Meir Bretler
Photo: Gil Yohanan

Don’t de-legitimize us

Op-ed: Just like housing protestors, Hilltop Youth deserve understanding and appreciation

The great distress on the housing and healthcare front brought the people of Israel out to the streets this week. Hundreds of people left their homes, changed their daily routine, gave up life’s comforts and embarked on a devoted struggle in the sweltering heat and under difficult conditions – and all was done as result of genuine distress and the understanding that we must not sit by idly.


The just housing protest brought the tactics of the struggle to new heights, yet we must stress that protestors are still adhering to the rules of the game. For example, entering a deserted building in order to convey the message, blocking roads and burning tires. In Jerusalem, protestors went even further and placed furniture in the middle of the road.


And what about the doctors? Hundreds of them walked out in their robes and sat on the road. They are protesting because they are right; they are protesting because they are facing indifference and must not sit by quietly.


Precisely in light of the just and successful struggle, the time has come to reexamine the battle waged by us, the Hilltop Youth, through other lenses; perhaps the time has come for some self-reflection.


When we protested against our removal from Beit HaShalom in Hebron, a house purchased at full price in the city of our forefathers, we were assaulted and expelled from the home. They argued that we are squatters and that the rule of law must respond. When roads were blocked and tires were burned during the Gush Katif expulsion, the police detained hundreds of teenagers.


Even when we seek to utilize our right to pray at Josef’s Tomb, which was abandoned and deserted a decade ago even though it constitutes sovereign Israeli territory by law, we are met with derogatory terms and face an ongoing, violent campaign, as if we are working against the army and the State. Yet that’s not the case; the campaign’s objective is merely to silence us.


Don’t believe the lies

In a democracy – and it’s important for Netanyahu and his people to review and memorize this – people are allowed to protest, yell, block roads and cause temporary inconvenience in the name of values that are deeply entrenched in their soul. This does not turn the protestors into anarchists, it does not turn the demonstrators into haters of the regime, and it’s not supposed to turn those who block a road or enter a deserted home in order to point to a problem into an enemy of the rule of law.


This is the case with the housing protest, and it’s also the case with our protest.


One is permitted not to agree with us. One is permitted to think that we’re wrong. Yet one must not de-legitimize young people who seek to be partners in shaping the State’s character and care so much that they leave home, forego leisurely activities and enlist for what they see as a national mission: Settling in Judea and Samaria, under difficult conditions, at times without water or electricity, and all for the sake of building the country.


Such acts are worthy of backing and support. After all, we are talking about the Land of Israel, the cradle of our history, an ancient right that is more just than anything else; we are struggling to settle the land and build it. The youths in the hills of Judea and Samaria are at the forefront of this battle and continue the pioneering and settlement thread that has lasted for more than 100 years now.


Don’t believe the lies and smearing utilized against us. Don’t believe the malicious leaks. IDF soldiers are just as dear to us as they are to anyone else. Similarly to the young people at the tents nationwide, we too embarked on a battle because we care. We too came out because we’re hurting. We too are fed up with politicians who promise and don’t deliver; people who are good at words but produce zero action.




פרסום ראשון: 07.26.11, 12:09
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