Ever see one of those Blue and White JNF Tzedaka boxes when you were growing up, perhaps in your grandmother's house?
Ever put a few pennies in there to help Israel acquire the land for the Jewish people?
If so, you may have been ripped off.
Over the decades, the JNF has purchased miles and miles of the land in Israel for the Jewish people.
In the past few years a few controversies popped up when JNF land was going to be swapped or sold, or when it was discovered that Arabs are squatting on it and claiming it for themselves, and don't get me started on the Dheisheh refugee camp in Beith Lechem - yup, Jewish purchased property by the JNF.
But the latest controversy is probably the biggest of them all.
The concept of land ownership in Israel is a little different than the rest of the world. Most land is owned by the State (i.e. the People) and is leased out in 49 year leases. A modern version of the Jubilee laws. The lease is automatically renewed at the end of the period.
Most land is not privately owned.
I, JoeSettler, have mixed feelings about this concept (too much socialism, and not enough Judaism perhaps), but Jameel says he supports it strongly.
Netanyahu is trying to pass a bill right now, that would allow the state to sell off JNF land, in perpetuity, to private land owners. Land that was bought by our grandparents with every penny they put into the pushke.
5% of JNF land is going to be privatized today with the passage of this bill, and perhaps this is a first step to privatizing all JNF land.
Today, Hamas was given $21 million dollars from an Egyptian sheik to begin acquiring land in Jerusalem. The PA continues to do so with money they get from around the world.
Certainly one of the last safeguards against losing ownership of the real estate of the Land of Israel was the lease concept.
Will the land your grandparents bought yesterday, that the government is forcing the JNF to privatize today, be in the hands of Hamas and the PA tomorrow?
The Netanyahu government is rushing to push this through.
But is it really one of their better and more thought out ideas?
Young men, spend a year learning Torah in Israel, with up to $10,000 in scholarships, grants and loans - at Yeshivat Hamivtar.
Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד