Sunday, April 29, 2012

"A firm grasp of the land, settling it, that is our future –it is the revival of the Jewish people and the essence of Zionism."

A second consecutive independence day in Netzer
Hundreds of visitors to the hill, arriving by car or foot, the nation's flags waving in the Gush Etzion winds – Eretz Israel air. Jeep tours drive by the smoothly worked fiels adjacent to the roads to the hill, almost every meter fought over with Arabs. Here a plot planted two years ago in honor of Jonathan Pollard, there a plot planted a year back by Suseya graduates; a field planted a year and a half ago by an Efrat family celebrating a daughter's bat-mitzvah. Here a field redeemed by the youth of Gush-Etzion, there a plot in memory of Deborah Frank z"l, resident of Bat-Yam and a fighter for the Land of Israel, and many more 
Stubbornness – a needed trait in Netzer. Without the perseverance of tens of activists and supporters, all the hills between Alon Shevut and Elazar would have been in Arab hands a long time ago.
Eretz Israel is full of idealists. There are the constant activists in Netzer all year long, and there are those who use the free hours of Independence Day, to fill them with Zionistic content, climbing to Netzer with their families.
A wonderful sight is revealed to those who arrived in Netzer: A mountain bathed with a sea of flags, proof of our sovereignty. Metal poles supported squares of fabric, granting shade to barbeque-ing families. Running water was improvised from the sprinklers that water the Jewish plantings year round, and a special wooden structure was raised to make ecological bathrooms. The stage carries a large sign, reading: "Guarding over you, beloved land".
At the top of the hill kids enjoyed magician Rabbi Viktor Attiya, an art class with artist Shmuel Lonhagdim, balloons with El'azar Brandt and more. Adults got their fill of Zionism from the speeches by Gush Etzion mayor Davidi Perl, Efrat Mayor Oded Ravivi and Gush Etzion Rabbi Gideon Perl – Gush Etzion regional Rabbi and rabbi of Netzer, advising and pushing to action on the hill.
Mr. Davidi Perl made it clear that Netzer and the battle for the land is a top priority of the Gush Etzion local council. Amongst other things, he said: "A firm grasp of the land, settling it,that is our future – it is the revival of the Jewish people and the essence of Zionism." Davidi Perl arrived at Netzer with his whole family. This was a very clear statement about the Gush Etzion local council's priorities, and their growing involvement in Netzer.
Professor Israel Aumann, the Noble prize winner, arrived with his wife, taking a jeep tour to see the struggle for the land with their own eyes. Later on Professor Aumann spoke about our right to the land – "Our right to be here, in Netzer as well as Tel Aviv, is based on thousands of years of Jewish history", adding that we should stop using security arguments as a reason for our being in Israel but rather to talk about our right to the land, because "If we do not have a right to the land, we do not deserve security.
Adam Tzachi and his band "Adama" came with a ready playlist, from the first years of our country to this day. They finished with a string of songs that just forced you onto your feet to dance.
Celebrations in Netzer ended in dancing, singing HaTikva, and Ani Ma'amin. Tears of happiness and excitement shone in the eyes of all, including the AFSI group members, headed by Helen Friedman, who had surprised the Netzer dwellers with their appearance, climbing to the top of the hill to feel independence.
Indeed, an exciting day in Netzer with hundreds of people, from near and far – all corners of the country. The location, the cause, wonderful people and perfect logistics made possible thanks to tens of hardworking youth and adults who had set up the entire event, yielded more activists – good people expressing their wishes to be active and give their personal time for settling and redeeming the land.
The responses were excited. One of them said: "It was electrifying! You thought of everythingfrom icicles to tanning lotion, with an Eretz Israel atmosphere, an atmosphere of hope – Am Israel Chai!"

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