AFSI plants trees at Shdema
AFSI plants trees at Shdema Israel news photo courtesy of AFSI

An American-based pro-Israel lobby rallied and planted trees on Monday at the Gush Etzion site of Shdema, endangered by an Arab takeover.

Visiting members of American Friends for a Safe Israel (AFSI) promised to act in the United States on behalf of applying Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria (Shomron).

Shdema is located in eastern Gush Etzion and has been farmed and developed by the Women in Green movement in an effort to keep the land in Jewish hands. Women in Green officials Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover welcomed AFSI and its leader Helen Freedman at the abandoned Israeli military base.

"The participants were very moved upon seeing the renewed Jewish presence at the site," said Women in Green, which added that “AFSI members were partners from the very beginning in the campaign to return to Shdema.”

Visitors viewed three movies on activity to safeguard Shdema, and at the end of the event, guests planted trees at Shdema, where Matar and Katsover stressed the need for Israeli sovereignty, as well as over all of Judea and Samaria.

Israel has annexed areas of Jerusalem and all of the Golan Heights, which were restored to Israel in the Six-Day War in 1967, but it has not taken similar action in Judea and Samaria, where nearly 300,000 Jews live.

AFSI was in Israel and in Hevron this past week for the Sabbath on which the Torah reading of Chayei Sarah opens up with the purchases by Avraham of the Patriarchs Cave in Hevron.