An Interview with Shlomo Wollins, the Editor of Israel Reporter
The Conflict in the Land of Israel meanwhile the Pope visits Auschwitz.
June 1, 2006 - Audio, 19.00 MIN
(Links at bottom of page to download free viewers.)
This week, the Pope visits Auschwitz and asks why God was silent during the Holocaust; Qassam rockets land in the south of Israel, in Strerot, with a direct hit on a house very close to the defense ministers; Katyusha rockets, shelling and gunfire on the northern border of Israel from Hizbullah; ten months after the expulsion from Gush Katif,111 families are not even living in temporary prefab structures; meanwhile, there are orders from the Israeli government to destroy 12 outpost communities in the West Bank. It's the May 31st edition of the Bible in the News. This week, we are going to discuss some of these questions with the editor of Israelireporter.com.
With us on the Bible in the News is Shlomo Wollins from Israelreporter.com. All the way from Jerusalem, Israel - Shlomo welcome!
How are you doing?
Very good thanks. Shlomo was in Gush Katif during the expulsion last summer, he was in Amona during the destruction of 9 Jewish homes, he witnessed the police violence -- he was in fact injured, he was in Hebron during the marketplace eviction and the Beit Shapira eviction -- bringing us the news in a different kind of way. Shlomo, what brings you to these hotspots and what are you trying to accomplish. I know you are not doing this for power or money, why are you doing this?
Well, essentially, I grew up in America and worked on Wall Street for about 20 years. I was brought up in a secular family and at some point in my life, about 9 years ago, I started returning back to a God-believing consciousness and to return to the faith of my fathers. Along with that, I used to be a Wall Street investment banker and I decided to move my life, 6 years ago, to Israel to be part of what I believe is a very difficult, but a redemption process of the Jewish people in the Land. I had no idea, when I came here 6 years ago, that I would inevitably be involved in the type of travesties and tragedies that I've been involved with. The reason I went to Gush Katif was the simple feeling of brotherly responsibility. When I studied the disengagement plan of Ariel Sharon, and then I saw that there was -- the plan itself was -- horrible politics, but worse than that, they were completely unprepared to put 10,000 people anywhere -- there was nothing prepared for them. So for a place of brotherly responsibility, I couldn't live with myself in my comfortable Jerusalem home, and decided that I had to go stay with them. So on May 10th of last year I moved down and I was with them for 100 days till August 17th, which was the day of the death of Neve Dekalim, which was the major capital of Gush Katif. When I went there, I started a blog to combat what I saw as some very nasty media bias against these wonderful people. These are people who committed no sins, or no crimes, they were just told to move for imminent (?), by meeting them, it changed my life. The other thing that happened, was my website, which was nothing more than a personal blog, started exploding in traffic because there weren't many english speaking American blogsites out of Gush Katif. I started actually interviewing the residents. I understood, Dave, that if I could get everyone in the world to sit down in Gush Katif and meet these people that no one would ever want to touch one hair of their children, but how am I going to get everybody here? So I did a few things, one of which, I started to put video up on my website and interviewing these people and therefore the world could get to meet them. As we all know, it was the will of Ha'Shem ("the name" of God - ed.), unfortunately, that Gush Katif would not be in our hands. People should understand that if you study history that this is the 6th time in 1900 years that the Jews have been kicked out of this, out of the Gaza Strip. We will be back. But we have been kicked out again. The reason that I continued, was because I understood from the traffic on my website and a lot of the thousands of emails that I received that there was a real demand for a God-believing, english-speaking, right-wing, news website and that is what Israel Reporter has become. In the last year we have have had a 1/3 of a million visitors, 8 million hits. I became known as a sort of specialist in this gruesome reporting which is the reporting of the Jewish soldiers and army uprooting, sometimes violently, and destroying their communities, unburying their dead and letting their shuls ("synagogues" - ed.) be burned by our enemies. So I ended up sort of being like a caretaker in a war, or a funeral undertaker in a war-- a very, very vibrant business, but a very difficult business.
When I went to Amona -- it was the day after they evicted the nine families from the Hebron Shuk (marketplace - ed.) -- I had no idea that Amona would turn into what it turned into, so eventually what it became was a colosseum of violence. The fact that a child wasn't killed in Amona was only due to the protection of the Almighty and I am very sad to report that I don't believe we are going to be so lucky in the future confrontation. I do believe, in the saddest sense, I believe we are heading toward a potential loss of life between Jewish soldiers and Jewish residents.
So this doesn't bode well for the future, the Israeli government has actually, recently renewed orders to demolish 12 outpost communities and plans to destroy dozens more. What are these outpost communities like Shlomo?
