Welcome to Gush Etzion sign
Welcome to Gush Etzion signGershon Ellinson

Residents of Gush Etzion together with the men and women of the Women in Green grassroots movement, set out to renovate and restore the Gush Etzion Junction in Judea, a site of frequent attacks in recent months.

As part of the “Revitalizing Gush Etzion Junction” project to improve the appearance of the place, activists adorned the area with plants, a “Welcome to Gush Etzion” sign, artistic decorations on the concrete protection barriers placed around bus stops, the hitchhiking places and the guard posts at the junction, and with the help of the Gush Etzion Council, had a hundred-year-old oak tree planted in the center of the square.

“We took on this initiative from the understanding that normal life, which is what we aspire to here, cannot exist if we feel that we are living in a bunker and with an atmosphere of having to defend ourselves,” said the initiators of the project and heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar.

“The square at the Junction is actually the calling card that welcomes those who come to the entrance of Gush Etzion, Israelis as well as tourists, and the appearance of the concrete barriers is not a welcoming sight.”

Katsover and Matar received warm encouragement from the military commanders of the area and thanked the soldiers in return. “We are filled with gratitude and appreciation for the IDF soldiers,” they said, noting the IDF’s continuous effort to maintain the security of local residents during the daily battle with terror.

“We wish to project an inviting and friendly sense, and this is what we wanted and succeeded to achieve with our latest campaign.”

Katsover and Matar further spoke of the upcoming commemorative event marking two years since the murder of Eyal Yifrah, Naftali Frenkel and Gilad Sha’ar – the three Israeli teenagers who were kidnapped by Hamas terrorists.

On Friday, events at Oz veGaon – the nature preserve that was established and renovated in memory of the three youths – will include a family 'happening', a musical performance, and various attractions.

“At the event we will salute the residents, our wonderful youth, IDF soldiers and their commanders, businesses at Gush Etzion Junction, the many visitors who make Oz veGaon a bustling, lively place and the hitchhikers who maintain the blessed routine of life,” said Katsover and Matar.