The Baal Shem Tov, or Besht —  the founder of Chasidism — 
met the soul of the Messiah during an ascent to heaven. 
The Besht asked him, "When will the Master come?" 
The Messiah answered, "When your wellsprings break forth to the outside!" 
(from a letter written by the Besht to his brother-in-law about one of his soul ascents) 

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Haaretz and Bustan on the demolition of A-tir

ILA destroys Bedouin homes to make way for Jewish town
Mijal Grinberg, Haaretz, June 26, 2007

The Israel Land Administration (ILA), with the assistance of an unusually large police force and IDF soldiers, demolished dozens of tin shack homes Monday in unrecognized Bedouin villages Um Al-Hiran and A-Tir in the northern Negev. The ILA is destroying the village and evacuating the inhabitants so that a Jewish Community named "Hiran" can be established in the area.

Fourteen shacks, which housed some 100 people, have been destroyed by bulldozers so far. Bedouin women tried to get their children out of the house but police wanted to speed up the process so they grabbed the play pens with the children inside and did not let the mothers come near. "Tonight we will sleep on the ground", Fajua Ab Abu Al-Cian said. [more]

Young men, roughly 18-years of age, wearing orange shirts and taking part in the evacuation, removed the Bedouin's property from their homes and put it in piles on the ground outside. Haaretz has discovered that these teenagers are outsourced workers who are employed by a contractor hired by the ILA. According to the evacuators, they are being paid in cash without any labor rights.

According to Adallah, the Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, the residents of the village have been living there for 51 years. They were transferred to the site in 1956 while under martial law. The land they originally owned was transferred to Kibbutz Shoval, while the Bedouin were leased 3000 dunam of land for agriculture and grazing.

In August 2001 the ILA [the Israel Land Administration] submitted a report on the establishment of new communities, which included Hiran. The Bedouin residents living in the area appeared under the title of "special problems" that may affect the establishment of the community. The government approved the establishment of Hiran in 2002, and in 2004 the state submitted a court order claiming that residents of Al Hiran should be evacuated as they are using state lands without permission.

Making the Desert Bloom – Destroying Atir Village in Yatir Forest

Devorah Brous, Bustan, June 26, 2007
Israel's Negev Development Plans continue apace. Another Bedouin town was completely destroyed today. The Regional Council of Unrecognized Villages will be building a Refugee Camp in the center of Jerusalem for the Bedouin families that have been uprooted from their lands and forced out of their homes as part of the government's relocation project. Your help in spreading the news updates to your communities and publishing information widely is critical. North American Jews should not be funding this process and in the name of pioneering settlement of the Negev. Please use your influence to speak truth to power.

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Other links related to A-tir, including a satellite image of A-tir

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Design in progress © Rabbi David Mevorach Seidenberg 2006