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Claiming their birthright

Original post made on Jul 13, 2013

Every year, thousands of young Jewish people travel to Israel to learn more about their religion, culture and heritage. Through the organization Taglit-Birthright, Jews between ages 18 and 26 can participate in a 10-day trip to the Holy Land for free.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Friday, July 12, 2013, 12:00 AM

Comments (15)

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Posted by Bill Wahbe
a resident of Dublin
on Jul 13, 2013 at 8:16 am

I read your article "Claiming their birthright" with a heart was full of sadness and feeling of injustice.
I am a Palestinian-Christian born in Jerusalem. My family has lived in Jerusalem for many centuries. We are the early Christians who followed Jesus Christ.
I left Jerusalem because of the war. I am not allowed to return to Jerusalem because because I am not Jewish. Palestine is a melting pot of many tribes including Arabs and Jews. Jerusalem belongs to its indigenous people and not only to the Jews. The injustice committed by the Zionists against the Palestinians is not something to be proud of.

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Posted by good for you Bill
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

It took real courage to write what you did. I feel that there are at least two sides to every part of this conflict and when only the pro-Jewish side is ever endorsed people do not get the full picture.

The US has been so focused on the so-called rights of the Jews for so long that if any of us dare to question the settlements or the atrocities committed against non-Jews we are branded as antisemitic. I also question many of the crimes committed against the Native Americans by the settlers, does that make me anti-American? No, it makes me in favor of justice and equality rather than the taking of land that does not rightly belong to you.

Would the PW print an article in favor of settlement of Jerusalem by Palestinians? I think not.

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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 13, 2013 at 3:19 pm

The conflict between the Palestinians and Israel will NEVER END.

Nothing can stop the conflict.

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Posted by jason sweet
a resident of San Ramon
on Jul 13, 2013 at 5:34 pm

This is an informative,interesting article on the wonderful Birthright Israel program. My children went on this journey years ago, and it firmed up their appreciation of their heritage and homeland. The anti-Israel BDS crowd is currently ramping up an email letter-to-the-editor campaign against the article ("Would the Pleasanton Weekly even consider carrying a cover article about the Palestinian right of return??!!" and no doubt many of then will rant about it in these Comments. There is of course no "Palestinian right of return" and even if there were, what has this got to do with the Birthright program,which is specifically meant for Jewish youth, and is just a brief tour and not an immigration for goodness sake. Let the "palestinians" fund their own Birthright-like program, because the free democratic country of Israel has thousands upon thousands of Muslim and Christian tourists each year,many of Arab background,and no will stop trips by youth of palestinian background.

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Posted by Member
a resident of Walnut Hills
on Jul 13, 2013 at 5:55 pm

A wonderful article. I know many children in our community who went on Birthrite. For those who use these pages to rant about the Palestinians. They left in 48 so the invading Arab armies would have room to push the Jews into the sea. Of course, they're despondent that the promised act of genocide didn't happen. If they wanted to return, there is plenty of room for them in Jenin and Ramallah thanks to the Oslo Accords, which their leaders, however, fail to honor. The Palestinians are regrettably victims, but they are victims of the decisions of their own leaders who have not given up the dream of pushing the Jews into the sea. They had numerous opportunities to have their own state, but they refuse as long as there is a Jewish state in the region. They have milked the sympathy of the world and its charitable giving for too long.

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Posted by JT
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2013 at 5:58 pm

There is nothing restricting non-jews from coming to Israel. However, if you go there with an philosophy that Israel does not have a right to exist you will not be met with open arms (nor should you). There are people of all different religions in Israel and they allow all to live there. However, if you go to the surrounding states like Jordan, they forbid Jews from living there. So Israel is inclusive while the other countries there are no different than the Nazi's where they want to eliminate the Jews.

The people form Israel cannot negotiate with the leaders of the Palestinians when the Palestinians say that Israel has no right to exist there and the Jews should be removed. You cannot negotiate with a government like that. When the leaders of the Palestinians accept the rights of the Jews to live there, negotiations can begin. Israel would like peace there but you cannot negotiate with people who say outright that you do not have the right to exist. That is a non-starter.

