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Yehudit Tayar lives with her family in Bet Horon in the Benjamin Region for over 30 years, serves as an emergency first response medic, sits on the Board of Directors of Hatzalah Yehudah and Shomron,and is one of the spokespeople of the Jewish pioneers in Yesha.
Shavua tov- may it be a blessed week. I wish to begin with a memory and a blessing. I remember our first Shabbat in our yishuv, the community of Bet Horon. I stepped out of our caravan on Shabbat and was astonished with the silence- not one song of a bird- I turned to my husband and said, there are no birds here! No electricity, no running water - no buses that I knew - but no birds????? I looked around and saw- no trees no bushes no flowers. Empty and bare just like the high mountains around us.
We, the few families living at that time in our yishuv planted the trees, and bushes and hand watered them. Anyone coming into our community would be greeted by a beautiful entrance with roses- planted by Yisrael our friend and the head of the community. Even though we still had no running water but received water twice a day to be put in the high water tower- and this for years.
Now when we walk around or look out of our windows, we see trees and flowers- in our garden fruit trees - hear and see the wonderful songs of birds and will never forget or take it for granted that we have planted, and deep into our beloved Land have sunk our roots. Even now in the midst of a very cold winter, we see the blankets of leaves on the ground and the children jumping on them with joy.
For nature is joy and a blessing, and these trees, like us have their roots deep into the Holy soil of Eretz Yisrael. In a few days we will celebrate TuB'Shvat, the festival of nature, trees and the blessings of the Land. Chag sameach and may we always be privileged to build, plant live and love our eternal homeland, Israel.
Now a few words about Ariel Sharon - I did not wish to begin with him because I always try to be positive- albeit he was the direct commander of my beloved husband in the Yom Kippur War and I had many occasions to be with him both after the war and especially because my husband was reported MIA and for months I did not know if he was alive or dead. I was with him in his office, and several times in his helicopter going from hill top to hill top, during the establishment of many of our communities in Yesha.
I also warned already in 1998 in a live press conference, (when I was sent to represent the pioneers in Yesha and the Jordan Valley) in Washington D.C. during the Wye Plantation discussions," that he is dangerous and that the precedent that he pushed to implement of the destruction of Yamit and the expulsion of Jews from their homes is ominously a danger for him to repeat."
We will never forget nor will we forgive the destruction of our communities In Gush Katif, the synagogues, agriculture, lives and the uprooting of our loved ones from their graves because of Sharon.
We shall never forgive or forget that because of him we in Israel have the only rocket protected train to Sderot. And the non-ending attacks on Israel from Gaza. Nor shall we forget the pain, the heartbreak of our families who many of them even today, are refugees with no homes because of Sharon.
No we shall never forget ,and we wait for the day to rebuild as we rebuilt the Gush- Gush Etzion- to rebuild Gush Katif and replant our roots deep in the soil never to leave again. amen
Here it is the day after the traitorous release of yet another group of murdering terrorists, and I just returned from the Opher Military Prison from yet another of the endless trials that have been going on for the last 2.5 years, of the terror cell who planned, practised and executed a number of terror attacks resulting in the planned murder of Asher and Yonatan Palmer HY"D a week before Rosh HaShanna two years ago,, September 23, 2011.
Following yet another round of releases of murderers, who are called heroes by the leaders of the Palestinian Authority , who welcome them with praises and cheers, to go to that Military Court today was even more difficult and painful. It is a nightmare and even when the sentencing is declared by the Military Court , the pain of loss is unbearable along with the frustration and agony of the governmental decisions to release murdering terrorists, even though it is proven that the majority of those released return to terror.
Seated next to my dear friend, Michael Palmer the father and grandfather of Asher and Yonatan HY"D, I hold close to me the beautiful book full of photographs put together by Puah, the wife and mother, before the second memorial of their murders. The whole situation is impossible to describe and yet this is the reality.
