat in jail for a long time, followed immediately afterwards by a famous and important rabbi who in the past claimed that the road-blockings were a desecration of G-d's name! For a moment it wasn't clear whether the 'Orange Thanks' were from the leadership to the youth, or from the Prime Minister to the leadership...

This intolerable disparity between the words of the rabbis and the actions of the youth is precisely the same gap between the leadership and the public. And this event, where the messages were contradictory and confusing, expressed clearly the confusion from which the Orange camp suffers.

This helps us understand what happened in the Likud this week. You can't stutter and straddle both sides of the fence, and then expect to win. You can't expect a Likud Committee member who admires Sharon for his great past achievements but opposes the expulsion to translate his opposition to a vote against Sharon - when at the same time you grant legitimacy to the expulsion by embracing the expellers and allow it to transpire smoothly; it doesn't work!

Why is it that when we need a struggle, we organize protests, but when we need a protest - in order to create an atmosphere before the Likud vote - then we hold festive ceremonies?


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4. Request to Stop Arab Take-Over of Jewish Hevron Land
By Hillel Fendel

The Jews of Hevron have asked Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz to intervene and stop PA attempts to take over the area of the ancient Jewish cemetery in the holy city.

In a letter to Mofaz this week, the residents write:

The ancient Chabad cemetery in Hevron is named after the Rabbanit Menucha Rachel Slonim, the daughter of the Middle Admor of Chabad. The Rabbanit was a leader of the Jewish community here for many years, and her grave is an important site for visitors even today.

In the Hevron Agreement [of early 1997], the cemetery remained within Israeli territory - Area H2. However, the plot adjacent to it, plot 37, was handed over to the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that it is listed as a Jewish-owned plot.

Several years ago, following repeated incidents of Arab vandalism in the cemetery, including the repeated smashing of the gravestone at the Rabbanit's grave, the IDF placed a permanent guard post near the cemetery. The Defense Minister at the time, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, permitted the re-opening of a Kollel for Torah study there, which runs successfully even now.

However, of late, the Palestinian Authority has initiated actions with the goal of harming our security and the Jewish presence in the area of the cemetery:
1. In Plot 37, which is owned by Jews, the PA suddenly placed caravans.
2. In Plot 40, which is also adjacent to the cemetery, the PA has established a school - which, in accordance with Arab tradition in Judea and Samaria, will become a center for Arab attacks against Jews.

To our great astonishment, the IDF and the Civil Administration are doing nothing to stop this trend and prevent these activities. This, despite the fact that the Hevron Accords obligate the PA to "coordinate" activities of this nature with Israel. In the past, Israel used to take full advantage of this clause to totally stop construction that would endanger the Jewish residents.

This failure on the part of the IDF and the Civil Administration has been ongoing for more than a week, and as mentioned, does not correspond with previous behavior in similar cases.

We ask for your quick intervention against the threat on the Jewish presence in the area by stopping the theft of the lands and removing the caravans, and stopping the establishment of the school which will present a security risk to Jewish visitors at the cemetery.

The Jewish Community of Hevron

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5. Basic Judaism… in Espanol
Spanish-speaking Jews around the world will now be able to learn more about their heritage thanks to a new set of CDs on basic Judaism that was just released by the Shavei Israel organization.
The set, which consists of 7 compact discs, is entitled “Nuestro Judaismo” (Spanish for “Our Judaism”), and contains a series of riveting lectures by Rabbi Alfredo Goldschmidt [pictured above], Chief Rabbi of the Jewish community of Bogota, Colombia, and director of the city’s Colegio Hebreo.

Among the topics covered are “the Discipline of Kashrut,” “the Beauty of Shabbat,” “the Cycle of Life” and “Humane Values.”

“The goal of these CDs,” said Rabbi Goldschmidt, “is to give the Spanish-speaking public a general picture regarding the basic concepts of Judaism. By grasping the principles of our faith, the listener will be able to better understand and internalize the structure of Jewish tradition, thereby connecting himself to the heritage of his forefathers.”

“I hope that the lectures contained on the CDs will encourage people to continue to learn and to deepen their knowledge of our precious heritage,” he said.

Shavei Israel Chairman Michael Freund noted that there is a dearth of Jewish material in Spanish available in audio format, which led him to decide to publish the CDs.

“We work with Jews and Bnai Anousim [people whose Jewish ancestors were compelled to convert to Christianity at the time of the Inquisition] in a variety of Spanish-speaking countries,” Freund said, “and there is a great demand for quality Jewish educational materials in Spanish. Rabbi Goldschmidt’s series of lectures on basic Judaism will help to fill this important need.”

Based in Jerusalem, Shavei Israel reaches out and assists “lost Jews” around the world seeking to return to the Jewish people and to Judaism.

For more information, contact:

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