Thursday, August 5, 2010

Should Birthright Visit Hebron? האם מוצדק ביקור "תגלית" לחברון

What interests me most about the article headlined thusly is how the reporter skirts around the ideological aspect of the question, dealing solely with the (red herring of) the security aspect. This implies that the only considerations to be taken into account when planning the Birthright itinerary are those of security, as opposed to considerations of showing a balanced picture of Israel to visitors, say, or considerations of identification-by-omission with the settlers (whom, to be fair, the reporter described as some of the most militant).

Truth be told, I agree with Daniel Guttman: The Tomb of the Patriarchs is our roots, is our story, and it is legitimate to take Jewish visitors there. However, Guttman and associates conveniently left out the other side of the equation: He refrains from then asking, “Has this site become a locus of cult worship? Is keeping it in Jewish hands worth strife, bloodshed, keeping another people subjugated? Worth an entire generation living under occupation that breeds hatred? Is it worth being here at any price?”

What I wish the reporter had reported was the presumed ensuing dialog between the Birthrighters and Guttman. I hope I’m not naïve in assuming that at least one of the former — if not more — voiced the above-mentioned questions. Now a clip of that conversation would send me straight over to YouTube. If anyone reading this knows of such a clip, do let us know.


  1. I have a nephew and niece who have each participated in Birthright. My niece enjoyed the experience, my nephew wasn't so excited (he was with older students and felt the trip was too regimented and not sufficiently fun). Neither was taken through the West Bank and other occupied areas. Both were aware that there was a propaganda element to the trip, and remarked on it to me. Young people are often astute about agendas.

    I strongly feel it is dangerousto take young Diaspora Jews on a ("fun" and free) Birthright trip to a city deep in the West Bank, overwhelmingly Arab in makeup with a small Jewish settler group that is hated by their Arab neighbors; the scene (I believe) of an infamous mass murder of Moslems praying at their section of the Tomb of the Patriarchs by one of the militant settlers; and that is not likely to remain in Israeli hands over the long run. This is playing with fire. I agree with the American Birthright rep who opposes this.

  2. OK, I am not going to agree with you this time:
    The idea that freedom of worship is taken for granted for one side (=the Muslims), both here and in the Temple Mount, while the other party (by chance also the sovereign for the past 43 years) - should apologize for the desire to worship there - is simply un-heard of!

    The 1949 ceasefire agreements b/w Israel and Jordan stated clearly that Jews will have free access to the Kotel. Needless to say that for the next 18 years no Jew set a foot near the Western Wall. Lammah? Kacha!

    The biggest mistake we made (personally done by the idiotic move of Moshe Dayyan) was to grant the Waqf the responsibility for the Temple Mount area in June 1967. Instead,we should have said:
    "You are all welcome to come worship, but we are in charge". Look what's going on now in Temple Mount and its vicinity, the destruction of antiquities by barbarian Muslims under the umbrella of the Waqf, and so on.

    Same applies to Machpelah:
    All religions can worship there in peace. If needed, time and space should be divided b/w worshippers to avoid violent friction.

    But it should be a Jewish site as much as it is a Muslim site. If the Muslims cause troubles - they should be prevented from coming in.

    I have to disclose that I am not a great fan of neiher the Kotel nor Machpelah, but for those Jews who do - I fully support our rights on this land.

  3. Anonymous (first of all, why anonymous, if you believe you're in the right?), I agree that the fact that Jews can't go to the Temple Mount is *fakakhta*, and I blame it the warped acrobatics we call "logic" with which we've deluded ourselves ever since 1967. See my post titled "Too Busy to Run Our Own Occupation" And now I read that Jews aren't allowed into the villages off Rte. 143? What happened? I thought we were sovereign here. Do you not see how f-cked up that is? Sorry to be crude, but I just can't think of any other way to put it.