Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Michael Gottlieb, an oleh (immigrant) from the US who is a man on a mission. After moving from New York’s suburbia to Israel’s bucolic Samarian (Shomron) heartland region, he has joined the battle to save the Land of Israel in general and the Shomron in particular. His weapon of choice: his “Shomron Central” hasbarah blog.”
FP: Michael Gottlieb, welcome to Frontpage Interview.
I would like to talk to you today about the centrality of Samaria to the Land of Israel, its connection to the Jewish people and its importance to the State of Israel.
But first, let’s begin with why you moved to Israel and what Shomron Central is all about.
Gottlieb: Thanks Jamie.
I grew up in an orthodox family which emphasized Zionist values. My grandfather attended Zionist Congress meetings in the 1930’s and bought land in Haifa. He loved and revered the Land of Israel. Although we had a comfortable life in our Westchester, New York suburban community, we understood that there was more to life. By the time we made aliyah in 2002, most of my family had already been living in Israel.
Shomron Central is the name of the blog I authored. ”Shomron” is the Hebrew term for Samaria, the northern half of the so-called “West Bank” (Judea and Samaria), captured by Israel in the defensive Six Day war of 1967. It is the historic Homeland of the Nation of Israel and represents a big chunk of what was originally conceived to be the future modern Jewish State, according to international agreements dating back to the post World War I era.
The blog explains in a concise and engaging way the centrality of Samaria to the Land of Israel, its connection to the Jewish People and its multi-faceted importance to the State of Israel.
FP: For those readers who might not know, explain what aliyah is and also what it meant to you.
Gottlieb: Simply put, aliyah is when a Jew emigrates from his host country to the Land of Israel. But it really goes much deeper than that. It is the destiny of every Jew to return to his Homeland, as foretold by the Bible and the Prophets of Israel. A unique, symbiotic relationship exists between the Jew and the Land and one is not complete without the other. Indeed, aliyah is Hebrew for “ascent”, signifying a rise to a higher spiritual plane. Aliyah is the modern day realization of this ancient prophetic vision and is an inevitable, inexorable and historic process which is unfolding before our eyes.
For me and my family, aliyah was and is part of an ongoing process of self-actualization.
FP: What do you love about Israel?
Gottlieb: I would say that a Jew’s attachment to his Homeland is highly personal, and its meaning can vary from individual to individual. My family and I simply feel more at home here than we ever did in New York. I find life here more enriching, more meaningful and more purposeful.
FP: Tell us a bit about the centrality of Samaria to the Land of Israel, its connection to the Jewish people and its importance to the State of Israel.
Gottlieb: Samaria is the cradle of the history of the Nation of Israel, reaching all the way back to the time of Abraham the Patriarch (Genesis, chapter 12), some 23 centuries before the advent of Islam. The heartland of the Land of Israel, Samaria was the inheritance of the now-returning ten lost tribes of Israel and it was from the Shomron that the Kingdom of Israel ruled until it’s eighth century, B.C.E. exile.
While a skeptic may try to challenge the Biblical narrative and Jewish claim to Samaria, he would be hard pressed to deny Samaria’s overwhelming strategic importance to Israel’s security, safety and welfare. My Shomron Central blog goes into these and other points in some depth.
FP: Your thoughts on Obama’s approach to Israel and the Palestinians?
Gottlieb: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing, as Obama has clearly demonstrated. He has proven that he doesn’t understand the Mideast mindset, has no grasp on the intricacies of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and seems not to understand the root causes of that conflict. Through his unimaginative recycling of the failed Land-for-Peace model, use of poor strategy and reliance on bad advice, he now finds himself painted into a corner. I think he didn’t do his homework properly and the shellacking of November 2nd is the result.
FP: Your view of Netanyahu?
Gottlieb: Netanyahu is a disappointment for many of his supporters. He is extremely capable but he betrayed his constituency by advocating for a Two State Solution (i.e. creation of a Palestinian State). I think he believes in his heart that such an approach is wrong, but doesn’t have the backbone to say it. When the going gets tough, he folds. That’s not leadership. Sadly, he is shaping up to be yet another failed leader of Israel.
FP: If Netanyahu sought your advice on how to best secure Israeli security, what would you tell him?
Gottlieb: I would advise Bibi to quickly abandon the “Two State Solution” and renounce his endorsement of a Palestinian State before it’s too late. Israel must stand up on her hind legs and assert and defend her legitimate rights to all of Judea and Samaria and place it under Israeli sovereignty. The “Land for Peace” paradigm has consistently failed in the past and always will for the simple reason that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about borders, but about the Jewish presence in the Holyland. Alternative solutions do exist and we must go with one of them. There is no other way.
FP: What is your perspective of the Left’s behavior, in Israel and in the West, in our terror war and vis-à-vis Israel?
Gottlieb: The Left is wholly unsuited to meet the unique challenges facing the world today. The war on terror both in Israel and globally is asymmetrical which requires a different set of ground rules. It also requires the ability to identify an enemy that is sometimes amorphous. On the Left’s watch, Europe is morphing into Eurabia and it is on their watch that the global war on terror is slowly being lost. In Israel, the Terror War’s ground zero, the minority Left wields disproportionate power and poses a significant threat not only to Israel’s survival, but by extension, to the world’s safety as well.
FP: Tell our readers why they should visit the Shomron Central blog and what it will offer them.
Gottlieb: In today’s global war on terror, the Mideast is the bellwether region and within the Mideast, Israel is the bellwether state. Thus, what happens in Israel has repercussions for the region, and by extension, the world at large. That’s why the world is so Israel-obsessed and why the entire world’s attention is constantly focused on tiny Israel. And the number one issue which dominates more than anything else is the conflict with the Palestinians, the West Bank, settlements, etc. My Shomron Central blog is all about the Shomron (Samaria), the northern region of the West Bank (with Judea being the southern region). What happens on the ground right here can reverberate outwards to the far reaches of the globe.
Shomron Central will give your readers an inside look into the beautiful Samarian heartland and an appreciation for why Israel must never abandon it in any peace deal. The blog explains this in an engaging and concise manner, illuminating the multi-faceted importance of Samaria to the State of Israel and her citizens by exploring issues not usually examined, such as the immense strategic value of the Samarian mountain range, the vital fresh water reserves of the Mountain Aquifer, the phenomenon of the “illegal outposts” and “hilltop youth” and the reasons to reconsider the Two State Solution model as a basis for any future peace agreement.
The link to Shomron Central is: http://www.shomroncentral.blogspot.com/.
FP: Michael Gottlieb, thank you for joining Frontpage Interview.