Israel Resource Review 15th September, 1998

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The Security Situation Today
by Mordecai Sones

1) The Arabs in Judea and Samaria have for months been performing training exercises aimed at attacking the Jewish communities. I and others in the area have been trying desperately to bring this state of affairs to the government's attention. Two weeks ago, I went with the secretary of my community to the Knesset to inform certain members of Knesset of these ominous circumstances. We were shocked when the head of the Knesset Foreign Relations and Security Committee MK Uzi Landau told us that according to the Shabak (General Security Service) heads, there is no Arab shooting going on in Judea and Samaria. I was utterly taken aback, and exclaimed that even my three-year-old daughter knows that there are explosions and shooting going on every night - how is it possible that the heads of the GSS aren't aware of it? Only a few days later did I receive reports from reservists finishing their month in the army radio room (which acts as a liaison between civilians and army) that they received hundreds of reports every night from the Jewish communities of the constant Arab shooting and of the drastic increase in Arab attacks on the roads. The exasperating answer we get from the authorities is that the situation is under control - and we understand the message: "Please don't ask us to do anything more."

2) In Ramallah alone, a half-hour from here (20 minutes from Jerusalem), there are tens of thousands of Palestinian "police, " though it is simply impossible to get an accurate number. Reports issued from the Prime Minister's office in late September 1996 suggest that the PA security forces exceeded 50, 000 men. I have found opinions which state that there are currently 63, 000. Most of the professional PLO terror organizations from Lebanon, Tunis, Algeria, and Kuwait have moved here. Compounding this problem, the Arab civilians in every single Arab settlement have weapons and have trained extensively with them, making them the de facto counterparts of Israeli army reservists. This makes any attempt to ascertain the correct number and deployment of Palestinian "police" absolutely meaningless. As far as we are concerned, an armed, trained Arab, attacking our community - whether on the PA payroll or not - is a soldier who is prepared to kill Jews. Each Jewish community will face an onslaught of at least 2-3, 000 armed Arabs. Why are we not opening our eyes?

3) The Israeli army will not "arrive" to protect our communities as everyone assumes. I did my yearly army service here a few months ago, and upon hearing the briefing of my commanding Brig. General, I couldn't believe my ears. While military and intelligence services predict war next year, the Israeli army is going to leave vast areas of Yesha to the local reservists. The Israeli Chief-of-staff just announced this past Sunday that Command's chief mission now is to prepare for the "armed conflict" that is coming. Everyone has been under the impression that Israel has the capability to defend its communities in the event of war. But since that briefing, I have heard on three other occasions from high-up army sources that when the war comes, we reservists in the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria will be on our own to defend ourselves. There isn't a road in Judea and Samaria which will not be closed off by Arab snipers. How will the reservists get to their base? Many of them will probably opt to stay home to protect their families, rather than to commit suicide trying to reach their units. And let us not fool ourselves into thinking that Israel's "leaders" will have the wisdom to pre-empt the situation with a callup of IDF's reserves.

4) Last week I received official word from Colonel H.Z. of Civilian Defence Corps that the Jewish communities will not receive any more weapons than the meagre, almost useless stockpile that already exists and has been in place since before the intifada ("zero chance" was the expression used by this particular Colonel). From my talks with the army and members of Knesset, it is plain to see that no one in the government or army has thought out, not to mention planned to compensate for, the consequences of the new situation created by Oslo. The Jewish communities were not planned or built to withstand such an assault. The security provisions which are now in place address the needs of pre-Oslo reality. The villages are surrounded by simple fences which provide the illusion of security, and a security vehicle makes regular, predictable, and highly visible rounds. The murder at Yitzhar several weeks ago demonstrates how susceptible our communities are to attack.

5) We have enough rifle ammunition in our community to last for a maximum of two hours of shooting. We have much less ammunition than that for our heavy machine guns, which are supposed to be our main defence.

6) We are not trained to face a war situation. The army is using tactical models for preparing the communities which were relevant eight years ago - before there was even a thought that all the communities would face a simultaneous onslaught. The routine training and wargames used until today simulate a scenario in which a small group of terrorists break into a Jewish village and capture a house or public building, take hostages, and start making demands. We will not be facing such a situation anymore; rather, thousands of armed terrorists will assault all the Jewish communities at once, and their aim will not be to take hostages. I mentioned this to one of my commanders who was involved in this exercise, asking why the army doesn't develop a more updated paradigm. He waved his hand and said, "Aw, what you're talking about is a war_"

7) The Jewish communities are not equipped medically for the emergency situation which will result from every Jewish community being attacked simultaneously by the entire surrounding Arab population. I was told by a combat medic here that in the situation we are facing, there will not even be time to treat the injured.

Does Israel's relentless selection of inferior weapons, training, and preparation represent sheer incompetence_or deliberate policy?

As usual, the real issues are being clouded with irrelevancies - namely, rather than protecting and preparing the Jewish communities for the war which is soon coming (according to all opinions), the government has created a disinformation smokescreen of "right-wing Jewish violence" to prevent decisive support for more than 170, 000 Jews who are under imminent threat.

The army has absolutely no way of dealing with a mass simultaneous eruption of armed violence. Rather than distributing adequate weapons, providing training, erecting barricades which can withstand artillery and mortar fire, setting up field hospitals, organizing emergency food and water, or even preparing the nation psychologically for war - the Israeli government continues to ignore the situation (and history), hoping it will go away. The message which is constantly being given in the media and in private meetings with us is that the army has the situation totally under control, and that the IDF is prepared for every eventuality. Well, that just isn't so.

During the Arab riots of Sukkot three years ago, the army was unable to provide security in Yesha when most of the actual sniper shooting was concentrated in just a few points, and the local Arab settler population harassed all of the Jewish communities with rocks and Molotov cocktails. Back then, the IDF took an average of an hour to reach a distress call, because they were so sparsely deployed. Then, the Arabs were not trained and organized for an all-out war against us. Now they are. Then, the Arabs did not yet posses light anti-tank missiles, rocket propelled grenades, or Stinger antiaircraft missiles. Now they do. Within a matter of months we will be facing an all-out effort to physically exterminate the Jewish communities. Faisal Husseini has already declared that there will be a war on or around May 9, 1999. The clock is ticking. Doesn't anyone understand what is happening? People absolutely must wake up.

Those who are interested in helping to publicize this issue are urgently requested to please contact me. The Land of Israel belongs to every single Jew, and it is all of our responsibility to know the truth. And G-d Who keeps alive the remnant of Israel will show His mercy for which we pray. We wait for G-d's help.

The author can be contacted at
Yishuv Nachliel
Phone: (+972-8) 924-0365
Mobile: (+972-5) 284-7195

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Mofaz Sees Armed Conflict in 1999
Arutz-7 News Sunday, 6th September, 1998

Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Sha'ul Mofaz told a closed group of top Central Command officers last week that he sees the Command's chief mission as preparing for the armed conflict that he feels is likely to break out in 1999. Mofaz told the officers that they should prepare for various eventualities, as "the uncertainty surrounding the diplomatic process is an important factor." He said that lines of communication with the PA must remain open, and added that the officers should "exhibit understanding for the needs of the Jewish residents of Yesha, who are living under difficult circumstances, " adding that these must be within the framework of the law.

Comment: Public pressure from among Jewish residents is being felt. It has moved the Israeli government to send up yet another smokescreen forewarning "the uncertainty surrounding the diplomatic process" and counseling "understanding the needs of the Jewish residents." Our "needs" are appropriate training and weapons to defend ourselves, not "understanding." All of a sudden the IDF should "prepare for various eventualities." Why not just say "prepare for war"? Through this deliberate confusing and minimizing of the issue, Mofaz and the Israeli government are revealing Israel's utter vulnerability.

"_adding that these must be within the framework of the law." Mofaz was addressing his top Central Command officers, wasn't he? Was he worried that his officers might take the law into their own hands? What, then, is the meaning of this insinuation, and who was really meant to hear it? This news report is pervaded with disinformation, aimed at soothing the residents of Israel into believing that someone is worried for their security.

