THE AMONA OUTPOST in the Binyamin region is seen yesterday..
(photo credit: ELIYAHU KAMISHER)
The 40 families of the Amona outpost had been expecting a police-led evacuation by December 25, ahead of the second night of Hanukkah.
Instead, hanukkiot line the windows of trailers in the community, and some residents find spiritual meaning in the fact that they remain on the hilltop for the holiday.
“Ancient Greece tried to kill the independence of the Kingdom of Judah, to convert the Jews,” Moti, an Amona resident who asked that his last name be withheld, said on Sunday. “Hanukka is a symbol of the world trying to force conversion and kill Jews. The Romans, Babylonians, Greeks, all of them are gone, but the Jews remain,” he said.
For Moti, the Hanukka saga does not stop there, but continues into the windy and mud-filled Binyamin region outpost of Amona, where the Jews are fighting an enemy composed of “leftists and the High Court,” which he equates with the Jews who adopted the culture of ancient Greece and tried to convert fellow Jews. “This is the worst enemy – the enemy within.”
The Amona outpost was built in 1995 on what the courts subsequently ruled is private Palestinian land. The High Court of Justice ordered the state to demolish the outpost by December 25. Many thought a showdown with the police was imminent after the community voted 58-20 against an initial proposal to resettle the families on a nearby plot of land. However, a second deal, which was accepted on December 18, will see the residents evacuated peacefully, and 24 of the families remain on land on the same hilltop overlooking the Ofra settlement. The High Court approved a state request to postpone the evacuation until February 8.
“It is really a miracle that we are here,” said resident Tamar Nizri, 38.
“When I saw the Hebrew date of the evacuation, I knew that it wouldn’t come on the first night [of Hanukka], she said. “This is the holiday of miracles.”
Nevertheless, the Yesh Din NGO has filed a motion with the Custodian of Absentee Property on behalf of Palestinians contending that the land offered to the Amona families in the deal is also privately owned.
Nizri spoke from her home, which, unlike most Amona buildings, appears permanent; her husband built it. There are wood beams and handmade furniture. Nizri’s daughter, who occasionally wandered out to demand her mother’s attention, was dressed in an “Amona Here Forever” sweater.
“We will go all the way [for Amona] and Netanyahu knew this,” Nizri said, contending that it was the residents’ unwavering commitment that pushed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to propose a second agreement after the he said he had exhausted all options.
Now Nizri will be able to remain in her home until at least February 8, where she fried doughnuts and lit the hanukkia. “I hope the Hanukka miracle will grow,” said Nizri. “I can imagine a scenario where we will not move, where we remain here.”