The Third Night of Chanukah 5777 – 2016
Chag Ourim Sameach – חג אורים שמח – Happy Festival of Lights
Ron and I are making the Chanukah rounds amongst the children. We spent Shabbat with Chanan, Shalva and Elyashiv in Kiryat Arba. Kiryat Arab was established in 1968 with a few caravans on a hilltop, overlooking Hevron. An illegal settlement over the green line. Today, a thriving city.
From Wikipedia: Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba (Hebrew: קִרְיַת־אַרְבַּע), lit. “Town of the Four,” is an urban Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank. Founded in 1968, in 2015 it had a population of 7,108.
The international community considers Israeli settlements illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this. According to a classified 1970 document “The method for establishing Kiryat Arba” released in 2016, the establishment of Kiryat Arba used a system of annexing land to a military base for the purpose of civilian settlement, the first time this happened in the West Bank according to Shlomo Gazit.
My friends, David and Sarah Landau settled as newlyweds and raised their children in Kiryat Arab. They helped build Kiryat Arab from a hilltop into a city. We would visit them in their beautiful home when our children were young. This was 27 years ago. Time flies when you’re building a country! Did people think they were crazy settlers? You bet!
The Second Night of Chanukah was spent with Gavriel, Ayalla, Maya and Aviya. They live in Mevaseret Tzion. Ron and I were in an absorption center in Mevaseret 33 years ago, when we first made Aliya.
From Wikipedia: Mevasseret Zion (Hebrew: מְבַשֶּׂרֶת צִיּוֹן) is a suburb of Jerusalem, Israel. Mevasseret Zion is composed of two distinct townships, Maoz Zion and Mevasseret Yerushalayim—under the jurisdiction of one local council. The newer neighborhoods of Mevasseret Zion were not part of either settlement.
Mevasseret Zion is located on a mountain ridge 750 meters above sea level, on the outskirts of Jerusalem. It is ten kilometers from the city, straddling both sides of the Jerusalem–Tel Aviv highway. In 2015 it had a population of 24,409, spread over 15 neighborhoods. It is the wealthiest municipality per capita in the Jerusalem District. Mevasseret Zion’s current Mayor is Yoram Shimon.
During the British Mandate of Palestine, the British referred to this district as “The Castle”. The Arabs called it “al-Qastal”, pronouncing the “t.” The Jews called it “HaCastel” (“the Castel”).
In the 1948 Palestine War, battles took place here as Arabs and Jews fought for control of Qastal, which overlooked the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway. Qastal exchanged hands several times in the course of the fighting. The tides turned when the Arab commander Abd al-Qadir al-Husayni was killed. Many of the Arabs left their positions to attend al-Husayni’s funeral at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Friday, April 9. That same day, Qastal fell to the Yishuv forces, virtually unopposed.
Maoz Zion (“Stronghold of Zion”) was established in 1951 to house new immigrants from Iraq, Kurdistan, North Africa and Iran who had been living in a ma’abara, or transit camp, at the foot of the Castel. Many were employed at the nearby Solel Boneh stone quarry.
Mevasseret Yerushalayim was established east of Ma’oz Zion in 1956 by Jewish immigrants from North Africa. It was located on a ridge near the armistice line, north of Motza. The residents worked in the fruit orchards in the Arazim Valley.
In 1963, Maoz Zion and Mevasseret Yerushalayim formed a joint local council, which was called Mevasseret Zion. The source of the name comes from the Book of Isaiah: “על הר גבוה עלי לך מבשרת ציון” (“Ascend a lofty mountain, O herald of joy to Zion”) (Isaiah 40:9).
So you see, this is how the land is settled, one hill top at a time!
The Third Night of Chanukah was spent lighting Chanukah candles with Adir Yoseph, Nachama, Hillel and Akita in their home in Efrat. They live in Zayit, one of the hilltops of Efrat, overlooking Gush Etzion. They have been living here for the past 15 years.
Remember those friends of ours, David and Sarah Landau from Kiryat Arba? You know, those crazy “Settlers”. Well, about 18 years ago, they moved their whole family of 8 children into a caravan on hilltop called “Zayit”. Ron and I drove around Zayit today and it’s huge! One hill at a time. That’s how it’s done.
A few weeks ago, someone posted a post about “the Immoral Settlers” of the “Immoral Settlement of Amona”. I am proud that Ron and I, my family and friends are “the Settlers” that are settling this land, one hilltop at a time!
Oh, by the way, that UN resolution that sold out Israel.
From Wikipedia: Efrat (Hebrew: אֶפְרָת), or previously officially Efrata (Hebrew: אֶפְרָתָה), is an Israeli settlement established in 1983 and a local council in the Judean Mountains of the West Bank. Efrat is located 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) south of Jerusalem, between Bethlehem and Hebron, 6.5 km (4 mi) east of the Green line, inside of the Security Barrier. The settlement rises to a height of 960 metres (3,150 feet) above sea level and covers about 6,000 dunam (1,500 acres). The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.
Considered the capital of Gush Etzion, it had a population of 8,301 in 2015. Although geographically located within Gush Etzion, it is independent from the Gush Etzion Regional Council, and Palestinians in negotiations do not consider it as part of that block, since it lies to the east of Route 60 — their side of the Geneva Initiative map. Since November 2008, Oded Ravivi, an attorney and lieutenant colonel in the army and member of the Likud Central Committee is the head of Efrat regional council.