RACHELS CHILDREN RECLAMATION FOUNDATION
60 WEST END AVENUE BROOKLYN NY 11235
Upcoming Women's Event in Beit Bnei Rachel
(Rachel's Tomb Walled Complex)
DATE: Tuesday, January 25
TIME: 11 am
Post Tu B'Shvat shiur in Hebrew with Bonnie Linder
Rav Kook on Brachot
"Focusing on our Blessings"
Suggested donation: 15 shekel
Directions: Egged bus 163 at 10 am or private car.
Do not enter Kever Rachel. Pass army barricade and follow outside of building.
Beit Bnei Rachel entrance is immediately past the wall of the Kever
Information: call Bonnie Linder 02-996-3240
Please leave message.
EVERY WEDNESDAY- WOMEN ONLY –
call Evelyn Haies 054-224-2649
English, Hebrew on Request VIA 10:00AM Egged #163 Classes at 11:am
Learn from 11 -1noon. Time for Tehillim; Return 12:30 or 2:30pm
Atara Gur, Rachel Imeinu Scholar,
"The Twelve Dimensions of Israel"
Nechama Sarah G. Nadborny, Author
There will IYH be a bus going
to Kever Rachel on
Tuesday 27 Shevat (1 Feb. 2011).
The bus will leave from outside the matnas in Efrat at 8:20 and will stop at the Trempiada at the first traffic circle of Efrat, at the Southern entrance of Efrat and at the bus stop outside Elazar.
Steve Rodan will be speaking in English (topic to follow).
This event is being sponsored by the Rodin family of Elazar in memory of Steve's parents.
Men welcome, refreshments will be served. .
Suggested donation: NIS 20 per person
To ask about sponsoring one of our trips, or if you have any questions, call Nina Devere at 9931724
WATCH FOR SPECIAL EVENTS
Women In Green
Below please find the translation into Englsih of Rivki Goldfingers article in the Besheva newspaper this past shabbat
with love for Israel,
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar
Israel National News
15 Shevat 5771 * January 20, 2011
They make facts on the Ground
Their jeep dauntlessly sweeps across the hills and dirt roads throughout Gush Etzion and the Hebron hills, and not a single dunam of land escapes their eyes.
by Rivki Goldfinger
Their jeep dauntlessly sweeps across the hills and dirt roads throughout Gush Etzion and the Hebron hills, and not a single dunam of land escapes their eyes * For five years Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover have been struggling for Jewish possession of the area, while keeping track of the worrisome Arab takeover * In the battle for the land, they want, first of all, to "establish facts on the ground" * The strategy: hundreds of plantings of new trees throughout the year that will establish who are the owners of the land
Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, the leaders of the Women in Green movement, devote their time to "the war over home," as they define this. They fear no one. Speeding in a white jeep throughout Gush Etzion, spreading out maps and examining every new development on the ground. This week I joined them for a patrol. They take me to the edge of the Palestinian town of Beit Sahour, where we encountered trucks, going about their business as if they belonged there, leveling areas at the foot of the hill, close to the Shdema military outpost. Yehudit Katsover makes a call to the commander of the Etzion Brigade, to update him.
Under the Aegis of the Dutch Government
We continue toward our second stop: the Netzer Hill, that is situated between Elazar and Alon Shvut. Nadia cruises in her vehicle up on the rocky hill. Arab and Jewish agricultural plots are scattered around, all mixed together. Nadia and Yehudit go into the field almost every day, and it's obvious that they are totally familiar with the area. To the right, close to the fence of the community of Elazar, is an agricultural plot that an Arab has taken over. "He planted grape vines here," Katsover says, and explains that by taking over the lands adjoining the fence, the Arabs hope to prevent the expansion of the communities. Nadia hands me an up-to-date contour map. "In this region there are hundreds of dunams that are defined as state lands. In the past two years the Arabs, who are financed by international bodies, have been accelerating the takeover of the land. They are acting at an insane pace in order to prevent Jewish settlement continuity between Elazar, Alon Shvut, and Efrat. A stubborn struggle is being waged here for every piece of land," Nadia says, and points to a metal sign proudly standing in one of the plots, teaching that the Dutch government is financing and aiding the Arab residents in the area to steal their land.
The initial activity at Netzer began as the private initiative of a number of families from the community of Elazar, who felt that they cannot remain apathetic in light of the reality of the theft of more and more state lands. With their meager resources they went out into the field and began to build and plant grape vines and olive trees. "They understood that it was impossible to stand by and wait for the state to be so good as to do something about this, for precious time was passing, and there is no reality of a vacuum here. It;'s either us or them," Katsover states and wants to expand on the Palestinian method of the takeover of state lands. "They plant olive trees, and after ten years, in accordance with the law, claim ownership of the land. We have the Defense Minister closing his eyes here. When we try to build houses here, they destroyed them eight times. When we planted trees, we received endless [Civil Administration] orders. There is a distorted reality here, in which the political echelon, together with the Civil Administration, do not defend the state lands."
