Yehuda HaKohen

Yehuda HaKohen

Yehuda HaKohen ( _he. יהודה הכהן, also Yehuda Weisbrod, born 1979) is an Israeli activist and internet radio personality on Israel National Radio (channel seven). He is a leader in Magshimey Herut’s Zionist Freedom Alliance and has become a vocal critic of both government corruption and globalization in the Middle East. HaKohen lives with his family in eastern Jerusalem and like most Israeli settlers, advocates that all territory between the Mediterranean Sea and Jordan River rightfully belongs to the Jewish people. As a leader in the Magshimey Herut movement, HaKohen is active in social causes within Israeli society typically associated with both right-wing and left-wing politics.Fact|date=December 2007

Am Segula

Yehuda HaKohen immigrated to Israel from New York in 2001 and studied in Jerusalem’s Machon Meir institute. During this time, HaKohen founded Am Segula and organized weekend programs for American students in Israel to visit Israeli settlements in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. [ [ Students Go Beyond Solidarity - Jewish World - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ] This was significant at the time because it was uncommon for American Jews during the early years of the Oslo War to travel to these areas which many viewed as dangerous. Am Segula also held weekly classes in central Jerusalem where veteran activist Elie Yossef taught Zionist history. Yossef’s teachings had a profound effect on many Am Segula leaders and HaKohen later began teaching the history course himself at Machon Meir.

Under Yossef’s guidance, Am Segula launched a series of non-violent protests and hunger strikes in order to pressure the Israeli government to demand of the United States freedom for Jonathan Pollard. [ [ Youth To Hunger-Strike For Pollard - Jewish World - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ] Yossef traveled to many high schools lecturing about the Pollard affair until the matter became a major political issue within Israeli society.

ettlement and military service

In early 2003, Am Segula merged into Magshimey Herut, a Zionist organization HaKohen had been part of in New York, and teamed up with the K’Cholmim group to take control of a hilltop near Kochav HaShachar in Samaria. HaKohen lived on the hilltop until he drafted into the Israel Defense Forces in June 2003. HaKohen served as an infantry soldier in the Netzah Yehuda Battalion, a special combat unit designed for highly religious soldiers often tasked with capturing terrorists wanted by Israel’s Shin Bet security services. Upon finishing his military service, HaKohen was made coordinator for all Magshimey Herut activities in English speaking countries. [ [ Magshimey Herut - Staff ] ]

After the army

During the months leading up to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s Gaza Disengagement, there was a fear among many Israelis that the divisive government policy was pushing Israeli society towards a civil war. Yehuda HaKohen traveled the country speaking to left-wing youth movements in an attempt to encourage dialogue and build mutual understanding. [ [ Left-Wing Youth Group Welcomes Anti-Disenagegement Speakers - On A7 Radio - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ] Following the violent confrontation at Amona between the Israeli police and settler teenagers in early 2006, HaKohen and Elie Yossef went on a three week hunger strike vigil protesting violence between Jews. The activists displayed banners and handed out flyers calling on both the Israeli government and settler leadership to seek ways to avoid future bloodshed. As this took place just before national elections, the hunger strike drew criticism from some settlers who had felt victimized by the government and sought to use the tragedy as a means to hurt the ruling Kadima party in the polls. The government had no official response to the vigil. [ [ on A7radio: New Hunger Strike, Gush Katif Refugee Speaks - On A7 Radio - Israel News - Arutz Sheva ] ]

In 2006, HaKohen teamed up with Yavneh Olami director Ze’ev Orenstein to co-host an internet based radio program called Jewish Campus Radio on Israel National Radio (channel seven). The program dealt with all issues facing Jewish college students in the West but focused primarily on Zionist activism on college campuses. In the summer of 2007, INR asked HaKohen to host their new program, The Struggle, which deals with Zionist history and global issues that concern the State of Israel. [ [ Israel National Radio ] ] HaKohen surprised many colleagues in late 2007 when he endorsed United States Congressman Ron Paul for the Republican presidential nomination. Although many Jews viewed Paul as an anti-Israel candidate based on his longtime opposition to American foreign aid to Israel (or any other state) and although HaKohen had previously opposed Jews voting in American elections with Israel's interests at heart, he asserted that Israel must become an independent country and that Ron Paul's policies would likely lead to an independent Israel. [ [ Ron Paul's tiny Jewish following - JTA, Jewish & Israel News ] ]

Zionist Freedom Alliance

As they began to establish student groups and organize activities on college campuses in North America, Magshimey Herut activists established the Zionist Freedom Alliance. In addition to advocating the Jewish right to Greater Israel, the ZFA became active on many human rights and social justice issues normally associated with left-wing politics. In November of 2007, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency reported the ZFA to be promoting Israeli nationalism on twenty American college campuses and described the group as socially liberal with a hard-right stance on Israeli border issues. [ [ Ron Paul's tiny Jewish following - JTA, Jewish & Israel News ] ]

In April of 2008, HaKohen led a week long program called "Israel Liberation Week" at Hofstra University. [ [ Arguing the Justice of the Zionist Cause ] ] During this week of events, ZFA reached beyond the Jewish community and targeted a wider student public through films, art exhibits and concerts that focused on Jewish rights to the Land of Israel, the Jewish revolt against British rule and the need for the State of Israel to become an independent country. [ [ American Students Hosting Israel Liberation Week ] ]

While mainstream Jewish leaders and pro-Israel organizations on American campuses try to present the State of Israel as a democratic Western country with numerous security challenges, HaKohen and the ZFA speak of Israel as a Middle Eastern nation with a legitimate moral and historic right to its entire country. In a July 2008 interview, HaKohen told Israel National News that:

"We must make the world understand that the Jewish nation, like any other nation on the planet, has a right to self-determination in our country. Not in half of our country, but in our whole country. We have nothing against any other peoples, but the world today has no shortage of Arab states. 77% of Palestine [the territory east of the Jordan River] was made into an Arab state, and we are at least entitled to the remaining 23% that was left us by international law to be a Jewish state. No power on earth has the moral authority to rob us of our land." [ [ Pro-Israel Revolution On Campus ] ]

In that same interview, HaKohen angered American neo-conservative groups by stating that:

"There is nothing right-wing or conservative about wanting to keep our [the Jewish] homeland free from foreign rule. If we are truly the indigenous natives in the conflict, then our cause should really be championed by liberal students everywhere. Especially since the Bush administration that occupies Iraq and imposes a Patriot Act on the American people is the very same administration pushing to ethnically cleanse the Jewish people from portions of our homeland." [ [ Pro-Israel Revolution On Campus ] ]

ee also

* Elie Yossef
* Israel
* Magshimey Herut
* Religious Zionism
* Revisionist Zionism
* Zionism
* Zionist Freedom Alliance


External links

* [ Zionist Freedom Alliance website]

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