NSWJBD/Honest Reporting Israel Mission Day 4

November 26, 2013 by  
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Today was a day for true ‘honest reporting’…writes Diane  Shteinman

We were taken to see areas about which there is much confusing reporting, thus enabling us to understand the true situation base don facts on the ground.

Those areas were Hebron and Gush Etzion.

David Wilder explains the Cave of the Machpela

David Wilder explains the Cave of the Machpela

Our first ports of call were in Hebron led by the spokesman for the Jewish community, David Wilder. David is a longtime resident and activist who initially showed us the basic layout of Hebron and where the Israeli and Palestinian control of the area differentiated – Hebron was divided in 1997, with H1 Palestinian-only, now with an Arab population of 125,000. H2 is mixed, with today 15,000 Arabs and 850 Jews. Palestinians can move between the two areas freely but Jews are limited to H2.

Significantly, David showed us archaeological diggings from post-1967 but recently halted, which reveal evidence of the Jewish presence in the area 4,000, 3,000 and 2,000 years ago.

The next enlightening visit was to a historical museum in the Hadassah building showing photographic evidence of Jewish community activities in Hebron from the late 19th century, culminating in graphic images of the horrendous massacre of Jews in 1929.

New school stands next to ancient ruins

New school stands next to ancient ruins

The important visit to Ma’arat HaMachpela (the Cave/Tomb of the Patriarchs) was a first time for most of our group and proved to be absolutely riveting. David regaled us with stories of the initial purchase of the land by Avraham Avinu and the history of the construction and administration by Jews, Christians and Muslims over the centuries, up to the present day.

Following this we inspected parts of Gush Etzion, including Efrat, Betar and the beautiful Neve Daniel. Our guest speaker Ian Lawrence emphasized that these areas are part of the ‘consensus’ bloc which will stay part of Israel proper as part of any peace agreement.

A heart-warming project we visited at a crossroads inside Gush Etzion was a soldiers coffee and cake lounge called “Warm Corner”, established by a local widow whose husband was killed by terrorists who fired on his car, and staffed by volunteers. The place aims to express gratitude to the soldiers for the largely misunderstood service to the local people.

Our touring for the day culminated in lunch at the Gavna restaurant, with its spectacular views of the Gush and the Judean Hills beyond.

We returned to Jerusalem for Shabbat and an incredibly warm and moving experience at the Kotel, surrounded by praying, singing and dancing Jews from all corners of the earth and a beautiful family-style meal in the Old City. Echoes of ‘Shabbat Shalom’ were heard from everyone we met.

Comments

2 Responses to “NSWJBD/Honest Reporting Israel Mission Day 4”
  1. Liat Nagar says:

    Would loved to have been there!

    • Eleonora says:

      Yes I 2 would have loved to be there, sounds like a lovely holiday As part of honest reporting I’m a little baffled as it seems more of a holiday than having anything to do with honest reporting. Hebron: 1977 Division, Area H1 Arab population 125,000. Area H2, mixed 15,000 Arabs & 850 Jews. “Palestinians” (Arabs) free to move between both areas, Jews limited to area H2. Yet I read the news and other articles that accuse Israel of Apartheid. And again evidence 4.000, 3.000 and 2.000 years archaeologiccal diggings proving the existance of Jews/Hebrews in the area. History has shown this over and over again not only within scripture etc. “In the beginning God”…. I think the world has been given more than enough evidence that the Jews/Hebrews are indigenous to the area and where Israels borders are throughout history. Yet other nations dictate where the borders are, what we can or can’t do (build)within our own borders and then give it away to the Arabs anyway all in the name of peace. What peace?