Wednesday, September 23, 2009

No Houses, No House

While dropping my daughter off at school today, I noticed two tents standing next to the High Court of Justice building. The first was a large tent of the Local Council heads (Mayors) throughout the country, as well as Judea and Samaria. They were protesting the threatened freeze in housing in Yesha (Yehuda and Shomron).
With pressure from the US Obama Administration, the Israeli government is expected to continue the freeze on construction in Judea and Samaria. This is a strangle hold on Yesha communities, that would grow exponentially if the next generation could only find living space in their home towns.
I entered the tent. Mayors were chatting with one another, reading the news on the internet or flipping through the newspapers.
I had a chance to speak with Moshe Yogev, treasurer of the Amana Settlement Organization, which builds communities in Yesha. Moshe believes that if there's enough public pressure, just as Bibi continued on the Zionist path and built Har Homa, he will indeed build up Judea and Samaria.
As I left the large bustling tent, I noticed a small tent standing in its shadow. A man with a t-shirt was sitting at a small table outside the tent. Walking closer, I saw the sign at his feet. In Hebrew, it said, "We have no home."
I called out to him, "You have no home??" He said, "Correct." I asked if I could talk with him, and he said, "Of course."
Aviv Ben Arbon is a disabled father of six. He has been living outside in the street in three tents with his wife and children for the past month. Every day the children go to school, and his wife goes to her part-time job, while Aviv sits in the tent, writing letters and calling government and city officials for help. He says he recently won a court case, which called upon the Housing Ministry to find him a place to live. So far, they've told him there's nothing available, and he's still on the street.
Aviv noted that there's something very wrong with a country that: doesn't allow its own Jewish communities to build homes for their citizens, and is booming with building in its capital that is aimed at luxury buyers, while the needy are homeless.
Friends, we cannot rest comfortably in our homes while our young people have no where to live, while our poor and needy are homeless.
We must contact our Knesset Members and the Ministry of Housing, and demand housing for those who need it. We must demand the right of every citizen of every country in the world - shelter.
As we enter this new year, we pray that construction will spread throughout Judea, Samaria and all of Israel for our next generation and all those who are looking for a home to call their own. And we pray that Aviv Ben Arbon and his family will soon have a real roof over their heads.
You can see videos of both tents at .

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