+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Israel's president went to Hebron for all the wrong reasons

Instead of ignoring the Palestinian stores and homes whose doors the army welded shut, instead of ignoring the racist graffiti and segregation, President Rivlin had an opportunity to look occupation in the eyes. He didn’t.

By Avner Gvaryahu

Shuhada Street in the Old City of Hebron, empty of all Palestinian vehicle and pedestrian traffic, November 13, 2013. Shuhada Street was the main commercial center of the city when it was first closed in 1994 to Palestinian traffic after the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, and later to pedestrians as the army shut down the entire commercial area. (Photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Shuhada Street in the Old City of Hebron, ‘sterile’ of all Palestinian vehicle and pedestrian traffic, November 13, 2013. Shuhada Street was the main commercial center of the city when it was first closed in 1994 to Palestinian traffic after the Ibrahimi Mosque Massacre, and later to pedestrians as the army shut down the entire commercial area. (Photo: Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

A week ago, after it was announced that President Reuven Rivlin would visit the Beit Hadassah settlement in Hebron, Breaking the Silence sent him a letter signed by over 30 soldiers who previously served in the occupied territories and Hebron, calling on him to join the organization for a tour of the city. We wanted the president to hear about our service in the territories and meet Palestinians living under occupation. Unfortunately, President Rivlin never responded to our request.

That is why Breaking the Silence activists, along with activists from the left-wing Meretz party and human rights attorney Gaby Lasky, came to Hebron on Tuesday to protest against Rivlin’s decision to ignore the situation in Hebron. We stood with signs that had soldier testimonies on them, as well as photos taken by soldiers during their service. These photos point to the reality that we know all too well in Hebron — racist graffiti, welded-shut doors of homes, Palestinians arrested in the street, settler violence, along with other photos of the day-to-day reality of occupation in the heart of a Palestinian city.

Special coverage: 20 years of segregation in Hebron

The violence began as soon as we approached Beit Hadassah. Shoving, screaming and Israeli settlers who grabbed our signs and tore them. For a moment I thought the police would, at the very least, separate between us and the settlers. But even the police began pushing us, way before they showed us an order that forbade us from protesting.

This kind of violence is not foreign to me in the occupied territories. Not so long ago I was on the violent side as a soldier; since then I’ve attended many protests. But it never ceases to amaze me how silenced I am when I am on the “wrong” side, or how Palestinians have no voice whatsoever.

A Palestinian woman and children pass the slogan "Gas the Arabs! JDL" spray-painted on an exterior wall of the Cordoba School for Palestinian children near Shuhada Street, Hebron, October 22, 2012. "JDL" stands for Jewish Defense League, an extremist group founded by Meir Kahane and designated as a terrorist group by the FBI. Baruch Goldstein was a charter member of the JDL, which has designated him "a martyr in Judaism's protracted struggle against Arab terrorism."

A Palestinian woman and children pass the slogan “Gas the Arabs! JDL” spray-painted on an exterior wall of the Cordoba School for Palestinian children near Shuhada Street, Hebron, October 22, 2012. “JDL” stands for Jewish Defense League, an extremist group founded by Meir Kahane and designated as a terrorist group by the FBI. Baruch Goldstein was a charter member of the JDL, which has designated him “a martyr in Judaism’s protracted struggle against Arab terrorism.”

President Rivlin, who is seen by many as a moderate democrat, effectively supported one of the most extremist communities in the West Bank. He passed by dozens of Palestinian stores that were shut down in the wake of Baruch Goldstein’s massacre at the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994. Since then, settlers have scrawled anti-Palestinian epithets on the doors of the stores, such as “Arabs out” next to a Star of David, “Arabs to the crematoriums,” “death to Arabs,” and, “We want a religious state now.”

It is a mark of shame for the State of Israel when its president stands on a street that has been “sterilized” of Palestinians. Yes, that is exactly what we called it in the army, as if the Palestinian residents of the city were bacteria.

How does this fit with what President Rivlin said just a few days ago during his visit to the United States, when he told churchgoers in Brooklyn that, “[Martin Luther] King knew that one cannot fight for his own freedom without fighting for the freedom of others.” Well, it turns out that Rivlin’s interpretation of freedom doesn’t apply to Palestinians who have lived under our occupation for nearly half a century.