"A lack of any response on our part invited further takeovers of state [land] areas," Nadia explains. "The Arabs, without any doubt, keenly smell weakness. It seems that in the end the responsibility for guarding Israel's lands will fall, as usual, on the shoulders of the little citizen. This is our message. When the government doesn't do, then we, the 'little people,'must arise and act. It definitely is possible to change. We call to everyone to join the struggle and aid us in taking these hills."
Galilee on Behalf of Gush Etzion
"The beginning at Netzer was not at all simple," Nadia sighs, and describes how, for many weeks, a stormy conflict was waged between the Arabs and the Jewish inhabitants. The Arabs uprooted the dozens of grape vines that had been planted by Women in Green activists. In response, the Jewish activists planted a number of mature olive trees that were donated by farmers from the north. Already the next day the Arabs uprooted the trees, but the activists came back at night and replanted them.
After a number of days, about ten Arabs came to the area, equipped with axes and electric saws, and they began to very violently cut down the olive trees. The Jewish residents of the area quickly ran toward the plot, and physically defended the trees. "Since then, there has been damage to the trees or to the irrigation pipes here and there. In the last two years the Arabs, with extensive international funding, have noticeably intensified the seizure of state lands. In order to try and prevent the Arabs from taking over the lands, we plant more and more olive trees and grape vines. What a wonderful feeling it is to plant a tree in Eretz Israel. To feel the land with the palms of your hands. With G-d's help, in this way we have already redeemed dozens of dunams of state lands," Nadia states with satisfaction.
The professional assistance for the maintenance and nurturing of the plants at Netzer is given, on a volunteer basis, by Uri Plasse from the moshav of Sdeh Yaakov in Galilee. "Uri harnessed himself to the mission with outstanding dedication," Katsover says, with esteem. " Once or twice a week he leaves his large and flourishing farm in Galilee and comes here to work in the field." Plasse, for his part, relates to this totally naturally. "As far as I am concerned, this is the natural continuation of Zionism and settlement in Eretz Israel. Zionism is not a product with an expiration date, it rather continues to this very day," he says, during the last preparations for the coming plantings in the area, that will be conducted this week in public in honor of Tu bi-Shevat.
A number of weeks ago, during a planting on Route 60, between the Gush Etzion junction and Efrat, Nadia and Yehudit spotted a Palestinian Authority police car driving freely. They couldn't believe their eyes. Nadia quickly pulled out a camera and documented it. When the Palestinian police spotted her, they unhesitatingly responded with a "V" victory sign. "We rubbed our eyes. The Palestinian police is traveling among us, with no problems, and in such a challenging way. We immediately called the army to determine how this was possible. This is a change in policy," Nadia notes, and explains that until recently the Palestinian police were forbidden from leaving the bounds of Area A, and in the transit points between one area and another they were required to have coordination and an escort of IDF soldiers. "The concessions granted to the Palestinian police are unreasonable, and we must not become accustomed to this,"she states decisively.
An additional expression of the lack of Israeli rule in the field is what the two call the "greenhouse intifada." Anyone who traveled in the past two months in the Judea region could not help noting that many dozens of large and brand-new agricultural greenhouses that were built for the Arab inhabitants have sprung up like mushrooms after the rain in Areas B and C. Within a short period, many dozens of greenhouses have been erected. It should be clear - this is not by chance. This is a new intifada - the greenhouse intifada, and this is totally orchestrated and organized," Nadia Matar warns. "When I travel on the road between Efrat and Tekoa, or in the southern Hebron hills between Kiriat Arba and Otniel, wherever I look I see greenhouses. They've surrounded the Adorayim camp, too, with a lot of greenhouses. They're really choking the camp. This is an unacceptable situation," Matar says.
The Civilians Who Brought Back the IDF
Nadia, the mother of six and a resident of Efrat, was born in Antwerp, Belgium. She came to Israel as an olah at the age of 18. She studied education and Jewish history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, where she met her husband, Dr. David Matar. Together with her mother-in-law Ruth, some 18 years ago, she established the Women in Green organization. Matar, who gained fame in the past by her conspicuous presence at demonstrations of the right, changed her strategy over the years. Now she advocates focusing on action and on establishing facts on the ground. "I reached the conclusion that in a country like ours demonstrations alone are a waste of energy. It's more effective to establish facts on the ground. To build, to plant, to settle. True, the struggle for the lands is intensive and daily, but we will triumph only if we demonstrate constancy and determination. Quiet and organized demonstrations are not enough. The whole world must understand that we are determined in the struggle for Eretz Israel," Nadia says, with Katsover nodding her head in agreement.
