Happy new year to all

by Yaniv Reich on December 30, 2009

Blogging will be scarce to nonexistent through January 3rd. I am going to get my New Years wishes in early:

Happy new years to all, may you and your loved ones know more justice and freedom in the year to come.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 dankitl January 4, 2010 at 3:03 am

Shalom Shalom
A friend of mone who monitors extreme left wing blogs, sent me some article about tax-exempt ‘terror’ and funds from US.
I was wondering whether you are as passionate about funds from US going to certain Arab “charities” and to Moslem fundamentalist groups, who have a direct role in terrorist activities. I imagine that given your self hating approach and your clear lack of Jewish history and roots, the answer would be no.
In any case, you have managed to quote me in your article, although you no doubt took the quote (Both partial and out of context, as is the usual case with Haaretz writers) from an article in Haaretz newspaper.
You should know that i never gave any interview to Haaretz. You should also be aware that the reporter did not identify himself but rather masqueraded as a potential donor. Not that we have anything to hide, but i found the method very unprofessional and even bordering on pathetic.
If you and the Haaretz writer would have dug a little deeper and done some proper research, your conclusions about Ateret Cohanim and funds from US, would have been vastly different. But of course, you weren’t looking for the truth, you both have an agenda and your conclusions were clear. (Very sad but understandable for self hating Jews who have no idea about a Jewish homeland for Jewish people and who dont understand our connection to Jerusalem and this land.)
Im not going to go into a lengthy discourse about who actually buys the properties (private individuals and not even Ateret Cohanim) and im not going to try to explain to someone like you how all our activities and projects funded by US centre around 4 Yeshivot (thats a centre of Jewish learning), 3 Kolelim (Centre of Jewish learning for married men), hundreds of Yeshiva students, Rabbis and their families and nurseries for children. Explaining this in length is a waste of time for someone like yourself.
However i noticed at the end of your one sided article – “If anyone has any ideas about how to find more information about these groups…….please contact me” …..well i’m making contact.
It seems to me that you wont find anyone better or more quailified than the spokesperson or executive director of Ateret Cohanim himself, to get answers and information (real) about funds from US and Israel.
If you are really interested and want to know, then you will follow this up. If however you aren’t really interested in the truth, but rather, you simply want Jews out of Israel or out of Jerusalem, then i guess, you will ignore this email.

May i suggest at the very least, that you learn more about yourself, your parents, grandparents and our Jewish roots in this land.It wouldnt hurt also to learn about what Jerusalem means to Am Yisrael as opposed to the Arab world.

On a final note -something for you to ponder – the left wing in Israel is ideolgically dead (its no secret) and today they(The ‘left’) are only talking about separation from Arabs and division of Jerusalem..etc. At least in our case scenario, Jews and Arabs can and do live together , sometimes in the same courtyard. Coexistance can only be achieved (even if its the most basic) if we live together -but of course under Jewish sovereignity.
The head of our organization has more Arab friends that you, and the left wing radical Beilin, put together !!!

If you would like a tour at some point to see and appreciate our endeavours……if you visit Israel (or if you live in the Jewish State-Homeland), then feel free to ask, and i’ll see whether i can accomodate.

2 Yaniv Reich January 4, 2010 at 5:09 am

Dear David,

I appreciate you taking the time to respond, even if your message was filled with much unfounded innuendo about my Jewishness. You should understand that no one can take away my personal and cultural history, nor can anyone lay exclusive claim to one version of that history over and against what I believe and know. We are equally Jewish in a cultural and historical sense, whether or not we think ethnic cleansing and Jewish sovereignty are important goals.

Since you seem very concerned that Ha’aretz partially quoted your statements and took them out of context, I invite you to provide that context here. I will happily publish a more extended set of comments from you, which you feel do justice to your original intention.

You seem to believe my conclusions would have been different had I done “proper research”. I encourage you to help me reach different conclusions based on concrete evidence. I would like to request a copy of Friends of Ateret Cohanim’s IRS Form 990. Then, I would be happy to sit down with you (or the executive director) and go over all the donations made, and to which individuals, yeshivot, kolelim, etc. A fuller picture of your organization’s activities would be very interesting to readers of this blog and to supporters of your organization, who surely want the current (unfair?) criticism of your efforts addressed in detail.

I look forward to the continued discussion.

3 dankitl January 4, 2010 at 7:39 am

I am both the spokesman and executive director.
I will discuss your request with our US Board, and will advise as to which details we can supply. Nothing is a closed book, we have nothing to hide and all major donations are totally above board.(Although with all due respects..who are you and who really cares what Haaretz writes, as they are really marginal and extreme left wing…not to mention a local rag)
As i wrote earlier – acquisitions aren’t done because 500 people donate $1000, for a $500,000 small apartment in or around the Old City. As you can hopefully appreciate, no acquisition after lengthy negotiations can practically take place by getting hundreds or thousands of people to donate. Purchases are made by individuals or companies/foundations and none of these funds go thru AFAC or AC in Israel. Its purely an investment for that individual.(Not tax deductible donation of course)

In regards to our specific work – if you are familiar with the Old City and the areas of our efforts(Old Yemenite Village, Kidmat Zion…etc), then you would know, that the revival of Jewish life in all places centres around the Yeshivot and Kollelim. Without Torah and religious learning then we are nothing as a People and as such the main purpose of the AFAC (can be seen in Certificate of Incorporation) – “…to encourage and promote Jewish religious activities and observance…to encourage study and research of Jewish religious observances, customs and history, particularly in the areas of Jewish priesthood and the Temple…etc”
Further – if you or the Haaretz reporter who masqueraded (By the way legal action is still being considered) would have simply obtained the Certificate of Incorporation you would have also seen the following re purposes: “…to acquire in any manner whatsoever and especially by grant, gift….lease or purchase land, rooms or houses in order to effect the purposes of the corporation…to cultivate such property…to make improvements..in such land , rooms or houses….”