That's an excellent question and people should understand that these outpost communities are not the convergence plan. The convergence plan that Olmert just presented to President George Bush is to evacuate an estimated, let's say 70, 000 - 90,000 residents from larger, major cities throughout the Shomron/Yihudah (Samaria and Judah - ed). That plan is very much on hold. As you saw, President Bush called it a "bold idea", all the Arab countries, Europe, China, even the local politicians -- not including Kadima -- are not even floating the plan anymore. So, the convergence plan, which is basically Gush Katif x10 throughout Yihudah and Shomron, looks like its -- even in its best form -- is 2 years out. It could never happen. The problem is, is that what is separate from the convergence is what are known are these quote unquote "illegal outposts" and "illegal" is obviously like passing a judgement before the trial has been made. Basically what these are, and understand that these were not put up in the middle of the night, the government knew about all of these -- built roads to many of them, supported them, just like Gush Katif the government supported that -- and essentially what they are, and they are numerous, there are dozens of them, most of them were formed since, lets say, 2000 and there are 10, 15, 20 families on hilltops, caravans, very idealistic communities, they have their own school. There is usually a road that the government builds, and there's light and water and in some cases they have been there 5, 6, 7, 8 years and in many cases they were built -- one example: Givat Assaf, Givat Assaf means Assaf's hill. Assaf was the last name of a gentleman who was murdered by the Arabs near Beit El. They, many times when there is what is a called a pigua -- a terrorist murder here -- the community where that person is from will form a new hilltop settlement as a memorial to the fallen and also a message to the Arabs that: It doesn't help you by killing us -- if you kill one of us, now there is 20 more homes on the hill. So it is sort of a Zionist reaction to terrorism. So a number of these outposts were formed the last 3, 4, 5 years by a family in reaction to a terrorist incident and since then they have grown to be 5 singles, 10 families, 15 families, they are generally small, but in almost every case they are extremely strategic, in terms of where they are located, and also in many cases it is so, the immorality, and also it doesn't change the situation. There is no improvement in the situation, but what has happened here is that you have a left sort of feeding machine and it is feeding right now on Jewish surrender and it's the UN, it's the EU and since that they see that the convergence, meaning the Gush Katif type mega wholesale evictions are looking pretty poor in the global sphere, they are going to be sort of filling the media up with many Amonas. So my prediction for the next year, or two years is that you are going to hear less, and less and less about the long term, major evacuations, but what the news is going to be filled up with is that every 6 weeks to 8 weeks there is an Amona, a Beit Shapira, a Hebron. It is going to be these nasty thousand, 2 thousand riot police surrounding a hilltop, threatening them, traumatizing the children, beating up children, dragging them out and then destroying their community. I mean that is basically what they do. They're very good at it. They have proved that at Amona they're willing to be almost mortally violent to do it. We proved at Amona that we are willing to stand up to be beaten for this land. So there is a huge struggle that is going to be played out through these hilltops and understand that this is not a modern day story, this has been going on in Jewish history for a very long time. There has always been assimilated groups of Jews --Hanukah was a Hellenistic group of Jews -- there has always been a group of Jews-- even before the Holocaust you had the reform movements -- you have always had a group of Jews that just don't want to do it the way that God said it -- they want to do it their way and eventually where that leads them to have an ideological/social conflict with the believing population, which leads then to conflicts.
Okay, so Shlomo you said that these people were willing to stand up and be beaten for what they believe in or for their homes. What specifically is the ideology that makes them live where they do?
Okay, so many of these Jews too, if I am correct, believe that this is part of the redemption process, is that correct? Could you give a little bit of information on that?
Right, I wouldn't say these Jews believe, I mean there simply can't be a Jew that doesn't believe, it's primary to our teachings that the redemption of the Jewish people can and only will happen when the Jewish people return. It's one of the, our Talmud gives us a series of signs called simonim, there are maybe 7 or 8 of them -- things that will occur that will be signposts for us. You know the Jews have been on a very long nasty road, so you know our sages gave us, sort of like -- you know I used to run a marathon and when you saw that sign that said 26 miles, you all of a sudden picked up -- so as we have these signs telling us that we are close and one of those signs is the return of the Jewish people to the land and another one of those signs is the blossoming of the land. I mean, Israel was barren for centuries. So when you have a series of signs that are occurring that our sages told us to pay attention to and one of the redemption signs which is right there in the prophets for everyone to read is that there will be a war at the end of days and that war will be something on a global scale and that war will, really it's outcome, will depend upon whether the Jewish nation returns to their God or not. If they do, the war will have a miraculous ending, there will be redemption. If they don't, it's going to be Armageddon and when you see Iran talking about wiping Israel off the map with one bomb, it's like the modern day Haman, or the modern day Hitler. I mean please understand that Hamas is the inherited Mein Kampf. I mean the connection from Hitler to Palestinians is almost direct. So to answer all of your questions, I believe living in Israel is what a Jew should be doing. I think if more Jews would come and live here and live together in a sense of respect for each other, that the Jewish nation would be in a much better condition and the whole world, for that matter.