The Jewish communities of Judea, Samaria, and Gaza have been abandoned with virtually no weapons, training, community preparation, or even the basic knowledge of what is about to happen. Meanwhile, the Arabs are getting ready, security is getting the rhetoric, and the Jewish people are getting deception, cowardice, and a heavily drugged sleep.

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PA Leader Faisal Huseini: PA Plans War 4th May, 1999
Interview with Faysal Huseini, Leader of al-Fatah
by Kenize Mourad

Paris Le Nouvel Observateur in French 27th August -- 2nd September, 1998

"We are willing to die; for them every death is a tragedy . . ."

[Huseini:] Oslo is dead and buried. The Palestinian youth, especially in the refugee camps, wants to start fighting again, and we are having a great deal of trouble holding them back. Despite everything, we have decided to be patient until the end of the five-year interim period so that nobody can say that it was us who sabotaged the peace process. But on 4 May 1999, we will announce the independence of the Palestinian state. We will forcefully open up our borders with Jordan and Egypt, which are currently controlled by the Israeli army. There will be violent confrontation and death, but this time on both sides. Are the Israelis more numerous and better equipped? Yes, but the superiority of us Palestinians lies in the fact that we are willing to lay down our lives, whereas for them every death is a tragedy that society cannot bear. We have no other solution. But watch out If, yet again, the world lets Israel do what it wants, and if the PLO leadership fails in its last fight, then it will fall because the people will no longer have confidence in it. The only alternative will be Hamas. The fundamentalists are waiting; they are prepared to take power. Where Jerusalem is concerned they are capable of mobilizing Muslims from around the world -- from Iran, Pakistan, and Morocco. There will be popular reactions everywhere; no Middle East government will be secure. The political map of the region will be sent into turmoil, and then Israel will have real reasons to be afraid!

As for the Western capitals, none of them will be safe. Nobody will be able stop the suicide attacks carried out by these young people who have been made desperate by years of sacrifice that have led to nothing. And since in Israel, the Jewish fundamentalists, who are already very powerful, will take power -- that will mean a clash between two versions of fundamentalism. Unless the Palestinian question is resolved, then what we are seeing today is nothing compared to what could happen. Given Israel's means of destruction, as well as those held by several Muslim countries, the entire world will be in danger.

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Al-Barghuthi Says 'Thousands' Trained for Possible Clash
by Hamdan al-Hajj in Ramallah
Amman Al-Dustur in Arabic 19th August, 1998

. . . Al-Barghuthi believes that procedures to establish a Palestinian state have actually begun with the establishment of the first Palestinian Authority in our history. Since the establishment of that authority, he aid, the building of the state has been going on despite some failures and we should not close our eyes to the many successes we have made. We should prepare ourselves to confront any danger, such as a possible Israeli decision to reoccupy the areas of the Palestinian National Authority or destroy the Palestinian Authority itself. We have to prepare ourselves to confront that option on the ground, planned for by the Israeli rulers.

Al-Barghuthi said that the Palestinian people are ready to do what they can to protect their territories and that some preparations are under way to confront such a possibility. We have been able, he said, to train thousands of youths and hold various military training courses for that purpose.

I believe, he said, the whole Arab nation will be put to test toward the Palestinian people's cause next year, wondering if the Arabs can protect the Palestinian state.

He also said that the Palestinians should move at the international level to secure an international support from the EU and the United Nations because such a state, if established under Resolution No. 181, will rely on the international legitimacy; that there is no opportunity for reaching any accord with the Israelis ensuring the minimum rights of the Palestinian people; and that what is going on in this regard is sheer illusion.

He also said I believe that the peace process will further deteriorate if the current Israeli Government does not take a new position. The situation is moving toward explosion, and the Palestinian people will not sit back with folded arms before the Israeli settlement building process and the terrorism of confiscating lands. Rather, they will resist the Israelis in every available way, and any future violence should be blamed on the Israeli Government alone.

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Al-Ahram: Scott Ritter, Jews, Summer Market, Islam
Al-Ahram Weekly, 3rd September -- 9th September, 1998

The 'Mischief Maker'[Scott Ritter] Bows Out
by Special Correspondent

Full Text

It was clear that the Iraqi officials waiting on the tarmac last December were nervous. A 15-man UN weapons inspection team was about to land at the Habanniya military base, some 65 kilometres west of Baghdad, and Scott Ritter, the "mischief maker, " as he was called by the Iraqis, would be at the head of one of the teams.

