Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Growth out of Pain - One Year to Oz veGaon, Lilui Nishmat Gil-ad, Ayal and Naftali H"YD)


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"Growth out of Pain" – One year to Oz veGaon

In an event to mark one year after the establishment of the Oz veGaon
Nature Preserve, Bat-Galim Shaer, Etzion Brigade Commander, head of
Gush Etzion Council and Rabbi Zinger told of the days of searching,
the worries and "the unity that blew wind into the sails of the
troops".

Attended by hundreds of supporters of the settlement enterprise across
the country, public figures, and rabbis, together with Bat-Galim and
Ofir Shaer, the parents of Gil-Ad, H"YD, the day (Friday, July 3rd,
15th of Tamuz) marked one year since the establishment of Oz veGaon
Hill, the Hill that was established by  Women in Green activists the
night when the murder of the three youths (Gil-ad, Ayal and Naftali,
H"YD) became known.

The event was entitled "aspiring and searching for unity among the
People of Israel, that same unity that accompanied the days of
searching and worry for the three youths, continued into the days of
Operation Protective Edge and brought about a change in the People's
spirit.

The event started with a short film of the year in summary at Oz veGaon, :
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KD2qEHKZ4Aw
Photos can be seen by clicking on link at end of article.

Words of Yehudit Katsover, one of the heads of Women in Green, opened
the event, who described the emotions that accompanied the
establishment and restoration of the Hill that became a focal point
for Zionist recreation and camping on the hill near Gush Etzion
Junction and near the hitchhiking station from which the three were
abducted. "It was a special summer", said Katsover, "Everything became
mixed in a jumble: pain over the loss of the sons together with
Operation Protective Edge, the loftiness of unity among the People,
soldiers and citizens, religious and secular, Left and Right became
unified with infinite love that the pain gave rise to. Flutters of
excitement pass through us when we remember the hundreds of youths who
flowed into the Preserve, worked and cleaned, moved rocks and
boulders, prepared paths and terraces and the forest came to life,
benches and pergolas, installations of water and electricity, and
everything had to be done quickly, before the onset of winter.

"And in the winter", Katsover continued, "we were privileged to have
hundreds of winter tourists who came from all areas of Israel. The
white snow and the memory of the sons attracted everyone to this place
and now it is summer again. During the year, thousands of adults and
approximately 20,000 youths visited here and heard from Elyashiv
Kimhi, manager of the forest, the story of the Land of Israel that is
so characteristic: Your blood gives me life! Your blood gives me life!
And the forest lives, and the trees of the forest whisper to the
Almighty and to all of the workers, who day and night so that
redemption will flourish out of the pain".

Nadia Matar, Katsover's  Women in Green's co-chair, thanked a long
list of personalities and groups, schools and youth movements who
labored and contributed during the entire last year in various ways in
the redemption and preparation of the hill. Then spoke, one after
another: Bat-Galim Shaer, Rabbi Dov Zinger, the head of Makor Haim
Yeshiva, the yeshiva that Gil-Ad and Naftali attended, former MK Shuli
Mualem-Refaeli, a resident of Gush Etzion who volunteered in the
efforts of restoration and preparation of the hill from the very first
day, head of Gush Etzion Council Davidi Perl and Brigade Commander
Col. Amit Yamin. MK Oren Hazan was also present at the event.

Bat-Galim Shaer told of the feeling of spiritual elevation felt by the
entire People last summer, from the beginning of Operation Return the
Sons and into the days of the war. "In Oz veGaon we returned to our
values, to the act of giving, which we now know how to do; we are
proud of our Jewishness and our values".

Later in her touching words, Bat-Galim related to the name of the
Preserve – Oz veGaon – which denotes the brilliance (ge'onut) that is
implied in the word "Gaon" (genius): "Everyone expresses the ability
and talent that the Almighty created in him, each one and his
uniqueness and his genius and together we all try to channel this
genius into a mission that is greater than "I", a connection to
something greater, that joins all of the People of Israel together".
She added that there is a sort of reticence around the word "genius",
which seems not to sit well with the concept of humility, but "in
prayer we meet the integration of 'strength (oz) and humility' of the
Almighty"

"Gil-Ad, Ayal and Naftali had social skills, skills in music and sport
and learning along with humility, but with a lot of influence and
social leadership", Bat-Galim said, and mentioned that she likes the
term "nature preserve", which  expresses the hope to preserve nature
as it is, in its uncultivated and primary beauty. "This place is
called a nature preserve, and since the murder, Nadia and Yehudit have
carried out an amazing process in this place. Nature is a primal
thing, wild and natural, and our desire is to maintain this natural
quality. As parents, we are required to maintain that same youthful
spirit. The preservation of nature is here too, the placement of
benches and equipment, while maintaining the natural appearance. The
sons, who are above, experience much satisfaction from this place",
she stated and remarked that the three "were very connected to nature.
Gil-Ad used to be the first to go into every stream and every hike",
she said.