Okay Shlomo, do you have any idea, obviously you will, why does the government of Israel seem to target religious Zionists?
You know, when I am at these evacuations, I am, actually there are a lot of reporters, and I am usually one of the only Jewish Israeli religious ones that speaks english. It is very interesting to speak to these other reporters about what's going on. And I say to them, let's look at something here -- you've Amona in your head and you can look at it here. Right now I am standing in Amona and I am on top of that pile of burning bricks and on the left side of me there is a line of maybe 2 hundred riot police with horses and sticks and helmets. On the other side is 500 kids. This is the scene that was going on for awhile.-- And I was talking to a German reporter and you know it's pretty ironic, here's a Jew in Israel talking to a German reporter when Jews are being thrown out of their houses, the irony of it really struck me and I said to him, you know did it ever occur to you to understand there are religious elements to this? And he goes, what are you talking about? I go, look at the soldiers, every single one of them, I would say 99, 95% of them are non-religious and 100% of the people who made the decision to send them are non-religious. I go, now look over that way, every single kid has his head covered and every girl is wearing a dress. In other words, when 100% of one side is religious and 100% of the other side is non, it is journalistic negligence not to understand that there is a clear, clear ideological battle going on. Beit Shapira, with three families in Hebron they threw out last month they got a thousand soldiers to do that. You've got to understand, this is really a media show. The state of Israel is very much strangle held by secular, left wing, liberal people who are trying everything they can to do to show the world that Torah is on the way out and a liberal, secular state is on the way in. As I have said before, this is not a new battle, you're just seeing it's current format of the believing Jews who are here, because one; God gave us this land and told us to live here, and two; that there will be redemption for us and for the whole world when we get ourselves back here, establish a state based on Torah Laws and drive our enemies out, so that is what we are doing here. But to say that, unfortunately, I am sure your site is not guilty of this at all, but most major news stations, since they are highly secular people cannot understand that this is a religious battle between believing Jews and non-believing Jews and let me add on they also can't understand terrorism at all, because terrorism isn't a military decision, it is a religious commandment to these people. When the U.S. asks Hamas to recognize Israel, which by the way I find it humiliating that my government is asking these primitives to recognize me -- God recognizes me, God recognizes my right to be here. I don't need a terrorist to sign a piece of paper to tell me I have the right to live in Israel, but that's how, excuse my language, that's how sicko leaders are, they think that if a terrorist gives them, you know, gives them the right to exist that they're fine now. But this is the conflict that leads to these expulsions as well as the terrorism are all religious based and since the secular media cannot plug into that reality, they miss the story entirely.
Thanks Shlomo. Now on your website Israelreporter.com you have an audio clip from the liberation of Bergen-Belsen, those liberated Jews are singing the HaTikvah, it's very moving and then this week the new German Pope visited Auschwitz. The headline on the Jerusalem Post was "Pope at Auschwitz: Why, Lord, did you remain silent?" Don't you think there is a sinister twist here when the most common charge against the Vatican, for their role in the Holocaust, in that the Pope remained silent while the Jews were exterminated?
Right, you know, I can't help but put a bit of smile and a giggle in my voice, it's not a Jewish question at all. Where was God during the Holocaust? That question almost seems to assume that the whole world was just, was just, at that point, German, Jews and God -- there was nobody else. So where was God? The Germans were killing the Jews and God wasn't helping, and it was God's fault? The last time I looked there were a few billion people on this planet and also the last time I looked hundreds of millions of them believe in God and the Bible and read it and there is a responsibility of the non-Jewish nations, when the Jews can't stand up for themselves, to stand up for us. This question, the question the Pope should've been asking isn't where was God, is where was the Pope? The question for the Holocaust, isn't where was God during the Holocaust, what a big arrogant question, in my opinion, very non-Jewish, extremely arrogant question, as if it was His fault, by the way. The implication of that question is what? The Holocaust is God's fault. No, I don't think it's a good question at all. What the church should be asking is where were we during the Holocaust and God can take care of Himself. He doesn't need the Pope to ask Him questions, but the Pope should be asking --you really want me to answer this question -- the Pope should be on his hands and knees ripping his shirt and begging the Jewish people for forgiveness for what they did to us. If they believed in God, that's what they would be doing, because the same God in whom they believe in is going to judge them for the 6 million. So the question is not where was God, Pope, but where were you?
Okay, very good Shlomo and I'd like to thank you very much for being on the program and I wish you the best with your future plans and I encourage everybody to check out Israelreporter.com and visit that website to look at some of the videos and some of the information that's given there that you will not find on CNN or the BBC or any of these news stations. Shlomo thanks so much for being on the program and I again I wish you success with your work.
Many blessings, thank you sir.
Well friends, that wraps up this week's edition. Come back again next week, God-willing, for more Bible in the News.
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