Youth tents at Netiv Avot
Youth tents at Netiv Avot Yair Dan

Over night, young people from Gush Etzion gathered together and sang songs of faith in the protest encampment that opened on Givat Netiv Ha’avot.

I asked one of the boys who passed me, "When is the evacuation?" His answer was "It could be close to morning or tomorrow - but it must be this week."

I said to him, "It's usually on Wednesdays," as if I had entered the vicious cycle of the veteran evacuee.

My experience in evacuations was acquired at the age of 15 on one of the hills of Binyamin. In my high school years I participated in illegal ascensions to the land and fortified myself behind wire fences together with young people from all over the country, some of them officially together with the yeshiva where they studied and some of them independent, like me.

Battle “experiences” such as when a riot policeman knocks your friend on the head, or when a horse tramples a 16-year-old, or the pulling of girls’ shirts so that they leave the premises, I saw together with my friends and other youth. When a riot policeman grabbed the shirt of one of the girls, only 15 years of age, who grew up with me in the neighborhood, I jumped on him to try and get him away, his nerves were redirected at me, and I flew several meters into the air.

I remembered how in the ruins of Homesh I managed to escape and hide with another hundred boys out of the three hundred who were there. Arabs from the nearby village arrived and someone decided they were threatening, so he shot in the air.

Yes, this was the reality faced by a normal 16-year-old boy who completed his matriculation exams and went on to the army and academia.

Today in my "advanced age" I ask - where are the parents? Why does a settler need to build a huge (cheap) encampment because he needs to identify with the struggle for the unjust destruction of his home, and we all know for certain that the ones who will arrive there will be youth who decided not to go to school? Why is it clear to us that they are the only ones who will arrive there, and that, at most, they will be joined by several youth counselors?

Who will be responsible for the trauma experienced by these youth? Why should they bear the burden of demolitions rather than construction?

They will experience [the Talmudic saying] "The Land of Israel is acquired through suffering-” that’s for sure!