True to form, instead of heading with the team to the UN's Baghdad headquarters, Ritter steered his convoy, inspectors and their Iraqi minders, to a nearby tourist village where he asked for immediate access to the site. For the Iraqis, the request was not only bizarre but dubious. Habanniya Lake is a tourist site but is also part of President Saddam Hussein's official family resort. The inspectors got in, conducted their cloak-and-dagger search, all the while ignoring Iraqi protests. They found nothing illegal.

The incident explains Iraq's tense relationship with Ritter, who announced this week he was quitting the inspection teams. A former US marine intelligence officer, Ritter charged that United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Security Council and the Clinton administration had stymied the inspectors on "the doorstep of uncovering Iraq's weapons programme."

In scathing criticism of Annan, Ritter accused the UN secretary-general of allowing his office to become a "sounding board for Iraqi grievances, real or imagined." He also singled out the United States for failing to fight for the inspectors' unrestricted access to suspected weapons sites. As for the Security Council, Ritter said it was not maintaining pressure on Iraq.

Iraqi newspapers rejoiced in Ritter's bombshell announcement. They trumpeted his resignation as a triumph and the culmination of efforts to redefine the work of the United Nations Special Commission (UNSCOM), which Baghdad has repeatedly said is dictated by the US. Baghdad had accused Ritter of being a spy for the CIA and an agent for the Israeli intelligence, Mossad. It claimed he was serving American and Israeli interests and was seeking to prolong the economic sanctions against Iraq, which were imposed after its 1990 invasion of Kuwait.

In the wake of Ritter's exit, Iraqi dailies reiterated the spy accusations but this time, they had something to back up their claims: reports in the American media that Ritter's resignation was prompted by an FBI investigation that he had supplied information about UNSCOM to a foreign county, presumably Israel. They said his letter of resignation was "a noisy attempt" to blackmail the United Nations and the Security Council and cover up his Israeli links.

Long before his resignation, Ritter had become persona non grata in Iraq. In September 1997, he was turned away when he tried to inspect a presidential complex on the western bank of the Tigris River in Baghdad. The incident, which gave rise to the term "intrusive inspection, " was repeated in March only a few weeks after Iraq's Deputy Prime Minister Tarek Aziz and Annan signed an agreement to establish new rules for the inspections. Under the 11th-hour accord, which averted probable US military action, Saddam's palaces and homes were to become accessible to UN inspections.

But it was in June, when Ritter tried to launch one of his inspections at a sensitive site in Baghdad, that the tables suddenly turned. Now it was Washington's turn to object. President Bill Clinton's administration had decided that it would no longer support such inspections and would adopt a new, less antagonistic policy towards Iraq. On 4 August, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright reportedly cautioned chief weapons inspector Richard Butler against mounting any surprise visits in Iraq. Indeed, the Washington Post reported that on at least six occasions Albright persuaded Butler to rescind orders for surprise searches in an effort to avoid a confrontation with Baghdad. That left Ritter singing out of tune.

Ritter labelled the policy shift a farce. In his resignation letter he wrote: "What is being propagated by the Security Council today in relation to the work of the Special Commission is such an illusion, one which, in all good faith I cannot and will not be a party to."

Ritter later told an international news agency: "If we continue down this path, there will be a compromise solution. The Special Commission will be compelled to close files prematurely and the result will be that Iraq will be allowed to maintain weapons of mass destruction which they were called upon to get rid of by the Security Council."

Ritter's criticism has thrown the administration on the defensive. "What might the consequences be, in Iraq and around the world, of such appeasement, " wrote the Washington Post in an editorial. "In this century we learnt through hard experience that the only answer to aggression and illegal behaviour is firmness, determination and when necessary action, " it added. Similar articles appeared in other major American newspapers warning the administration against "letting Saddam get away with vitiating" the weapons inspections.

