A Wall Between Brothers

Shiloh has refused to be "walled in."

Batya Medad,

OpEds לבן ריק
לבן ריק
Arutz 7
Every once in a while, I'm asked where Shiloh is in terms of the "wall" - and they questioner is not referring to the Kotel HaMaaravi, The Western Wall in the walled Old City of Jerusalem. My stock reply is: "We're not in the ghetto."

Like many millions of Jews over the millennia of exile, we dreamt of living in our Biblical homeland. That's why we're in Shiloh, one of the cities richest in ancient Jewish
We're not in the ghetto.
history. Actually, Shiloh was the original target of the first modern
garin, "settlement seed group," which ended up in Ofra. They wanted to emulate Joshua, who first established Shiloh as the center of Jewish life. The compromise deal they made with the government stipulated that they must go to a location with "buildings," like former Jordanian army bases and police offices. Ofra complied with those conditions.

The vast, vast majority of the hills in Samaria, north of Jerusalem, are totally unoccupied and uncultivated. That was also the situation found in the Golan, the Sinai, Gush Katif and the Jordan Valley after the 1967 Six Day War. Israel's agricultural industry quickly evaluated the potential of those lands and established farming communities and businesses in the most fertile and best potential money-makers. That's how the Golan, the Jordan Valley and northern Sinai began filling with Israelis.

Of those three areas, only one, the Golan, is still popular and thriving, because of its location, with the heights now protecting the veteran, nearby kibbutzim. Pre-1967, the Syrians were stationed on the Golan Heights to attack those kibbutzim. The northern Sinai communities were destroyed by Prime Minister Menachem Begin, when he gave the land to Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The Jordan Valley still has Jewish agriculture, but it has not reached its potential.

Forty years after our miraculous victory in the Six Day War, Israel still hasn't accepted the riches G-d handed us.

Not only is the Israeli government trying to lock out most of our Biblical homeland, but even within Judea and Samaria there are Jews willing to wall themselves into enclaves - and keep us walled out.

Ariel, which includes the University of Judea and Samaria, felt secure in the knowledge that the wall would bulge out to include them, but now it doesn't seem certain at all. Ariel's founder and mayor, Ron Nachman, is livid, charging that the announcement is an election ploy by floundering Defense Minister Amir Peretz. He accepts and welcomes the wall, not caring that it separates Ariel from other Jewish communities, as well as from Arab ones. Considering that many Arabs work and study in Ariel, I don't see why he should think that the "security wall" will secure him.

South of Jerusalem, in Gush Etzion, they've also been "negotiating the route," rather than opposing the wall in principle.

Few Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are without a security fence.

From its earliest days, my community of Shiloh has refused to be "walled in," and we are among the few Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza without a security fence. Having a fence would strangle us, restrict growth, and it wouldn't make life any safer.

I feel more endangered by people like Ron Nachman, who is trying to lock us out instead of uniting with us as one large "settlement enterprise." The wall negates our rights to our holy and historic land. It separates us from our heritage and our brothers.

We are now celebrating the holiday of Pesach, Passover, called Zman Cherutenu, "the Time of Our Freedom." Free people don't need fences.