The empathy and sincere pain of the military prosecution is expressed each time we are there and especially when they take the book from me and see the innocent faces of this young father and his baby who were murdered intentionally simply because they are Jews in our Land.
We have an enormous responsibility not only to live for our loved ones who were murdered but also to break the silence and tell the truth of what we are going through to at least seek justice while PM Netanayahu and the government are releasing terrorists for no reason at all except to encourage more terror.
We, however know our responsibility and will continue to be present at the trials, and pray that in the end justice will be served and murderers will not be rewarded -but punished. We will continue to live, build and love our Land and do whatever we can to protect our Nation.
Well I remember the terror in the Jordan Valley and the missile attacks, along with the infiltration of terrorists when I served there as a combat soldier. The non-stop attempts to murder Israelis with Jordan used as the base for the attacks on Israel. The endless hours of laying ambushes for the terrorists and the price we paid for these murderous attacks both against military and civilians.
How can this be ignored by the government of Israel who should first and foremost learn from past mistakes and the inacceptable price that we pay? The result of the wanton destruction of Gush Katif , not only for our families who were thrown out of their lives, beautiful communities, synagogues, flourishing successful agriculture, our loved ones who were removed from their graves- what do we get in return for this atrocity? Attacks, missiles, tunnels, terror and not only in the south. The lesson learned by our enemy is that Israel does not demand the halt of terror in order to run ahead and implement actions that are terribly harmful to the security of the people and State of Israel.
What will it take for Israel to stand up for our rights to live here without the fear of more terrorists being released for no reason except to strengthen their resolve to murder again and to encourage others to engage in terror. Abbas himself said only recently time after time, "the talks are in a stalemate but we shall continue them until all of the prisoners are released." -not murderers- not terrorists- prisoners who are given honors and rewards by the officials of the Palestinian Authority.
We, who are connected with security and rescue issues did not need the latest terror attack in Bat Yam to recognize the dangers. We live these dangers daily on the roads, and not only inside of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley. Jerusalem our eternal capital is constantly under attack - not only verbal attack but terror attack with stabbings, rocks fire bombs etc.
The United States may claim to have a partnership with Israel but history proves different. Not only the Oslo Agreements and all of the agreements signed following the Accords- take for example our brother Jonathan Pollard rotting in jail now 29 years - a precedent in American punishment - when will he finally be released to come home to Israel?
It is no comfort that the United States condemns terror attacks- they are responsible for these attacks almost as much as the terrorists themselves for pressuring Israel into making dangerous life threatening concessions.
We can only hope and pray that the Israeli government wakes up before it is too late and that it finally ceases to endanger our very existance here in our eternal homeland. We for one will continue to serve, guard, rescue and be a voice of the truth for the good of not only Israel, but for the Jewish people wherever they live - we have learned from history that only a secure Jewish homeland will protect the lives of our people no matter where they are.
I wish to begin by expressing my outrage and sorrow for the loss of our IDF soldier, Sergeant Major Shlomi Cohen HY"D, near the Border,between Israel and Lebanon . Yes we have suffered many challenges with the storm, no electricity, roads blocked etc but this is the most urgent issue that we must attend to. These soldiers were on Israeli soil and were attacked with no provocation by Lebanese troops.
Considering United States and world priorities, this will go by quietly because after all it is merely Jewish blood. My heart goes out to the familiy and to our injured I pray for a quick recovery, and for Israel to finally learn that we must always be in charge of our own security and never depend on agreements, international forces or anything else- only on ourselves.
Now back to the storm. I wish to explain to those who are not connected with who and what we are in our communal villages, yes that is the formal name for Jewish communities such as Bet Horon where I live, and although the popular political name is "settlements" I wish to clarify who and what we are and how we live in our community.
With the outbreak of terror incidents in our regions we established various teams of volunteers comprised of the residents of our communities: security, rescue, education,and welfare. During times of a crisis these teams unite together and try to find solutions for the problems and difficulties that our neighbors in the community face.