It has been a month since Saddam ordered a suspension of cooperation with UN inspectors. The world is now watching to see what will be America's next move. In the wake of Ritter's blitz, which prompted attacks, especially by hawkish congressmen, on the administration's policy on Iraq, Albright wrote in the New York Times that the United States will stand firm on Iraq "no matter what." What that means remains to be seen. For now, the Iraqi media will continue to delight in Ritter's resignation and savour the moment.

Book Review
by Mahmoud El-Wardani

Full Text

Hekayit Al-Yahoud (The Story of the Jews), Zakaria El-Heggawi. Cairo: The Cultural Palaces Organisation, 1998

Heggawi dedicated his life to the study and collection of folkloric literature from oral or written sources. This book, which first appeared in 1967 and has recently been republished, was intended to be the first volume of an ambitious encyclopedia of Egyptian folklore, one which would document its motifs, recurring themes and so on. But Heggawi died before the project could ever materialise. This book, the putative first volume of an encyclopedia, concerns itself with the representation of the Jew in folk epics and popular sayings from Pharaonic to modern times, stopping at 1948 when, with the establishment of the state of Israel, the popular Egyptian image of the Jew changed radically.

A Sweet and Sour Summer
by Fatemah Farag

"The heat has not been kind to the colourful summer fruit. Fatemah Farag reports on the poor state of the fruit and vendors' dispaior at the wholesale market."

"All the heavy-duty carriers are women."


Fruit, fruit and more fruit is what you will find in stall after stall of a large section of the Al-Obour wholesale market on the eastern outskirts of Cairo. The mundane bananas and oranges of the winter season have been replaced by exotic summer produce, including such delicacies as mangoes and figs.

"The four summer months are our peak season, " said Adel, who has been in the business for the past 30 years. This year, however, everyone complains that one heat wave after another has taken a heavy toll on the luscious fruits and the profits they bring in.

At the unseemly hour of 4.30 am, Al-Obour is well lit and there is tension in the air.

The auction is the climax of the pre-dawn activity. "Every morning, seven days a week, we auction off the fruits of the day. Much of the summer produce, like figs, have to be brought in from farms on a daily basis, and sold immediately to retail dealers and consumers because they cannot be kept in storage, " Adel explains.

Like many of the stall-owners, Adel sells the produce of farmers in return for a commission; hence his name komisyongi. (middle-man). Others sell their own produce, such as Faysal Moftah, who sells 75 different types of mangoes produced on his farms in Ismailia.

Buyers crowding around the crates include street vendors, fruit shop owners and agents for hotels and restaurants. For those who cannot afford the relatively high prices of the merchandise, crates of nearly rotten produce are piled out front. "These are bought by vendors who sell in [poor] neighbourhoods . . ., explains Adel.

But the category of those incapable of buying seems to be expanding. "We do not understand, " complained Moftah. "According to the rules of economics, when supply is low, prices should go up. But this has not been the case at the market this year. Although the mango supply reaching the market is down by 70 per cent, the prices are a third of what they should be."

According to Nasrallah Afifi, who brings figs from Al-Arish to the market, "It seems that people are unable to buy, which means that the wholesale dealer will not get his money back, and so we have to sell for less. If my produce remains, it goes bad and that is a disaster."

Economics is not the only thing which seems to defy conventional orthodoxy at the market. "All the heavy-duty carriers are women, " points out Moftah. Old or young, a woman can balance up to five heavy fruit crates on her head and walk a distance of about one kilometre to the car park many times a day. Aren't men supposed to be stronger and better at such jobs? "Not here, " is the enthusiastic answer. "Here, they [the women] are stronger and faster." He forgot to add that they are probably much cheaper as well.

Nurturing Difference
Reviewed by David Blanks

Islam, Gender and Social Change
edited by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad and John L. Esposito,
New York and Oxford,
Oxford University Press 1998

The editors are members of the Centre for Muslim-Christian Understanding, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.


Throughout the post-colonial Muslim world gender has emerged as a central concern because the family is on the frontier.

