City of Ariel

Posts Tagged ‘intifada’

Jerusalem – Israel’s Indivisible Capital

In Letters on September 18, 2007 at 11:08 am

Dear Friends,

It has been two years now since the “disengagement”, when Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip, gave away all the land and destroyed the lives of thousands of Israelis. This was supposed to be “land for peace”. Instead of peace, however, we got daily Kassam missile attacks.

You may recall that when Ehud Barak was Prime Minister of Israel, he ordered the Israel Defense Forces to withdraw from Southern Lebanon in one night. The Arab world viewed this as a sign of Israeli weakness, just as they viewed our signing of the Oslo Accords on the White House lawn several years before. The late Prime Minister Rabin, Yassar Arafat and our current president, Shimon Peres received Nobel Peace prizes. The Israeli people received tragedy and bloodshed.

What more proof do Israel’s policy makers need? How many more Israelis have to die before they understand that “land for peace” does not work?

President George Bush’s vision for the establishment of a Palestinian State has not been realized. Neither Egypt, when it occupied Gaza, nor Jordan, when it occupied Judea & Samaria, would agree to create a legal Palestinian entity because they knew that a Palestinian land would threaten their own existence. Western leaders, both American and European, do not comprehend that you cannot impose Western norms and values on the Middle East.

There is only one possible solution. Egypt must annex Gaza and Jordan must annex some Arab controlled parts of Judea & Samaria, while the rest is annexed by Israel. Moreover, the Arab world would have to invest heavily in both northern Sinai, Egypt’s territory, to create employment for residents of Gaza and in the Jordanian held parts of Judea and Samaria for the Arabs in those areas. Furthermore, we need an agreement on population exchange to create and ensure defensible borders for Israel.

In 1918, the Balfour Declaration was opposed by the Arabs because they objected to the idea of Jews returning to their Homeland. They responded with an “Intifada” in 1929 and again in Hebron in 1936 and two more times, in 1947 and 1948, before and after the U.N vote on partition. The Arab world opposed our existence then and its attitude has not changed since. Their three conditions in every negotiation since 1949 have remained the same:

1. The establishment of a Palestinian land in all of Judea & Samaria.

2. Jerusalem to be the capital of that land.

3. The Right of Return for Arab “refugees”.

Friends, Israel is approaching its 60th year. It is time for the free world to stand firm with Israel in its existential right for secure and defensible borders. That means it is time for the U.S., Canada and the European countries to move their embassies to our capital city, Jerusalem. It is time for them to accept the fact that Jerusalem will never be an international city. A simple step like this would encourage the Arab nations to come to terms with Israel as a sovereign nation, with its undivided capital in Jerusalem. If I had to choose a single prayer for the New Year, this would be it. Unfortunately, I remain somewhat skeptical because of the ongoing energy crisis and because of the West’s dependence on Arab energy sources.

This 60th year for Israel (and 30th for Ariel) comes in the midst of great potential for change in this region. What the ramifications of those changes will be is hard to predict. Eventually, the US will leave Afghanistan and Iraq. How will that affect the Middle East? What will happen when the leadership of the surrounding Arab countries change? It is clear that in volatile times, Israel can only truly count on itself, the IDF, the Israeli citizens and hopefully, the United States.

As we usher in the New Year, I wish the leaders of Israel the ability to lead this great country to new levels of integrity and morality, the wisdom to guard individual rights and develop all that is good in this nation so that we can say this is truly a wonderful place to live.

And to you, our dear friends around the world, I wish a year of good health and happiness, prosperity and peace and pray that I can count on your continued support.

Shana Tova,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

Advertisements

Plans for Disengagement

In National on September 18, 2004 at 12:22 pm

Dear Friends,

As we celebrate the Jewish New Year, I cannot help but reflect on the past four years, the most difficult period since Ariel was established 26 years ago, in 1978. It was exactly four years ago on the eve or Rosh Hashana that the Palestinian Authority chose to begin its strategic war of terror against the citizens of Israel. During that first night, Palestinian terrorists showed their respect for the Jewish High Holy Days by hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at the cars of 70 Ariel families. 

