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.
Discerning Washington Post readers have come to expect a regular menu of Israel-bashing articles from Jerusalem correspondent Janine Zacharia. Not a week goes by without a major Zacharia feature about Israeli shortcomings and blemishes, however spurious, however questionable. And especially questionable in the context of total silence about any failings by Mahmoud Abbas and his Palestinian Authority, of which many very serious ones still await Post coverage.
The latest Zacharia effort to extend her string of anti-Israel pieces, however, deserves special mention because it's a stretch beyond a stretch. She's obviously beginning to run out of saleable material, as attested by a July 30 story that, along with two photos and a map, takes up half a page, with a headline reading: "A Sacred but sullied spot? -- Activists say pollution makes baptism site unsafe."
The lead paragraph explains the headline: "Environmentalists claim that the hallowed spot along the Jordan River where Christians believe John the Baptist baptized Jesus Christ has become too filthy for human use."
She then goes to quote a spokesman for Friends of the Earth Middle East as saying that "unlimited sewages continues to flow both directly and indirectly into the river." And so this group wants Israel to prevent thousands of Christian pilgrims from immersing themselves in that spot of the river.
Having scored her usual hit against Israel, Zacharia only then proceeds to report Israel's denial that the river is actually quite safe and, in any case, Israel is working to make it even safer.
So how unsafe really is the Jordan for Christian pilgrims?
According to Zacharia, a water test last October found bacteria within levels deemed safe by Israeli standards. And Israel has an enviable public health record. But that doesn't satisfy Zacharia. "The result," she adds "would not have met the standard set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is 10 times as stringent."
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!"