Related:
In Hebron, terror begets a reign of terror
A city of devastation: Hebron 20 years after the massacre
Activists arrested in Hebron: ‘Segregation isn’t our Judaism’

Avner Gvaryahu is the director of public outreach at Breaking the Silence. This article also appears in Hebrew on +972’s sister site, Local Call.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Bruce Gould

      Note to Canadians: Jeff Halper, director of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions (Yeah, it’s relevant to Hebron!) is on a speaking tour of Canada right now. Here’s his schedule:

      http://www.icahd.org/node/568

      Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Bruce, again you are off topic. You might address the real reason President Rivlin was in Hebron. The President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, appeared in the city of Hebron on Monday at the dedication ceremony of the Hebron Heritage Museum recording nearly 4,000 years of Jewish history in Hebron, including the destruction of the community in 1929.

        Hebron’s history is very much Rivlin’s history. Both sets of his grandparents lived in Hebron prior to its destruction. President Rivlin at the ceremony stated:

        “This morning I visited my family’s birthplace, I did not fly to Krakow or to Casablanca. I did not need my passport. From visiting my mother, may she rest in peace, Rachel Rivlin on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem; to the city of my forefathers in Hebron. Where my mother’s family lived and worked – descendants of Chabad Hassidim – of the Rivlin famliy.”

        His father’s side were associated with the Vilna Gaon. And many of his ancestors lived in Hebron. Jewish Hebron was a Rabbinic city.

        President Rivlin was also one of the Jewish soldiers who liberated Hebron from Jordanian control in 1967.

        President Rivlin has visited Hebron many times since 1967 and understands the Jewish attachment to it and the rightfulness of Jewish habitation in Hebron.

        Reply to Comment
      • Pedro X

        Bruce, you and 972mag should have also paid attention to Rivlin’s comments concerning working for reconciliation in Hebron.

        “It is difficult to imagine the possibility of dialogue in Hebron. The memory of slaughter and blood; screams of the wounded and orphans, are part of a constant reminder that arise in the collective memory of the city. However, we can and should try. Such actions do not hurt or hinder our right to Hebron, a right that was bought during the days of the patriarchs, and stands strong to this day,”

        So why do you and 972mag ignore Rivlin’s message? Is it because it talks about working towards peaceful co-existence between communities and not the final destruction of the Jewish community in Hebron?

        Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn4

      Perhaps Rivlin simply decided to reject the racist demonization of the Israeli residents of Hebron by those that wish to turn it into a city free of Jews.

      Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn4

          If you want to play this game I got plenty of pictures for you starting with blown out buses. I repeat, there is a racist demonization taking place of the Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria by people that wish to ethnically cleanse the area of Jews.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Bryan

      Judging by the graffiti this is a problem of New York fundamentalists who have not bothered to learn Hebrew – so much for returning to an ancient ancestral land where Jews have lived continuously for a million years.

      Reply to Comment
      • ICat

        Another idiocy from a psychotic old turd who is incurably obsessed with Jews and Israel, while not knowing what goes on in his own country or worry about how to make his own country better. Even your attempt at satire to hide the hate in your heart is a failure. You and Brian have serious psychiatric problems with this irrational fixation on- and obsession with Jews and Israel. Like Brian, you need help, Bryan.

        Reply to Comment
        • Josh

          There are cure for obsessive stalkers. Go see a psychiatrist.
          But I guess it’s just oppressed sexuality. Virginity sucks, ey?

          Reply to Comment
          • Margot Dunne

            Don’t be so darn silly.

            Reply to Comment
          • Margot Dunne

            Sorry – I might have made a mistake. I thought you were referring to Bryan, who doesn’t deserve the nonsense spewed at him. Neither does Brian deserve the incessant sniping. If you were referring to whoever ICat is, well, that is perhaps a different story!!

            Reply to Comment
        • Margot Dunne

          Is ICat a pseudonym for Ginger Eis, or an unwelcome reincarnation?

          Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Thank you for the compliment. I don’t know much about you, Margot, but from Ginger I have read a lot and I can tell ya, sweetie, she is like an intellectual hurricane that storms through the mind of retards like you and your ilk leaving devastation and fear in her wake. I understand your paranoia, but there is no need to start “seeing things” and “hearing voices” like Brian who confuses me with Merav, and fearing someone who is not even commenting on this thread. Deal with me, not some imaginary others you are scared of.

