Before we go off looking to face new challenges in high-tech development or perform acts of kindness toward victims of natural disasters around the world, we need to notice that there is a lot of work waiting for us right here.
Our role as Zionists is still not finished: Our rabbis teach us that “The poor of your own city take priority” (Talmud, Baba Metzia.) Classic Zionist challenges still confront us, as they did in the days of the pioneers. The Sarahs, Daliahs and Rinahs have not finished their task of holding on to the Nachal settlements in the Sinai. They and their children are needed to continue settling the Promised Land - all of it.
Yes, the hilltop settlers in Judea and Samaria are the modern successors of the same settlement movement that Yosef Trumpeldor worked for in Tel Chai, Shlomo Ben Yosef in Rosh Pina and Rabbi Shtamper in Petach Tikva. Settlement of Judea and Samaria has led to the renewal of the concepts of working the land, planting vineyards and development of the wine industry in this region during the last two decades.
This is the realization of the words of the prophet Jeremiah, simply put: “You will yet plant vineyards in the Samarian hills.” (Jeremiah 71:4). Rocky hills, which for hundreds and thousands of years had not been cultivated, are again favoring their residents, who are building homes, planting vineyards, and bearing native sons and daughters on them.
Now, a large percentage of the founders of hilltop communities and their residents are the second generation in Judea and Samaria - sons and daughters who were born, raised and educated there. The descriptive phrase “salt of the earth” is well suited to many of the leading forces of the settlement expansion movement today. They are handsome, educated youth, devoted to the Zionist ideal of settling the Land and establishing Israeli society within it, ready to give their time and their strength for the good of the nation.
The spirit of volunteerism for people and country is not finished for them at the end of their military or national service. On the contrary - for them, this is just a starting point for a lifestyle totally dedicated to the People and the Land. The choices they make to live in settlements such as Migron or the Judean and Samarian hills, and to raise families blessed with many children, are purposeful choices intended to contribute to the strength of all of Am Yisrael.
Settlement movement will win
Migron represents a primary motif in the Zionist settlement enterprise. It is one of more than 100 settlements in Judea and Samaria that have still not obtained all the necessary authorizations to be considered bona-fide settlements by the government. In a legal procedure, and with the encouragement of the extreme leftist organization Peace Now, an Arab resident of a nearby village has claimed ownership of some of the lands Migron was built on, even though he has not succeeded in proving that ownership in court.
Even without dealing with the legal weakness of the ownership claim, the State of Israel has the ability to find creative solutions for landowners. During the disengagement in the summer of 2005, for example, many Jewish landowners from Gush Katif and northern Samaria were forced to part with their lands against their will, and according to a government decision, alternatives were found for them.
In many locations around the country, including the Tel Aviv University campus (which sits on the lands belonging to the village of Sheikh Munis,) or in the village of Lifta in Jerusalem, the State has managed to resolve the issue of the rights of the previous owners. In the Negev as well, the State exchanged areas of land belonging to the Bedouins with other lands whenever the need arose. For Migron, too, solutions can be found without sacrificing a whole town - or even one home.
Now, in the pre-election period, it seems like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to grab the rope from both ends. When he chooses to attract Ehud Barak’s vote via a despicable action in Migron, it must come at the cost of the support of the National Camp. Doubtless, there are parties who would be happy to receive the support of the settlement movement and their friends.
However, it’s becoming clear to everyone that in the end, the settlement movement will win out - even if needed by way of an ugly fight that nobody wants.
Land that has been cultivated by the plows of Jewish farmers or had foundations laid on it or homes for Jewish families built on it will stay in Jewish hands. Migron is the symbol of the great settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria - part of an irreversible process. It will stay forever in its place, and in the alternative location proposed for it, with God’s help, another Jewish town will be built.
David Ha'ivri is the director of the Shomron Liaison Office. He and his wife Mollie live in Kfar Tapuach, Shomron with their eight children. You can follow him on Twitter @haivri