By Jeremy Gillick
There is an interesting drama developing around one of the West Bank’s most radical and controversial Jewish settlements. Home to the Ma’arat HaMachpelah—the Tomb of the Patriarchs—Hebron is a sacred cow for Israel’s religious right (read Glenn Frankel’s January story about Hebron in Moment here). Unlike most settlements, which stand on hills above Palestinian cities, the Jewish settlement in Hebron exists in the city’s very heart, protected vigilantly by the Israeli army. Although there’s no talk of dismembering the settlement altogether, much less of dismantling all the settlements, which, as both Shimon Peres and Shin Bet security chief Yuval Diskin have recently warned, could precipitate a civil war, Israeli security forces are threatening to evacuate a group of settlers from a building they occupied illegally in Hebron over a year ago. The settlers are fighting back.
On March 19, 2007, hundreds of settlers from both Hebron and Kiryat Arba, the larger but equally radical settlement above Hebron, moved into a 4-story, 3,500 square foot building on the road linking Hebron to Kiryat Arba. According to the settlement’s official Hebron website, “The building was purchased from its previous owner via an office in Jordan for an approximate price of $700,000. The previous owner transferred all his legal rights to the building to the Hebron Jewish community.” As it turned out, the documents “proving” Jewish ownership were forged, and this past Sunday, Israel’s High Court gave the building’s occupants until Wednesday to leave.
By last night, they had not budged. And although the Defense Ministry chose not to use force, yet, presumably not wishing on themselves a repeat of Amona’s 2006 evacuation, it seems unlikely that the settlers will move without some prodding. Continue reading
Posted in Politics, religion
Tagged Amona, Beit HaShalom, Hebron, House of Peace, Israel, Israel High Court, jewish, Kiryat Arba, Rabbi Dov Lior, Settlements, Shimon Peres, West Bank, Yuval Diskin
- In case you were just unfreezed from a cryogenic state, Senator Barack Obama was elected president yesterday. He will be America’s first African-American president. I took the (admittedly very amateur) above photos/videos between midnight and 2:30 am this morning in front of the White House. UPDATE: Our apologies, the videos aren’t working. Ignore slides 10 and 11.
- Exit polls show Obama got 78% of the Jewish vote. That’s just about in line with the 76% John Kerry got, the 79% Al Gore got, and the 78% Bill Clinton got in 1996. So much for the theories of Jews transforming into a Republican base.
- Ha’aretz listed 36 Jews who helped shape the election. Amazing: Sheldon Adelson, David Axelrod, Steven Bob and Sam Gordon, Matt Brooks, Mark Broxmeyer, Eric Cantor, Laurie David, Ira Forman, Barney Frank, Malcolm Hoenlein, Cheryl Jacobs, Henry Kissinger, Ed Koch, William Kristol, Sherry Lansing, Ed Lasky, Henry Lehman, Joe Lieberman, Mik Moore and Ari Wallach, Eli Pariser, Martin Peretz, Dennis Prager, Penny Pritzker, Ed Rendell, Denise Rich, Dennis Ross and Dan Kurtzer, Robert Rubin, Dan Shapiro, Sarah Silverman, Alan Solow, Jon Stewart, Barbra Streisand, Robert Wexler, Fred Zeidman
- Israeli President Shimon Peres put aside his own country’s political bickering for long enough to give this enthusiastic congratulation to Obama (via JTA):
“It was an American election and a worldwide choice. I don’t recall any other election that practically all of humanity was following with hope and concern. I want to congratulate the newly elected President: young, fresh, promising, representing a change and introducing change. The changes that I can mention – it is an opportunity to escape the present world crisis and enter into a new era of cooperation, of productive economy and of human solidarity.
“In a way, it is an end of racism. There is no longer any way that any white man can claim superiority, nor any black person feel discrimination. We are the same people, and this election is a great statement to that effect.”
- JTA also listed all the Jewish members of congress now. As Larry mentioned earlier today, Representatives Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and John Adler (D-N.J.) were elected for the first time, while Senators Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) were re-elected. The grand total of 44 (13 Senators and 31 Representatives) can be found here.
- And this just in. Obama has offered the job of White House chief of staff to Rep. Rahm Emmanuel, the son of an Israeli immigrant. Emmanuel served in the IDF and speaks some Hebrew.
Slideshow by me!
What with non-stop hoopla at the convening of the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York, we offer a quick recap of the main issues to help you sift through the news coverage.
- Predictably, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has created the most amount of controversy. One example: The American Jewish Committee wrote an open letter to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon protesting a dinner at which Ahmadinejad will be honored.
- Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has also made headlines, primarily because of her planned appearance at a rally organized today to voice opposition to Ahmadinejad. This is the rally that Hillary Clinton pulled out of because she didn’t want to make it a political circus. In turn, it has become a political circus. Update 3:05 PM: JTA puts the number of protesters in the thousands.
- Palin will meet with former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, President Alvaro Uribe of Colombia, and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan in an attempt to bolster her foreign policy credentials (not unlike Barack Obama’s trip to Europe and the Middle East this summer).
- Richard Holbrooke and other government officials write in the Wall Street Journal today that Iran is the primary story of this session for good reason: “A nuclear-armed Iran would likely destabilize an already dangerous region that includes Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and pose a direct threat to America’s national security.” (HT: The Telegraph)
- Israeli President Shimon Peres has his hands full with political turmoil in Israel, so he will not attend a General Assembly reception hosted by President George W. Bush tonight. Israel will be represented by UN Ambassador Gabriela Shalev.
- President Bush will be making his farewell address to the UN. (Hold for applause?)