Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Yesha Populace - Let the Facts Speak

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Over the years, many entities in Israel have made systematic attempts at delegitimizing the sector of the Israeli public that lives in Judea, Samaria and Gaza (Yesha). The media, politicians and various spokesmen have done their best to demonstrate that the Jews of Yesha are outcasts, on the fringe, and all in all, a burden on Israeli society.

Picture courtesy of "politifake"
But recently-released facts suggest otherwise. Compared with other sectors of Israel, the citizens of Yesha are outstanding in their contribution to society and take a disproportionate share of the burden in defending the country.

According to statistics from the IDF, the percentage of enlistment into combat units amidst the incoming soldiers from Yesha is 61%, compared to 36% of new soldiers from Greater Tel Aviv and 44.2% of enlistees from throughout Israel.
Students from the IDF Prep Academy in Bet El

Yesha residents have stepped up to the challenge of educating the next generation: 23.4% of the Yesha workforce are teachers, as compared to the national average of 12.6%. Many of these educators work at institutions outside of Yesha.

Religious teachers at a conference in Bar Ilan University

Absorption of new immigrants into academic institutions is particularly high in Yesha. For example, at the University Center in Ariel (in Samaria), 400 Ethiopian students are studying towards their BA and Masters Degrees, as compared to a total of 25 Ethiopian students at the University of Tel Aviv.

Yesha residents do, however, have a weakness: they are terrible at waste production. The average Israeli in Yesha produces only 1.31. kilograms of trash per day, while Tel Avivians average 2.09 kilograms.
The future Tel Aviv skyline?

Women’s place in Israeli society has conquered the headlines in recent days, and in this regard too, the woman of Yesha have a higher than average employment rate standing at 64.2%.

Like Tennesseans (the Volunteer State), Yesha residents excel at chipping in for the sake of society. Ben Gurion University surveyed the various sectors of the Israeli public for the rate of volunteering for organizations. They found that 51% of Yesha residents volunteer, compared with 40% from Jerusalem and 32% from Tel Aviv.

A final point of interest is that in a survey held one year ago, 95% of Yesha residents said they led “happy” or “very happy” lives.
Happy Smiles in Bet El

While Israel's electronic media (radio and television) continue to do all in their power to demonize the residents of Yesha and paint them as terrorists and spies, it behooves a prudent observer to pay a visit to these blossoming Jewish towns to judge for himself the nature of this segment of Israel's populace, without the agenda-driven verbiage of the radio and TV commentators.

This article is based on an editorial which appeared in the Kislev, 5772 issue of Yesha Shelanu, a publication of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza.

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Photos: Knesset Speaker Rivlin In Bet El

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In the wake of a court ruling to demolish 5 apartment buildings in Bet El, an unprecedented outpouring of support has emanated from coalition parties, who are committed to finding a solution. Activists say that the ruling won’t lead to actual destruction of the homes because:

1.      The land was purchased from an Arab with a contract over 12 years ago.

2.      The buildings are not located in a remote location but rather within the parameters of the town of Bet El.

3.      They are full-fledged concrete edifices and not makeshift, temporary homes.

On an official State visit to Bet El, Speaker of the Knesset Ruby Rivlin was honored at the Bet El Yeshiva Center to light Hanukkah candles on the last night of Hanukkah.

Below are photos from candle lighting at the yeshiva.

Knesset Speaker Ruby Rivlin lights candles. Rabbi Zalman Melamed looks on.

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