PACKERS CORNER: Did the PA Kill Rabbi Raziel Shevach?

In Borders by Ben Packer

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As most are probably aware, the big news this week in Israel is quite tragic – a Father/Husband/Rabbi/Mohel/Paramedic was shot and murdered by arab terrorists near his home in Havat Gilad – an unauthorized community in the Shomron/Samaria/Northern West Bank.

I want to spend a little bit of time on this because it encompasses alot of different aspects of the current political situation.

-The terrorists have yet to be apprehended, but there is good amount of speculation that they are somehow connected to the Tanzim/Palestinian Authority. The main reasons being the quality of the weapon used and the quality of the shooting (unfortunately). This indicates that the terrorists were able to obtain quality weaponry and train to use it. This is very difficult for the more extreme groups, like Hamas and Islamic Jihad, in that area. More potentially damning, this attack could have come at the direction of PA leadership in response to how poorly things are going for the PA diplomatically as it concerns Israel and the US, under President Trump. One might question how they could be so stupid to think this would help things, however, its pretty much par for course. When diplomacy fails or stutters, terrorism is their default response.

-Havat Gilad: Havat Gilad is an extremely strategically located Jewish community. The community sits on privately-owned Jewish land but has not received official authorization from the Government. It would fit the category of an “illegal outpost”. (However most “illegal outposts” are on state-owned land, and this is privately-owned). The community sits right off the highway in between the Jewish communities of Kedumim and Yitzhar. Without Havat Gilad there would be a long stretch of hostile highway without any permanent Jewish presence. In short, the future of the Jewish presence in the Shomron relies greatly on the existence and development of Havat Gilad. Since the tragic terrorist attack, many government officials have pledged to work to recognize Havat Gilad as an official community. This would be a big deal. Remains to be seen if these promises will be kept (many are not). In the meantime, the victim of the terrorist attack, Rabbi Raziel Shevach, hy’d, was the first person to be buried in the outpost. I’m not aware of any other such situation in which someone is buried in an unauthorized community. Its a bold move and likely significantly strengthens the chances of the community continuing to exist in that location.

In other news, some not-so-important legislation has been passed in the Knesset and much actually important legislation has been further delayed. This continues a long-running trend and yet, as I have stated pretty much every week, the current Israeli Government coalition continues to be incredibly stable. (Today, Minister Kahlon stated that he wouldn’t bring the government down for any reason – that’s a pretty extreme thing to say).

There are published rumors that Saudi Arabia is considering buying weaponry from Israel. Not so surprising under the current sunni-shiite regional conflict.There is talk of President Trump pulling out/sabotaging the Iran nuclear deal. And there is talk of Prime Minister Netanyahu promising a state to the “palestinians” in northern Sinai in exchange for Israeli annexation of Judea and Samaria (the West Bank).

In short, there is a lot of talk. Not so much action. There is supposed to be an announcement soon about newly approved building in Judea and Samaria. Let’s see what is decided and discuss what it really means next week.


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