Memorial ceremony - Givat Oz V'Gaon
Memorial ceremony - Givat Oz V'Gaon Shlomi Shalmoni

Rabbi Baruch Efrati, head of the Derech Emuna rabbis, and Women in Green hosted a gathering in Giv’at Oz veGa’on Friday, to commemorate thirty days since the burial of the three abducted youths, Gilad Sha'ar (16), Eyal Yifrah (19), and Naftali Frenkel (16), hy"d. 

Rabbi Efrati opened his words with an expression of thanks to Women in Green, Yehudit and Nadia, in the name of the land.

“It is impossible to imagine how Gush Etzion would look without Women in Green," Rabbi Efrati said. "How many hills here would be empty!"

Rabbi Efrati then related to current events, as well as the murders of the Israeli teens. He noted the uniqueness of the memorial ceremony in which there is not only sadness and pain but also the strength of the People of Israel’s return to its Land, “shocking the wicked of the world."

"There are also righteous in the world”, Rabbi Efrati commented and stressed, “But the wicked cannot abide this”.

“We are here to say that the more they harm us, the more we will deepen our roots in the Land of Israel and therefore our answer to the murder is to increase the number of communities in the Land and to increase unity among us”, said Rabbi Efrati.

Among the speakers was Rabbi David Rabinowitz, head of the Mekor Chaim Yeshiva, where two of the boys studied.

Rabbi Rabinowitz mentioned the reading of “From the depths I called out to G-d”, which has been loudly recited by many of the People of Israel in recent weeks. He noted that these depths are the foundation of the Jewish People’s virtue and are now revealed these days, after a long period when they had been hidden and concealed.

"In these days, the days of progress, the depths were revealed, the People of Israel was revealed," Rabbi Rabinowitz said. "Everything that we learned in the House of study about the virtue of Israel, faith and love of the Land, everything suddenly seems real."

"Suddenly the reality is revealed," he said, and described the families of the murdered youths as “simple families whom no one had prepared to be at the front. No one had trained them to stand before the People, and here, the virtue emerges."

"The depths about which we cried have become revealed in reality," he added. 

Head of the Gush Etzion Council, Davidi Perl, also thanked those who initiated this project, who first ascended to Oz veGa’on, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, who have participated with him in the settlement enterprise for a long time.

“When we thought about establishing three points of settlement in memory of the youths, it was clear that they will participate and indeed, they immediately came to the area”, he said and mentioned the decision that was taken in the Gush Etzion Council to establish a new community in Gush Etzion in memory of the abducted youths.

Perl called upon the minister of defense to “Win the war and strengthen the settlement enterprise”, a call that takes on special meaning especially because of the attempt to carry out the destruction of Tekoa Heh a few days ago by the Civil Administration.

“Our answer is determined – we have returned after two thousand years of exile to remain here forever. We will continue to hold on to the mountains”, said Perl. “Day and night we were in contact with the security forces and with the families, but as the parents said with great intensity ‘the Almighty does not work for us’. You have chosen the right way for the eternal People, to increase light and positive activity that will serve to elevate their souls and will be a response to terror."

Rabbi Israel Rosen, Head of the Tsomet Institute, delivered a speech that focused on the expression “Gaza” (Aza in Hebrew – meaning audacity) as an expression of the audacity of satanic power, the power of the “other side”, in his words.

Rabbi Rosen emphasized that faced with this audacity, the proper response is intensity and determination shown by the example of Samson the hero.

“Something good came out from evil," Rabbi Rosen said. “Faced with this audacity we are commanded to deepen the intensity of the kingdom of Israel, the intensity that is sometimes not rational, but only with such intensity is the building of the settlement enterprise accomplished, with courage that is independent of considerations of politics or media. This is the daring of those women who established Giv’at Oz veGa’on, which is our response."

Rabbi Rosen sealed his words with a slogan for which he does not take credit, which is: “The Eternal People does not fear the murderous people”.

Other speakers at the memorial ceremony were Uri Yifrah, father of Eyal Yifrah, hy"d; chairman of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, MK Ze’ev Elkin and others.

Hundreds from throughout the entire Land participated in the event held at the Hill, which began to be prepared as a site for tourism and camping by Women in Green activists the very night after learning of the murder of three youths.

The event was opened by Yehudit Katsover, one of the heads of Women in Green, the movement behind the establishment of the new site for tourism and camping in Gush Etzion.

Katsover described the change that has occurred in the People of Israel since the abduction and murder, a people that discovered its beauty and the strength of its youth.

“We are proud to be part of this people," she said, thanking the residents of the South, “who are ready to ‘take it’ until victory," as well as the entire People who have been contributing to the soldiers until they were told to stop. 

Nadia Matar, one of the heads of Women in Green, thanked the residents of Gush Etzion who encourage the activists who established and prepared the Hill, bringing food and drink; she also thanked Head of Council Davidi Perl and his people who work toward establishing the place and strengthening those who maintain a presence in it.

In addition, she thanked the youth who came from throughout the entire Land to help in the preparation and development of the place; those who give lessons and workshops and those donors who contribute “thanks to whom we are able to maintain this place."

Matar also said that thanks to the eruv that was arranged at the compound on the Hill, many came on foot from Alon Shvut and the surrounding communities during the Sabbaths “on paths which have not been trodden for many years."

credit: שלומי שלמוני
credit: שלומי שלמוני
credit: שלומי שלמוני
credit: שלומי שלמוני
credit: שלומי שלמוני
credit: שלומי שלמוני