"The Jewish point of view is to search for the good and there is a lot
of good concentrated in this place. This hill represents one of the
high points in the doing of good deeds", she said, and then noted that
this is in contrast to those who think that there is no reason to be
impressed with the feeling of temporary and localized unity. "We value
every moment that volunteers spent searching for the boys. This
volunteering and unity and the connection of the entire People in such
an operation during a time of crisis is not to be taken for granted",
she said and added that the hope is for connection and unity also in
normal times.

After the words of Bat-Galim Shaer, Rabbi Dov Zinger, head of Makor
Haim Yeshiva, spoke, focusing on how the prophet chose more than once
to describe the community of Israel specifically in the feminine,
because the relationship between the Almighty and the community of
Israel is likened to that between a man and wife. "Redemption comes in
two ways – the redemption that comes by the Almighty is "top down" and
leads us as in the exodus from Egypt, but the expectation is that
there will also be an awakening from below, that also the community of
Israel will awaken and desire this thing. It is not by chance that
this entire process of unity of Israel that we are witnessing is led
by an awakening from below, by women", he said, and addressed the
heads of Women in Green thus: "Sometimes Yehudit is "oz" (strength)
and Nadia is "gaon" (genius) and sometimes the opposite", to the
audience's applause.

In this spirit, Rabbi Zinger added that the choice of Bat-Galim Shaer
to speak is "not by chance, despite the fact that Ofir is also here"
and the families of senior IDF officers who were present at the event
who also teach us about the strength of women, the power of an
awakening from below.

Former MK Shuli Mualem-Rafaeli's words focused on the need to act in
practical ways as part of the memorial. This is in the spirit of the
words of the Baal Shem Tov "remembering the hidden part of the
redemption". "The Baal Shem Tov taught us not to stay in a place of
pain. When we want to remember the beloved, we are not speaking of an
abstract memory, but rather of activity. We must do something here in
the spirit of these wonderful youths, with the connection to the
essence of this Land. These youths are another point of connectivity
to this Land".

Mualem-Refaeli brought up the night that the murder of the youths
became known: "When we all went out of the Makor Haim study house and
continued to the station from which they had been abducted and from
there to the Gush Etzion Junction and we sat there with youths and
sang with pain; Nadia and Yehudit said that together with remembrance
we must act, and they brought everyone here at four in the morning
with the total encouragement of the Council head", she said, and
immediately moved on to the present meeting, one year later: "The
presence of all of us here is an expression of the connection of the
People to the Land and to Judaism. We are an anchor of this
remembrance as we hold on to this action". She called on the public to
support the continuance of the activity in every way and she said that
the broadening of the settlement enterprise is the "strength and
genius" (oz veGaon) also in other additional hills such as this.

The next speaker was Davidi Perl, head of the Gush Etzion Council, who
spoke about the miracle of the contribution of righteous women to the
redemption of Israel. "These righteous women are the holy mothers,
they are Yehudit and Nadia, and they are the wives of the officers who
take care of them so that they will be able to guard the People of
Israel".

"During these difficult days one year ago we stood and asked 'until
when'. We understood that Balak and Bilaam were not the last, and also
the murder of the three youths will not be the last and last week was
a difficult continuation, but we look toward eternity and not toward
the here and now", said Perl and mentioned that after the murder,
people of the council went up to three points to enlarge Gush  Etzion,
but at this point only one, Oz veGaon, remained, since it is not a
place for settlement, but in parallel, proceedings began to prepare
the other places.

The Women in Green Movement "took advantage" of the event also to
express gratitude to Col. Amit Yamin, brigade commander of the sector,
who was also present at the event, and who is ending his role in the
approaching weeks.  "Col. Amit Yamin expands the mission of the IDF
not only in defense but also as a coordinator of pioneering education
of youth. Amit knows that more than in any other army, it is essential
that his army will be built on the historic mission and vision of the
People, as in the words of Ben Gurion: "Our existence, the fate of
Zionism, the fate of the Jewish community in Israel depends on our
military branch". Col. Amit embodies this goal every day. Days and
nights, Sabbaths and holidays, we see him on the roads, at the
junctions, in the villages and in the communities", said Yehudit
Katsover.

The heads of Women in Green, as well as the rest of those present at
the event, directed their thanks to Col. Amit Yamin's family: "He and
his family pay a heavy price. We want to say to his wife and family
'it is not in vain that he is not at home, he is responsible for our
defense and he does this with love, with a great sense of mission and
much humility'. We all remember our soldiers' searches for the three
boys. The idea came up that citizens who know the area should
participate. Col. Amin answered to the challenge and thus the unity
between the citizens and the IDF soldiers was strengthened. Shoulder
to shoulder they went down to the wadis, into the wells, the vineyards
and the fields, until they brought the sons to their final rest".

