Defying Terrorism: A Playground in Israel's Heartland

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- Palestinians call it the West Bank. But Jewish people call it their biblical homeland.

Much of the world wants Israel to stop building in the biblical heartland of Israel -- Judea and Samaria. Instead, some Israelis are putting down roots for generations to come.

"This is Givat Assaf," David Rubin, founder of Shiloh Israel Children's Fund and the town's former mayor, told CBN News.

"We're at a playground that my organization, the Shiloh Israel Children's Fund, has set up for the children here," he said. "This is a community that was established several years ago, and there are about 30 families here now."
In 2001, Shiloh was a murder scene where 30-year-old Assaf Hershkowitz died in a terror attack. Palestinian terrorists have killed and wounded many Israelis along the highway where the biblical patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob once traveled.
Rubin and his son survived once such attack about 10 years ago.

"One way we Israelis here in Samaria respond to terrorism is by establishing new communities," Rubin said.
Givat Asaf is in the disputed West Bank, an area much of the world considers occupied. The Bible calls it Judea and Samaria, an inheritance promised to the Jewish people, but Palestinians want it for a future state.

"My position, the United Nations position on settlements is clear," U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "It does not help the ongoing peace process."

But former Knesset member Dr. Arieh Eldad disagrees.

"They really think that the land of Israel belongs to the Arabs, not to the Jews, so they look at everything we do here as illegal," Eldad told CBN News.
But even the League of Nations, the precursor world body to the United Nations, actually encouraged Jewish "settlement."

Article 6 of the British Mandate says "The administration of Palestine, while ensuring that the rights and position of other sections of the population are not prejudiced, shall facilitate Jewish immigration…and shall encourage…close settlement by Jews on the land."

"Our message is that we will not cave in when the terrorists try to scare us away," Rubin said. "Our message is we will not surrender to terrorism."

"We will do the opposite of what the terrorists want us to do, which is to build through the future, through next generations," he said. "And that's what this playground here is all about: building for the next generations here in the biblical heartland of Israel."

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CBN News
Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

Chris Mitchell and Julie Stahl

CBN News Jerusalem Bureau

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