Last summer I had the pleasure to host three Texan families in Hebron, including Mike, Vance and Janie, and Larry and Leigh-Ann. Their enthusiasm and support were so tangible that about six months ago I visited them in Amarillo, spending a few days visiting with local residents and speaking to a small group of interested people.
The visit left me with such a positive impression that I decided to make another, more extended trip to Texas, this time beginning in Austin. Hosted by Mike Isley, of TexansforIsrael.com fame and Jim Lewis, I’ve been fortunate to meet a number of local religious and political leaders, including Rabbi Eliezer Langer, Alan Sager, Rande Phillips, Victor Carrillo, Jim Cardle, and Mr. Gil Rodriguez, who requested that I summarize my visit here for Texas Insider readers. I’ll also be speaking in Midland, Odessa, Houston, and Lubbock.
I live in Hebron, the first Jewish city in Israel. This city was home to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob almost 4,000 years ago, and here David founded the Kingdom of Israel some 3,000 years ago. The Caves of Machpela, burial site of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs is located in the center of Hebron, and is the 2nd holiest site to Jews in all the world, second only to Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
Jews lived continuously in Hebron for literally thousands of years until the riots of 1929 left 67 Hebron Jews murdered, and the survivors expelled by the then ruling British. Only following the 1967 Six Day war did Jews return home to the first Jewish city in Israel.
Today Hebron is home to 90 families, well over 300 children and 250 students who study at the local Torah Academy, Yeshivat Shavei Hebron, adding up to about 800 Jews in the city. About 7,500 Jews live in nearby Kiryat Arba, just outside of the city.
My presence in Texas, and next week in Washington, is two-fold: First, and most importantly, is education and awareness. The present international political climate, primarily initiated by the Obama administration, presents Hebron as a ‘palestinian city,’ with no place for any Jewish community. Of course, Hebron is not alone; most of the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria are viewed as ‘obstacles to peace,’ to be emptied of their Jewish population in order to allow creation of a ‘palestinian state,’
It is my goal to explain the importance of Hebron, as the literal roots of the Jewish people and the beginning of all monotheism. How would the United States react to a demand by bin Laden that America relinquish Philadelphia or Boston ‘in the name of peace?!’
In addition, due to the international financial crisis, it is necessary to turn to various populations around the world, and suggest that they become partners with us, helping to maintain a Jewish community in Hebron. The word Hebron, in Hebrew, means both ‘friend’ and ‘bond.’ We think it fitting that different peoples should link together, as ‘friends,’ and assist in keeping such a holy city Jewish, allowing the holy sites to be accessible to any and all wishing to visit them.
I’ve been welcomed in Austin by wonderful home hospitality and an eager willingness to hear about Hebron and Israel today. I invite you to visit us atwww.hebron.com and to be in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 972-52-429-5554 and in the US at 347-725-0325. Of course, anyone visiting Israel, who would like a guided tour of Hebron, should feel free to be in touch with me.
I can conclude by categorically stating how enjoyable it is to be coming from the‘lone-star’ country to the ‘lone-star state’ and thank all who have made my visit so delightful.