For those who are home, and for those who are on the way. For those who support the historic and just return of the land of Israel to its people, forever loyal to their inheritance, and its restoration.
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Jonathan Pollard and the Redemption of Eretz Israel at Tu Bishvat ceremony in Netzer, Gush Etzion
23 January '11
Hundreds of people flowed to the Friday Tu Bishvat planting ceremony in Netzer, Gush Etzion. They came from close and from far. All felt that here in Netzer it was a different kind of ceremony: here were intertwined the plantings in honor of Jonathan Pollard, prisoner of Zion in a "friendly" country and the land of Israel waiting to be redeemed. Together they brought about a moving ceremony.
For the past years, a fierce struggle has been taking place in Netzer. But especially in the past two years, when international organizations started to help the Arabs steal from the Jews, State lands, in order to prevent the expansion of the Jewish communities. The Arabs have not heard of the "settlement blocs" .
Early Friday morning, when the organizers came to arrange the ceremony and placed flags on the path and on the benches, Arabs were spotted trying to take over a new piece of land. Later, really close to where the ceremony took place, another Arab came and claimed that the land on which the people were going to plant really belongs to him, when all maps clearly show that these are State lands.
The IDF and the civil administration arrived and made the Arab leave in order to allow the ceremony to take place.
Among the speakers were Rabbi Gideon Perl, regional Rabbi of Gush Etzion who is a full partner in the plantings in Netzer. Rabbi Perl strengthened the hands of those planting and redeeming the land and said that this is how it always was from the beginning of Zionism: planting and settling and that is how we perform the mitzva of "Yishuv Haaretz".
Member of Knesset Prof. Arieh Eldad said: "We are here on the "Path of the Forefathers" and we remember Avraham Avinu. We remember the struggle for this land, a struggle that did not start today. Jews who came to the Land of Israel always encountered those who do not want Jews here. We will not give up and we will not be discouraged nor scared. Not by their demography. Not by their wealth. If Jews will build and plant everywhere in the land, we shall overcome."
A special prayer calling for the release of Jonathan Pollard was read out loud and a vineyard of vines was planted in his honor. On the plaque it says in Hebrew; In honor of our brother Jonathan Pollard. The People in Israel pray and long for your return home, to Eretz Israel.
From the speeches all the participants then went on to the action. Hundreds of saplings- vines, olive trees, eucalyptuses... were planted, accompanied by the accordeon music of old and beloved Eretz Israel songs.
Families came with their children and even babies. Youth came from all over, even on their bikes. Especially moving was the group of youth who came from abroad to volunteer and join the army. These youth had been working the past few days in Netzer preparing the land for the plantings. These youth went to plant a field a bit further than the other groups. They encountered for the first time the difficult sitaution we are in here in israel, when some Arabs arrived and threatened to uproot the saplings. Tens of participants ran over to the field and the Arabs understood they have no chance in executing their evil plan.
In addition to the trees, ten wooden benches were "planted" and dedicated to the dear ones of those who had purchased the benches. Especially moving was when a mother came to the ceremony and found out that her son had purchased a bench for her and her husband and had written on the plaque: to my dear parents, your children, grandchildren and great granchildren will continue to walk on the path of our forefathers.
The ceremoy was organized by Women for Israel's Tomorrow, (Women in Green) and was made possible thanks to the donations of many in Israel and abroad who support the struggle for the hills in Judea and Samaria, and against the creation of a Palestinian State.
The participants thanked the organizers who made it possible to plant and redeem the land of Eretz Israel. Everybody asked: when can we plant more!?
I visited Hevron in November 2000 after the outbreak of the Rosh Hashanah War to see what could be done to assist in the face of the growing daily attacks on the community. After returning to work for the community in the summer of 2001, a bond and a love was forged that grows to this day. My wife Melody and I merited to be married at Ma'arat HaMachpela and now host visitors from throughout the world every Shabbat as well as during the week. Our goal, "Time to come Home!"