            Reply to Comment
          • Margot Dunne

            OK, I’ll deal with you. Like Ginger, you are an indoctrinated, racist bigot who sprays vitriol freely, & who does Israel no service by ranting against people who make an effort to see the Palestinian side of this ongoing & tragic colonial occupation. Have you been to Hebron? I have – & I’ve walked through streets covered by wire mesh intended to protect people from the hard rubbish thrown down on their heads by the settlers squatting above. Hebron is an indictment of Israel, & an egregious one at that. And how dare you call me anti-Semitic: you might like to apologize for that unwarranted slur, which shows a total inability to understand what the word really means. But I don’t think that “apologize” has a place in your lexicon. If you are not Ginger then you are a clone – your phraseology is the same, your crass vocabulary is the same, your obvious intelligence is the same, & your well-thought-out insults intended to antagonize people into aggression is the same. Well done.

            Reply to Comment
        • Y-Man

          lame response

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Icat – I will hold my hand up and admit that my suggestion that the graffiti was the work of New York fundamentalists who had not bothered to learn Hebrew was merely surmise based on the plausible arguments that (1) the message purports to come from JDL, an organization that originated in New York and was branded by the FBI as a “right-wing terrorist organization; (2) JDL has exported its violent bigotry to the West Bank in the persons of Meir Kahane (served in the Knesset until disqualified by the government as “racist” and “undemocratic”) and Baruch Goldstein (author of one of Hebron’s massacres when 29 worsippers were killed and well over 100 injured whilst at prayer) and numerous others; (3) There is strong evidence of Kahanists highly active and engaging in price-tag crimes in the Hebron area; indeed Richard Witty made exactly that point very recently on this site, as I am sure you noticed.

            You of course may have a much better explanation – perhaps the the graffiti was published by a Russian dissident group, using the English-language in an attempt to discredit the occupation in the eyes of an American audience?

            As to your other points (1) I’ve never argued that the Khazarian hypothesis was anymore than plausible (backed by good archaeological, documentary and linguistic evidence) but whether Ashkhenazis originated in Khazaria or elsewhere is beside the point – the Levantine ethnic purity of the European Jewish population has been questioned by many on the basis of widespread conversion in ancient times and significant intermarriage with local populations (e.g. Shlomo Sand)

            (2) I have not argued that every single Jew remaining in Palestine converted to Islam, simply that Jews quite clearly remained in Palestine after 70 AD, rather than being expelled en masse, and that archaeological evidence (e.g. gradual transition from Jewish to Christian to Islamic cemeteries) suggests that over centuries, as commonsense would confirm, that people’s religious allegiances adapted and evolved over time. Given the large numbers who converted to Judaism in the early centuries AD what would be so disgraceful if some of the movement was in the opposite direction? We know from the New Testament that significant numbers of Jews converted to Christianity. David Ben Gurion himself as a young man advocated that the local Moslems were descendants of the original Jewish population.

            Yes tongue-in-cheek I referred to a Jewish presence for a million years, but some Zionists speak of 2000, some 3000, some 5000, some 10,000 years, so I was giving you the benefit of the doubt. The point is of course purely academic because it is not ancient history but modern history that determines the justice of the Zionist cause.

            If you don’t mind me suggesting this, has anyone ever accused you of a very narrow-minded and intolerant and instinctive denigration of any point-of-view that conflicts with your world-view, which has of course been very carefully and deliberately crafted by generations of pro-Zionists polemicists and propagandists. Any one as confident as yourself in the righteousness of your cause should not need to react with such indignant and intemperate irritation if any of your assumptions is so much as questioned.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            Riiight! The mere fact that the graffiti contains the abbreviation “ADL” is EVIDENCE that it was written by “New York fundamentalists who have not bothered to learn Hebrew”! There you have it folks. It is always very easy for this senile old turd to confuse his conjectures with evidence and use such “evidence” to smear Jews and Israel. I guess Y-Man is now feeling foolish for trying to come to your rescue.

            Reply to Comment
          • ICat

            “JDL”

