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.
It is fair to say that Britons have grown more familiar than they'd like with the real estate habits of ultra-Orthodox Jews in east Jerusalem. Judging by the coverage this hyperactive sectarian element garners in the British press, Israeli settler development is apparently better disposed to determine the course of events in today's Middle East than are the nuclear ambitions of Iran's mullahs, the parliamentary intrigues of Iraqi Shia, or the Turkish prime minister's threat of forced population transfers.
You'd be forgiven for not knowing about that last development-that is, if you're a regular reader of Britain's left-wing press, which has been eerily silent about the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent threat to expel 100,000 Armenians from Turkey. The threat was made in response to U.S. and Swedish resolutions recognizing as a genocide the Ottoman Empire's mass murder of over 1 million Armenians between 1915 and 1923. In an interview with the BBC's Turkish Service on March 17, Erdogan said that in light of international pressure to get his country to face up to the history of its last Islamic caliphate, out of whose ruins the modern Kemalist nation was born, he could turn very angry indeed. "In my country there are 170,000 Armenians; 70,000 of them are citizens," Erdogan said. "We tolerate 100,000 more. So, what am I going to do tomorrow? If necessary I will tell the 100,000: okay, time to go back to your country. Why? They are not my citizens. I am not obliged to keep them in my country."
There are three things to note about this thuggish statement. The first is that Erdogan's demographics are in dispute: a new study conducted last year suggest that only 10,000 Armenians reside in Turkey illegally, half of them having fled after a devastating 1988 earthquake hit Armenia; the other half having slowly trickled over the years as migrant workers seeking respite from the anemic post-Soviet Armenian economy.
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!"