3 Land of Israel Loyalists Arrested for Planning New Towns

Plans are well underway to build five new outpost communities in Judea and Samaria - though police have arrested three of the alleged planners.

Hillel Fendel,

pioneers building new town
pioneers building new town

Plans are well underway to build five new outpost communities in Judea and Samaria - though police have arrested three of the alleged planners.

Over two dozen special-unit and regular policemen burst into the homes of three Land of Israel activists this morning (Wednesday) in Hashmonaim, near Kiryat Sefer and Modiin.  The three Jews - two 40-year-olds and one 20-year-old - were arrested on suspicion of planning the construction of a new settlement in Judea and Samaria (Yesha). 

The police also confiscated items such as orange hats (orange being the color of the Land of Israel movement), bumper stickers and T-shirts promoting settlement in Yesha.  The most common slogan: "Eretz Yisrael (Land of Israel) - We Continue With Our Heads Held High."

Datia Yitzchaki, formerly of Gush Katif and now of Gush Etzion, denounced the arrests as "the worst form of silencing dissent," and called on Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Justice Minister Daniel Friedmann to investigate the incident.  She said the arrests would "only encourage the activities of everyone who cares about the future of the country."

Five New Towns in the Works
The day before, the Land of Israel Loyalists held a press conference in Jerusalem at which they announced their plans to establish five new communities in Judea and Samaria this Sunday, the third day of Chol HaMoed (the Intermediate Days) of the Sukkot holiday.  Presenting the plans were long-time Yesha pioneers Rabbi Moshe Levinger of Hevron and Daniella Weiss of Kedumim, representatives of the families who plan to settle the five hills, and others.

The five towns slated to be built, if the government does not interfere, are:
* Shvut Ami in western Shomron, near Kedumim
* Harhivi in eastern Shomron, near Elon Moreh
* Nofei Hashmonaim in Binyamin, near Kiryat Sefer and Modiin
* Eitam, near Efrat in Gush Etzion
* Maalot Halhoul, in Judea near Hevron

For more information on the planned kick-off points for the five new towns, click here.

Some 20 rabbis of Gust Etzion are signed on a proclamation in favor of the five-pronged ascent to the new sites on Sunday.  The rabbis say that just as in this holiday season, we go from "strength to strength" - from Rosh HaShanah to Yomi Kippur to Sukkot -

"we must also go from strength to strength regarding the commandment of settling the Land of Israel - a commandment that is equal to all the others in the Torah.  We must go from one strength, namely, the communities and towns that have already been built in the Land, to the next strength - i.e., the hilltops whose construction and development are being held up for various strange reasons. These reasons stem primarily from the weakness of our [government] leadership, and also from a failure to see the reality religiously, politically and demographically."
The rabbis specifically mention the point of struggle in their own area:
"The Eitam Hill is Efrat's largest land reserve. The delays in building it retard Efrat's development and prevent the formation of a bridge connecting all parts of Gush Etzion.  Our vacillation, and the delays in construction, cause the Arabs [and Peace Now - ed.] to constantly petition the Supreme Court [against us]. 

"Our response is: 'Some by Supreme Court petitions, and some by terrorist attacks, but we - in the Name of the L-rd our G-d will call!"  [based on Psalms 20,8]  - the G-d Who has commanded us to come and inherit the land that He promised Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants after them..."

Similarly, the leaders of the drive to make Eitam Jewish released a flyer stating the following:

"The hill belongs to Efrat, but is being stolen from us, de facto, by the political [partition] fence.  Eitam connects eastern and western Gush Etzion.  Handing it over to the Arab enemy will endanger all of Gush Etzion and Jerusalem.  It is crucial to come and take an active part in settling the hill.  As the Prime Minister and the enemy concoct their dangerous plans, we come with other plans:

  • They want to destroy - we come to build.
  • They want to expel - we come to expand.
  • The government wants to give away the Land of Israel - we remain loyal to Eretz Yisrael.
  • They are denying our Jewish and Zionist principles, and have embraced a philosophy of appeasement and capitulation to the enemy - we are renewing the Zionist-Jewish pioneering spirit, and remain firm in insisting that Eretz Yisrael is ours!"