UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Friday, January 17 2014:
**It has been another violent day in Judea and Samaria with Israeli motorists having their cars firebombed with Molotov cocktails and smashed with “rocks”. There have been at least 20 such incidents since 8 am this morning.
At the same time, there have been attacks on Israeli soldiers in Hebron and attempts to breach the fence in Gaza. Three Palestinians have been shot and wounded.
More than this, there is an unofficial report of a Hamas missile strike against Ashdod this morning with Iron Dome intercepts. The mayor of Ashdod closed all “unprotected” (read “without a bomb shelter) schools in the city today.
**Israel has erupted in protests this today with banners being hung by young people at traffic intersections all over the country.
The banners read that Israel should stop giving away land and that we have already entered an era of Oslo 3.
**According to statistics released by the Jewish Agency yesterday, immigration (aliya) to Israel slightly increased in 2013 with 19,200 Jews immigrating to the country. The largest group of immigrants was from the countries of the former Soviet Union which produced 7520 immigrants. The largest percentage increase in immigrants was from France where increasing anti-Semitism caused 3120 Jews to immigrate to Israel–compared to 1,916 the year before.
**FM Lieberman summoned the ambassadors of Britain, France, Italy and Spain to the Foreign Ministry yesterday in response to the summoning of the Israeli ambassadors in those countries the day before to express European “anger and concern” at Israel’s plans to build 1400 new residential units in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria–and because of Israel’s attacks on Gaza to try to stop the rocket fire of the last few days (can you believe that Israel has to defend defending itself?).
As Lieberman said: “It’s time to stop the hypocrisy . . . it’s time to inject some fairness and balance to this discussion because this imbalance and bias against Israel does not promote peace.”
As you may or may not know, yesterday was Tu Bishvat–a minor Jewish holiday celebrating trees. In some quarters, it is known as the “New Year of the Trees”. It is customary to eat lots of fruits and nuts on the holiday, and to plant a tree.
The events at Ramat Migron yesterday provided an unusual perspective on this holiday. Ramat Migron is a fledgling Jewish community that has been destroyed time and time again by Israeli security forces.
The blog today will be in the form of pictures from the site.
Let’s begin with the sign that designates Ramat Migron:
The beginning of the newest attempt to rebuild a community there:
And who are the members of this tiny community–the “evil settlers” so despised by the international media?
These 14 boys:
And these 11 girls who decided to plant a tree yesterday:
The tree was planted:
But not without some visitors. Had they been ordered there to protect the young women and men or had they been ordered to uproot the tree and demolish the hut?
The good news is that as the moon came up, the tree and the hut were still there. We’ll check back tomorrow and see if that is still the case.