It is the frontier. . . but the battle lines have been drawn between public and private space. Gender has been politicised precisely because women represent cultural autonomy. They are, for many, the standard bearers of tradition, the heralds of an indigenous Islamic legitimacy. This holds true across the region and across the political spectrum. Even relatively progressive, nominally secular states, which have adopted large parts of western legal codes, frequently leave family, marriage, and inheritance laws to the authority of Islamic jurisprudence. Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen have ratified the United Nations' Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, but some, Egypt included, have stipulated reservations about article 16 concerning the equality of men and women in matters relating to marriage and the family. According to Nadia Hijab "the fact that family law has developed within an Islamic framework means that Arab women can be equal outside the home but not within it."

Several authors note that the subordination of women serves the patriarchal agenda of secularist and Islamist alike. In an engaging chapter on modern Egypt, Mervat Hatem argues that the secular and Islamist discourses share certain assumptions about gender roles. The secularists, who advocate civil society and civil government, feel that religion should be restricted to the spiritual realm -- but in practice this means the domestic sphere. Although secularists fear that the creation of an Islamic state would put an end to the modern non-religious, non-gendered bases of citizenship; nonetheless, they have abrogated their responsibility for passing and enforcing adequate personal status laws.

Secularists and Islamists likewise share the belief that a woman's place is in the home -- albeit with a crucial difference in their underlying assumptions. Conservatives do not see gender as a final frontier between East and West, tradition and modernity; on the contrary, they would like to see the Islamic framework that is embodied in their understanding of gender extended to the public sphere as well. This does not mean, as Hatem contends, that Islamists are "anti-modern, " as some critics have charged. In fact, she suggests, conservatives share with their ideological opponents some of the most important aspects of the modernist vision. In terms of women and the family, this translates into an insistence on education, science and professional knowledge as the basis of an Islamic upbringing.

Some {chapters} are aimed rather too much at a non-specialist, western audience. Thus for anyone living in or familiar with the Muslim world, Carol J. Riphenburg's chapter on Oman will be disappointing. Culled mostly from secondary analyses and overly dependent upon an uncritical reading of religious texts, the essay comes off as somewhat naive.

{T}he author loses credibility when she asserts that "women in the Gulf area, unlike most parts of the Muslim East, have always received their assured shares of inheritance as designated in the Quran." Similarly, she wrongly remarks that "throughout the Arab world, equal pay for equal work has been a long-standing tradition."

Nadia Hijab, senior human development officer at the United Nations' Development Programme . . . is cautiously optimistic. She is concerned that women are "in the unenviable position of having to choose between rights and respect" but is encouraged that "at last the debate on women's roles is catching up with the reality of women's lives."

Translations by
Dr. Joseph Lerner,
Co-Director IMRA (Independent Media Review & Analysis)
P.O.BOX 982 Kfar Sava
Tel: (+972-9) 760-4719
Fax: (+972-9) 741-1645

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A New Exodus . . . of Traditional Orthodox Jews from Jerusalem? Am I Reading Correctly?
by David Bedein
Media Research Analyst

As I write this article, I have preferred not to use the term "haredi" to describe traditional Orthodox Jews, since the term "haredi" conveys a pejorative meaning that connotes fanaticism and a lack of tolerance. I would not use "haredi" to describe Orthodox Jews any more than I would use the word "cofrim" to describe the general population of Israel, a term that would connote a heretical attitude to Judaism and to Jewish religious observance.

The city of Jerusalem witnesses the exodus of about 16,000 Jews every year, and the immigration to Jerusalem of about the same number. Over the past few years, a slew of politicians have made it a point to warn that a traditional Orthodox Jewish population is replacing a less observant Jewish population that is leaving the city. Among the politicians who have been quoted on this matter of late have been Mayoral candidates Shimon Shitrit, Naomi Chazan and Arnon Yekutiali, along with former Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek. It has become almost an axiom in Israeli politics that traditional Orthodox Jews are entering Jerusalem in droves while less observant Jews are leaving.

Well, this axiom may has little basis in reality. Perhaps the greatest social crisis faced by traditional Orthodox Jews today in Jerusalem remains THEIR emigration from Jerusalem. That emigration from Jerusalem now stands at about 5, 000 a year, and it will grow by leaps and bounds in the near future, as more young Orthodox Jerusalemites get married and begin new families. Why the sudden mass exodus of traditional Orthodox Jews from Jerusalem? Has the term "Next Year in Jerusalem" that will be proclaimed in synagogues after the shofar blows to complete Yom Kippur become antiquated? Has Jerusalem lost its holiness to a population that devoutly prays for Jerusalem's restoration three times a day? Or are there other reasons?

