The Jewish settlement of Itamar is located squarely in the heart of the ancient biblical homeland of Israel in Samaria, literally where the Bible comes alive. Abraham entered the land of Israel at this point and the tomb of Joseph is located here. The city is completely surrounded by biblical sites and is an integral part of the history of the Jewish nation and heritage occupying a piece of land now incorrectly called the West Bank – and labeled as an occupied territory. This “occupation” lie has been spread since Israel won it back and liberated this land from the Jordanians in the Six-Day War of 1967.

Attacks by Muslims on multiple Jewish settlements are ongoing and in the last decade, 22 people have been murdered in Itamar alone. On March 11, 2011, five members of a Jewish family were murdered in their beds in the settlement of Itamar. The terrorist attack and brutal murder of the Fogel family has only strengthened the Samarian community’s resolve to stand up to such violence.

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According to an Israeli settlement security official who visited the scene of the attack, one or two intruders scaled the security fence surrounding Itamar and entered the family’s home through a window. The murders were met with shock and disgust across the Israeli political spectrum; but in Gaza and other Palestinian cities, many Arabs celebrated the attack by distributing sweets and candy.

In Jerusalem, Israel’s prime minister unequivocally demanded international condemnation of the terrorists. “The Palestinian Authority engages in double talk. To the world ‘outside,’ they speak peace; to their own people ‘inside,’ they teach incitement, they allow incitement of hated and violence against Israel, in their schools, in their mosques and their state-controlled media,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “The International community must demand that the Palestinian Authority put an end to incitement. That’s the only way we’ll have peace.”

On this episode of Focus on Israel, Itamar residents and founders Moshe and Leah Goldsmith spoke about the attack. Moshe is a Brooklyn native who made Aliya 26 years ago and was mayor of Itamar at the time. Moshe said that “this wonderful family was an example of complete devotion to the land … people who have come and wanted to do just one thing, serve God in the land and live in His land. They gave their life for what they believed in.”

Moshe continued, “No one will break our spirit. We are a very strong people and we believe in our connection to the land of Israel. We believe in the Jewish right to have a homeland and that Itamar is part of the backbone of that ancient homeland. We believe in goodness. That’s what the Jewish people stand for. The worst thing to do would be to pack our bags and leave when struggle comes about. We continue to fight for the land and will never give up until we eventually achieve our goals. We have to go on. If Israel does not stand up like a lion and defend its cubs, no one is going to do it for us.”

FOCUS ON ISRAEL: The Itamar massacre

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