Yesterday we met first thing in the morning to go over the list of the families and residents of our yishuv- community to check who may need special help because of the storm. Name after name we went over the list and marked down those who we wished to personally ask if they need any special assitance.
Our security coordinator kept sending out important messages regarding roads, electricity problems etc. And when a special medical emergency arose he was busy along with us to try and resolve the emergency of how we could get the person who needed emergency medical care in the hospital in Jerusalem ,there when the roads were closed.
Finally B"H -TG the solution came and we, the emergency medical team were given permission to take the patient up to Jerusalem going on the road leading from Jerusalem - the opposite direction for traffic going up to Jerusalem. The roads were filled with cars stuck there- dozens of them planted literally many times in the middle of the road even increasing the danger from the ice and heavy snow.
We succeeded in safely bringing the patient to the hospital and then began the very challenging attempt to return to Bet Horon. Twisting and turning getting stuck in traffic many times simply because of people who wished to see and photograph the snow, and after many changes in the route we finally were able to start back to Bet Horon.
The communal care and voluntary services that we are blessed with are not only during times of storms, war or tragedy. During happy occassions such as weddings, Brit, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, we are one family and have families that cook and bake, help with the Shabbat etc.
Yesterday looking around at the teams working in the office of the community, all of whom left their homes to slip and slide to get to the office to volunteer to help in this crisis I was so grateful to be a part of this. The world can call us "settlements" but we are a communal village - a community that cares about one another, cares about our country and people and will continue to volunteer in order to help. It is proven that when you give you recieve and we are blessed with this.
We, the Jewish people gather our fortitude from clinging to our heritage and history. Each chapter in the long history of our Nation is filled with proof of the meaning of true leadership and emunah- belief. Just this Shabbat we learned - again- of the strength of charector and emunah of Yosef- Josef when confronting his brothers after all he suffered because of them- he had the emunah to transform his personal suffering into the importance of him being in Egypt in order to save his Father , family and people.
How many of us when faced with challenges or sorrow turn to G-d and ask, "how and why?" There are many unaswered and almost unfathomable situations in our lives. The pain of loss, the disappointments we face in life whether personal or national.are so difficult to accept and find the strength and emunah to go on.
Today, again we hear the call of the United States for Israel (of course they claim that both sides must make compromises) to make sacrifices in order to reach a two state solution. Today we still hear the PA leadership continue to educate their public to hate, and murder Jews while they are very vocal about the fact that although the" talks are in a stalemate they will continue until all of the prisoners (terrorists with blood on their hands) are freed" (Abbas ) We see their official praise and admiration of terrorist murderers with no qualms at all.
For those of us who live, travel and work in the heartland of Israel we are familiar with the real situation, and realize how dangerous it would be to make any concessions that would further allow Arab access or control to these vital areas. Let us face it - Israel is built topographically with the mountain ranges of Judea, Samaria, the Golan Heights an important protection for the rest of the country. The Jordan Valley is and always has been very important for the protection of our Land and Israel must continue to control both the territory of the Jordan Valley and the border crossings.
But this is not enough. The protection of our people has always been based on clinging to our heritage- Jerusalem united forever - Hevron, Shechem the heartland of Israel and the soul of our Nation. For what are we without our history and what is our history without us clinging to these places where our history joins the Land forever more.
We aslo hear members of our own government calling to make painful concessions for peace. What has not been learned from mistakes of the past? The destruction of Gush Katif not only expelled our families, destroyed beautiful productive communities, wonderful agricultural development, synagogues, ripped our loved ones out of their graves, turned thousands of our families into refugees- it also brought the Hamas, rocket attacks on almost all of Israel, pain, death and destruction.
No one claims that it will be easy to not capitulate to pressure, fear or the desire to at least try to reach a solution with the Arabs. Again I must remind those who are making the decisions for the Jewish Nation that it is not enough for Israel to make difficult "painful" decisions- they must learn from history and be strong enough to hold on to our heritage - our history - our Land.
Memories of where our roots are and the connection between our roots, our history and our heritage that is what makes us a Nation.