'Mothers' Vigil' Takes Page from Leftist Tactics

Nationalist protesters seek to meet Sarah Netanyahu, employ tactics that worked well for left-wing groups.

Gil Ronen ,

Nadia Matar in action
Nadia Matar in action
Flash 90

The “Mothers' Vigil” established outside Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's residence Sunday is a new, sophisticated kind of nationalist protest, which takes a page from the book of tactics that has worked well for the rival, leftist camp.

Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, heads of Women in Green, decided to “play the maternal card” – which has proven very effective in pacifist movements like Four Mothers, Women in Black, Machsom Watch and others. In addition, they are seeking to meet the prime minister's wife, Sarah Netanyahu – who is perceived as a political force in and of herself, with a good deal of influence on her husband and his decisions.

Dozens of mothers joined Matar and Katsover Sunday outside the Prime Minister's home, in a demand to apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria.

"This is a new kind of vigil,” Matar told Arutz Sheva. “Something fresh. Mothers. Women. The nation has come here to talk to the prime minister – and to his wife. As mother to mother, we also want to meet Sarah Netanyahu, to sit with her and say – we know that you and your husband love the Land of Israel. We know you are under huge pressure. We are here to remind you that there is pressure from the correct side, too.”

"Mothers bring life to the world,” added Katsover. “Mothers need to take care of continuity. That is exactly what we are doing. And that is why we want to talk to Sarah Netanyahu. Our power is in our motherhood.”

“We, mothers of families in Israel, have decided to abandon the daily routines of our lives, to leave our homes in order to sit outside the Prime Minister's house and tell him: Fear not and do not falter," says the group's poster.

The most famous leftist campaign with the "motherly" theme was the "Four Mothers" campaign that began in 1997, which successfully lobbied for the IDF's retreat from the Security Belt in Lebanon - a retreat that was indeed executed in a hurried fashion by then-Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000. That retreat made it possible for Hezbollah to take over southern Lebanon and fill it with tens of thousands of missiles that cover all of Israel's territory. Experts are also in wide agreement that it was perceived as a sign of Israeli weakness by then-head of the PA, Yasser Arafat, and convinced him to launch the bloody terror war known as the 'Second Intifada' a few months later.

Women in Green's protests have, until now, usually taken the form of fighting for turf in Judea and Samaria. The "Mother's Vigil" is a departure from that course and it remains to be seen if it will be effective.