City of Ariel

Posts Tagged ‘anti-Semitism’

A Fourth Term

In Ariel City, Letters on September 18, 2000 at 12:28 pm

Dear Friends,

On May, 2000, for the fourth consecutive time, I ran for Mayor of Ariel in the municipal elections. Once again the public overwhelmingly expressed confidence in me and my team, giving us a 77% victory in the mayoral race and 7 of the 11 city council seats. These results are unprecedented for Israel, particularly for a fourth term of office.

Among the many election issues during the campaign, the important work of Friends of Ariel around the world and the amount contributed annually to foster the development of social services and facilities in our city played an important role. These generous gifts to our community, earmarked for projects in areas like education, health and welfare services, immigrant absorption, recreation facilities and religious services, benefit each and every Ariel family.  The voters wanted to ensure that the co-operation between the leadership of our city and these wonderful friends continues.

I want to convey my heartfelt thanks to all of you for your help and good wishes on my election. My victory is your victory, as well, for our goals are one: to further the growth of Ariel by improving the quality of life in the city and in doing so, strengthening Israel, the Jewish Homeland.

The fulfillment of these goals becomes more important with every passing day. Seven years ago, at the time of the first Oslo Accords, I wrote that no Israeli government would be able to reach an agreement on three major issues: 1. the establishment of a Palestinian State in all of Judea, Samaria and Gaza, with Israel returning to its pre-1967 borders; 2. the division of Jerusalem to create a Palestinian capital and 3. the return of million of Arab “refugees”. Moreover, I warned that in attempting to do so, the government of Israel would be embarking upon a collision course. I repeat that warning today.

Peace is not the Palestinian goal. No matter how many concessions Israel makes, the Palestinians will never be satisfied, as long as Israel is a presence in the in the Middle East. To the Arabs, we are the “Infidels” and the so-called “peace process” is simply a way of playing for time.

We made great concessions to reach a peace agreement with Egypt, yet Mubarak has never made a state visit to Israel (he only came for Prime Minister Rabin’s funeral) and there is virtually no Egyptian tourism to Israel. Is this peace? We have given almost all of Gaza and 40% of Judea and Samaria to Arafat and the PLO, something no Arab country has ever done. When Jordan and Egypt controlled these territories, they were never prepared to give up land to establish a Palestinian State. Only Israel has done that and it is still not enough. The Palestinians continue to spill Jewish blood and Israel continues to give in.

The Prime minister and his government were willing to concede the Golan Heights to Syria but that did not bring peace. We must ask ourselves why?

The behavior of this government, its disregard for democracy and administrative norms and its disrespect for the Knesset have gone beyond all acceptable limits. And all this has been done with the excuse that it is to further the “peace process”; in other words, everything is permissible – abandoning moral and ethical codes, damaging Jewish values and Jewish rights – in the name of that media catchword, “peace”.

If a foreign government would do what our government is doing, with the support of US President Clinton, cries of anti-Semitism would be heard around the world. Imagine the American Administration deciding that 1/3 of the Jews of California – America’s West bank – were to be transferred east of the State line. Would this be acceptable? Yet, the Jewish world establishment remains quiet as Jewish rights in their own land are threatened.

It would be easy for us, here in Ariel to do the same. Ariel is not at risk. Ariel is a “consensus” city today, considered non- negotiable by every major political party in Israel. But here are some 80,000 residents of Judea and Samaria whose homes, whose very futures are in danger. It is my responsibility – all of our responsibilities – to act on their behalf.

It is my hope that our American friends will contact their political representatives, Congressmen and Senators, and tell them to stop pressuring Israel. We, Israelis, whose children serve in the Israel Defense Forces, want peace, more than anything but we want a real peace, a peace that comes with security, trade, tourism and cultural exchanges, a peace that will hold for our children and their children.

May this New Year bring Peace to all of Israel and to you and your families a happy, healthy and prosperous year.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

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Absorbing Olim from the East

In Ariel City, Letters, National on April 16, 1990 at 11:10 am

Dear Friends, 

These last few months have truly been a landmark period in Ariel’s development, a time of building, of laying new cornerstones, both literally and figuratively. As we enter 1990, we see the opening of a second commercial center for Ariel, a new high technology industrial park, the first stages of construction of two new sports centers and the Ariel Cultural Complex, groundbreaking for a new Torah Center, and the most welcome addition of all, the advent of hundreds of new immigrants from the Soviet Union. 

These are only some of the signs of the strength and optimism of Ariel. We have gone through a difficult two years of “intifada”, and yet Ariel has grown by leaps and bounds. With the change in area commanders, there had been a major decrease in violent activity in this area. Though the brutal murder of Arabs by Arabs continues, incidents involving Jewish settlers or Israeli soldiers have been drastically reduced. Ties between the resident of Ariel and the IDF forces serving in the area have strengthened. In fact, the city and its residents have recently “adopted” the division serving in this area and organized a great number of activities to express their appreciation to the soldiers and to make their service more pleasant.

Moreover, we recognized that Ariel could answer the specific needs of so many families, that we had the facilities and services and most importantly, the human resources, to make newcomers feel welcome in our community. And so we came forward. We did not wait for others to do for us. We initiated. 

Several years ago, we set up an independent Municipal Aliyah & Absorption office so that we could welcome South Africans and South Americans. In essence, we made Aliyah Ariel’s number-one priority. Now, when everyone is merely talking excitedly about the wave of Russian Aliyah, we are ready. We have just opened our sixth ulpan class for the study of the Hebrew language. We set up a network of volunteers to act as adoptive families and to help these newcomers thought the early and sometimes difficult stages of integration. We opened our hearts and our homes to our brothers from the Soviet Union. 

This has been no easy accomplishment. We have no official absorption center in Ariel, nor do we receive any assistance from either the Jewish Agency or the Jewish Federations. We are, in fact, the victims of a political boycott. This will not stop us. We have prepared the groundwork for the most successful, efficient and warmest kind of absorption of these new immigrants, and we are confident that not only will they benefit from all that we have to offer, but that our community will be enriched by their presence. 

There are some hard, cold facts that simply cannot be ignored. We are facing one of the most serious sequences of events in the history of the Jewish people – a danger to the very existence of the Jews of Eastern Europe. The stories of anti-Semitism that we have been hearing from recent arrivals from the Soviet Union are truly frightening. Glasnost and Perestroika have, among other things, brought to the Russians the freedom to express their hatred of Jews. It is time for every for every one of us, both here and abroad, to put aside his political biases. We must not allow internal conflict to distract us from this most vital of all missions. First and foremost, we must ensure the speedy release of every Soviet Jew who wishes to come home. And then, we must facilitate their resettlement in those places that are best equipped to absorb them. 

This task does not rest with Ariel alone. It is a responsibility shared with Jews everywhere. Now is the time for industrialists from every country around the world to open branches of their businesses in those cities that are absorbing Russian Jewry, so that more places of employment are created. Now is the time to stretch our budgets to their very limits to ensure the successful integration of the Soviet immigrants. Ariel has undertaken the construction of 1,000 additional homes for our brethren from the Soviet Union, and we are counting on your assistance and support. 

This final decade of the 20th century brings to Ariel – in fact, to all of us – new tasks and new objectives. If we meet these challenges with courage and efficiency, if we explore new ways to make this new wave of immigration a path way to the fulfillment of the Zionist dream, then we will not only have succeeded in persuading the leaders of Eastern Europe to “Let My People Go”, but we will have truly brought them home. 

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor