In one of his last gestures in his Ulpana outpost apartment, Didi Dikstein took
down from his living room wall the photograph of his parents and brother who
were killed 10 years ago by a terrorist near Hebron.
After their death,
Dikstein said, as he roamed from place to place in an unsettled way, their
photograph was an anchor he took with him.
“My parents were with me
always,” Dikstein told the small group of reporters who stood with him in his
almost empty apartment on the outskirts of Beit El.
It was only in Ulpana
with his wife, Oriya, that he finally felt at home, Dikstein told
The first thing he did was to hang his parents’ photograph in his
living room, above the beige sofa. At the time, he hoped he had put it up for
the last time.
“Even when I came here, the most special thing I brought
with me was their photograph,” he said. “I felt as if they were with
“The Land of Israel was very dear to them. They gave their life for
this country,” he said, adding that he felt that in moving to a home in Judea
and Samaria he was walking in their footsteps.
“A home is not just four
walls. It is everything that we did here. It is part of our soul,” Dikstein
said. “That is how we feel,” he added.
The loss, he said, runs very
His family was one of 17 who on Thursday peacefully moved out of
their homes, in compliance with a High Court of Justice mandate to evacuate five
stone apartment buildings in the outpost by July 1. The 18th family was carried
out by police officers later that evening.
Already on Tuesday, 15 of the
families had moved to a modular housing site in Beit El. The government plans to
physically move their homes and relocate them to an authorized tract of land
there, a process that will take a year.
Based on a deal reached with the
government the week before, the families agreed to leave of their own volition.
Most families packed up their belongings in advance of the arrival of Defense
Ministry workers, who moved their boxes and furniture.
In some cases they
themselves also lugged cartons. Two small boys carried out a bird cage balanced
on top of another cage containing a rabbit.
As a protest move, the
Dikstein family refused to pack. Except for a few personal belongings, they left
everything as it had been in their apartment.
Oriya did not stop the
ministry workers from packing, but did not assist them either.
spent the night before studying for an exam for his marketing course at the
Ariel University Center. That morning, he left for school and returned only at
noon, when the apartment was almost empty.
“Our ancestors dreamed for
years of building a home in the Land of Israel,” Dikstein said. Like most of the
outpost residents, he wore a black T-shirt that said, “Ulpana
We will return.”
“We are people of faith,” he
In spite of the intense pain at their forced eviction, Dikstein
said that he and his neighbors had decided not to violently resist. Instead,
they had chosen to relocate and continue to build the Land of Israel.
took issue with the court’s description of their homes as structures built
without permits on private Palestinian property.
“This is not stolen or
occupied property,” he said.
His neighbor Harel Cohen, who lives in one
of the nine apartment buildings in Ulpana that will remain – because they were
not part of Yesh Din’s 2008 court petition – also spoke.
He noted that
the injustice of the situation was particularly acute in Dikstein’s
The terrorist who killed Dikstein’s parents and brother was
released from jail this fall as part of the deal to free captive soldier Gilad
Schalit from the hands of Hamas in Gaza. But Dikstein is forced to leave his
“It is a terrible stain on our nation and our government. And we
have to do soul searching, that Didi has to take his parents’ photograph off the
wall in his home that the government built,” Cohen said.
immigrant Alex Traiman, who lived in one of the Ulpana homes that had to be
evacuated, noted that their homes were built meters from the spot where Jacob
dreamed of angels ascending and descending a ladder.
“This is not a hill.
This is not an outpost,” he said.
It is the place where God changed
Jacob’s name to Israel, Traiman said.
God “promised Jacob that the land
that he sat on would be his and his descendants,” he explained.
woke up and he called this place Beit El,” said Traiman.