Daily Israel Report

Binyamin Residents Hike against 'White Paper'

The army declared a "closed zone." The residents smelled a rat – and took a hike.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 8/8/2011, 9:02 AM

Hike at Alei Ayin, 6/8/2011
Hike at Alei Ayin, 6/8/2011
Binyamin Residents' Council

Residents of the Binyamin region took an organized hike Friday in an area the IDF had declared a "closed military zone." The residents believe the military is trying to gradually limit Jewish freedom of movement in Judea and Samaria, and compare the IDF's policy to the British colonial "White Papers."

The army declared the area surrounding the Alei Ayin outpost a closed military zone, after the outpost was forcefully torn down two months ago. Despite the ban – or because of it – the grassroots Binyamin Residents' Council organized Friday's hike through the area and promises to maintain presence there.
 
The Council said that it recognizes a recent pattern in which the IDF uses its power to declare "closed zones" to keep Jews out of certain areas.
 
About 30 people hiked through the Esh Kodesh area and the agricultural fields near the Arab village of Kusra. They prayed mincha and Esh Kodesh's rabbi, Rav Elchanan Bin Nun, gave a Torah lesson.
 
The Council was pleased to note that the army did not try to kick out the hikers and even provided them with protection. "At first the soldiers told us to leave the area," a resident told, "but when the Deputy Company Commander arrived he said that the Regiment Commander had issued permission for us to stay where we were, as long as we did not advance toward the village. In the end, two Border Police jeeps provided security for us throughout our stay there."
 
Council chairman Lt. Col. (res.) Itzik Shadmi explained: "Under our radar, a quiet expulsion is being carried out under the guise of maintaining order." The Council is distributing a flier that says: "The IDF declared Alei Ayin a 'closed military zone for one reason only: to prevent Jews from settling the Land and building new communities in it! This is how the British began with the first 'White Paper,' then a second and a third, until the y strangled Jewish settlement and cut off aliyah to the Land of Israel. " 
 
The Council plans weekly hikes through the area of Alei Ayin until the closure is rescinded and the community is rebuilt.