            was meant

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Probably an innocent transcription error on your part but the Anti-Defamation League sold their souls a long time ago to the big bucks their representatives could earn from donors with too much money and too little sense, and instead of their original mission, which was supposedly to oppose racism and bigotry in all its forms, they got on board with defending bigotry and racism and occupation. So I can understand your innocent confusion between ADL and JDL. Icat your stupidity does not do you any favours – why not just keep quiet?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Icat – are you utterly incoherent – I was not “using such “evidence” to smear Jews and Israel.” I was merely suggesting that such obvious racism probably came from alien and recent immigrants from New York, not from indigenous Jews who have lived here for centuries. Are you always going to be so perverse in your arguments and do you have a thorough grounding in reality and a potential to defend your absurd arguments or are you always going to talk nonsense?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Bollocks – idiot, I am not withdrawing anything, retracting anything, correcting anything, revising anything, holding my hands up or anything else. If you knew the English language you would appreciate that my original post featured the words “judging by” which according to the Free Dictionary means “to form an opinion or estimation after careful consideration” which is exactly what I did. You on the other hand go off raving (“What you wrote is there for everyone to read. Trying to re-phrase, rationalize, claim that you were “merely suggesting” and deny AFTER you have been caught and exposed is quite lame, too late and dishonorable. You should learn to stand by your own words or admit mistakes, instead of meandering like a little ugly snake. My guess is that Y-Man will think twice before he comes to your rescue again) without answering my question which was have you a more plausible explanation as to who wrote the graffiti. I entirely stand by my original words, you hectoring, bullying, vindictive, dishonest, supercilious, patronizing, arrogant, worthless scumbag – excuse my language- but at least I haven’t used the ‘t’-word.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            For all your bluster Icat, I notice you have still not offered a better suggestion than mine as to who wrote the graffiti, and I did provide you with solid reasons to back up my suggestion. You dig a big hole for yourself by reflexively contesting something that is highly probable, offer no counter-evidence, and then change the subject – I did not mention Hamas, so whether they are a terrorist group or not is utterly irrelevant. If it makes you happy I will say that Hamas is enormously akin to Zionism in being a political, religious and social organization, with a military wing, which has used violence, including attacks on civilians, in order to further its cause. Can we all agree on that?

            Reply to Comment
    4. Pedro X

      I often wondered why some Jews want to live in Hebron. The simple answer is that it is their home. The problem is not with Jews wanting to live there, but in Arab rejectionism and violence against Jews who live and wish to live there.

      Hebron is the oldest Jewish community in the world going back to the middle bronze age. The Patriarchs and Matriarchs lived and were buried there. David was anointed as King of Judah and then King of Judah and Israel there. Saul’s commander’s tomb is there, the pool of David is there, and the first judge of Israel, Othniel Ben Kenaz, is buried there. The tombs of Jesse and Ruth are there. Terebinths of Mamre are there. King Herod in his reign built a 12 metre wall over the tomb of the Patriarchs recognizing its importance to the Jewish people.

      Moreover, ordinary Jews lived there from the Bronze age until the Crusaders expelled them. The Jews returned to rebuild their community in the 13th century. The Jews suffered a number of pogroms which devastated their community but they came back because this was their home. In 1517 Turks and Arabs destroyed the Jews in Hebron. Jews reestablished their community in 1533. In 1834 Hebron and Safed endured vicious pogroms. In 1929 the Jewish communities in Safed and Hebron were destroyed. 67 Jews in Hebron were slaughtered most cruelly. In 1933 Jews came back only to be evacuated by the British who feared they would massacred again.

      Following the Jordanian occupation of Hebron in 1948 all Jewish connection with Hebron was destroyed. The synagogue of Abraham became a pen for animals. The cemetery was devastated. Jews were prevented from entering Hebron to pray at holy sites.

      After the Israeli liberation of Judah and Samaria, Arabs still tried to prevent Jews from even praying in Hebron much less living there. In 1968 47 Jews were injured in a grenade attack while praying at the Tomb of the Patriarchs. A month later a bomb injured another six. In 1977 a bomb injured another 27 Israelis in Hebron.

      In 1980 6 Jewish men were killed and 16 injured leaving prayers in Hebron. As a result the government of Israel authorized the legal establishment of a Jewish community again in Hebron. As a result some Jews came home to Hebron.

      The Arabs will not accept a Jewish presence. In 1997 Israel handed over control and administration of 80% of Hebron to the Palestinians, giving Arabs the same control over Hebron as they exercise in Ramallah. Israel administers 20% of Hebron, home to all the Jewish communities in Hebron.

      The IDF presence is necessary to protect the Jews in their home in Hebron. Jews in Hebron are subject to non ending attacks. One might remember Elazar Lebovitch was shot dead on the eve of his 21st birthday driving newlywed friends to Hebron for a Shabbat dinner. The same killer killed three members of the Dickenstein family. In 2013 a soldier was killed protecting worshipers and a Jewish man on the way to a Seder dinner in Hebron was shot dead by a Hamas operative in 2014.

      Hebron is a violent place, a Hamas stronghold from which terrorist attacks are planned and carried out. In June Hamas and its operatives carried out the killing of three Jewish teenagers. the operation was funded out of Gaza.

