From survival to destiny

Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green motivates new generation to action.

YOUTH LEARN about the Knesset. (photo credit: Courtesy)
YOUTH LEARN about the Knesset.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Enthusiasm and love for the land of Israel has “gone viral” to thousands of young adults between the ages of 15 and 20, said Nadia Matar, co-founder of the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green.
The organization recently raised $150,000 in two days to help support what they call the “Sovereignty Youth Movement,” a group of thousands of young leaders across the country that encourage decision makers to promote the legislation to apply Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria, legislation that they say is winning increasing support in the Israeli street.
“They received a spark and now they are engaging Knesset members, erecting information booths, holding debates and discussion sessions, publishing an online newspaper and proliferating social activities,” Matar said. “There is an amazing future if we act now to harness and magnify this grassroots activism. The next generation will carry the torch of pioneering Zionism.”
Women in Green plans to use the money raised to offer leadership training programs to ensure this youth movement is self-sustaining and to better leverage new media tools to educate youth in masses. The Sovereignty Youth Movement is a next step in a decade-long campaign that Women in Green spearheaded to raise support for Israeli sovereignty over Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley.
“The main idea is that the land of Israel belongs to us and we must not surrender it,” explained Yehudit Katsover, co-founder of the movement.
She said the plan of “two states for two peoples” constitutes an existential, spiritual, ideological and security threat to Israel. According to Katsover, there is no such thing as the status quo.
“This is a dangerous and stupefying illusion that is allowing a Palestinian state to become a reality right under our noses, with all of the dangers that it presents to the long-term future of the State of Israel,” said Katsover. “Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria is an urgent necessity.”
When Women in Green started 25 years ago, it was a protest movement against the Oslo Accords agreements between the Government of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Then, after the Israeli disengagement from Gaza in 2005, the organization shifted its direction to safeguarding Jewish land in Judea and Samaria, fighting what it describes as the Palestinian Authority’s continual, gradual creeping conquest of land in Judea and Samaria with the economic backing of Europe. “They started taking over hills in Judea and Samaria in area C” said Matar.
So, Women in Green spent a few years holding small, local battles over this hilltop or that hilltop, planting trees that the Arabs would uproot and then planting them again. But in 2007, the organization determined to stop saying “no” all the time, but instead to say “yes” - to offer a plan for the application of the sovereignty that it had been promoting and to explain the ramifications of this sovereignty.
“Fifty-one years after our victory in the Six Day War we should declare sovereignty over this land,” said Matar.
“This is not a concept that Women in Green came up with. There were others who spoke about it before us. But we turned it into a campaign.”
Women in Green engaged architect Yoram Ginsburg and asked him to prepare a plan. He gathered experts in transportation, law, ecology and more, and began working on the TAMA (National Outline Plan). The plan includes partitioning the land into 12 districts, each one of which will have a governor. The partitioning will be done in such a way that there will not be an Arab majority in any district.
The plan will help solve the land crisis in Israel, promote real peace and improve the lives of local Arab residents, according to the group. Matar said that in 2048, there will be 17 million people in Israel, Gush Dan will be more crowded than Gaza is today, and the population will have to move eastward. Already, in Judea and Samaria alone, there are 450,000 Jewish residents. “It is not just about history, ecology or religion,” said Katsover. “It is logic.”
She said the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria understand that if they want a better economy, better infrastructure, if they want peace, then they will more likely get that from living in a Jewish-run state. Matar said that a big part of the Sovereignty Movement is pushing the government to take legislative action.
“Any question of the status of Judea and Samaria is not solved if we just keep forming communities in the area but keep them under rule by military command,” said Matar from her home in Gush Etzion. “The world tells us we are occupiers. If the government does not declare it is ours, if the government acts like it has not decided, then how can we complain about the sentiments of the rest of the world?”
Already, many politicians are on board with Women in Green’s plan, including Tourism Minister Yariv Levin.
In a video statement Levin said, “The implementation of Israeli sovereignty in all of our territories is, in my opinion, not a question of if, just a question of how we will do it and when.”
Similarly, MK Uri Ariel said, “Israel’s sovereignty over its land has existed since the time of Avraham Avinu and this generation is responsible for realizing the vision, the divine promise.”
Katsover, who is 71, said she hopes that by partnering with youth, the organization will achieve its goal of sovereignty, so the next generation can focus less on such battles and more on defining the spiritual and cultural character of the State of Israel.
“My grandchildren should live in an era in which the people of Israel have moved from a state of survival to living out their destiny,” said Katsover. “The spiritual development of the people of Israel will only be fully expressed when we have complete sovereignty in the land of Israel.”
This article was written in cooperation with the Sovereignty Movement founded by Women in Green.