We are the fatal family: The mother, Iscah, almost 27 years old, a physicist, the father Yoel, almost 28 years old, a yeshiva student and computer technician, and three children – Ariel (4.5), Bat-Ami (3) and Bnaya (7 months.) Ever since we became a family, we’ve been living in apartment number six in building 2012 in Beit El’s Ulpana neighborhood.
Six months have passed since we were told that our tranquil existence here is at risk. Someone up there decided that evacuating and razing the homes of 30 normative families is a small matter, and that peaceful, law-abiding citizens are no more than pawns in a chess game played by attorneys.
At first we didn’t talk about it much. We hoped that if we don’t deal with it, it simply won’t happen. Once in a while, politicians visited here and made various pledges. We convinced ourselves that someone in high places is taking care of us. We were very optimistic.
Yet slowly the fog cleared, and it turned out that indeed there is nobody we can trust but ourselves. We tried to speak with family, friends, acquaintances and even neighbors, yet everywhere we encountered indifference and apathy – “what are you talking about? No way. It will be alright, with God’s help.” Hoping the media would address our plight was out of the question.
There was no choice; in order to fight for our home we had to forget about being nice geeks waiting for someone to approach them. Even though it was difficult for us to believe that we can reach high places, we declared that at least we could say that we tried.
So now we are saying that we tried. To a certain extent, we also succeeded. We managed to turn our story into a priority for senior ministers. We managed to elicit very clear statements on the issue from the prime minister. We managed to interest the media in the story, to the point of being perplexed by the flood of news stories about us and the frequent media interviews. Many fine and idealistic people enlisted to our cause with all their hearts.
What about democracy?
Yet at the end of the day, we failed. First and foremost, we failed in keeping our homes and in our fight for justice and equality before the law. Yet worse than that, we failed in our effort to stir the government out of its impasse. We failed in our effort to convince our elected officials to insist on their right to rule and wrest away the reins of power from the attorneys and legal experts.
This is what hurts the most, because property damages can be compensated for in one way or another, yet we stand helpless in the face of the feeling of settlement suffocation and the futility of pledges made by elected officials.
Now we are facing evacuation. We are not deluding ourselves, yet we cannot muster the required strength to start packing and to start explaining to our kids what happened, when we don’t know the right answers ourselves.
We pretend that this is a regular move. As if we chose our next apartment. As if we chose the location of the mobile home we’re moving into. As if our evacuation from here does not have huge significance for the settlement enterprise in the whole of Judea and Samaria. As if it makes sense that far Left organizations circumvented the elected government and imposed their worldview via the High Court of Justice. As if a selective policy is imaginable in a democratic state.
For the time being, our children may indeed fail to understand what’s going on here. Perhaps our performance is having the desired effect, yet our great fear is that these innocent, sweet children will grow into a state where democracy is a costume; a state whose leaders have no destiny or vision aside from political survival; a state that does not remember that the validity of its existence stems from our exclusive right for the Land of Israel.
We are going to spend the next weeks in preparation, for something that is not yet clear, and in a forced farewell to the scenery of Beit El on the south and the Binyamin Mountains on the north which we got used to and loved. We will also bid farewell to the home and neighborhood our family grew up in. The feeling that along with our home we are also bidding farewell to our ability to trust elected officials makes everything harder. For us, and I would like to believe that for them as well.