Eretz Yisrael Time

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Saturday, November 07, 2009
A few weeks ago ago I wrote about Nadia Matar and Givat HaEitam.

This weekend's Makor Rishon had an interesting and related story that explains how Nadia and friends were eventually able to go up to the Eitam hill and how it became officially a part of Efrat.

It was around a year ago that that the case of the Eitam Hill went to an army court (which is apparently were some of these cases are disputed). The Jews showed the original purchase documentation, the Arabs of course claimed it was all forged.

The documentation claimed the land was bought in 1947 by a man named Mr. Molcho.

As you all know, the War of Independence broke out a short while later and Gush Etzion was lost, and many of its Jewish residents were massacred by the Arabs.

To prove their claim to the Eitam hill, the Arabs hired the services of a Mr. Aharoni (an Efrat resident). Mr. Aharoni had a company that took aerial photographs of the region, and they wanted to improve the strength of their case, by showing photographs of the region.

Went they got to the judge, Mr. Aharoni spoke up and mentioned an interesting point.

Now nearly 80 years old, back in 1947 Mr. Aharoni was 17 and used to ride around with Mr. Molcho for his protection, and in turns out, he was one of the witnesses to the purchase of Givat HaEitam.

The Arabs immediately withdrew their case, and the land was indisputably designated as Jewish owned land.

A while later one of the Arabs even admitted that they knew the purchase was real, but since Mr. Molcho and his wife were dead, they figured no one would be able to prove it if they took it to court and claimed the documents were forged. They assumed the court would side with them.

Think about that story next time an Arab says a land sale to a Jew is fake.


From Nadia said...

In this Friday's Makor Rishon main section page 8 Hodaya Karish-Hazoni tells the amazing story of how Eitam was declared ours.
Below is a translation by me of her Hebrew text:

"The amazing memory of an old Jew mixed with a rare coincidence
prevented an very large area of land near Efrat from falling into
the hands of the Arabs.
Not only did he remember well the deal that occurred 62 years ago but he happened, by chance, to be at the court case when this specific case was being discussed and decided.

Mordechai Aharoni, resident of Efrat, lived before the creation of the State in Gush Etzion, in kibbutz ein Tzurim.

"In the years of 1947-47, when I was 17 years old, I used to accompany a Jew named Molcho who was busy with geulat adamot (redemption of the land) in the area of Gush Etzion.We used to travel the area together, riding on our horses, because it was dangerous to go around alone.

In one of these instances I was a witness to a deal in which Molcho bought somev200 dunams, Mocho being the representative of the Aminoutah company that belongs to the Keren Kayemet.I was present when Molcho gave the Arab the money, received the document and the entire deal.

Afterwards the Independence war broke out and who bichlal remembered that story....

Over the years, Aharoni opened a company of aerial photos.
In the last few years he is present at many court cases where they have to decide about ownership of land, court cases in which Aharoni is invited by one of the sides who want to prove their claim with aerial photos .

A year ago or so, there were discussions in the Civil Administration about Givat Eitam near Efrat. Arabs claimed it was theirs." I was asked to bring aerial photos and all of a sudden I understand that the case is about the deal I witnessed years ago.I told the Arabs; Excuse me, but I was personally there when the money was transferred so don't claim that the Jews have fake
documents". They very quickly retracted. The Civil Administration got angry at the Arabs and admonished them by saying: "How did you dare all this time say it was yours?"

Later we found out that the grandfather of the Arabs claiming Eitam is theirs had told his grandsons that he had sold the land to a Jew named Molcho but they assumed that Molcho was no more alive and that no one would remember the deal. Following the surprising testimony of Aharoni, the civil Administartion was able to complete the declaration of the Eitam lands as part of the Northern municipal boundaries of Efrat.Some eight months ago a planting trees ceremony was held on Eitam and in the future , a new neighborhood is planned to rise there".
A few comments:

1) nothing is "coincidence"- it was obvious siyata dishmaya
1a) the story of Eitam being declared ours is not new-the new element is this amazing story about Aharoni
2) Imagine all the deals in which the civil Administartion declares land to be Arab just because in those cases there are no 78 year old Aharoni's around to testify that the land is really ours
3) From what I understand, as I was told by one of the moetsa members in the previous moetsa, these 200 Aminoutah dunams discussed in the article are not on the hill where we always have our Eitam activities but rather on the hill across, closer to the quarry. Eitam is Baruch hashem HUGE and covers 3 hills which beezrat Hashem will be settled with thousands of new families

shavua tov,

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