Mr. Obama, Hebron is an eternal home for Jews
Eighty years after a massacre of Jews here and despite ongoing Arab threats, we yearn for peace. But will Obama's pressure on settlements force us to leave?
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The only reason that the Caves of Machpela are still accessible to Jews is because there is a permanent Jewish presence in the city. The disappearance of the Jewish community of Hebron would be tantamount to abandoning the founders of our people. Would any American dream of abandoning Philadelphia, Boston, or Mount Vernon to the Taliban or Al Qaeda, "in the name of peace"? Today, I proudly live in Hebron, along with hundreds of other Jews. Despite media reports, our goal is not to expel the Arabs living here. Anyone of any race or religion should be able to live in Hebron.Skip to next paragraph
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However, we demand that our Arab neighbors accept the fact that the Jews have an eternal, legitimate right to live in the first Jewish city in the land of Israel. This is our goal: to live normal lives, just as anyone else, anywhere in Israel. Our goal is to ensure that our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will be able to live in Hebron. Our goal is to make sure that all Jews will have access to the caves, that Jews will never again be told that this holy site is off limits. Eviction from Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel, would be tantamount to acquiescence that can only be defined as a reward for terrorism, continuing in the footsteps of el-Husseini.
In 2000, then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak wrote a letter to Hebron's Jewish community, declaring: "The right of Jews to live tranquilly in the city of the Forefathers securely, protected from all danger, is not disputed. The test of the renewed Hebron Jewish community, which is the same test of the Arab majority, is the ability to develop good neighborly relationships."
Hebron's Jewish community could not agree more with this statement. The time has come for our Arab neighbors to stop shooting at us, to stop trying to kill us for no other reason than we are Jews living in Hebron. Perhaps they believe that by killing us, or by attempting to, they will scare us away. They could not be further from the truth, because Hebron is the heart of the Jewish people, the lifeblood from which the Jewish people derives its sanctity. This is a simple truth that everyone should not only understand, but also accept. We truly hope and pray for the day when true peace will prevail, both in Hebron, throughout the land of Israel, and all over the world.
Eighty years later, Hebron's Jewish community symbolizes the eternity of the Jewish people in the land of Israel and a clear victory over Arab terror. In Hebron, the Jews have returned home.
David Wilder is the spokesman for the Jewish Community of Hebron.