The first hareidi-religious outpost in Judea and Samaria - known as Givat Sefer - is now six days old, and no signs that security forces plan a forced eviction have been discerned. MK Nissim Ze’ev (Shas) visited on Tuesday morning.
The outpost, which currently features just a makeshift synagogue, is located just outside the hareidi-religious city of Modiin Illit, formerly known as Kiryat Sefer – officially in Samaria, but on the western side of the partition wall. It was started by dozens of hareidi-religious youths of the Halamish association; its name is an acronym for “Hareidim supporting the settlers of Judea and Samaria.”
Rabbi Brand said Jews must be allowed to live and build everywhere in Israel. MK Ze’ev said, “We must convince Netanyahu and the government that this area – Kiryat Sefer, Modiin Illit – should be a part of the settlement blocs.”
Rabbi Yitzchak Brand, of the hareidi-religious town of Emanuel in northern Samaria, hosted visiting MK Nissim Ze’ev, of the Sephardic-hareidi Shas party, at the site on Tuesday morning.
Rabbi Brand spoke of the importance of ensuring that Jews be allowed to live and build everywhere in Israel. MK Ze’ev expressed sympathy and support for this cause in general, but concluded his visit by saying, “We have to work to convince the prime minister and the government that this area should be a part of the settlement blocs.”
Rabbi Brand, speaking Hebrew with a heavy Yiddish accent, said: “If we don’t build here, it means that we are giving over control over the area to America. We are here in the Land of Israel based on the fundamental principle that this is Jewish land, given to us by G-d… Our protest here is an inclusive one, against the construction freeze and on behalf of all of Israel.”
MK Ze’ev asked him, “So why have you chosen specifically this spot? There are many hilltops around…”
Rabbi Brand answered, “Up until now, the hareidi public has been pretty weak in terms of standing up for the Land of Israel. It’s mostly been the religious-Zionists and Chabad. But the Chazon Ish [Rabbi A.Y. Karelitz, renowned leader of the hareidi public; he died in 1953 - ed.] writes clearly that it’s a religious commandment to settle all parts of the Land of Israel, based on the fundamental concept that the Land must be settled by Jews. Our outcry here is so that everyone should know that it’s not just the religious and not just Chabad who stand up for the Land, but those who follow the Chazon Ish as well… There is no difference between any one place in the Land of Israel and another; there is no difference between Yitzhar and Kiryat Sefer. All of it is ours, and there’s no such thing as saying that here we can build and here we cannot.”
One of the hareidi settlers called out, “MK Ze’ev, this area is within the fence, and everyone agrees that this won’t be given away, so why is construction not allowed here? Just like in Bnei Brak no one would dream of imposing a construction freeze, why should there be one here?”
The Knesset Member defended Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, saying that under his predecessor, Ehud Olmert, “there was a total freeze… So even if we have a temporary freeze now – but we don’t know what will be the day afterwards… Let there be no doubt: There’s no one in the government who doesn’t want more and more construction throughout Judea and Samaria, but you have to understand, there are limitations: We have a situation in which we have a hostile Obama administration – perhaps ‘hostile’ is too strong, but the fact is that we have a difficult situation, a lack of understanding between the Administration and Israel…”
“Your protest has been heard,” Ze’ev concluded. “It is correct, and I agree with every word - but we have to see how exactly and practically to bring this protest into actions… We have to work to convince the prime minister and the government that this area – Kiryat Sefer, Modiin Illit – should be a part of the settlement blocs, and I think that your cry will be heard. I wish you all the best.”