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Thursday, October 8, 2009

Choices -- Hareisha on Chol HaMo'ed

On Thursday, we planned to go to Hareisha for a fun family day with all our cousins.

Moshe's sister and her family moved to Hareisha after they were kicked out of their home in Gush Katif. They chose their new community first and foremost because of the local Zilberman School that most closely replicated the kids' previous school. It took only a short visit for my sister and brother in law (SIL & BIL) to realize they felt at home in Hareisha, and it was mutual. The Hareisha acceptance committee convened immediately, to accept them and the entire community welcomed them with open arms.

When my SIL and her family returned from purchasing a few groceries, they found a fully furnished caravan waiting for them! Members of the community had provided beds, sheets, tables, chairs, toys, an oven and even a refrigerator! To their surprise and joy, my SIL and her family had everything they needed until they were able to retrieve their own belongings from storage. Thank God, they had found their new home.

We were amazed by the warmth and generosity of their new community!

Hareisha is a beautiful community, on top of one of the tallest mountains in Binyamin (the area north of Jerusalem). From their mountain top, you can see the entire coast of Israel, from Hadera all the way down to Ashkelon. You also have a bird's eye view of the airport and all the planes that are taking off and landing.

Hareisha is a small yishuv (settlement/community), with almost 40 families, located just above Talmon. Hareisha is built on State owned “surveyed land” (admot seker), meaning the ownership of the land is uncontested; there is no record of ANY previous owner of ANY of the land. Despite their strategic importance and legal residence, this is one of the "ma'achazim" (outposts) that the government is constantly threatening to destroy.

There is currently a major legal battle over several permanent houses that are slated for destruction.

Since the land here is not under dispute, the legal basis for the destruction of the houses is that one of their building permits was not approved. Recently, there have been similar cases, involving several large housing units in other towns. The government prevented the destruction of these buildings (totaling approximately 55,000 units!) by retroactively approving their building permits. The residents of Hareisha are demanding the same legal treatment.

On the surface, both cases are the same. What is the difference? The illegal-turned-legal units were built in Arab & Beduin neighborhoods/towns, while the 8 homes under dispute were built in a Jewish town.

The residents hope to bring to light the unequal treatment under the law and force the government to treat Jews and Arabs equally under the law.

As part of their effort to raise awareness about Hareisha, Hareisha hosted a wonderful festival on Thursday. The regional council provided transportation from throughout the country and hundreds of tourists visited the area! There were organized hikes, mitnapchim (inflatable climbing/jumping apparatuses), live music, and more!

It seemed fortuitous that we had scheduled our family day for that day!

Unfortunately, on Thursday morning, our youngest was still running a high fever. Moshe graciously offered to stay home with her, but that did not make sense to me. I am generally tired and I lost my voice and this is Moshe's side of the family. Moreover, I knew Moshe would have more energy to do things (like a small hike) with the kids. Of course, if I were there, I would do it too. But, honestly, hiking is a bit challenging these days and I am inclined to rest whenever possible.

Both my daughter and I felt very disappointed. Neither of us wanted to miss spending the time with our family. Unfortunately, there really was no alternative.

Moshe worried about my feelings of missing out, but I knew this was the right choice for our family.

After Moshe and the kids left, I insisted that my youngest go back to sleep. She insisted that she was not tired... then fell asleep within minutes of going to bed. Of couse, I slept too.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Anonymous said...

Good for you for staying home! A wise move - it's wonderful the way you take care of yourself.
Chag sameach,

Sara Layah said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sara Layah said...

Sara Layah said...
You write that "The residents hope to bring to light the unequal treatment under the law and force the government to treat Jews and Arabs equally under the law."

I don't think (in)equality before the law is at issue here. No doubt the government will find the status of the land that the Arabs occupy is different and not comparable to that of the Hareisha situation.

The issue seems to me to be that our governmental (more mental than govern) failure to legally annex the Yehuda and Shomron regions negates, in the government's view, our claim to our land. But we are stubborn and will persevere...