Daily Israel Report

´Orange´ Summer Camps Sprouting Up to Oppose Disengagement

As students leave school for the two-month summer vacation, many are joining the struggle against the withdrawal from Gaza and northern Samaria full-time, in an attempt to thwart its implementation.
First Publish: 6/26/2005, 9:39 AM / Last Update: 6/23/2005, 7:49 PM

Youth groups and grassroots groups of students have begun carrying out daily activist activities, from handing out orange ribbons at intersections to handing out explanatory material to soldiers and police officers. They hope that the intense activist push will preclude the necessity for the next stage of the struggle – the day the IDF begins barring citizens from Gaza or northern Samaria.

Day camps have even sprung up. The first one, formed three weeks ago, is located in the town of Nachalim, near Ben Gurion Airport. Campers set out each morning to distribute explanatory material and orange ribbons to drivers in the Tel Aviv region. This Sunday, a second camp, for girls, is expected to open in Petach Tikvah.

“The youngsters involve themselves completely in educating the public,” Zevulun Kalpa, one of the camp’s organizers, told Arutz-7. “The visible results have been good, but [he quotes a Rabbinical saying]‘ blessing manifests on that which is hidden from the eye.’ We are talking about the distribution of tens of thousands of orange ribbons a day.”

According to Kalpa, the youngsters are overwhelmed by the warm reception they receive from all sectors of Israeli society. “One of the boys was standing at a gas station holding a sack filled with orange ribbons,” he said. “A non-religious Jew approached him and asked if he could purchase a ribbon for one shekel (the customary price). When he saw the boy had no change for a 100 shekel bill he told him that the money was a donation for continued activism.”

He said that although police have attempted to make life difficult for those handing out ribbons and explanatory flyers at intersections lately, police have not succeeded in slowing them down. In one case, in the Petach Tikvah area, police asked one of the activists for his identity papers and forbade him from standing at a particular intersection. “As a discussion ensued, a Jew dressed in a fancy suit approached,” Kalpa said. “To the boy’s surprise he began to argue with the police and when they tried to shrug him off he took out his business card, which said he was an attorney, and told the boy that if there are further problems with police interference – the boy could call him and he would deal with them.”

“The camps allow the youngsters to feel as though they are doing something and creating a real revolution instead of sitting home and being upset about the situation. They are received with very positive responses and are sometimes even able to convince those leaning toward the other side,” Kalpa said. “We will continue painting the country orange.”