Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Jewish Communities in Samaria Find Friends on Facebook

Hana Levi Julian Samaria Jewish Towns on Facebook

Jewish communities in Samaria have discovered a new way to get their message out to the world – through the Facebook social networking web site. “We are using web-based social media to network international support for the Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria,” explained David Ha’Ivri, executive director of the Shomron Liaison Office in Samaria. Ha”Ivri makes a point of posting the latest news and information about events being held at Jewish communities nestled among the hills in the region on the organization’s Facebook page several times a day.

Its Info page, “Friends of the Jewish Communities in the Shomron,” encourages visitors to “support, learn, visit and talk about the Jewish communities in the Shomron.”

The page has garnered “hundreds of members a day for the past two weeks,” according to Ha’Ivri – 2,434 official members of the group, actually – who the activist said have been meeting at the site “to organize real live events at international locations.

In the past two weeks, the group has been involved in demonstrations and events in Melbourne, Australia, New York City, Loveland, Colorado, and New Mexico, opposing the building freeze in Judea and Samaria.

At last count, there were 2,434 official members of the group, with an active board of administrators that includes students and professionals, Jews and non-Jews, “even a dentist from Nairobi,” noted Ha’Ivri.

The group is also organizing web-based activities for “armchair activists,” he said. “An armchair activist is a person whose activism is realized via his ability to do things on the Internet, blog, talkback, send faxes and emails to elected officials, web design, produce content for web sites and edit Wikipedia,” he explained.

“There are people around the globe who support Jewish rights in Judea and Samaria – this forum is giving them a platform to unite and work together to actually do something,” he added.

In the “Discussions” area, the group shares photos and information about violent police actions in the region. There is also a media response team that monitors and responds to reports on Judea and Samaria around the world, and a group that plans for ecological pilot projects in Samaria communities, Ha’Ivri said. “It’s not all about the struggle with the building freeze. It’s about supporting the Jewish communities in Samaria”

“Some members have already donated funds for needs that they learned about via the group, like the Itai Zar Legal Fund, and planting trees in Samaria to symbolize Jewish growth and setting down roots."

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