Largest Israeli religious youth movement invites members to build illegal settlement

On Friday, the Secretary-General of Bnei Akiva in Israel Danny Hirschberg sent out an SMS in which he invited the movement’s youth to participate in building the illegal settlement of Evyatar.

Members of Bnei Akiva youth movement, welcome, thank flight crews for coming to Israel (photo credit: DANIEL WINER)
Members of Bnei Akiva youth movement, welcome, thank flight crews for coming to Israel
(photo credit: DANIEL WINER)
The religious-Zionist youth movement Bnei Akiva has called on its members to help build infrastructure for a new illegal outpost in Samaria on the coming holiday of Tu Bishvat, the 15th of the Jewish month of Shvat (February 4), which is also the Jewish new year for trees.
On Friday, the secretary- general of Bnei Akiva in Israel, Danny Hirschberg, sent out an SMS inviting the movement’s youth to participate in the building of Evyatar, Army Radio reported on Sunday.
Evyatar is an outpost in the northern Samaria district close to Nablus, that was established after the 2013 murder of Evyatar Borovsky, a resident of the Yitzhar settlement in northern Samaria. Prefabricated homes and other infrastructure at the site have already been destroyed once by the IDF, because there is no government approval for a new settlement there.
Hirschberg invited members “to participate in the special activities of settling the land on Tu Bishvat,” although the event is actually scheduled for the day after Tu Bishvat, on the 16th of Shvat.
“Don’t miss out! I will be there and I want to see you all of you!!” he wrote. “The 16th of Shvat is a day for trips and action for everyone in preparing infrastructure for the establishment of a new settlement, Evyatar. Registration is on the website and at [local] branches.”
An invitation to the event was also placed on Bnei Akiva Israel’s Facebook page on Friday with a link for registration. “Planting foundations in Evyatar, come be a partner for the mission,” it reads.
Bnei Akiva is a large, international religious-Zionist youth movement with a large following in Israel, and is funded by the Education Ministry as well as local municipal authorities.
In response to the report, Hirschberg spoke to Army Radio and said that laying down infrastructure for the outpost is part of a legitimate call to the State of Israel and its leaders to expand the settlements.
“I’m not going to erect anything there, I’m going to hike and call on the government of Israel to build a settlement there,” said Hirschberg.
“These activities are being done with the approval of the IDF, the Education Ministry, and all the [relevant] elements. It is permitted for a youth movement to express a position, and its members are permitted to think differently.”