As for the birthright program, that is privately financed by an organization outside of the Israeli government, through donations, as a way to encourage Jewish people to visit the country and learn more. If there are other religions interested in this, they can finance this. Nothing stopping them.

I have family members living in Israel. They have before, and would still like to live side by side with the Palestinians. However, when the Palestinians started to kill Jewish people in Israel, for their own protection they had to put up fences to keep the aggressors out. The media today only mentions the self-defense of Israel, and words it like an unprovoked attack. After the Palestinians launch rockets over and over into Israel, at some point Israel has to do something to protect themselves. The United States would destroy any outsiders who bomb our land.

It also seems amazing to me that the neighboring countries like Jordan will not even let the Palestinians live in their country. And now that after the Israeli's have put a lot of time and work into converting the desert to a habitable place, something that was not done for many, many years/decades/centuries prior, others now want the 'improved' land of Israel. They did not want it prior to the state of Israel.

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Posted by good for you Bill
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2013 at 7:13 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)

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Posted by Scott
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 13, 2013 at 7:42 pm

Kudos to the Weekly for publishing this article. My daughter is on a Birthright trip right now and it has been an eye-opening experience. Might be nice if just once some of the posters here who hide behind their member names could acknowledge a program that is educating our youth, providing them an opportunity to develop their own opinions about world affairs (if you'd actually read the article, you'd see the Weekly offered a variety of responses from past participants), and allowing them to see historical sites first-hand. I'm as strong a defender of free speech as you'll ever find, but kids visit this site too and recognition of their commitment to continuing their education beyond school walls is certainly warranted.

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Posted by Jake in Jerusalem
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2013 at 10:21 am

It should be noted, for those who aren't aware, that the majority of "Palestine" is currently occupied by Jordan, on the East Bank. Some 80% of Palestinian land is now Jordan. What the Arabs want is both the East AND the West Banks. Thus there is now a FOUR-STATE solution in effect: Jordan, Gaza, West Bank are ethnically-cleansed and purely Arab territories, but they want Israel, too. No matter what tiny little sliver the Jews control, the Arabs will want that, too.

Incidentally, today's King Abdullah II of Jordan is named after his great-grandfather, Abdullah I, who named himself king of Trans-Jordan and was assassinated by the Palestinians for stealing their land. And none other than Yasser Arafat himself saw Jordan as Palestine. Everyone loves to forget that the first Intifada to Liberate Palestine (PLO, remember?) was on the Jordanian-Occupied East Bank of Palestine, back in 1970. In the single month that came to be called Black September of that year, Arafat and King Hussein managed to kill nearly 10,000 people, making infamous butchers like Assad, Qaddafi and Saddam look like pussycats. Arafat then correctly recognized that it would be easier to get land from the Jews than from Jordan, where Palestine really lies.

Learn your history! Don't be a "useful idiot" for the Jew-hating propagandists!

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Posted by john
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

It would be better for the world if all these groups forgot about their heritage, history, cultures, and especially their religious beliefs.

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Posted by John Larkin
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm


As a Christian married to a Jewish girl, raising 4 Jewish children in Jerusalem, it is easy to feel the emotions of the various commentators

Religion is for the good, surely each person who wants to share good values and beleives they are doing this for the general good

However intolerance and prejudice divides humanity and is not for the good, surely we need to move beyond our differences



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Posted by Cholo
a resident of Livermore
on Jul 14, 2013 at 2:37 pm

(Post removed by Pleasanton Weekly Online staff as irrelevant to this thread.)

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 14, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Always a bit disturbing to see what religion can do to people.


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Posted by Thanks to Weekly
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jul 16, 2013 at 9:21 am

for the original article.
And THANKS to the posters who remind the world that the Arabs who now call themselves "Palestinians" could have their own program to send young people to Israel; or to Jordan, actually the area given to Arabs.
They divided the area, took the larger part, now want the rest.
Their motto is: From the River to the Sea.
You cannot bargain or reason with Terrorists.
These are the same people who hijack airplanes, and cruise ships, and murder innocent people at the Olympics. Now they send rockets into cities.
Arabs attacked the World Trade Center for no sane reason, and the people rejoiced in Gaza!

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Posted by Mike
a resident of Highland Oaks
on Jul 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm


I am reminded of the saw about there being 3 sides to every story.


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