      Jewish communities did not give in to Arab violence in 1948, 1967, during the second Intifada or in 2014. Jews in Hebron will not disappears because it is their home.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        If you go to Breaking the Silence you can easily find testimonies from IDF soldiers about what goes on there – the Palestinians in Hebron need protection from the Israelis, not vice versa.

        All the stuff about King Judah is utter, irrelevant nonsense.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          David Ben Gurion did not think Israel’s history was unimportant:

          “However, don’t forget: the beginnings of Israel’s greatest king were in Hebron, the city to which came the first Hebrew about eight hundred years before King David, and we will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish community, constantly growing and expanding, very soon. This will also be a blessing to the Arab neighbors. Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem’s sister.”

          David Ben Gurion
          Sdeh Boker
          18 Shvat 5730

          As for breaking the silence, they have been shown to be liars time and time again. Amos Harel in left wing Haaretz said of the ngo:

          “Breaking the Silence…has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.”

          The NGO was active in promoting charges against Israel after the Gaza fighting in January 2009. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay testimonies of people who never witnessed what they reported.

          NGO Monitor notes:

          “BtS makes sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous, and unverifiable accounts of low-level soldiers. These “testimonies” lack context, are politically biased, and erase the complicated reality in the West Bank. In addition, they reflect a distorted interpretation of the conflict in order to advance the political agenda of BtS activists, thereby fueling the international demonization campaign against Israel. (For a detailed analysis of this dimension, see “Breaking What Silence? A Critical Reading of Allegations from ‘Breaking the Silence,'” NGO Monitor Report, February 1, 2011).

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Sorry, it’s the “low level soldiers” who know what’s really going on. Their testimonies don’t lack “context,” they lack the layer of obfuscation and deceit that you call “context” and “balance.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            “Should we be unable to find a way to honest cooperation and honest pacts with the Arabs, then we have learned absolutely nothing during our 2,000 years of suffering and deserve all that will come to us,” he wrote, adding, “Should the Jews not learn to live in peace with the Arabs, the struggle against them will follow them for decades in the future.”

            –Albert Einstein, letter to Chaim Weizmann, 1929

            “I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain – especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state,” he wrote. “The two great Semitic peoples have a great common future … The attitude we adopt toward the Arab minority will provide the real test of our moral standards as a people. A just solution of this problem and one worthy of both nations is an end no less important and no less worthy of our efforts than the promotion of the work of construction itself.”

            –Albert Einstein, letter to his friend Ezriel Carlebach

            From Gili Izikovich, Haaretz, 03.02.15:
            Einstein defined himself as a Zionist, but criticized different Zionists and a different Zionism, and signed a petition against Menachem Begin, which was made public in the U.S. when he visited there, called him a fascist and described the Herut party as the most worrisome phenomenon of the time.

            Reply to Comment
      • Mike Panzone

        Most of the Jews who want to live in Hebron actually never lived or had property there. They feel entitled because of ancestors who once lived there. On the other hand, There are Arab refugees still living who themselves actually did live in Israel and who want to return to their homes and yet they are prevented from doing so. It seems the greater injustice today is to those current Arab refugees, and not to the newly arrived settler Jews in Hebron.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          President Rivlin is one Jew whose grandparents lived and owned property in Hebron before the community was destroyed in 1929. Like other Jews he feels Jews have a right to live in Hebron as they have been doing so for over 3500 years.

          Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        “I often wondered why some Jews want to live in Hebron. The simple answer is that it is their home. The problem is not with Jews wanting to live there, but in Arab rejectionism and violence against Jews who live and wish to live there.” The Wikipedia entry on Hebron describes the deep significance of the city to Moslems and Christians as well as Jews, as well as its long history of rule by Canaanites, Hittites, Idumeans, Crusaders, Ayubbids, Mamluks, Ottomans etc etc. It also says: “It is the largest city in the West Bank, … and home to approximately 250,000 Palestinians, and between 500 and 850 Jewish settlers concentrated in Otniel settlement and around the old quarter. The city is divided into two sectors: H1, controlled by the Palestinian Authority and H2, roughly 20% of the city, administered by Israel”. Perhaps the local hostility to Jewish settlers can be accounted for by 20% of the city including its central business area being controlled by a foreign army for the benefit of settlers (who have some small historic connection with the city but have returned in the last few decades) who comprise a fraction of 1% of the population.

