The village of Evyatar
The village of EvyatarThe Nachala Movement

The Nachala Movement activists were pleased with the new government's coalition agreements which included the immediate return to the village of Evyatar. "We'd like to express our appreciation to the new government for facilitating the imminent return to Evyatar and to show our support for Minister in the Ministry of Defense (Likud) and Minister of Finance, Bezalel Smotrich (Religious Zionism) and Minister of National Security Itamar Ben-Gvir (Otzma Yehudit) who invested tremendous effort to ensure Evyatar was not forgotten," was the organization's response.

The political "fruits" that the Nachala Movement is now harvesting come after years of combined efforts for Evyatar. "There is no doubt in my mind that the demand to return to Evyatar, to continue to build there, is a warranted request and immediately attainable. The people at Nachala Movement are correct in not receding their demand, and I have no doubt that it will become a reality," Minister of National Missions MK Orit Strock (Religious Zionism) told Besheva.

"The Nachala Movement's demand to make Evyatar a permanent community is an appropriate and justified demand. First and foremost, because of its strategic location and the importance of having a Jewish presence at the site. Secondly, agreements must be kept, and I appeal to the incoming Minister of Defense to declare the establishment of Evyatar as soon as possible," added MK Limor Son Har-Melech (Otzma Yehudit).

The Nachala Movement has impressive support from the Likud Party as well as from the religious parties. "I support the establishment of communities across all of the Land of Israel and believe in our natural right to this Land that was promised to us and to our forefathers by G-d," said Minister of Culture and Sport MK Miki Zohar (Likud) regarding Nachala Movement's activities in preparation to returning to Evyatar. "Nachala Movement is a movement of pioneers, people filled with motivation and charged with ideology. I admire them and wish them much success in their important mission to build up the Land of Israel with as few obstacles and impediments as possible."

MK, Nissim Vaturi (Likud), spoke up as well, "I would like to show much support for the Nachala Movement and for the entire amazing movement busy with building up the Land of Israel. I'm not doing them any favors; we all owe them a huge thank you for their tremendous work for the Jewish nation. The Nachala Movement is doing what the government should be doing."

According to the MKs, Nachala Movement turns the visionary aspiration of building the land into a concrete and practical reality. "Fortunate is the Jewish nation that we have amongst us an organization like the Nachala Movement whose purpose is to heighten awareness as to the importance of building the land in a practical sense. The Nachala Movement does not just preach ideology, but also initiates action- building and establishing new communities, actively redeeming the land," said MK Michal Waldiger (Religious Zionism). "Recently, I had the honor of visiting one of the organization's new initiatives- Ramat Arbel. There I met a group of real idealistic families that are willing to sacrifice a lot for our beloved country. I salute the Nachala Movement for all their admirable activities and will continue to show my support. Be strong and brave, and with G-d's help, we will act, and we will succeed!"

The Catalyst for Establishing Yishuvim

"Ever since its establishment, the Nachala Movement has been the catalyst for founding new communities in Judea and Samaria, raising the flag and blowing winds of support for both our rights and our obligation to the Land," stresses Strock. "I see it as both a responsibility and merit to join their activities, to help them in the process, and to support their justified demands."

Son Har Melech doesn't contradict Strock but adds that it's unfortunate that a non-profit organization is involved in these activities and not the government. "Unfortunately, for a long time, those who took responsibility for initiating, building, and developing communities in the Judea and Samaria areas were private organizations and not the government. I truly hope that this will change, but until then, it is up to the Nachala Movement, together with other organizations, to lead the way to build new communities all across Judea and Samaria. We will be there to give all the support they need."

How many communities do you hope the Nachala Movement will succeed in establishing during the new government's term?

"I am not a prophet who can tell the future," answered Minister Zohar, "I wish them much success in establishing new communities. The more they accomplish, the better, with G-d's help."

MK Vaturi answered, "Like the sands of the sea. May G-d bless them and all of their activists with much success in building up our Holy Land of Eretz Yisrael."

Behind the Scenes

After hearing her praises from the MKs, we asked Daniella Weiss, Chairman of the Nachala Movement, for her perspective on the support she receives in public and behind the scenes. "I had a conversation with an old friend from the Likud party, Ilan Badani, who today heads the Ramat Hasharon Likud branch. Ilan called me to show support for our latest project- establishing new communities all across the country," she said. "During a recent visit to the Knesset, I met MKs from the Likud who expressed their support and, of course, our good friend Bezalel Smotrich together with Itamar Ben-Gvir, so we're surrounded with wall-to-wall support from the political right."

Daniella surprises us with the fact that support for the Nachala Movement comes from all across the political spectrum. "I must say, without naming names, that we met friends from Yisrael Beyteinu, and they, too, showed their support. The support for Nachala Movement is widespread, intense, and powerful, just like during the 'Gush Emunim' period when we were a driving force pushing along the Begin government. Now too, we'll be a driving force for Netanyahu, the Likud, and the entire Right. The political support joins together with the wide-ranging and varied public support from different groups in society."