When I saw the glass imbedded in the faces of young women and heard the cries of Ariel’s children, I promised myself that this would never happen again. On that holiday weekend, with the outbreak of a new and vicious spate of terror, I made several decisions that help maintain the city and its residents during this difficult time. 

It was clear to me that his was not simply a new “intifada” or uprising, as the media then stated, but that the Palestinian leadership had embarked on a deliberate and strategic campaign of murder, where women and children and our elderly would not be collateral damage but targets. This was a concerted effort to demoralize the Israeli population by attacking the heart of Israeli society, young and old, soldier and civilian. 

We must remember that this violence was a direct reaction to Camp David II. Though Prime Minister Ehud Barak and President Bill Clinton offered Arafat unprecedented concessions, he chose terror rather than peace. Though the city of Ariel and adjacent communities have always been part of a broad national consensus, it was in their offer, that it became public that Ariel would not be among the concessions. 

Since then, I have worked with one foal in mind – to reinforce that fact and make it irreversible. The first step was to ensure the completion of Route #5, the Tel Aviv – Ariel highway, so that it would bypass Arab villages. With four lanes and fully lighted, this highway gives the residents of Ariel and the neighboring communities a greater sense of security. Often, when I am in the States, I joke that this is our I-5 freeway. 

In addition, to strengthen the community, I initiated a Sports & Recreation Complex which would serve the residents of Ariel as a hub of social activity, where we could provide sports, recreational and cultural activities. Four years ago, this was a mere dream, but due to the support of our friends, construction has begun, and the Complex is now very much a reality. Scheduled to open in late 2005, this new Sports & Recreation Complex will serve as a community center for residents of Ariel as well as thousands of students of the College of Judea & Samaria. 

Recently, we completed long-term plans for the building and expansion of Ariel. By completing plans to increase the population of the city to 60,000 residents, originally envisioned as a city of close to 100,000, Ariel’s expansion plans have been revised to avoid a possible infringement on Palestinian property. Today, Ariel’s population is nearly 20,000. However, now that the Government has approved the immediate construction and marketing of 3,000 new homes, we can expect Ariel to be home to 30,000 residents before too long. 

Many of you are aware that construction of the security fence around Ariel and adjacent communities has begun. When completed, the fence will provide the city with additional security. Currently, work on the security fence has been halted due to violent Palestinian protests, supported by European anarchists and extreme elements of the Israeli Left. Although this has resulted in the route of the fence undergoing review by the Israeli High Court, I believe that the route around Ariel and the Ariel bloc of communities will not change drastically and that construction will continue very soon. Most importantly, the Israeli government decision to include Ariel in the security fence remains unchanged. 

Israel, the only true democracy in the Middle East, functions on the basis of free and fair elections. As such, the city of Ariel will hold municipal elections on November 2nd, 2004. Recent economic hardships and security issues have influenced my decision to continue standing at the helm of Ariel for another term. I feel that now, more than ever, the leadership of an experienced mayor with connections in Israel and around the world is critical for the city. I hope residents will reaffirm their confidence in my leadership. 

It also appears as if Israel may also hold new elections in the coming year. As a result of the Prime Minister’s plan for unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip, including the evacuation of all Jews from the area, I very much doubt that the Prime Minister will be able to garner the necessary majority in support of this plan in the Parliament (Knesset). Historically, the government has typically required a broad coalition to implement dramatic and unexpected political policies. Therefore, I am far from certain that the Prime Minister will be able to find this coalition for his disengagement plan. 

In my view, if our goal is a comprehensive peace, unilateral disengagement is not the way to proceed. Only comprehensive regional accord will bring true peace. To accomplish this, we must work simultaneously within the following three concentric circles:

–          Internal: Palestinian Authority

–          Bordering Counties

–          External: fundamentalist Islamic regimes. Specially, we need to be concerned with the nuclear capabilities of Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, and Libya. 

Although I am reluctant to become involved in U.S. politics, I would like to note the exceptional loyalty and friendship of the current American administration. Against the hypocritical pressure of the European Union, the American commitment to democracy and its determination to carry out a war against terror has not wavered. 

Finally, I would like to wish all our friends in Israel and around the world a happy and healthy New Year. It is my prayer that his year will see the defeat of terror and herald a period of peace and security. Your support and commitment to Ariel has truly made a difference, particularly during these past years. I hope we can count on your continued support in the coming year. 