        Doubtless you will argue that though this small alien minority is recently arrived, a small alien minority has lived and worshiped in the city for centuries. That presence would not have been possible had there not been long periods of tolerance extended to the visitors (e.g. Saladdin inviting Jews to return after his victory over the Crusaders, Arabs renting property to the visitors etc.) Yes, there have been bouts of hostility, most notably the 1929 massacre, but the escalation was caused by the incomers not just wishing to make their homes there but wanting to create a Jewish state in an Arab land.

        Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          I presented a very simple argument (1) a major cause of settler unpopularity is the devastation brought to a large swathe of the city by the presence of a relatively minute group; (2) Palestinians objected not to Jews making their homes in the land but to the attempt to create an exclusivist state. If you can interprete this as “another convoluted, internally inconsistent, scurrilous screed from a pyschotic turd” then we must feel very sorry both for your powers of comprehension and for your state of sanity. Please note I said the exact opposite of that Hebron should be “judenrein” – religious Jews wishing to make their homes in Hebron and live in harmony with the local people has really never been a problem – it is the intention to displace the local population to create an autonomous enclave, either in Hebron alone or the entire West Bank that is clearly a problem. Hebron does not lie at the heart of Judaism – it may have been associated with the founding fathers, and revered for that reason, as it is also revered by Christians and Moslems, but Judaism long ago matured into an advanced religion that has a universal nature, and a universal God, who is no longer confined to ancestral sanctuaries nor to a box about the size of a rabbit hutch. You repeatedly liken me to Duke and Icke neither of whom I have a minute’s time for – the one a racist, supremacist, homophobic right-winger, and the other an unhinged New-Age spiritualist and multiple conspiracy theorist who argues that the world has been taken over by a reptilian elite from outer space. If your comment was a homework assignment and I was the teacher, I would have said it would be better had your dog eaten it, and please don’t insult me by handing in such ill-considered pap again. But then you seem to be a habitual and serial flunker.

          Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Icat I’m well-enough read on the history of Hebron to have previously encountered the piece you cite from the Jewish Virtual library, and I agree this site can often be of value in one’s research. I’ll make two comments on the content – (1) it presents as fact that King David ruled at Hebron for seven years. Now cautious scholarship would have qualified that by saying “according to the Hebrew bible”, and would have admitted that apart from the Bible, written centuries later by religious ideologues, there is scant, even non-existent corroborating evidence from archaeology or from the copious Egyptian and other archives for the existence of David and the United Monarchy. Cautious scholarship concedes that many of the “facts” in the Bible are impossible (e.g. the wealth of Solomon, the number of beasts slaughtered at the temple, the dimensions of the Ark etc, etc) or are anachronisms (e.g the presence of camels and a spice trade at the time of Abraham and most of the Joshua story including the Walls of Jericho coming tumbling down). (2) The Bible is not without its internal contradictions – e.g. Abraham was given the whole land by God, but nevertheless he had to purchase the Cave of Mechpalah, as also the temple site had to be purchased. The conclusion then of most scholars is that the Bible should in no way be treated literally – its great stories (creation, Noah’s Ark, the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, the entire Exodus story, the conquest of Canaan, the rise of the Monarchy) are simply stories, inspiring metaphors perhaps, but simply stories. The problem with the fundamentalists (I hesitate to state that some of them are clearly from New York and very recent arrivals) is that they can go around expelling people from their homes and simply chanting “this is Mine – God gave it to me”.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          For your information, I did not graduate from the university of Wikipedia. I have a good honours degree from a very respected university – please tell us what are your qualifications? It was instilled in me during my academic education and my own post-university scholarship that one should never make assertions which might appear contentious without citing a source – something that I notice you NEVER do. Wikipedia is not an academically respected or primary source, I will readily concede, but it is very high on any Google search, and what is says on every subject often represents a very good consensus, because of its very high internal standards for editors, its immensely dedicated contributors, and also, on the subject of Palestine/Israel the close attention to its content that Zionists pay. Thus my experience is that what Wikipedia says is a very reasonable consensus between liberal supporters of Palestine and Israel and also of those who have no axe to grind in the matter but are only concerned with truth. Before you make snide comments about Wikipedia (as if you possibly would) perhaps you might like to offer your own reflections on using Wikipedia to further your own research and knowledge of the subject (please don’t tell be that you only read and relay information from hasbara sites – or even worse that you have never once researched anything before you offer your OPINION on the matter).

