Walking the talk

Israeli tour guides have a reputation for being self-confident, knowledgeable people with unlimited energy who are bent on promoting the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. David HaIvri is no exception. 

Born in the United States, the bilingual David made Aliya with his parents as an 11-year old. The move across the Atlantic was due to his his father, an ardent Zionist, who wanted his young family to live in Israel and be part of the fulfilment of ending the 2000-year old exile and relocating in the ancestral homeland. 

After studies and the army, David married Mollie. To date, it is a 33-year old union which has made them proud parents of 8 children (ages 13 to 32) and even 4 grandchildren. 

Following in his own father’s footsteps, he has always resisted the relative comfort and convenience of life in the cities. Instead he has opted to raise his family in the Biblical heartland of Israel. 

Settling in a small village between Shechem and Shiloh, the place where our Patriarchs sojourned and where the Tabernacle first found its home, David and his tribe are fulfilling the dream. But it’s not just about the dream. It’s practical too. The Jewish population in Samaria play a vital part in ensuring that the region will remain in the State of Israel and not be squandered by the Palestinian Authority or succumb to International pressure to concede land. It’s a big mission because demographically the population in Samaria must grow to about a million to ensure that this happens. A growth in population will also warrant that the “Green Line” that separates Judea and Samaria from the rest of Israel, will disappear.  

With their fictitious history and skewed narrative, the Palestinian Authority in these areas do not just present a threat of terrorism to Jews, but are also an ongoing threat to the wealth of archeology. Every day Biblical sites are vandalised, or looted by Palestinian thieves.

It takes courage to walk the walk and talk the talk. Knowing that there are hostile neighbours is not simple when you are sending your little ones off to school. Raising a large family with ever-looming boycotts is also not so easy. Further, ignorant adults  – who should know better – have little tolerance for Jews who choose to live beyond that imaginary Green Line, unfathomably preferring to regard them, and not terrorism, as an obstacle to peace. 

David is one of the most knowledgable guides concerning Arab affairs. He grew up with Arabs. They have always been his neighbours. In that sense, his tour guide licence added no credibility. He stands out for his first hand experience and for his gift as a natural communicator. But above it all, most striking is his stubborn belief that Jews must live in Samaria has never caused him to be partisan and hate his Palestinian neighbour. On the contrary, this is a man who goes out of his way to speak to others about the difficulties the Palestinians experience under their own corrupt authority. He befriends them. And in doing so, he offers them hope. To counter the Islamic tyranny, he has also thrown in his lot with a grass roots movement that on one hand seeks to educate his neighbours as to the truth of Jewish history, and on the other, refuses to discard the Palestinians as unequal human beings. Over kosher felafel and shwarma, he often sits with them, tirelessly advocating for their equal rights and responsibilities under future Israeli sovereignty. He is a man who walks the walk and walks the talk.