Shana Tova U’mevurechet,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

In the Wake of the Persian Gulf War

In International, Letters, National on April 16, 1991 at 11:18 am

Dear Friends, 

The war is over. The mastery of the Coalition forces has resulted in a permanent ceasefire. We cannot, however, measure the extent of the victory, not as long as Saddam Hussein is still in power. We must keep in mind that this is the Middle East. Many Arabs refuse to accept that Iraq has been defeated because Saddam Hussein still leads his country. Had the Americans marched into Baghdad, pulled the cruel Iraqi dictator from his bunker and arrested him for committing heinous war crimes, there would be no doubts about the American victory or about what actions are acceptable, even in war. 

Iraq waged war against the civilian population of Israel, launching missiles against women and children with no regards to age or infirmity. As each attack rocked the country, Israelis entered their sealed rooms. The isolation was terrifying: waiting in sealed rooms for the missiles to hit, as fears of chemical warfare grew – a clear reminder to Israel that poison gas had been used before in an attempt to eradicate the Jewish people. 

Israel has been commended by the world community for not retaliating against Iraq’s vicious attacks, but it is not just the government who has behaved with admirable restraint. The people of Israel were the true heroes of the war. After the first few Scud attacks, I watched the young men and women of my city return to routine, despite the stress of sleepless nights in sealed rooms. I saw the children of Ariel after a night of screaming sirens and broken dreams, walking resolutely into their schools, gas masks in hand. I watched our teenagers come forward to help, eager to do their part in any way the could. I saw the people of my city open their homes and hearts to relatives from Tel Aviv, many of whom would not even visit Ariel during the three years of Intifada. I have watched and felt a new love for these brave young families and a new pride in being their mayor. 

We have regained the respect and affection of the free world during this war, and we are indeed worthy of this solidarity and support. Still, I have no doubt that when the war ends, President Bush will remind us in no uncertain terms that it was U.S. soldiers and weapons that fought Iraq, Coalition forces funded by Coalition governments the defeated Saddam Hussein, eliminating the Iraqi threat. And then he will present us with the bill – an itemized list of concessions we are expected to make. That is when Israel will begin to truly fight for survival, to stop our friends and allies from gouging pieces of our flesh in the name of peace. I wonder if we will still be everyone’s darling then. 

In the last issue of “Shalom Ariel” I stressed three main points. The first was about territory and its importance in times of war, even in this age of missiles. I said then that a ground war would be the decisive factor in the war. In the end, foot soldiers and tanks overrun a country or serve to defend it. This has indeed been the case, for it was the ground offensive that brought about the Iraqi surrender. For five weeks, Allied bombers pounded Baghdad. The United States, England, Saudi Arabia, France… all the great powers did their utmost, but in the end, territory dictated the outcome of the war. Yet there are those who suggest we give away our “territories”. Are we seriously expected to relinquish our little margin of national security?  

In the six weeks of the war, Israel was attacked by 39 scud missiles. Those that hit their mark left devastation in their wake. But what if Israel had given in to world pressure to cede territory? Can you imagine Iraqi soldiers marching through Jordan to join their Palestinian brothers and move against Israel’s eastern border? Add the dangerous potential of such conventional weapons as artillery and tanks, to the destructive capability of missiles, and it becomes clear that Israel would be facing a dangerous and cruel Arab alliance, bent on eradicating the Jewish Homeland. 

I also emphasized how long it took for American to deploy troops in the desert after the invasion of Kuwait. Moreover, seven months elapsed from the Iraqi invasion to the liberation of Kuwait. What if it had been Israel depending upon the world community in time of war? Here on a strip of land only 50 miles wide, we could not wait all that time. The price would be too steep. We could be risking a second Holocaust – this time in the Jewish Homeland.

My third point was that finally, the world saw the true face of the PLO and the Palestinian Arabs. Until the Gulf War, American policy-makers regarded them as moderates, suggesting they would be amenable partners for peace negotiations. The war exposed the truth – that Arafat, the PLO and all their adherents in Judea, Samaria and Gaza sided fully with Saddam Hussein. They are the real enemies of the United States, the enemies of peace. 