          Reply to Comment
      • raquel

        Pedro you are crazy and delusional. I am a sephardi and I have seen with my very eyes settlers attacking palestinian kids in hebron. A bunch of violent awful people who force the palestinians to live like animals constantly checked by the army (most of those soldiers are pretty mad and violent too, by the way).

        Reply to Comment
    5. Mikesailor

      Why would anyone think that Rivlin was a progressive? Or humanist for that matter? He is a right-wing Zionist who, for international diplomatic reasons, “talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk”. He is a hypocrite, pure and simple who follows the dictum of “Scratch a “liberal” Zionist and find the racist underneath.” Why would he mention the hardships caused the indigenous Palestinians by the occupation when he is the titular head of the government causing the problem? Would he actually mention the closed shops or the Palestinians who have to climb over roofs to get supplies? How about the Zionists who closed down the streets where the merchants once plied their trade or the Zionists who throw trash etc. at the Palestinians they feel “live too close”? Neither Regurgitated Hairball nor Pedro Pan can excuse such racism therefore they attempt to deflect the argument. Why, according to the refugee from the Island of Lost Souls, Rivlin once had ancestors who lived in Hebron. So what? Do past crimes absolve present criminality? If the Jews want to “reclaim” their homes in Hebron, I have no problem so long as the Palestinians who were expelled from Lod, Haifa and other places inside the ’67 borders are likewise compensated. To claim otherwise is racist crap. The so-called “settlers” in Hebron show no such ownership papers or other colorable legal claims. They are thieves who appropriated land at gunpoint and since have brutalized and humiliated the Palestinians using their private stormtroopers, the IDF, to enforce their “supremacy”. Rivlin is masquerading as a supposed “democrat” but don’t forget he is also the President of an irredeemably racist and brutal “state”.

      Reply to Comment
    6. ICat

      “F*ck”, “sh*t”, “dick” and „Judeonazi“ are all you have in mind and are capable of blurting out? It seems you like “sh*t”, “F*ck” and “Dick” a lot. You posted only one comment and you are already out of words? What a complete dunce you are, Hajja “Irit”! Anyways, “Judeonazi” belongs to the Islamist anti-Israel/anti-Semitic vocabulary. A Jew would know that. That’s what Jihadis/Islamists call Jewish students on campuses! A Jew would neither use that word “Judeonazi” against another Jew especially if he/she doesn’t know him/her (and his/her history), nor so easily, without reverence and for NO GOOD REASON whatsoever throw the word Shoah around in a discussion as you did! I have read your link, but here is the problem: I don’t know why you posted it, what you have in mind and what it is that you want to say but can’t verbalize and express in writing. All I have seen so far from you is either short outbursts of anger or long recitations of “F*ck”, “sh*t”, “dick”, “hurrah” and „Judeonazi“. Are you capable of making arguments with your link, or are you going to keep blurting out “F*ck”, “sh*t”, “hurrah” and “dick”?

      Reply to Comment
      • Irit

        And we know you and your history well.

        Reply to Comment
      • Irit

        Without reverence? Towards you? Are you kidding?

        Reply to Comment
    7. A conscientious objector

      To all:

      It’s become clear that ICat is a destructive element that cannot be engaged on a decent level. A super troll. Irit called him a psychopath. I agree. I think the use he made of ‘Viktor Arajs’ and then the exchange he had with Irit is the last straw. And I think everyone’s just really tired of him and his inane posts clogging up the site. There’s only one solution: I suggest we ALL from here on out absolutely never respond to him.

      Except perhaps, if you feel you must, say only:

      “By mutual agreement, psychopaths are never responded to.”

      Or

      “Irit was right!”

      He may respond with considerable craziness. And a whole lotta lying would seem to be inevitable. Steel yourselves to ignore it. It’s not that hard.

      We can do this. And, together, take back our site.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Bryan

      Well said Irit. I disassociate myself from everything Victor says, and please Icat stop repeating your libels. The Jews born and bred in Palestine and even the more recent immigrants who have settled there have as much right to remain there as do the Palestinians born and bred in the land and their descendants to return to the land from which they were expelled. Hopefully this will soon become a state of all its citizens. If that is not what Icat wants then stop the occupation and the settlement process and make a speedy peace on the basis of the two state solution that has been on offer for almost 50 years based on 1967 borders.

