Why in Gush Etzion?

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 5 children....

Recently there was a very impressive event held to mark the 50th anniversary of the return of Jewish communities to Judea and Samaria. Even Prime Minister Netanyahu attended and spoke, among other prominent figures. Additionally, thanks to the predictable folly of the Supreme Court (who shouldn't have been invited in the first place -subject for a different blog) in accepting and then refusing an invitation to participate, the event got widespread media attention - always a good thing. 

My only problem is the location. Why do it in Gush Etzion? I would assume that the reason was to potentially include as much of the Israeli public as possible. Who can possibly disagree with Jewish settlement in Gush Etzion? We were there before 1948 and the abhorrent conduct of the arabs there at the time make it especially moral for Jews to have returned there. Its mostly Jewish and has a large population. Its close to Jerusalem and protects the southern side of Jerusalem.

Makes sense, but I disagree. While every inch of Eretz Yisrael needs to be fought over, the fight for Gush Etzion as a liberated area is finished. Its similar to the Galilee and the Negev. Of course, Israeli sovereignty should be extended there asap, but there is no doubt that it eventually will be. 

For this reason, in my humble opinion, the event should have been strategically located elsewhere. All similar events should be located either in Har Hevron or the Shomron or Binyamin or in the Jordan Valley. These areas need to be strenghtened - AT EVERY OPPORTUNITY!! And if such a strategy in any way limits the size of the audience/attendance of the event, then so be it. These are the areas that we are now fighting for. These are the areas that are in acute danger of leftist/defeatist-orchestrated retreat. 

The Jewish Presence in Lod needs to be strenghthened. And in Ramla and in Akko and in Jaffa and elsewhere, but the "settlement enterprise" needs to be focused on those regions which are most in danger and I think most will agree that Gush Etzion is not one of them. 

Chag Sameach,

Ben Packer

Old City of Jerusalem