Do the haredi parties support you as well? "Of course," says Weiss. "There is no question on the matter; there has always been a very strong connection between the haredi public and 'Gush Emunim'. Many people are not aware of the fact that when I served as the head of the Kedumim Local Council, I invited then Minister of Housing Rabbi Meir Porush as an honored guest to our program on Israel's Independence Day. He arrived and announced the establishment of Har Chemed, a new neighborhood in Kedumim which today is filled with large luxurious homes and keeps on growing."

Daniella also praises the Shas Party, "Aryeh Deri and all the MKs from Shas came to Evyatar to show solidarity. In addition, when they put a siege on Evyatar and refused to allow a large water container onto the village, MK Moshe Arbel sat in the cabin of the truck hauling the container and accompanied it into the village. The relationship between 'Gush Emunim' and the haredi public will continue to develop and intensify for both national and practical reasons – the Jewish nation is in need of many more housing projects, and we must meet the demands of the natural growth rate of both the national-religious and the haredi public. Therefore, we must build in a more extensive fashion, not just between Gedera and Hadera but also in Judea and Samaria. We also cooperate a lot with haredi communities when redeeming lands, i.e., purchasing land and homes from non-Jewish owners in order to build communities and haredi cities. There are core groups of families who want to be a part of the success as well."

Along with the immense optimism, Tzvi Elimelech Sharbaf, CEO of the Nachala Movement, warns of excessive complacency. He feels there is a need for action in order for the plans to materialize. "Many people on the 'right' identify with the ideals of the Nachala Movement, but in terms of actually doing something, there is concern about how it will be seen in the eyes of the international community. There is much support from all of the coalition members, but still, despite the incredible willpower, there will be many challenges with the new government, Mainly because after 30 years of Oslo, it will take time to shift back to our natural, healthy way of thinking and our ideas concerning the Land of Israel, especially in lieu of concerns of American and European pressure," he said with unmasked worry.

Together with his concerns, some of the MKs whispered to him that in order to succeed, they count on him to keep up the pressure. "The MKs are very happy and cooperative and even said to me, 'Put on even more pressure to opposing the world's pressure, we need intense pressure from the public, we need your activities in order to implement what you and we believe in doing," Sharbaf explained that this is exactly what Nachala Movement is planning for the coming months- extreme pressure from the public, a grand return to Evyatar along with the establishment of new communities all across the Judea and Samaria regions.

We receive supporting messages from the new government's MKs asking us to help change the national agenda. From dismantling Oslo and plans to abandon the land to a reality where the Israeli government will resume saying that Eretz Yisrael is our homeland and will establish new communities on a large scale and, in addition, establish government bodies concerned with the development of the communities as well as reinstating the budget for redeeming land all across Judea and Samaria.

Besides the efforts that Weiss and Sharbaf are investing in the development of Evyatar, northern Samaria, and the new communities, from their perspective, the new government's main objective should, first and foremost, be the annulment of the Disengagement Law. After that, they're planning a mass Seder night in Evyatar. "At least 1000 people will participate, including MKs and Rabbis, in order to celebrate the return to Evyatar. There is some apprehension in coming out with a statement because it makes it sound like we'll only be returning to Evyatar around Pesach time – therefore, we want the message to be very clear that we are preparing to return to Evyatar immediately. The families who had lived there will move back into their homes to start fixing them up and setting things up for the festivities on Pesach."

Progression Creates Challenges

Once again, we arrive at a time in history when, ironically, it is a progression that creates new challenges for the ever-growing initiations to establish new communities in Judea and Samaria. This time, the progression is not coming from the Jewish side of the fence but rather from massive construction developments by the Arab population who, in a wave of audaciousness, took it upon themselves to illegally annex lands belonging to the State of Israel. Today, the rate of illegal appropriation of state lands by the Arab population is blatantly clear to all. More than 2 million dunams of state land (out of a total of 6 million dunams in Judea and Samaria) have been stolen by local Arabs with the encouragement and financial support of the European Union.

The Israeli governments and Local Yesha Councils were unsuccessful in stopping the destructive process of the thievery of state lands. Anyone who knows anything about the secret of Zionism understands that a permanent Jewish presence, a village, for example, is more efficient than a thousand supervisors.

The Nachala Movement looked into the challenging and difficult situation and upped its activities to unprecedented dimensions. Today, the Nachala Movement runs a number of departments: a department for establishing new communities, a department for public relations, a department for media and digital advances, a department for international public relations, and a department for professional territorial exploration, which aids in deciding where to establish a new village, both from a strategical and practical perspective. This last department can be of great use to the new government to help protect and develop the land.

