Representatives of the World Likud organization toured Gush Etzion in Judea on Nov 6th. They began their tour at the Oz VeGaon Preserve located in the heart of the Gush region. World Likud unites the members of the different Likud Party branches in both Israel and in the Diaspora and acts as the representative of the Likud Movement worldwide.
Nadia Matar, one of the heads of the Sovereignty Movement and one of the leaders of the Jewish presence in the preserve together with Yehudit Katsover, greeted the guests and related to them the history of the preserve. She described the night when the bodies of the three boys were found in this very forest, after eighteen days of search and prayer.
The Oz VeGaon Preserve had been in the past, a center of Arab crime and a garbage dump for the local Arab villages. When the bodies were found, there was a sense of urgency that it was necessary to provide a Zionist response to these senseless abduction and murder of the three boys five years ago. The response was to build an agricultural and tourism center to preserve their memory.
It was an initiative to which hundreds of volunteers from the surrounding communities responded who mobilized immediately and together forever changed the appearance of the preserve.
“Zionism today is not only settlement of the land, but also sovereignty that will make it clear to the whole world that this place belongs to us.” Matar reminded the members of the World Likud of the party’s Central Committee vote in which it was established that sovereignty in Judea and Samaria is one of the objectives of the movement.
Yaakov Hagoel, the Vice Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, [https://www.wzo.org.il/world-zionist-organization] was part of the group and greeted the many visitors. Yaakov included that he was one who too had visited the preserve on many occasions and supported the constant development of the preserve and the vibrant, lively activities held there.
“The last time I was here was for the dedication of the Zionist library, to which I was privileged to bring Zionist books. This site is like any other place in the Land of Israel. I see no difference between Gush Etzion and Tel Aviv, between Modiin and Netanya and the Jordan Valley, Yitzhar or Ariel. This area is the site where our forefathers walked.” Hagoel said and noted the Cave of the Patriarchs lay to the south with Rachel’s Tomb and Jerusalem to the north.
Applause echoed Hagoel in support as he said; “Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob walked here. This is the State of Israel and it is necessary to apply sovereignty here, too; not only de facto by raising our children here, but de jure as well. We must apply sovereignty here just as we must do so everywhere else.”
Hagoel also explained the connection between last Shabbat, (November 2) and the anniversary of the Balfour Declaration a few days later on Tuesday, Nov 5th which corresponded to the 7th of Cheshvan on the Jewish Calendar. It was this date which was established as “the day of aliya,” for the Jewish people. It was the Parshad reading of Lech Lecha on Shabbat in which the Torah portion was read where Abraham was commanded to leave the land of his birth to go to the Land of Israel and settle it. This was Abraham’s own personal Alijay of “going up to Israel”, which is an incredible parallel to the Balfour Declaration.
Matar thanked the hundreds of volunteers who are vigilant not only in maintaining the Jewish presence in the preserve but help to support and sponsor the various activities through the year. Special thanks were also conveyed to those donors who fund the facilities which included the Gush Etzion Local Council and of course the IDF security forces whose presence at the site protects Jewish rights to the land.
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