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Our Day in Violent Hebron:
Judah & Jerusalem -- What Now?
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February 26, 2010 - Audio, 9.00 MIN
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Welcome to another edition of the Bible in the News - This is Paul Billington in Jerusalem, Israel. Many will know the oft quoted prophecy of Joel 3:1, 2: “For, behold, in those days, and in that time, when I shall bring again the captivity of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and will bring them down into the valley of Jehoshaphat, and will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations, and parted my land.”
Well, as we know the ancient territory of Judah and the city of Jerusalem was brought under Israeli control in 1967, but it has been a source of contention ever since. Many want to divide the city of Jerusalem once again, and they want Israel to get out of Judah, now part of the so-called West Bank. The Government of Israel has said that they are not willing to divide the City of Jerusalem and this past week the Prime Minister of Israel has declared that the Cave of Machpelah in the Judean City of Hebron is part of Israel’s heritage. The news media has told us that this claim to Abraham’s burial site has triggered violent riots in Hebron - so we decided to go and see for ourselves. We saw absolutely no violence at all. We had a pleasant visit to Hebron and spoke with David Wilder who lives there.

Paul: David the Prime Minister of Israel has announced that he is going to make Hebron part of the heritage for Israel, he is to renovate the whole structure up there, the cave of Machpelah and so on, the Arabs say they don’t like this, they’re against that. Can I have your reaction as spokesman for the Jewish community, what are you expecting to happen and are you pleased about this or not pleased... what’s your reaction to it?

David: First of all I think that Netanyahu in deciding to make Hebron part of the heritage of the Jewish people is very admirable. I think now we’re going to have to ask God if he agrees. Actually it should be the other way around. I mean it should have been first on the list, okay because Netanyahu doesn’t have to make Hebron part of the heritage. Hebron is the beginnings of the heritage of the Jewish people and not only the Jewish people but all of monotheism. It all started here with Abraham and therefore it goes without saying that the... all of the heritage of the Jewish people is built upon the pillars and the foundations of Hebron and so I think... I’m very happy that Bibi has recognized this. It took him a little too long I think. He should have recognized it back in 1997 when he gave away 80% of Hebron to the terrorists. And he never should have given it to them of course. But sometimes it takes time. You start in kindergarten and work your way up. It took ten years to get to this. It will take another ten years, eventually...

Paul: We are where we are.

David: He’ll come around. In terms of what’s happening, I think that... people can see the kinds of reactions that are occurring throughout Israel and even around the world and be upset. The truth is I am not upset. I am actually very pleased. Because I much prefer the truth to be on the table, than it should be hidden. Okay, and today we are seeing that people still have not been able to internalize what Israel is and what we are as a people and what our land is and where our holy places are. The other day a man named Mustafa Bargouti was in Hebron, he used to the minister of information for the PA, and I asked him, I had the chutzpah to ask him some questions to which he had the audacity to answer and well actually didn’t because I said who is allowed to pray here, at the tomb of the Patriarchs?  You know is it just Muslims or can anybody pray here. And he refused to answer the question and I asked him the question several times and he finally said, well they won’t let me go to Jerusalem and I can’t go to Yaffo and this... and I said but you know can people pray here and he says well God is open to everybody and people can pray wherever they want. He refused to answer the question. Why did he refuse to answer the question? Because the Muslims believe that, that is a site that belongs to them and them alone, as they do about the Temple Mount and as they do believe about the whole state of Israel. But he understands to say that on film, and I was filming it,  politically wouldn’t do him any good. So he just figured out how, you know, to weasel out of answering the question. And basically we heard the same thing this morning on the radio, when an interviewer was speaking about the threats now of another intifada and people being killed throughout Israel because of... and the headline in one of the Israeli internet papers this morning says, “Because of Ma’arat Ha’Machpelah, there are going to be terrorist attacks throughout Israel.” Which is absurd! But people now should understand, and as the Arab said, he said, “Look it’s a mosque, the Jews are taking our mosque.” Okay, and this is what Bargouti said, “You’re occupiers.”  You shouldn’t be here at all. In other words we shouldn’t have access to Ma’arat Ha’Machpelah, we shouldn’t have access to the Temple Mount, we shouldn’t be here. It’s all their’s and people have to understand that this is what they mean. Not just what they say, they mean it and by threatening intifadas and violence and continued killings, I think that people have to realize what exactly is happening here and I... my personal reaction is... if I have time I’m planning on writing it... is that I think now is the time for Israel to declare - if not on all Judea and Samaria, which of course would be optimal - but on places like Rachel’s tomb and Joseph’s tomb and Ma’arat Ha’Machpelah - the tomb of the patriarchs in Hebron and other places, they should declare Israeli sovereignty over these places.

Paul: Do you think that the Israeli government has the strength of will to stand by the declaration that they’ve just made?

David: I think that... that’s a good question... I don’t think Netanyahu will have any choice. He is not going to be able to back track now because he understands that back tracking... he is going to open up the Pandora’s box that he won’t be able to ever shut again. Because he also understands... look even one of the leaders of Peace Now - and this was in the Jerusalem Post, I believe on Friday - said that you couldn’t say that Ma’arat Ha’Machpelah - tomb of the Patriarchs shouldn’t be on the heritage list. She said: “The Jews should be able to pray here in a Palestinian state.” Okay, but to say that it is not part of the Jewish heritage, even she couldn’t say that. Okay, and Netanyahu today is not going to be able to retract and say, “Well you know, so we’ll make two lists and you know we’ll do this and that.” But I...

Paul: So he is going to have to back it up really?

David: Well at least in words. What he will do! Whether they will actually give money, I mean because we’ve been waiting for years... a place like tomb of the patriarchs should be a national site.

Paul: But there was a sum mentioned.

David: And it should be financed... the financial necessities of up keeping a place like this, a site that is so holy and so ancient, there is tremendous upkeep that is necessary.

It would seem to us, after visiting Hebron, that there is a media campaign designed to enflame the situation in order to bring the situation into the headlines. Photographs are staged in order to create the required impression. This of course is designed to bring world opinion and pressure against Israel - as Joel had prophesied. “I will also gather all nations against them.”

But the prophecy is speaking about these areas being restored from captivity. We would expect developments to establish that return to Judah and Jerusalem, and as it does so work to gather all nations to face the justice of God for He says I “will plead with them there for my people and for my heritage Israel.” This of course is Armageddon. It all means that the final controversy over God’s Land is approaching - that time when He will establish the Kingdom under the rule of Jesus Christ, the King of Israel.

Join us again next week God willing, on

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