The true character of King Hussein of Jordan was also exposed when he allied himself with Iraq and took a firm stand against the U.S. and the western world. Today, he gives lame excuses and makes frail attempts to explain his difficult position, but the world will not be fooled. We can draw our own conclusions, looking to the future, but keeping the lessons of the past in focus. 

Israel proved once again to be the only true Middle Eastern ally of the United States. As such, it is Israel’s security that must be of first and foremost concern. To this end, Israel will continue to seek bridges to peace – a real peace – with sovereign Arab States. Once we have peace agreements with Arab States, then – and only then – can we begin to concern ourselves with the rights and needs of other people. 

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel

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

A Look at the Media

In Letters, National on August 16, 1989 at 11:04 am

Dear Friends,

On Sunday, the 18th of June, 1989, the murdered body of Frederick Rosenfeld, a resident of Ariel, was found near the neighboring Arab village of Salfit. The tragic event has underlined the importance of bringing to light the truth about the intifada. It is no easy task to combat the distortions presented by the world press, for the media’s coverage of the uprising in Israel has been hostile and biased.

The truth is that this uprising can only be called a “De Luxe Intifada”, because while Palestinian Arabs make daily attempts on the lives of Israelis, we are constantly being called upon to exercise restraint. The Arabs are free to throw stones and incendiary bombs, and to carry out acts of terrorism; the army’s hands are tied by defense policy, and we, the law-abiding citizens of Israel, are not allowed to react.

Let there be no doubt. We are in a state of war, a war unlike any other, in which the Arabs, after their previous failures, are once again attempting to eradicate the State of Israel. Similar uprisings in Jordan and Egypt have been instantly quelled, for the leadership in those countries know no limits. But Israel uses kid gloves because we have always been “a light unto the nations”, and because we are fighting another war as well – a media war.

As Mayor of Ariel, l am responsible first and foremost of the safety of the residents of my city. I chose to enact a security measure to prevent terrorists from having access to our children only to be attacked by the world press. Instigated by a sorry group of left-wing Knesset members who will grab at any stick with which to beat the pioneers of Judea and Samaria, they made despicable, obscene allusions to the yellow star worn by Jews in Nazi Germany, comparing it to our identity tags. Not one of these publicity hounds bothered to check with me as to what regulations had actually been implemented, or why. Not one of them bothered to discover that I was acting upon explicit instructions of the Israeli Defense Forces, who are responsible for the security policies in this land of ours. 

Those who oppose us have chosen a well-known weapon. We have seen it used many times in Soviet Russia and more recently in Beijing. They try to portray us as villains, treacherous and prone to violence. Thus, they can justify to the world the acts of aggression perpetrated against us. Even when we are the victims of deadly terror, we are somehow at fault.

We see this clearly in the fact that the hundreds of journalists of the world press, who could hardly wait to place stigma on the people of Ariel for distributing identity tags to temporary workers, were noticeably less visible when the news of the tragic death broke. Frederick Rosenfeld, an American Zionist who made Aliyah and was brutally murdered because he chose to make this home among the modern-day pioneers of Eretz Israel, is not quite so news-worthy.

These biased journalists should be hanging their heads in shame, together with the left-wing politicians and their supporters, all those who spout such phrases as “land for peace” or “greater Israel”, all those who dared to defile the sacred memory of the six million through their perverted comparisons. Anyone even slightly familiar with the mentality of Middle Eastern Arabs knows that, to them, these are signs of Israel’s weakness. Carelessly bandied about, these words signify encouragement and support for the terrorists acts perpetrated against the Jewish people.

The world has been swayed by media catchwords meant to make Israel the Goliath to the Palestinian–Arab David, and our survival is what hangs in the balance. If the choice must be made between approval and survival, we choose survival. 

We must send out a clear and concise message so that there are no false illusions, no misunderstandings. Then let us say to the world – loudly and clearly – there will be no withdrawal. Jerusalem will not be ceded to the P.L.O. Judea and Samaria will not be compromised. After all, Israel remains strong only as long as our borders are secure, and the future of the Jewish people is dependent upon a strong Israel.

Sincerely,

Ron Nachman

Mayor of Ariel