      Reply to Comment
      • C.C. DeVille

        You sickening fraud. Please qualify your statement that there has been a two state solution for nearly 50 years. Because there is Niner

        Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          How about:-
          – UN Resolution 242
          – Rogers Plan 1970 (rejected by Israel)
          – Madrid Conference 1991 (Israel refused to speak to the PLO)
          – Oslo 1993 (Israel failed to follow through on commitments after assassination of Rabin)
          – Hebron Protocol 1997 (Israel not sincere – Netanyahu said “We are using the time interval in the agreement to achieve our goals: to maintain the unity of Jerusalem, to ensure the security depth necessary for the defence of the State, to insist on the right of Jews to settle in their land, and to propose to the Palestinians a suitable arrangement for self-rule but without the sovereign Powers which pose a threat to the State of Israel.”
          – Wye River Memorandum 1998 (Israel carried out only phase 1 withdrawing from 2% of area C rather than agreed 13%)
          – Camp David 2000 (failed largely because Israel determined to retain large settlement blocks)
          – Clinton Parameters and Taba talks 2000-2001 (Barak withdrew from negotiations and then Sharon was elected)
          – Beirut Summit 2002 (Israel refused to enter negotiations since it did not want full withdrawal to 1967 borders or any refugee right of return)
          – 2002 Roadmap for Peace (Israel refused to negotiate with Arafat)
          – 2006-2008 talks (made considerable progress but foundered because Israel refused the Palestinian state territorial contiguity and a capital in East Jerusalem)
          – 2010 talks (failed when Israel introduced new requirement for Palestine to recognise Israel as a Jewish state)
          – 2013-2014 talks (failed according to Martin Indyk because of Israel)
          – 2014 talks (failed when Israel refused to freeze settlement activity or complete prisoner exchange)

          Obviously peace negotiations are complex with a range of issues but it is surely undeniable that had Israel agreed to withdraw to 1967 borders peace would have been reached years ago.

          Reply to Comment
          • C.C. DeVille

            What the bloody hell is wrong with you? You are going to tell me that UN Resolutin 242, the Rogers Plan and Madrid were all legitimate offers of peace that were backed by Arabs and only Israel stood in the way? You never heard of the three no speech? You are a stupid asinine fool. Be gone you ugly piece of sh!t

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I am not sure that such anger and aggression is necessary from you, simply because we have an honest disagreement about historical interpretation. Nor do I say that Israel has been the only obstacle to peace. Sadat went a huge distance in seeking peace with Israel (dieing for his efforts in the end) and expelled Soviet advisers to demonstrate to Washington his readiness to negotiate. Partly it was Kissinger who undermined Rogers partly because he did want a comprehensive Arab peace while the Soviet Union was still backing states involved in the conflict. The Egyptian stance was for a comprehensive peace, that would also include Palestine (possibly selfishly in so far as the Arab world would be critical of a unilateral Israel-Egypt peace as a sell-out of the Arab world). Israel had no intention of negotiating a comprehensive peace and had an overriding aim to detach Egypt (as the only serious military rival) from the Arab coalition. The terms on offer and eventually taken at Camp David were essentially those of the Rogers Plan, but unfortunately required the 1973 War in order to force Israel back to the table.

            Yes I have heard of the Khartoum Resolution of the Arab League but as Avi Shlaim argues this entailed “no formal peace treaty, but not a rejection of peace; no direct negotiations, but not a refusal to talk through third parties; and no de jure recognition of Israel, but acceptance of its existence as a state”. Israeli politicians have been equally keen on establishing three nos for their red-lines e.g Netanyahu “No to 1967 borders, No to Palestinian reconciliation; No to Refugee Right of Return” (see http://www.aaiusa.org/blog/entry/The-Three-Nos-of-Netanyahu/)

            Reply to Comment
    9. Daniel

      @ All

      Conspiracy of “the conscientious objectors” and super dishonesty

      “A Conscientious objector”, I do not agree with you. First I am surprised that you inform us that ICat has been banned. How would you know that? ICat make comments which you can agree with or disagree with. He is good in his own way and bad if you are a “Conscientious Objector”. I read the comment from Irit and ICat. Irit called ICat “Judeonazi”, “fuck”, “shit”, “fuck you” and so on. Unfortunately you have removed the post from Irit where she used those words including “psychopath”. ICat responded in his own way: try to make Irit look stupid. You can either debate ICat or ignore him. How can you do that when “Conscientious Objectors” conspire with +972 to have ICat banned and his posts removed? How can you do that when “Conscientious Objectors” conspire to silence ICat? Are you people going to ban all assertive Israelis who disagree with you? So much for people preaching democracy, dialogue, freedom of speech, etc. to others.

      Reply to Comment
    10. Click here to load previous comments