Its actually rather simple – already by mid 1800’s there was a Jewish majority in the Old City according to a Turkish census and later by early British census. Following Crimean War, many Jews bought up land in area today known as Moslem Quarter (and later also in Abu Dis in 1920-1924…170 acres-598 dunams to be exact)
Jews were kicked out in 3 sets of pogroms (1920,1928/29,1936/37) and the 1948 war of Jewish independance.
Jews then return home in 1967.
Arabs are deemed protected tennants in old Jewish homes.
Arabs want to sell. (Nothwithstanding open death threats against them….you should write about this!!!)
Jews around the world want to buy….fair, democratic, normal sell-buy situation.
We have been part of this revival and as a result there are today 4 Yeshivot in the Old Jewish quarter, 3 Kolelim and hundreds of Yeshiva students plus Rabbis and their families in all these areas. There are once again prayers being heard from Synagogues in the area and religious observance is alive and well in and around the Old City.(Plus Kolel in both Mt.Olives and Kfar HaTeimanim-Shiloach)
AFAC does not own or have title to the homes, as you and the Haaretz reporter wrote, but who cares about truth when you have an agenda??? Right??!!!

We don’t have to prove anything to you or to Haaretz – and we both know that even with proof you would stll write and lamblast our activities.(By the way -you have the figures from Haaretz and even these figures dont add up, when one considers the actual cost of apartments.)
We act in accordance to the laws both in israel, the US and in other countries where we find Jews who wish to support our activities.

In any case – we definately won’t be sitting down to go thru our donor list and its not as though your blog is visited by so many people..lets face it !
But i have made some points, you have responded and we arent really going to change or truly enlighten each other. We are both too set in our ways. One day i believe that you will repent, you will wake up to the reality of our neighbours who dont want peace and you will realize that the land of Israel belongs to us. I hope it wont be to late for your children or grandchildren..if they stay in the faith.

Finally -interesting points for you to ponder:
1/ AC works in peace and coexistance….not separation or division
2/ In any democratic country, if one person wants to sell, anyone should have right to buy.
3/ The death threat hanging over heads of Arabs who want to sell…especially an old Jewish building.
4/ Would an Arab accept that an old mosque is being used as a toilet/kitchen and bathroom, by christians or Jews? If answer is no, then you should accept the reality of Jews trying to reclaim (For example) an old Synagogue (90-100 years old) being used today as a toilet, kitchen and bedrooms by Arabs in Kfar HaShiloach-Silwan…are you consistent ?
5/ Pragmatically – can Jerusalem really be divided today? Only 1500 metres from Abu Dis to middle of town like the crow flies. Hamas, PA Fatah brigades, Iran outlets, Al Quaida on our back door step??
Plus – what about the population figures – 235,000 Jews living intertwined in and around Arab neighbourhoods (245,000) in what used to be east Jerusalem. Arab east Jerusalem doesnt exist. Even a left wing radical and outcast like Mr.Yossi Beilin doesnt really believe that Jews will be evicted from Ramot, Ramat Eshkol, French Hil, Gilo…etc

** In regards to context of misquoted/half sentences from Haaretz reporter who masqueraded as donor: (Note:I would never give an interview to left wing ‘rag’/paper like Haaretz)
The ‘donor’ claimed that he or actually cousin wanted to donate to Ateret Cohanim -initially he tried to claim that the donation was meant for Shefer Hotel, but i said that its not an Ateret Cohanim project, but rather an individual bought the property and its a private project endeavour. The Haaretz ‘donor’ said that the donation can go to Yeshiva and i added that we aren’t an actual Yeshiva per say, (Some people have confused Ateret Cohanim with Ateret Yerushalayim) although all our activities centre around Yeshivot and Kollelim. He pursued the issue and i said that for tax purposes all our activities have to do with education, Yeshivot and religious observance.(And they are !!) I did not talk about AFAC or whether they purchase whatsoever. Properties are purchased by individuals and in many instances, Yeshivot or Kolelim or students (dormitories) may move into the buildings.
The reporter/donor -simply took what he wished to hear – He said to himself…..oh they arent a Yeshiva, therefore they are involved in only reclamation.!!!!
His figures didnt add up and dont make sense if he wanted to prove that funds from AFAC go to purchases and he didnt even bother checking our Certifiacte of Incorporation.
But he got his few seconds of glory and a headline.

Bottom line -we have come home. Deserts are blooming. Ingathering of exiles. Prophecies are being fulfilled and even though nothing is given to us on a silver platter and even though there are troubles and we are surrounded by enemies (inside and out..including some misguided Jews)…we are marching forward in the process of geula-redemption. The physical redemption of Jerusalem will continue to take place and eventaully the stage of the spiritual redemption plus Beit HaMikdash-Temple will be upon us, speedily in our days.
Wake up Mr.Reich – and take my advice – maybe follow G-d’s Road Map !!!
(Offer for tour still open)

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