The residents of Gush Etzion are uniting to show their resilience in the face of terror with an initiative created in part by Israeli media mind Ari Abramowitz, ‘One Flag.”
Gush Etzion residents are blanketing their loose-knit cluster of communities with Israeli flags to show of solidarity with the families of the three Israeli teens who were kidnapped and murdered there June 12 by Hamas terrorists.
“Rather than calling for hatred and revenge, since the very beginning of this nightmare each of the three bereaved families have been calling for national unity,” Abramowitz explained. “They have unified us, now it is our chance to stand united with them.
Each resident receives a message with their flag: “We, the Gush Etzion family are hanging flags from our windows. We are raising the flag in solidarity with the Sha’ar, Frenkel and Yifrach families who are mourning the murder of their beloved sons. Our nation was united in tears, prayer, and hope for their sons safe return. And now, as we mourn them, they continue to unite us.”
Gush Etzion resident Jeremy Gimpel, the other organizer of the campaign, added that Israelis, especially the youth in Gush Etzion, needed a positive way to harness both the grief of these devastating murders and the feelings of love, empathy, and support they all feel for the victims’ families.
“Jews have always made meaning out of pain and brought light out of the darkness of anti-Semitism and hatred. This united initiative is a truer reflection of the settlers. It’s peaceful, powerful, and regal. By the end of the Shloshim (30 day mourning period), it wouldn’t surprise me if this becomes a national campaign,” he said.
“The irony of this incredible campaign is that we were initially concerned with how the youth were dealing with the trauma of the murder in their neighborhood. As soon as we got the ball rolling, it was pushed forward almost entirely by the youth here who are mobilizing with impressive efficiency to distribute flags throughout their communities,” Abramowitz added.
Yitchak Nesh, a 17 year old activist, also noted, “We thought it was important to launch this campaign here in the Gush, where our friends were abducted. “Our enemies need to understand that while they have succeeded in murdering three innocent boys, they have failed at their greater goal of trying to scare us and weaken us.”
“So many people are confused by the violence and accusations in the media,” explained Mottle Wolfe of Tekoa. “Now is not the time for rifts and divisions, it is the time for healing and unity. That is what this ‘One Flag’ campaign is all about.”
The campaign has also engendered widespread support from the local community leadership and from mayor Davidi Perel, who strongly encouraged the initiative. The region’s “Orly Print,” agreed to print all materials at cost.