The Nachala Movement also deals with redeeming (purchasing) lands from non-Jewish hands. The organization is a-political but does involve itself in political activities and has recently established a forum for the core groups to provide financial aid. The Nachala Movement's financial forum enables the organization to continue its activities to establish new communities without being dependent on government funds. The Nachala Movement's financial independence allows them to overcome many challenges, even without a right-wing government.

The Nachala Movement is intent on passing on the leadership to the next generation and infusing their activities with extensive experience from the past so that future programs are even more improved and successful. "Our vision is that the nation of Israel will inhabit all of Judea and Samaria with the clear understanding that this is the true heart of our country and vital to all; the other side of the Jordan river will also be covered by vibrant Jewish communities. This is our aspiration," explains Tzvi Elimelech.

"We strongly believe that the way to reach our goal is to amend government policies. Israel needs to consciously decide that these lands belong solely to us and establish new villages, cities, industrial centers, and agricultural areas based on this decision. The illegal Arab construction must be stopped, and the Jewish National Fund (KKL) must re-adopt its original purpose, which was redeeming lands by purchasing them from non-Jewish owners. There are tens of thousands of Arabs who want to sell their homes and move to Europe. If the KKL invested in accomplishing its real purpose, within a week, there would be tens of thousands of Arab families leaving Judea and Samaria. This does not involve an exorbitant amount of money because prices in Judea and Samaria area are much lower." According to Sharbaf, this could also be the solution to the housing problem in Israel. "Purchasing land and homes from Arabs could significantly solve the housing crisis, together with establishing new communities and expanding existing ones. We believe that the right way is to start from the bottom, from the core groups of Jewish families across Judea and Samaria who demand hard political work from the government."

How clear is it that Tzvi Elimelech is continuing the approach he learned from his grandfather, Rabbi Levinger, and is continuing Daniella Weiss's approach?

The vision we hear from Daniella mirrors what we heard in our conversation with Tzvi Elimelech. "I would like for all of the Judea and Samaria areas to be populated within the next five years totaling two million Jews across the entire region. It is important to emphasize that there is no difference between 'Area C' and the rest," says Weiss decisively as she presents an operative program to turn the vision into a reality. "According to my perspective, which is actually the approach of Gush Emunim, the most efficient way to establish new communities is first to establish core groups of dedicated families. This is really what is special about Nachala Movement as opposed to other communities-centered organizations. Nachala Movement significantly prioritizes the comradery of the core groups of family activists. During Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir's time, the Israeli government viewed the re-settling of the country in its entirety as a national mission and composed detailed plans to build communities all across Judea and Samaria for a total of two million Jews. The plans are ready and waiting, much has already been done, and now we need to continue to make it happen."

Waiting for the Phone Call

In light of the inauguration of the new right-wing government, Weiss is anticipating a call from Prime Minister Netanyahu in which he will give her a clear mandate regarding the new communities in Judea and Samaria. "I sincerely hope Netanyahu will call me and say, 'Thank G-d we have a new government, with new-old direction. I am interested in immediately establishing ten new communities this week as a symbolic measure for the beginning of a new era. Then I'll answer him, 'Mr. Netanyahu, you can sleep peacefully: ten new communities have already been established, each boasting 25-30 families. Today there are 22 core group families ready to re-settle the land and build new communities immediately. There are 2,000 potential families who are prepared to leave their comfortable lives and spacious apartments and move to barren, rocky hilltops in order to establish new communities and safeguard the lands of Israel.

The objective will be to cover the extensive terrain with Jewish homes, providing housing for all at reasonable prices. "If the plan materializes with the help of the new government, with G-d's help, we will succeed in bringing two million Jews to Judea and Samaria. We will solve many problems, including the housing crisis, which is currently an important issue, and of course, the end of any and all dialogue concerning the establishment of another Arab State. The Arabs will finally understand that they have no chance of G-d forbid creating an independent state which will endanger the existence of the State of Israel. The Jewish nation will return to Judea and Samaria en mass."

You would need hundreds of thousands of people moving from the cities in central Israel in order to increase the population in Judea and Samaria by a million people. Do you see that happening?

"There is a pressing and genuine need for housing for large families with four or more children. Between Gedera and Hadera, it is extremely difficult to find viable solutions that are also reasonable in price. Therefore, we feel the move to Judea and Samaria will develop naturally. Where will the new Jewish inhabitants come from? There are seven million Jews living outside the State of Israel. Unfortunately, there have been increasing anti-Jewish incidents in the United States and in other locations. I sincerely hope that Jews from abroad will come to the conclusion that they need to immigrate to Israel and come live in the land of Israel. May you and I and all of us merit to see the majority of the world's Jewish population living here, on the holy land of Israel, speedily in our time."