Tremping (hitchhiking) into Jerusalem Erev Shabbath, I had an opportunity to take a picture of the huge billboard at the entrance to Shiloh, Shevuth Rahel, and their surrounding hilltop communities. The sign next to the blond haired, blue-eyed boy, dressed up in a Kohen Gadol (High Priest) costume, reads "Yehudah and Shomron (Judea and Samaria), the story of every Jew."
The billboard is part of the YeSh"A (Judea, Samaria, and Azza) Council's latest attempt at a public relations campaign to win over the hearts of "regular" Israelis, living on the coast, in the Gallil, and in the Negev.
The campaign is not only codependent and a waste of taxes, but also just plain crap.
The photo from the campaign's official website shows children who are all light-skinned and pug-nosed. There is not even a parallel English site. If there were, then this display would at least make a little sense, playing on the sympathies of their Christian "friends" and wealthy American Ashkinazim. Nope. They didn't even think of that, did they? (Is an English version hidden somewhere under a completely unrelated URL?) I am very surprised about this, too, as this photo more reminiscent of Christian, school Bible plays and Christmas videos, than of anything Jewish.
Although one point of the campaign is to remind Jews that Yehudah and Shomron comprise the heart of the Jewish Homeland (true), thus "the story of every Jew,"
The photo also does not present any boys with long payoth (side locks) or large kippoth (male head coverings). Bigdei Tzitzith (fringed garments) are conveniently hidden underneath the children's costumes, even though during the periods represented, such garments were worn where they can be seen, much like today's hilltop youth.
This was an obvious attempt to avoid any associations with hilltop youth which they consider to be an "extremist" element. The irony is that more than a few of such "extremists" (my eyes are rolling) live in Shiloh's surrounding hilltop communities, as well as in Shiloh itself.
If the YeSh"A Council thinks that gaining the support of the Israeli public actually means something, then they are living in a fantasy world. Do they actually think that the numbed-out Israeli public will come out and protest further expulsions of Jews?
Look what happened when YeSh"A residents went door to door (Ofra to Holon, Shiloh to Qiriyath Ono, etc.) to convince Likud Party members to vote against the proposed party policy to pull out from Azza (A reasonable idea, no?). Sure, sixty percent of those who voted in the referendum, voted against the proposal. However, then Prime Minster Ariel Sharon ignored his party's wishes, and expelled 8,000 Jews from their homes anyway.
Re-vamped, re-re-vamped, or not, the YeSh"A Council collaborated with the government in the expulsion of Jews from Azza. When Neve Deqalim resident Efraim Tashnady approached the local authorities and "rabbis" in Azza about what the plan was to resist the expulsion, the response was to pray. He was dumbfounded (Hebrew).
I am dumbfounded that there are Jews willing to place their faith, yet again, in the YeSh"A Council. Sure, good Jews like Shomron Council Head Gershon Mesiqa, are members now. But when people like Danny Dayan as YeSh"A Council's head, and Sha'ul Goldstein and Pinhas Vallerstein with their hands on its cookie jar, people are nuts for even giving it the time of day.
The YeSh"A Council receives its budget directly from the Office of the Prime Minister. In most "normal" countries, this would be called a conflict of interest.
So, just what exactly does the YeSh"A Council have in mind this time?
Cross-posted on Esser Agaroth.