Thursday, December 10, 2009

״...And fill the Land״ (Genesis 1:28) by Hadassa DeYoung


״...And fill the Land״ (Genesis 1:28)
 by Hadassa DeYoung

I recently heard a bit of news from one of my former Gush Katif neighbors that disturbed me. A suggestion was raised that in response to the building freeze in Judea and Samaria (YoSh), families should build in Lachish, where many communities from Gush Katif are rebuilding. The correct response to the building freeze is not to move the construction equipment to Lachish or any other region of Israel. The correct response is to fight the freeze, including closing community entrances to building inspectors and preventing the confiscation of construction equipment. Before the expulsion, many called on us to voluntarily leave Gush Katif and to devote our pioneering efforts to other worthy projects. Among them were former residents of Yamit living in the Eshkol region near Gush Katif. They invited us in an open letter to join them. As a group, we refused.

Before the August 2005 expulsion of Gush Katif, we called on our brothers and sisters in YoSh to unite with us. The response was eager. Most of the residents of Hebron came to Shirat HaYam. Elon Moreh virtually divided itself between K'far Darom and Homesh. The Ulpana from Ma'aleh Levona came to Gush Katif. The yeshivot of Elon Moreh and Beit El temporarily relocated to K׳far Darom. There was hardly a community in YoSh, if there were any, that didn't have representatives in Gush Katif or out in the street demonstrating and campaigning. It's time to pay back communities in YoSh for supporting us then, and point out the mistake of those who did not support us. The answer is not to give up on YoSh, but rather to unite and demand that the government stop all bureaucratic foot dragging of building permits. We must also demand the immediate cessation of all illegal Arab and Bedouin building in Lachish, the Negev, the Galilee and YoSh.

One of the reasons given for building in Lachish was to prevent unemployment of Arab construction workers, who would subsequently turn to terror out of forced idleness due to the freeze. If they are out of work, that׳s the only positive aspect of the freeze. We are forbidden to support the enemy, financially or otherwise. If Hamas is threatening to fill the vacuum, we must deal with that threat militarily. Do the employed Arabs oppose terrorism any more than their unemployed brothers anyway? But in fact many Jews working in construction will be affected by the building freeze. The Har Kabir construction company in Kedumim hires only Jews. Just this past week Judy (or Jody – I read the name in Hebrew) Ben-Ari from Oranit, the owner of a 180 employee construction company that employs mainly Jews announced that she has to lay-off all of her employees. (See B׳Sheva VaYishlah if you read Hebrew.) Jewish companies in YoSh selling building supplies, furniture, heating/cooling systems, kitchens etc. will suffer also.

I noticed something interesting when I read this week's (VaYishlah) print edition of B'Sheva, INN's Hebrew publication. I had already read the Internet version of the events of the week, which were, of course, more up to date than the weekly print version. Even the staff of B'Sheva underestimated the resistance that the "less ideological communities" would show. That's a very good sign. The last time we faced forced removal from our land, which is the next step after the freeze according to some analysts, our disunity cost us dearly. If this past week has been more than a photo-op, YoSh has a chance of repelling the government's latest attempt to destroy communities.

When my family, after much deliberation, decided that answering the call to live in YoSh was, for us, a better way to devote our efforts than to remain with our neighbors from K׳far Darom, we chose Elon Moreh partly because they joined us in our time of need. Our hope was that becoming residents of YoSh would help prevent the need for supporters and ״meshubahim״ in the future. Unfortunately the need still remains. I support my fellow Gush Katifers living in internal exile, wherever they choose to live in Israel, and this support has been more than kind words. We are still signed with a group from K׳far Darom and plan to build with them. I genuinely support the new communities in Lachish and value the Jewish presence there. For over twenty years communities have been planned in the sparsely populated Lachish region; no-one answered the call until the pioneers from Gush Katif no longer had the option of Gush Katif. But support of one region in Israel must not come at the expense of supporting another.

I call my fellow Gush Katifers to return the assistance that the communities of YoSh gave us then, and to remind the communities that didn׳t assist of the dire consequences of their lack of unity.

Afterword: This article was originally posted on a different forum, in a slightly different version. After I posted the article I received an SMS from one of my former neighbors from K׳far Darom, now living in Shomeria and planning to build in Lachish, in a strategic location close to the Green Line, which will serve as a buffer to YoSh and in fact will be just as open to Arab terror as YoSh unfortunately is. The SMS had been sent out in a group mailing to K׳far Darom families and probably many more. It was a call to unite for the sake of the Land of Israel – YoSh was not mentioned by name - and attend the protest against the building freeze. I disagree with the effectiveness of protests, but the call for unity is absolutely in the right place.

Hadassa DeYoung, K״far Darom/Elon Moreh

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