Blunt Thoughts on Netiv Ha'Avot

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House ( and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives ( He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

Like everyone else with a soul, it was very painful to watch the tragic scenes from Netiv Ha'Avot this morning in Gush Etzion. Even though at this point it was only a workshop being destroyed, the potential for more destruction and the glaringly absurd ruling by the Supreme Court made this particularly difficult to stomach. I have been requested by a few people to share my thoughts on what went on and I wrote an entire blog more or less comparing the recent Haredi protests and events today at Netiv Ha'Avot. Practical differences, philosophical differences, responses from different communities, etc. 

And then I erased it. 

Now is not the time to talk about differences, not when other houses and other communities are in danger. Now is the time to rally the troops, from wherever they may be found. 

There is no doubt that as a direct result of the protest efforts, some houses at Netiv Ha'Avot seem to have been saved. (see here). Hopefully others will be as well. 

All communities need to be strengthened - physically and spiritually. We don't have the luxury of being able to study and ridicule each other's perceived flaws. There is too much at stake. 

Kol hakavod to the protesters at Netiv Ha'Avot today and kol hakavod to those who take this tragedy today and use it as the impetus for a redoubling of our efforts to strengthen the Jewish Presence in our ancestral homeland. 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem