That fact is disturbing because Galilee is undisputed Israeli land. (Or shall I say that so far the lefties and the Arabs have not come up with a “theory” to dispute its ownership?)
In his introduction Meir Weinstein, JDL-Canada’s Director, that the problem is just a part of what Israel is facing now. With the new events in the Middles East, the anti-Israeli forces are getting more and more active. The hypocrites who call for boycott of Israel never seem to notice the rampant intolerance in the Arab countries. If one looks at the historic sites in Israel, he may notice many Christian and Arab sites, but very few Jewish. That’s because the Jewish heritage has been deliberately destroyed through the centuries. From that point of view, it is important to support Nathan Eisner’s organization in its work to keep Israeli land from being taken over.
Mr. Eisner started his presentation with an enlightening documentary. For centuries, Galilee has been abandoned land of rocky hills and swamps. The Arabs living nearby never had any interest in it. When Mark Twain visited in the late XIX century he made a notice of the depressing landscape.
Things started to change in the early 1900’s when the first Jewish settlers started to arrive. Without any machinery, through hard work they transformed the rocky desert into agricultural land. They dried the swamps and many suffered from malaria while doing that enormous task. Once the dirty work was done, the Arabs started to show up in the area looking for jobs.
With the increase of the Arab population, the problems increased. Showing total disregard for property, they began to build illegal buildings right in the middle of agricultural land. Soon the buildings multiplied to become villages.
A Jewish farmer interviewed in the movie told his story. Few years ago he was shot, later, while driving his truck, he was ambushed by an Arab gang, but miraculously survived. He has to spend daily more time on protecting his land from being taken over than on farming. And he is not the only one. Many other farmers are in the same situation and they simply can’t afford the expenses of being in war-like situation without any support by the government and the army.
Seeing this as a golden opportunity, the Arabs are more than willing to buy them out. And we are talking not just the “poor” villagers. There are many wealthy people from the Gulf states (with which Israel has no diplomatic relations) trying to do that. In at least one case, a Saudi sheikh attempted to buy land in Galilee through a straw man.
It is not hard to guess what the Muslim fanatics are going to do when they acquire large parts of the Israeli land. The situation is not unlike Communist China’s attempts to buy large properties in Japan, while not allowing any foreigners to buy land in China.
That’s the reason why B’Ahavat Yisrael was established. It’s a grassroots movement to keep Israeli land from being taken over. They try to raise enough money to buy the land from the cash-strapped farmers. Then they plan to keep cultivating the land to provide jobs to the local Jewish population, who otherwise would simply abandon Galilee leaving it under Muslim control.
The work done by Nathan Eisner and his organization is admirable. There is no doubt about that. However, it raised a big question, which did not escape the attention of the audience; several people asked it in different forms.
Why did the government allow the situation to deteriorate to such an extent?
If something like that were going on in Europe, it would’ve been considered normal, after all the lefties who control it don’t know any better. But Israel, for over 60 years, has been in a permanent war with an enemy that doesn’t hide its purpose of destroying the country. Every ill-conceived compromise has been exploited mercilessly by the Arabs. Why should the situation in Galilee be any different?
All that is going under the government of Benjamin Netanyahu, the supposed “hard-line hawk”. What could have happened under a Tzipi Livni government? Maybe the farmers would have been evicted for offending the Arabs’ feelings.
Mr. Eisner didn’t have a good answer to those questions. He admitted that it was difficult to explain the situation. The Israeli press is so left-wing that it refuses to cover vital issues. Two years ago, in the area where he lives, an Arab suicide bomber blew himself up in a mall. He killed two teenagers and left a third one paralyzed for life. There was no national press coverage of the event. In a more recent case, an Arab gang tried to attack a group of American tourists near Jerusalem. Two armed Israelis, who happened to be nearby started shooting to protect the Americans. The police arrested them instead of the Arabs. They even took at face value the Arab claim that one of the attackers was killed (as with all such scams, they couldn’t produce body). It took long time for the two would-be-defenders to clear their names.
It’s a sad situation, but we can’t ignore it. Often the noble efforts of a small group of people turn into powerful waves that change societies and governments. That’s why B’Ahavat Yisrael deserves any support it can get.
Here is their contact information, if you want to help them:
Phone in New York: 718-686-7061
Phone in Israel: 04-6750823
Address: Friends of B’Ahavat Yisrael
4809 Avenue N.
PMB #284 Brooklyn, NY, 11234, USA
P.O. Box 247
Poriya Neve-Oved, Israel 15210