This week I took a bus trip to really get to know my new country- to walk the land. What I saw alarmed me and alerted me that I could no longer sit idly by as Israel is under threat. I have an obligation to educate myself and my chevra/friends with what I saw.
We started the day by going to Homesh. We needed special permission and help from the Army and the police. We were the only Jews in an area that is quite dangerous. Previously there was a community living on this beautiful hilltop that on a clear day you could see Israel in all four directions. We had to wait at a checkpoint for the Army to clear the road and we were escorted there and back
While we were there we hiked up the hill to the heart of what was a community. I saw broken concrete steps of the yeshiva and abandoned building lots. It hurt me to realize that this destruction had been done by Jews to Jews. Seeing the twisted concrete of what were family homes . Families,that in the end felt abandoned by their government and sent to live elsewhere. While I gathered fennel seeds to replant in my Maaleh Adumim garden, I listened to the story of Torah observant Jews and yeshiva students as if it were history instead of our present.
We were then driven to meet pother hilltop settlers- brave, amazing people. I found them to be lovers of Zion, Torah loving Jews trying with all their being to hang onto our inheritance from G-d. I visited caravans and beautiful hilltop homes and farms lovingly handcrafted. It was hard not to feel a love and connection for these modern day pioneers. I found kindred spirits.
We visited the flour mill in Yazhar owned by Akiva and Ayelet HaShachar HaKohen. I didn’t meet Akiva at the time I met his wife in 2011; because he was under house arrest in French Hill. He told us the story of the establishment of the mill . In the distance we could see a green Army encampment in the distant meadow. Akiva is still under house arrest-more on him later.
We ended the day meeting a very worn out mother from Migron. She had grown up in Milwaukee and she described the psychological and financial ramifications of the last month. She said she is trying not to be angry because it isn’t good for the children. She was brimming with tired optimism about what they can accomplish in time in reconstituting their community at the bottom of the hill. I look forward to going back and seeing what her vision becomes with time. I will tell you more about her later.
And then I got an education…..