Hebron facts displayed on banners for Eurovision tourists

The new Zionist banners were meant to counteract an anti-settlement group's tours of the city.

20.5.19, 13:07
The Im Tirtzu Zionist organization and the Jewish community of Hebron teamed up to affix strategically placed banners around the Jewish neighborhoods of the city to counteract tours from Breaking the Silence.

"This is Jewish property purchased in 1817 - We have the deed" proclaimed one with an image of the land deed written and signed in Arabic. That particular banner was hung outside a disputed tract of land near the Avraham Avinu synagogue, what Breaking the Silence calls a settlement in the occupied territories.

For years BtS has held walking tours of the Jewish neighborhoods where they explain their opposition to the Jewish settlers and relate stories of human rights abuses allegedly committed by Israel Defense Force soldiers against Palestinian Authority residents. 

The group ramped up its effort last week for the Eurovision song contest which this year was help in Tel Aviv.  A large BtS banner offered tours of Hebron. In response the  StandWithUs organization displayed their own banner in the Tel Aviv area offering tours of Judea and Samaria from a pro-Israel perspective. 

Breaking the Silence led a small group through the Jewish neighborhoods which comprise about 3% of the city. Locals reported that Yehuda Shaul, co-founder of the organization led a group of four people later in the week. 

The Jerusalem Post quoted Yishai Fleisher, spokesman for the Hebron Jewish community, as stating Breaking the Silence had no support among Israelis, and had therefore turned to foreigners in the country for Eurovision who easily “believed the lies they are being fed.”
Fleisher told Israel National News, "Breaking the Silence understood after the elections that they have no support in Israel and no way to get donors. Therefore they are now trying to fool tourists who are unaware about the situation and who are willing to buy their lies."

Im Tirtzu's project coordinator Yehuda Sharabany stated "our banners will show them the truth. This organization has been repeatedly caught lying and we will continue to expose their lies for all to see."

BtS's advertisement in Tel Aviv was condemned by Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan who stated, "The contemptible hate organization Breaking the Silence once again finds time to spread lies against the State of Israel. Here is advice: instead of inciting against the pioneering residents in the city of the patriarchs, take the tourists for a tour of the terrible human rights violations of the Hamas regime in Gaza, or a tour of impressions with the Palestinian Authority, which insists on financing terrorists and praising abominable murderers."

The annual song contest brought representatives from about 40 different countries and was viewed by millions. Israel won the opportunity to host the contest after their contestant Netta Barzilai won the 2018 competition. 

The small turnout for BtS's tours contrast with the over 60,000 tourists that came to the city during the Jewish holiday of Passover.

Although explanatory signs have been posted around the Jewish community for years, Im Tirztu, who holds regular tours of Hebron for student groups, decided it was time for more something more pointed and blunt.

"Breaking the Silence lies," read one large banner with red letters accompanying by a picture of the classic children's story book character Pinocchio. "Israeli investigative TV show HaMakor found that the majority of 'facts' told by Breaking the Silence" are NOT TRUE!" read the rest of the banner.

Another, hung near the Hebron Heritage museum at Beit Hadassah read, "who is the minority here? Jews are only allowed on one street in Hebron, which is 3% of the city."

The Jerusalem Post reported that Breaking the Silence communications coordinator Achiya Schatz who led the tour was asked if it was true that Jews were restricted from most of Hebron. "Schatz acknowledged that while Israelis can only walk in a small portion of the city, their presence has an impact on a very large area," the Jpost reported.

"Proud terrorists?" asks another banner. "The Palestinian Authority has named hundreds of schools, sports competitions and roads after mass-murderers of innocent Israeli. Does "Breaking the Silence' mention this?"

Another banner mockingly states, "Warning: Palestinian snipers! The windows in this Jewish neighborhood were sandbagged during they Intifada to protect Jews from shooting by Jihad snipers." The most infamous of the shooting incidents was the killing of a baby in her stroller named Shalhevet Pass in 2000 by a sniper from the Abu Sneinah hills neighborhood.

Other banners highlighted the city's rich Jewish cultural significance. "The founding fathers and mothers of Israel are buried here," declared a banner in front of the Cave of the Patriarchs.

"Hebron, the first capital of Israel," states a banner on King David Street, referencing the seven years the city served as his capital before moving to Jerusalem.
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