19 Tishrei 5778
9 October 2017
The News on the Israeli Street
Heavy rains sock the country . . .
Heavy rains today have caused electrical power outages, floods, and traffic accidents around the country. Rishon LeZion has been without power since mid-morning; rescue workers are on the their way to the Og River where more than 150 people are trapped; your humble servant saw numerous accidents on his way from Jerusalem to Ashdod.
Another day, more missiles from Palestinian terrorists in Gaza . . .
More missiles were fired out of Gaza last night–this time toward the Eshkol Region. Once again the IDF spokesman issued false information. At first, he announced that they were false alarms again, but when hard evidence was produced the story changed.
Then the IDF story was that one missile hit an open space in the Eshkol region; this was subsequently changed to the missile never left Gaza and exploded there. It is simply unbelievable to see how the IDF disseminates false and misleading information continuously.
In any case, the IDF eventually leveled a Hamas observation with tank fire in retaliation.
What was the final story? Residents heard three explosions.
Our Trip Through Samaria Yesterday (Part 1)
The new story is that on Tuesday, with PM Netanyahu and President Trump’s “approval”, Israel’s Civil Administration’s Higher Planning Committee will approve construction of 3,800 new homes in Judea and Samaria.
Aside from homes in the main community blocks, 300 new homes are slated for Beit El, 206 for Tekoa, 158 in Kfar Etzion, 129 in Avnei Hefetz, 102 for Negohot, 97 in Rehelim, and 48 in Ma’ale Mikhmas, and 30 in Hevron.
Is this real or is it fake?
As we have often reported, Netanyahu is a master of deception. Knowing that he has already declared in other venues that there will be no new construction until January at the earliest, and knowing that the Trump Administration has apparently signed off on “planning” new construction, I think that “planning” is the most we can hope for.
But the situation is far brighter than I imagined.
Your humble servant and his wife spent yesterday out deep in Samaria with an amazing group “Christian Friends of Israeli Communities” (CFOIF). This group, which is led by the incredibly energetic, knowledgeable, and Orthodox Jewish woman Sondra Baras, is engaged in numerous projects around Judea and Samaria from building kindergartens to buying security apparatus.
The bottom line of CFOIC is that Judea and Samaria is Israel, and anyone who uses terms like the two-state solution, occupation, settlements, settlers is completely ignorant of the true situation. To CFOIC, the Oslo Accords were a disaster from which we are only now beginning to recover.
Yesterday, we loaded our bus in Jerusalem at 8:15 am with our guide for the first part of the tour, Avital. My wife and I were the only non-Christians and the only Israelis among the 32 people on board. But you would be badly mistaken to call the other 30 people Christian “tourists”. These were people from all over the world (such as the Netherlands, Scotland, England, the United States, the Philippines, and Australia) who had been to Israel on numerous trips (ranging from 10-50), had volunteered in many capacities here, had donated tens of thousands of dollars to various projects, and totally shared the philosophy of CFOIC.
But lest you think that this sensational group had been together before, let me assure you that most of them had never met anyone else on the bus. They had seen the tour promoted online and signed up. During the course of the day, we talked to all of them, and to a person they were a delight.
About the day: we traveled through the heart of Samaria on Road 60 to:
—ancient Shilo to see where the Tabernacle holding the Ark stood before the First Temple was built;
—Itamar where the Fogel family was butchered
—the 3 Seas overlook from which you can see Elon Moreh (where the Oak of Moreh stood and Abraham talked with God), the Mediterranean Sea, Shechem, the Dead Sea, the Jordan Valley, Jordan, and the Kineret (Sea of Galilee)
—Karnei Shomron, a community of some 7000 people where Sondra lives–and where she invited us into her home to sit under her and her husband Ed’s succah and have a lunch feast
—Rehelim, an isolated and vulnerable community near Ariel which has a first class winery, Tura
But back to why the situation in Judea and Samaria is far brighter than I imagined. There are three reasons:
*the sheer passion of the people living there. We have commented on many occasions how we view the Jewish community members in Judea and Samaria as heroes. This visit completely reinforced that idea.
*construction is not as frozen as we are often led to believe. In many communities such as Karnei Shomron, construction of new homes continues apace.
*the unbridled zeal of our Christian friends. What a joy they are–and what a support group they have become.
Tomorrow, I will share some pictures I took on the tour yesterday, but let me say that if you are ever in Israel go out to Samaria and Judea with CFOIC, and if you are looking for a group to donate to, donate to CFOIC.