A flood of youth in the form of 1,200 girls from the Ariel youth movement traveled to Gush Etzion on Monday to identify with the renewed pioneering enterprise in the expanses of the land of Israel.
The participants came from around the country and swept over the paths of Netzer and Derech HaAvot (Path of the Patriarchs) located in Gush Etzion.
Yehudit Katzover and Nadia Matar, co-directors of the "Women in Green" grassroots Zionist organisation, which campaigns to uphold Jewish rights in the land of Israel, greeted the girls who came to the lands of Netzer.
"Many hundreds of girls, from dozens of branches, and with spirits so high they reached the heavens, filled the agricultural plots at Netzer, those agricultural lands that were saved from Arab takeover by the Women in Green movement and the activists of the Netzer Group," they said.
"The girls turned over the soil of the plots with their hands and with hoes, and watered the trees with water that they brought there in buckets," they said, adding that "the tree is like the soldier in the field who guards the land of Israel."
Katsover and Matar hoped to transmit the message of awareness and inner feeling that "every place on which the girls tread belongs to us, to the Jewish people."
"The girls felt how, by their activity and their presence at the site, they continue in the steps of the Patriarchs when they establish facts on the ground for future generations." The trip was organized in exemplary fashion by the Ariel movement, and inculcated in the girls educational messages and values of love of Israel.
The trip ended for the girls and the organizers with a sense of raised spirits which was expressed in the promise to return and volunteer in the Women in Green agricultural camp for youth, held at Netzer during the year.
Yossi Vardi, the Director General of the Ariel movement, shared how the connection between the movement and Women in Green began.
"When we were on the road, preparing the Sukkot trip in the Gush Etzion region, we passed through Netzer and we discovered the tremendous activity that is being done by Women in Green for the redemption of lands, and we decided to bring the girls there, as one of the stops on the trip."
In the stops on their trip, the members of the Ariel youth movement go to different sites where emphasis is placed on a central value from the life of the Jewish people. Among the other stops, they learned of the values of the sanctity of the Jewish people at a site with a mikveh (ritual bath) from the Second Temple period, the value of aliyah le-regel, or pilgrimage to the Temple (Jews walked along this very route on their way to Jerusalem), and additional values.
On the meeting itself between the movement's girls, youth leaders, and branch leaders with Women in Green, he relates: "After we discovered the place, we contacted Women in Green and asked how we can help. The girls worked at removing stones, hoeing, clearing the area, and watering and caring for the trees. We intend to continue this connection with Women in Green. We will sit together and see how we are continuing together, and strengthen the connection of the members of the Ariel movement to the Land of Israel, to the Torah of Israel, and to the redemption of the land."
"We are happy for having merited seeing this wonderful and pure youth that grows naturally in its land, Eretz Israel," Katsover and Matar sum up the entire event and invite the public to come to Netzer on the intermediate days of the holiday of Sukkot. A kosher sukkah set up by Women in Green will be waiting there for visitors and hikers.