About two months after Givat Oz veGaon was established, in memory of the three youths Gilad Sha’er, Eyal Yifrah, and Naftali Frenkel, may they be avenged, a moving event was held on the hill – the first brit milah (circumcision) ceremony in the forest, which is situated facing the Gush Etzion junction.
David and Ilana Brenner, residents of Elazar in Gush Etzion, invited their guests, relatives, and the mohel to Givat Oz veGaon, where the ceremony was conducted. The baby, who became part of the renewed history of Gush Etzion, was named Oz Michael.
The baby’s grandmother, Naomi Brenner, one of those expelled from Yamit, emotionally summed up the event: “We felt a special atmosphere here, in the place that is named after the precious boys who fell. A brit symbolizes continuity. We look at one another here with joy, and the desire to be in Eretz Israel.”
The baby’s grandfather, Igor Tofeld, added: “This isn’t just a moving event because we gathered in this place. This is our first grandchild, and I am very happy that Ilana and David chose this location. This symbolizes that the people of Israel lives, and that with all that has happened, we will be victorious.”
The mohel, Rabbi Hayyim Moshe Weisberg, too, expressed his emotion at performing the first brit at a new Jewish site.
Oz veGaon was first settled by members of Women in Green and the Zionist Midrasha, the night after the murder became known. In the days and weeks that have passed since then, many youth and visitors from all over Israel have come to the hill, that is next to the site of the kidnapping. They renovated and restored the site, and started to establish the infrastructure needed to turn it into a regional tourism center.
“The preserve was established to continue life in Eretz Israel, give a living soul and provide a constant Jewish presence at another location in Gush Etzion. It therefore was only natural for the family to conduct their first son’s brit here, in the Oz veGaon preserve, and to call their baby Oz Michael,” say the heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar. They add that “the phrase ‘In your blood live’ [recited during the brit ceremony] received redoubled significance here.”
The two, as well as the activists and supporters from among the nearby communities and the members of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, call upon the public at large “to conduct events at the site, to enjoy the beautiful forest and the facilities that have been established, and to strengthen the Jewish presence.”