When you visit Orthodox communities in the most traditional of venues, both in Jerusalem and outside of Jerusalem, you find out. In all cases, I have fictionalized the names of the people whom I refer to, out of respect for wishes of confidentiality. After all, what observant Jew would want to go on the record to express his disdain for living in Jerusalem?

Moshe and Chanah live in two adjacent apartments in a crowded building of about forty apartments near Meah Shearim, where they have raised eleven children since they came to live in Israel twenty eight years ago. Seven of their children are now married, and only one is staying on in Jerusalem. The rest of their married children have moved out of Jerusalem to six different cities in Israel. Moshe, who works as a scribe, mentions matter of factly that with limited resources, they could only afford to help one of their children to buy an apartment in Jerusalem, near the family, and that for purely economic reasons that his children were now living and raising their families in diverse places such as Ramat Zvi (near Zichron Yaakov) Beit Shemesh, Tzfat, Kiryat Sefer, Chatzor and Betar. Moshe went on to predict that his other four children, all soon to be of an age to marry, would also probably not live in Jerusalem. And this was the case for the young couples throughout their building. Moshe jokes that the subject most spoken about after every wedding, where the song of "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem" is where the young couple will find an apartment outside of the city - again, for what Moshe and Chanah describe as purely economic reasons. They estimate that among the one hundred or so soon to be married young couples whom they know in their circle in Meah Shearim that maybe ten will remain in Jerusalem. That means a ninety percent emigration from their community in Jerusalem.

In Beit Shemesh, Avraham and Yocheved, a traditional Orthodox couple who have moved there with their three children, note that the transition has not been easy for them. Like Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh is a mixed city that has both observant and non observant Jews living side by side. Even though the neighborhood where Avraham and Yocheved live is exclusively traditionally Orthodox, the three neighborhoods on each side of them are not, and they are getting used to that "with some pain", as Yocheved put it. They had lived in Matesdorf, an isolated neighborhood in Jerusalem, and they had simply not been exposed to many neighbors who did not keep the Sabbath the way that they do.

Yet Yaakov and Esther, residents of Kiryat Sefer, are traditional Orthodox Jews who regret that they left their respective families in Jerusalem and who say that they could no longer enjoy Shabbat walks through the city because of all the shops, coffee houses, cinema and traffic that no frequent the center of Jerusalem. Esther mentions that this is not the way it was when she grew up in the capital twenty five years ago, when there was little traffic and hardly any store open on Shabbat. Yaakov chimes in that a walk through Jerusalem today on the Shabbat is like a carefully navigated horse drawn buggy with horse blinders, so they he and his children would not have to see all the "chilul Shabbat", the breaking of the Sabbath, that now dominates the center of Jerusalem. Who remembers now that it was not until 1988 that cinemas showed movies on Shabbat in Jerusalem, or that only two coffee shops were open in the center of town in the early 1980's. Today, almost all movie theaters operate on Shabbat and more that twenty coffee shops flourish, not to mention discotechues. Yaakov and Esther say with some sarcasm that if the intention of this commerce was to drive them from Jerusalem, it worked. In Kiryat Sefer, where they have lived for five years, Yaakov perks up and mentions that his children have yet to see anyone ever breaking the Sabbath, except, of course, when Yocheved's water broke on Yom Kippur and was rushed in an ambulance to give birth on Mount Scopus last year.

Another isolated traditional Orthodox community which has attracted tens of young couples from Jerusalem is Ramat Tzvi, a self sufficient area that lies about three kilometers north of Zichron Yaakov. Miriam, recently widowed with four children, remarks that she might not have gotten the same "chesed" in one of the larger Orthodox communities in Jerusalem, where she and her late husband had been living. Neither she nor he had come from traditional Orthodox backgrounds, and they had trouble "fitting in" to any particular group in Har Nof, where they had been living. Moving to a community where almost every family was also new to Orthodoxy had its advantages. The town council immediately provided baby-sitting help for Miriam during her husband's illness, and the community has become her children's extended family. "Frankly", says Miriam, "I do not know if a big city would have been so accomodating - especially since we were not part of any traditional Orthodox community before we became observant".

