Amidst pushing and shoving, followed by a measure of police intervention, Kiryat Arba/Hevron residents prevented leftists and Arabs from disrupting a ceremony honoring a soldier who refused to take part in evicting Jewish families.
The ceremony was held Friday morning, when residents of Kiryat Arba and Hevron gathered at the Hazon David synagogue, just outside Kiryat Arba. The synagogue was originally established six years ago following the terrorist murders of David Cohen and Chezi Mualem nearby, and has been destroyed by army forces and rebuilt by locals several times since then.
The purpose of today's gathering was to honor IDF soldier David Sayad of Kiryat Arba, who refused earlier this month to expel Jews from their homes in Hevron. A soldier in the Duchifat combat brigade, he and several others refused to take part in what turned out to be a very violent eviction of two families from Jewish-owned property in the Avraham Avinu neighborhood. He was sentenced to 28 days in army prison for his stance.
An email address has been set up for well-wishers to congratulate the soldiers who refused to evict Jews; see below.
A Welcome Phenomenon
Some 100 people attended the ceremony, and were addressed by Kiryat Arba's Mayor Tzvi Katzover, Hevron spokesman Noam Arnon, and Tzafrir Ronen of the not-religious Nahalal Forum in northern Israel. Katzover said, "I have been hearing from more and more youths of late that they plan to enlist in the IDF, but are declaring in advance that they will not take part in any expulsion of Jews. This is a growing, welcome phenomenon, and it is our chance to save Yesha [Judea and Samaria] and the entire State of Israel..."
Noam Arnon lauded the "great heroism of these soldiers who, on the one hand, are willing to give their lives to defend the country, but are also willing to stand up for their right to be free Jews and not take part in the crime of expulsion. These soldiers deserve our great admiration, and should serve as an example to all soldiers, showing that they can and must maintain their Jewish ideals even in the army."
Tzafrir Ronen said, "The present struggle is for the identity of the Land of Israel. Our enemy wants to change its name to Palestine, and Olmert is going along with it... If Olmert's plan is actualized, it means that the curse of Hadrian - the Roman emperor who was the first to change the name of the Land of Israel, calling it Palestine - will come true once again."
Nadia Matar, leader of the Women in Green grassroots organization, was also present. Commenting on the use of police force against the Jewish residents, she told Arutz-7's Oranit Atzar, "We must fight both the internal enemy and the external one, everywhere and all the time, without compromise."
Larger Ceremony Postponed
A large-scale ceremony honoring all the IDF soldiers who refused to take part in the destruction of the Hevron Jewish Community’s Shalhevet neighborhood was to have been held Thursday night. It was postponed, however, so as not to detract from the IDF's simultaneous ceremony awarding medals of bravery to soldiers who fought heroically in the Second Lebanon War last year.
Send Email Blessings
Another grassroots organization, Cities of Israel (COI), has opened an email account for the public to express its High Holiday new year wishes to the soldiers who refused to take part in the Hevron expulsion. "Polls show that while 14% of the public supports Olmert, more than twice as much - over 30% - support the 'Hevron refusers,'" says COI's Susie Dym. "We therefore decided to provide the public with a tool by which to communicate with the soldiers and express their support and good wishes." The email address is "firstname.lastname@example.org" [sarvanei means 'refusers of'].
"It is not enough that the soldiers did their duty and refused to take part in an action over which the black flag of illegality flies," Dym says. "Now the public must respond, and must create a new national reality in honor of the new year, in which the Hevron heroism becomes the ideal, not something to be condemned."