Katzover (63), the wife of Zvi Katzover, the former head of the Kiriat Arba Council, came to Israel as an olah from Transylvania, as a girl. She has been living in Kiriat Arba "from the Kiriah's first day," and was one of the women who settled with their children in Beit Hadassah in Hebron in 1979 and lived there about a year, under extremely difficult conditions. At present Katsover is the director of the teaching program in the Kiriat Arba-Hebron College.
They began their shared path during the time of the upheaval that followed the expulsion from Gush Katif, and since then they see eye to eye in the diverse range of their activities.
The first struggle together was for the opening of the Zaatra bypass road that connects eastern Gush Etzion with Har Homa and Jerusalem. "The road was open for Arabs. Unlike them, the Jews had to travel via Efrat and the tunnels road. Instead of a trip of approximately 6 minutes, they had to travel roundabout, for a trip of almost an hour." After an extended struggle, together with many activists, the road was opened to traffic.
Immediately afterwards the two geared up for the abandoned military camp of Shdema in eastern Gush Etzion. Completely by chance, they learned of the intent to annex the camp's lands to the town of Beit Sahour. "We read a report in Hatzofeh that within the context of the gestures [i.e., to the Palestinians], the Olmert government agreed to transfer the location, that is a five minute drive from Har Homa, a place which is the Israeli Area C, to the Palestinian Authority in order to build an Arab hospital. The site was used as an IDF base until it was abandoned two years earlier, in 2006," Nadia relates about the beginning of the struggle for Jewish possession of Shdema. "We took out maps, and we realized that this was an extremely strategic location. We understood that if this camp were to be handed over, it would endanger the Har Homa neighborhood and choke Gush Etzion. Obviously, this is secondary to the fact that this is the land of Eretz Israel, and it is absolutely forbidden to hand it over," she stresses.
"We unquestionably had divine help," Katsover observes. "We arrived at the place the following day, and we found an Arab bulldozer already working to prepare the land. We understood that we had to act, the faster the better. The 'Committee for a Jewish Shdema' action committee was founded, that devoted itself to this issue with all its strength," Katsover says and quotes the words of Rabbi Harlap, who says that Eretz Israel is the central point in our generation. "It isn't enough to know these things theoretically," she adds, "rather, they must be translated into deeds. To take possession of and to expand in Eretz Israel."
The Palestinians asked to receive the camp at the top of the hill, claiming that they want to establish there an orthopedic hospital and a large playground. The site was even officially inaugurated in a highly impressive ceremony in which the Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad was present. Anarchists, leftists, and international bodies came to the assistance of the Arabs. In order to remove Shdema from Jewish hands, colossal budgets flowed from various sources in the world. "They didn't really want to establish a hospital there, but they understood that Israel could not say 'No' to such a humanitarian request. Beit Sahour has dozens of dunams of land in their town, why did they insist on receiving Shdema, specifically?" Katsover asks, and explains that the camp controls Har Homa and the Tekoa-Jerusalem road. "That's why they wanted it. It came to the stage that all that was needed was the approval of the political echelon in order to finally turn over the camp. Only a single signature of Defense Minister Ehud Barak would have been enough for us to lose the struggle. We didn't agree to just give up. We saw the struggle for Shdema as the struggle for Jerusalem," she emphasizes.
The Power of an Additional Tree
In order to ensure the camp's future, a diverse range of lectures, classes, and exhibitions were conducted at the site on weekends. Hundreds arrived from all over the country to participate in the activity, and thereby lend a hand to maintaining a Jewish presence at Shdema. At the same time, a lobby was formed of Knesset members who were involved in this matter. From the other side, much pressure was exerted from the direction of European and American organizations and the Palestinian Authority, with the intent of advancing the handing over of the area. The Jewish presence there, along with attempts by leftist activists, anarchists, and Palestinians to take control of the area, often led to harsh confrontations between the sides.
After a stubborn two-year struggle, it was decided that the IDF would reestablish the military camp at Shdema. Nadia and Yehudit warmly praise the decision. We go to visit the soldiers serving at the base. The IDF soldiers staying there receive us very nicely, and are completely unaware of the lengthy struggle over the future of their base, which was replete with international interests, that was waged until recently.
During the course of the patrol, I am witness to a telephone call from the residents of the Har Homa neighborhood who want to urgently report about Arab tractors engaged in earthmoving close to the fence of their neighborhood. A quick check reveals that this is indeed state land, and the message by Nadia and Yehudit is clear: "Go into the field as quickly as possible, and establish facts on the ground." "We have to be aware of what's happening here," Katsover says. "The struggle for the land is being waged everywhere. We have to leave behind our apathy. We have to be alert. Another tree and another flower can change reality."
This email is L'Ilui Nishmat Yisrael ben David Aryeh ob"m (Izzy - Kaplan) a great activist and lover of Eretz Yisroel, Am Yisroel and the Torah. Yehi Zichrono Baruch.
This will be posted on Shemittahrediscovered.blogspot.com