/BY KAYLENE RUDY/ //SPECIAL FOR THE AJT// Ma’ale Adumin Playground

Ma’ale Adumim is a city located just four miles East of Jerusalem and is considered the “Eastern Gateway” of the area. The city is built on two dominant hillsides that are mentioned in Joshua 15:7, describing the border between
the tribe of Benjamin and Judah.

The name Adumim (Adomis red in Hebrew) is descriptive of the red tinted rock that is prominent along the roadway ascending from Jericho and the Dead Sea. It is also the location of the “Good Samaritan” story recorded in the Christian Biblical writings of Luke 10:30.

The strategic location of this city is well documented by its long history of habitation. Visible from its hillsides is the Jordan River and beyond to the mountains of Edom and Moab.

Recently, it was my pleasure to spend time with Mr. Benny Kashriel, Mayor of Ma’ale Adumim, Israel. During my time with Mayor Kashriel, I learned about his city and the current challenges they are facing.

The city of Ma’al Adumim is surrounded by thousands of Palestinians that work in Ma’ale Adumim’s factories which feed and support their families. This city shares its resources and Emergency Response Service with the surrounding Palestinian communities due to their location.

Ma’ale Adumim has been under a high-risk Terror Alert. It is Hamas that causes life of unrest and conflict against this city that enjoys freedom, liberty and prosperity. The Palestinians that work in Ma’ale Adumim want to remain part of the democracy and peace they enjoy while working and supporting their families.

“Ma’ale Adumim wants to live in peace and generally the Palestinians want to continue working with in the city of Ma’ale Adumim.” says Mayor Kashriel

The Mayor of Ma’ale Adumim, Mr. Benny Kashriel recently made his trip to the United States to seek our support for his city. He explained that the city is in need of suitable building and equipment for their security and Emergency Response Services that are needed to keep their city of over 40,000 citizens safe.

Citizens are concerned about the future of their city in relation to the Israeli-Palestine conflict and the negotiations of the boarder; there has been a need for increased security during the negotiations.

Israel has been accused of purposely building in this area and expanding as a plot to “Occupy” the  Palestinian borders. This is not true. Ma’ale Adumim is at the Eastern Gate to Jerusalem. This land belongs to Israel and there are over 8 million people that currently live in the State of Israel. The entire country is close to the size of New Jersey and not everyone can live within the city of Jerusalem with their families. Therefore, it is only natural that a community would thrive in this location outside the Eastern Gate on a hill that overlooks the city of Jerusalem.

Comparison map

It takes great security efforts and management to keep these citizens safe and secure. It costs over $2.5 million dollars per year and this city needs to upgrade its equipment and facilities as soon as possible.

Out of the 40,000 citizens in Ma’ale Adumim, over 35 percent are children that receive a wonderful education and enjoy a picturesque home in which to grow and thrive thanks to the hard work and effort in building this strong and beautiful city.

Now we see the U.S. and other countries trying to pressure PM Netanyahu into giving up this land in “Peace Talks” to the Palestinians.

Even though the Palestinians are welcome to peacefully reside and work in Ma’ale Adumim the Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat asserts, “Anyone who says he wants to keep settlers in the Palestinian state is actually saying that he doesn’t want a Palestinian state,” and he adds “No settler will be allowed to stay in the Palestinian state, not even a single one, because settlements are illegal and the presence of the settlers on the occupied lands is illegal.”

This seeming statement of intent to expel Jewish people from their homes directly affects over 500,000 Israelis in the Judea and Samaria area; including the citizens of Ma’ale Adumim.

As we watch in anticipation over the “Peace Talks,” we must keep our thoughts on this very city. We should support these Jewish citizens of Israel and be proud of the city that they have built and are currently sharing peacefully with the Palestinians.

If this land is given over into the hands of the Palestinians, it has been made very clear that a “Palestinian State” will not share their land or resources with any one from Israel, nor will they respect or even recognize us as a Jewish State.

Please keep your heart and mind on these issues as we go through this process. Our Israeli leaders and these citizens need your prayers and compassion each and every day. Please support this land by touring this city on your next visit to Israel, while learning of its rich history and current challenges.

The B’nai Zion Foundation in New York, NY is currently fund raising to assist this community in its efforts to beef up the security due to the recent Hamas treats against this community and to ensure positive education for the children living with in.

For more information about supporting this effort you can visit, www.bnaizion.org/maaleh_funding