Monday, August 11, 2008

As Promised!

I promised that I'd post some of the pictures I took when touring the Shomron, north of Shiloh, with Helen Freedman of AFSI. Finally, I got them on a CD to post.

It was a real privilege to have been able to accompany Helen. Even though I live in the same general area, I don't get to nearby Jewish villages. It may sound peculiar to some of you, but I had a real reason for calling my Arutz 7 blog, The Eye of The Storm. In some ways, living here is just living. We're busy with ordinary things. There's a calm, like the eye of the storm, while all sorts of dangerous things are swirling around us. I'm not oblivious to the dangers, but regardless of Olmert's threats, we go on with our lives in defiance and with confidence that we will survive. Olmert will just be one of the sorrier figures in Jewish History, while our contributions will be admired.

The tour was led by David Haivri of Tapuach. Our first stop was Rechallim. That's the location of the Arab terror attack when terrorists shot up a bus from Shiloh going to the Tel Aviv demonstration on the eve of the Madrid Conference. Two people were murdered, the driver, Yitzchak Harofeh and my neighbor and close frriend, Rachella Druk. In response to her murder, she was buried in Shiloh, which inaugurated our cemetery, and two communities were established. Shvut Rachel, just to the east of my home was given approval almost immediately, but Rechallim, where her murder actually took place is still struggling for official recognition.

Rechallim 1

Rechallim pre-school

Rechallim 2

Rechallim 3

Yitzchak Shamir's government fought all of the groups which tried to live there. It took a long time for any buildings to be built. As of today, almost twenty years later, conditions are horrendous, but young families still want to live there. For me it was very emotional seeing all of the young children. Rachella loved children and had seven at the time of her murder.

Rechallim wine 1

Rechallim wine 2

Then we went to an outpost where all of Shechem lay before us. The view was totally breathtaking. We could see every building including Kever Yosef, abandoned by Ehud Barak's reign of terror government. His short lived regime was the worst time in Israeli history. How can he dare to consider himself a candidate for Prime Minister after what he did? And how is it that the Israeli public has forgotten the rampant terrorism under his rule?

Looking at Shechem 3

Looking at Shechem 4

Looking at Shechem 5

Looking at Shechem 2

Looking at Shechem 1

From there we went to Barkan, to the office of the Governor of the Shomron Regional Council. We had to wait a few minutes until he was available, since it was mincha (the afternoon) prayer time. The synagogue was overflowing.

Mincha in Barkan

Gershon Masika, gave us more details about the difficulties he faces finding ways to support the small unrecognized communities. He began his talk by showing us a map which makes the dangers of a terror state in the heart of Eretz Yisrael so obvious. The breadth of land Olmert is offering the Arabs is much larger than what he proposes remain in Israel's hands.

Shomron Council Head

Shomrom Memorial for Destroyed towns

Afterwards we drove further into the heartland of our Biblical History, to Itamar and further, to Avri Ran's farm. We were invited to lunch and feasted on the goat yogurt and cheese they produce there. His very talented son-in-law told us the history of the farm and showed us his very impressive art, including the synagogue, like none I've ever seen before.

Dining Room in Avri Ran's Farm, Shomron Farm

Admiring the Synagogue Avri Ran's Farm

Avri Ran's Farm 3

Avri Ran's Farm 2

Avri Ran's Farm 1

It was definitely a beautiful and inspiring day.

Holding Onto My Hat in The Shomron


Anonymous said...

Kennewick musing here...thank you Batya, great pics :)

Batya said...

glad you like them m'dear

Mark Walker said...

I like the pics. It gives me a wonderful vitual visit.
On the child's T-shirt earlier in the pics and near the end, there is phrase that says "no something, no something." It seems to be a popular phrase, but what is that something?


Esser Agaroth said...


What? Gershon Mesiqah is now our "governor?"

He's a good guy. I even voted for him, but "governor?"

Is that what they're calling him?

Does that make Avi Ro'eh governor of Binyamin?

Anyway, nice photos.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

I think that the standard translation is mayor, not governor. (Try translating "mazkir" of a settlement. You can't use secretary because that's who organizes the mazkir's office, and if you use chairman you have a problem with what to call the chairman of the secretariat.)
Mark Walker, the T-shirt says, "We won't forget, we won't forgive," and refers to the expulsion of three years ago.
Helen visited us a few times in K'far Darom. I remember her coming 'round the expellee sites too. She always brings a nice group. Does anyone agree with me that it's time she came to Israel with her followers and founded "Israelis for a Safe America"?

Batya said...

thanks Mark

Ya'aqov, Hadassa, I discussed the term with David Ha'ivri. Personally, I think that saying "mayor" for regional head is a mistake. "Governor" is more accurate. You have a mayor of a city, like Ariel. And all the fund-raisers and spokesmen who have been "yoshev rosh hamazkirut" of the yishuvim love to call themselves "mayor." To my mind the missuse of the term is just a few steps lower than the "knitted" kippah. Mazkir is administrator, which is what he's supposed to be, the paid administrator, not policy maker.

Hadassa DeYoung said...

I mentioned "mazkir" to show that translating terms commonly used in the "settlement crowd" is extremely difficult. Neither mayor nor governor is really accurate. A "moetza" is much closer in size and scope to the area over which a mayor is responsible than a governor is. (But that's just my opinion.)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the vicarious chizuk visit!

Carol Flatto, Miami Beach

Batya said...

Carol, thanks. I'm glad you enjoyed it. I certainly enjoyed my day in the Shomron.

Hadassa, size isn't the factor, and if you're talking size, it should be more proportional to the country. Regional councils are like states or counties. In them there are towns and cities which have mayors.

aliza said...

Helen sent me the link to this page. i enjoy the pictures and your recounting your journey. below is the link of my story when i last visited Avri Ran's farm - it is too long ago, i miss it... i think you will enjoy the story.


aliza said...

here is the link

aliza said...

it seems to have been cut off so i am posting it again - but pushed Enter to get the whole thing to show. that means when you cut and paste it - you have to connect the two lines again. basically on press on the backspace button.

Batya said...

alize, thank you so much