After these words, Col. Amin himself came to the speaker's platform,
and told of the difficult days of searching a year ago, of the
operational connection and the common values with the daily life of
the settlements during those days of searching.

Col. Amin entitled his words 'humility and unity': "For two weeks we
got into every possible place with very great efforts of the division
and the IDF. All of the best minds and the abilities and people that
the State of Israel could devote to it were here. We did not deal only
with searching for the youths, which was the main task, but also with
beating back terror and Hamas. This was very important to us, not only
to solve the terror attack but also to punish Hamas as the responsible
party for this terrible attack".

"We did not manage to get into all of the edges and we thought about
what else we could do", Yamin continued, and told of how, on one of
the days, Uri Schechter, a citizen who lives in the area, and serves
in the reserves as chief of staff of the Nahal Brigade, called him and
suggested to establish a "brain trust" that would present its
conclusions. Later he called and told me 'there is an idea -is it
possible to meet'. We met at Herzog College. They presented to me the
work that they did. I was impressed by the depth of the people who had
abandoned everything and volunteered for the task. He presented to me
the division of the area into seven smaller areas. I accepted this
mode of thinking and the results. We decided to meet after Shabbat in
order to put the necessary means at their disposal".

On Saturday night Col. Amit met with the "brain trust" that had
presented him with detailed specification of the first area in which
there was an analysis of 88 search points that were categorized
according to logic, which was first, and why and which was last and
why". It was decided to go down the next day to search in the first
two points with all of the necessary logistics and intelligence
equipment for the integrated action.

The first day ended without any findings but with a sense of clear
direction. It was decided to carry out an act of deception and choose,
the next day, a more southern point in order to make the abductors
think that the search in the area was over. At this point, the point
of the second day, the bodies of the youths were found.

"The senior commanders came to the area and with all of the commotion
and the thought of whether it was possible to get to the abductors,
Shechter calls me and says: 'We are not in the picture. Don't tell
anyone that we were involved in the action. It is all the IDF'. They
could have said that they led to the finding of the youths and it
would have been correct, but what was important to them is not a pat
on the back but to be ignored and to talk about the IDF, says Col.
Amin and immediately adds: "Of course, I did not listen to him and
immediately when the Chief of staff came to the place I told him that
there is here a group of scouts that led the searches. This humility
that I learned is a lesson for life".

About the value of unity, Yamin said that the days of the searches
were "a wonderful period, from this point of view. The entire People
were with the army and everyone volunteered; people hosted entire
brigades. The council volunteered and citizens hosted people and
provided food", he said, and added another layer to the value of
unity, the unity that was displayed by the families of the youths: "It
would have been possible from the first moment to fall into criticism
and accusations – when did we become aware and when did we begin to
search, and did we behave correctly. It would have been possible to
attack us, but the nobility of the parents was not to fall into this
line of divisiveness, and also when they met with the commanders and
the soldiers they were concerned about when the commanders and the
soldiers had last been at home, when they had rested and what they
ate. The soldiers were in shock. They did not think at all about going
home, about eating and sleeping".

"This spirit blew wind into the sails of the troops and connected the
entire People. The People of Israel  arrived at a degree of unity that
it had not experienced for years, and from this unity we went out to
Operation Protective Edge and also there, this unity motivated the
troops. It was not on an external layer but was the essence of the
matter. We thank you for this very, very much", he said, turning to
Bat-Galim and Ofir Shaer.

Col. Yamin sealed his words of parting from the sector and the local
residents with words of thanks in his own name and the name of the
entire brigade and its soldiers," I have never had a role in which I
felt so connected to the area. There is scenery and there are people
here that have a place in my heart in happy times or sad, and the
actions that we have done together. I am sure that it will be
wonderful and good and that you will continue to progress".

The event ended with the call from Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar,
the heads of Women in Green, to the government of Israel: "We must not
be satisfied with this forest alone. We must arrive at the situation
where the government broadens the Jewish communities and builds new
ones, not out of pain but from joy, and applies  Israeli sovereignty
over the Land of Israel because this Land is ours".

Photos: http://www.womeningreen.org/givatOzAnniversary1
Credit for the Photography: Shlomi Shalmoni

For Details:
Yehudit Katsover 050-7161818   Nadia Matar 050-5500834
Women in Green

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Women For Israel's Tomorrow  (Women in Green)
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--
Sincerely,

Robin Ticker

Activist emails sent to my list  are L'Ilui Nishmat Yisrael ben David Aryeh ob"m (Izzy - Kaplan) and Howard Chaim Grief great activists and lovers of Eretz Yisroel, Am Yisroel and the Torah. Yehi Zichronum Baruch.  May their memories serve as a blessing. 

Most of these emails are posted on Shemittahrediscovered.blogspot.com 

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