For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
(A LESSON TO ISRAEL'S LEADERSHIP: Shimon the Maccabee - who succeeded Judah and Yonatan the Maccabees - responded to an ultimatum by the Syrian/Greek Emperor Antiochus (Book of Maccabees A, Chapter 15, verse 33): "We have not occupied a foreign land; We have not ruled a foreign land; We have liberated the land of our forefathers from foreign occupation." Thus responded Simon the Maccabee to Emperor Antiochus' ultimatum to end "occupation" of Jaffa, Jerusalem, Gezer, Ekron and Gaza.)
Say good-bye to "natural growth" in the settlements.
No, not because Israel has agreed to the very public US demand to freeze all construction in the settlements, including for natural growth. Rather, because Israeli spokespeople are now making a conscious decision to no longer use that term.
Instead, they are preferring a more neutral-sounding phrase about construction that will allow for "normal life" in the settlements.
The term "natural growth" has been overused in the last few months, and - according to Israeli officials - brings with it a negative connotation of Israel trying to pull the wool over the world's eyes when it comes to the settlements.
Just as the term "Eretz Yisrael" does not just mean the "land of Israel," but is associated with a greater concept and has a deeper meaning than just those two words would suggest, so too - according to the officials - does the term "natural growth" bring to the listener a largely negative concept of Israel playing semantic tricks to increase the settlement population.
It's a loaded term, the officials said, and one loaded with negative connotations.
But, the officials said, construction in the settlements to enable a continuation of "normal life" is void of the negative associations, and simply sounds better.
Also, if Israel eventually agrees to a freeze except for "natural growth," then if anyone moved to a home in a settlement who was not a returning son or daughter, or was not born there, then Israel could be accused of lying, since this type of movement is migration, not natural growth.
However, "normal life" would seem to allow for the occasional family moving across the Green Line, because what is normal life if not some people moving in, and others moving out?
Although no official directive has been given to Israel's spokesman to refrain from using the term "natural growth," it is understood by key spokespeople that "normal life" is now the preferred term. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, sources in his office have pointed out, has refrained from using the term "natural growth" since taking office in late March.
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I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"