Shaul and Rivka have moved their large family of ten to the Jewish quarter of Tzfat, where they have taken an old home and renovated enough rooms for the children. Shaul mentions that he never minded the mix and the ambiance of Jerusalem, but he says that he had a problem with a three room apartment with the option of putting his children to sleep on the porch, the roof, or in the downstairs shelter. "Tzfat is built on the ruins of Jerusalem" goes the expression, and, while Jerusalem is not quite in ruins, Shaul is pleased to note that new apartments are springing up throughout Tzfat and that they are at least affordable for his kids, if they should find either a Kollel or work in Tzfat in the future. Shaul comes often to Jerusalem, explaining that Jerusalem is close to Tzfat, even if Tzfat is not so close to Jerusalem. Shaul says that "It is a common thing to casually suggest to someone in the streets of Tzfat that they go to dovon Mincha, the afternoon prayers, at the western wall". What's a three and a half hour trip to the Holy City. Yet Shaul says that he never remembers anyone ever coming up to him on the street in Jerusalem and saying, "hey, how about a dip in the Ari's Mikveh in Tzfat this afternoon". Traditional Jews from Tzfat simply frequent Jerusalem more than their traditional counterparts from Jerusalem visit Tzfat.

Only last year, Yizthak and Leah moved from Bayit Vegan to Emmanual, while their children moved to Beit El and to Shilo, all in the Shomron. For what they sold their apartment in Bayit Vegan, they were able to make down payments on three places north of Jerusalem. Leah says that trading the view that they had of Sheerai Tzedek hospital and Mount Herzl for the views that each of their families now have of the hills of Samaria is "quite a change". Another change for them is that while Emanuel is of a traditional Orthodox nature, with no TV's and little education for Zionism per se, Beit El and Shilo represent the epitome of modern Orthodoxy and nationalist Zionism. Leah's children, Pinchas and Devorah, now living in Beit El and Shilo, respond philosophically, saying that they had lived their whole lives side by side with secular neighbors and that now, for the first time, they are meeting a "different kind of Orthodox Jew". Both Pinchas and Leah seem confident that their kids will adjust to the change.

Shlomo and his wife Rivka are both teachers in Talmud Torahs in Jerusalem. They had been living in Makor Baruch with their five children. They now live in Nechalim, and commute every day to Jerusalem. Again, the price of the apartment brought them to leave Jerusalem. Even more interesting, though, is the story of Shlomo's brother Shmuel, who has moved to Bnai Brak to a more expensive flat than the one he had in Geula. Why the move to Bnai Brak? For a Rabbi? No - for business. Shmuel describes a burgeoning high tech world that has expanded into Bnai Brak, with tens of firms that seek out young men with Yeshiva backgrounds and young women with Beis Yaakov backgrounds. The firms set up a system where young men are employed by a business in the neighborhood while the business offers to install a computer in the home and train the wife with computer skills. The firms interact with other high tech companies in near by Tel Aviv. Shmuel remarks that "they have even attached a bassinet and all the necessary arrangements for my wife to breast-feed our newborn at the computer" This Orthodox exodus from Jerusalem also seems to be spilling over to Brooklyn. London and to Antwerp, as parents describe the opportunities that their children are getting from abroad. The sheer amount of travel agents in Meah Shearim that make a business of connecting families between outside of Israel and Jerusalem speaks for itself.

The issue of Orthodox emigration from Jerusalem is very real indeed. My impression is that it is not confined only to Ashkenazic Orthodox Jews of European or American background. The leaders of the burgeoning Shas communities of traditional Sephardic Jews are delivering weekly sermons in which they encourage teachers and Rabbis to move to the periphery of Israel, to places like Chatzor, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat, Yerucham and Dimona. As one Sephardic rabbi put it recently, "we must bring the light of Jerusalem to ignite the whole country with the spirit of Torah". What that means in practical terms is that some of the best and the brightest of Shas also plan to leave Jerusalem in the years to come.

Many Orthodox Jews might as well say "Next Year not in Jerusalem".

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