Between Samaria & Gaza

I visited Samaria again last week, and felt as if I was on another planet.

ofra settlement 298 AJ (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
ofra settlement 298 AJ
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
I visited Samaria again last week, and felt as if I was on another planet. Sraya Demski, the town manager of Elon Moreh, spoke optimistically about his community's development. He is the young and very fitting successor to Benny Katzover, one of the founders of Gush Emunim. In Kedumim, Daniella and Amnon Weiss bear the tremendous burden of overseeing that community and its 5,000 souls. But their greatest pride, quite rightly so, lies in the younger generation: Their daughter Shira and her husband, Shibi Drori, have built their home on Givat Harel near Shiloh, where they are raising their four children and where they have planted a vineyard. Shibi is studying to become an oenophile. In this case, as in many others, the road leading to their community was paved by Ariel Sharon, who served as minister of national infrastructures in the Binyamin Netanyahu government eight years ago. Yigal Naveh, 32, produces superb olive oil in an oil press in Shiloh, where he lives with his six children. In the community of Eli, whose homes stretch out over two kilometers overlooking a breathtaking vista, town manager Lior Shtul refuses to give in to the attempts by Israeli Jews, via petitions to the High Court, to undermine the legitimacy of the community's expansion. About 3,500 people live in Eli. Yitzhak Skali raises sheep in the nature reserve near Elon Moreh together with his wife and two children. For seven years, no one bothered him. He made sure to obtain all the necessary permits. It is all state land. But now, here too, leftist Jews have decided to harass him in the name of "Palestinian rights." They want the Skali farm destroyed. SKALI, WHO WAS born in Jerusalem, has not even replaced the bullet-riddled curtains in his home, a memento from an attempt by Palestinian terrorists to murder him about three years ago. He came out to confront them in the middle of night and killed two of them. Now the Jewish Left, together with lawyers from the Ministry of Defense, are making every effort to goad Defense Minister Amir Peretz into uprooting and destroying the Skali farm. Peretz has no idea where the Skali farm is located, and how the area dominates entire strategic swaths of Israel's geography. Peretz was spared the struggle against the Skali farm thanks to a single Hamas tunnel (among many others) which blew up the virtual reality in which the new Israeli government was living. The tunnel that triggered the current war in Gaza has brought the government back to reality, to the planet where the cruel struggle with Hamastan, the terror entity whose establishment was anticipated by many in the wake of the uprooting of communities and the withdrawal of the Israel Defense Forces from Gaza, is being waged. Compared to the hell of terror in Sderot, Ashkelon and the other communities located in the area near Gaza, the Jewish communities of Samaria look like a piece of paradise, despite the daily threat of terror. Because those communities continue to develop and contribute significantly to the IDF's control of the area. In consequence, the Arabs there don't dare attack as they do in Gaza. MOST WORRYING is the Jewish blindness that goes hand-in-hand with hatred for the Jews of Judea and Samaria. University professors and lawyers can't wait for the moment when this government uproots 70,000-80,000 Jews in the name of the so-called realignment plan. Perhaps the time has finally come for good Jews worldwide to cut back the generous funding of hundreds of millions of dollars they are granting to these Jewish academics and redirect their donations to provide Jewish-Israeli education that will strengthen the roots of the nation, not only of the historic sources of Judea and Samaria, but also of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Jewish education and information campaigns must be bolstered and intensified in this area, along with contributions to the funding and strengthening of the Jewish communities themselves. Based on my over 50 years of friendship with Ariel Sharon, I am absolutely convinced that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's realignment plan would never have been embraced by Sharon. Were anyone to dare present it to him in the middle of the war with Hamas, Sharon would toss it right where it belongs - in the garbage.