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August 1, 2014 / 5 Av, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Bat Ayin’

Destruction in Bat Ayin

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Upon waking up in the morning, no one thinks that bus loads of soldiers are going to come and destroy the home you worked so hard for. But this is what happened today in Bat Ayin.

Since I made aliyah with my family only about ten weeks ago, I don’t yet have the lexicon to describe what happened this morning. But this is probably a good thing. The fact that I have no basis to rationalize the destruction of six homes here by the government that is supposed to protect and preserve, seems as common sentiment here even among veteran residents.

The day started like any other with weekday prayer at the central synagogue. Then toward the end, someone mentioned that buses of soldiers and bulldozers were in Bat Ayin “Beit”, the long-standing extension to the original Bat Ayin. As I walked up the hill back home, there were groups of personnel standing and keeping watch on the residents.

As it turns out, the government came to destroy six homes that were not yet lived in (the owners were renting here while they built their “permanent” dwellings). Most likely in response to the pepper spray incident last week at the entry gate. In the episode last Thursday, it was reported that masked men sprayed pepper gas at soldiers guarding the entrance, and attacked an Arab delivery driver. While it is still unconfirmed whether these men came from Bat Ayin (and in general, the details of the event seem foggy according to residents here), what there is no doubt on was the response.

Being troubled by the news, we decided to walk down to Bat Ayin Beit to see the results for ourselves. That is where we took the picture above, one of the six home destroyed in the raid this morning. As we were readying to leave, a man who either was the owner of the house or contractor for the project, came to survey the damage. With his head and shoulders lowered, he just stood there. Silent and still. Out of respect for this man, I didn’t take a picture, as if a picture could capture the emotions in that man’s heart. Standing over the rumbled remnants of his former home.

As the walk involved walking on steep winding roads, a bus driver (intuiting the probable reason for why we were there) offered to take my family and I back to the center of town. He said that while the government has allowed arabs to build dozens of houses on the nearby hill, but have done nothing to stop it, this is what happens to their very own brothers. He was visibly tearful as he recounted this. I wasn’t going to ask my wife to take the walk to Bat Ayin Beit today, but then someone sent her a link to the video Katonti from Yonatan Razel to comfort the residents of Bat Ayin. But instead of my personal comfort and ability to process what just happened, the image of that man is still etched in my mind.

Do you know that the first thing he did was look at one of the pipes to see if it was salvageable? That’s the nature of a Jew. In the face of destruction, even from your own people, we rebuild. Somehow, we still rebuild.

I debated whether to write this. After all, we are still “wet behind the ears” here. But there is one Tweet yesterday from Rabbi Ginsburgh that further encouraged me to go ahead with this article. While they all speak about overcoming obstacles, and the return of “Rachel’s children” to God and the Land of Israel, this one in particular stood out to me:

תשע”ד (this year, 5774) is the initials of “Let this be a year of holy boldness” (תְּהֵא שְׁנַת עַזוּת דִּקְדוּשָׁה).

We should never be afraid to speak out. It is the “Voice of Jacob” that has survived as our strength and fortitude throughout these long, difficult years of exile. To use the common vernacular, for the Jewish people, the “pen” really is “mightier than the sword.”

In a world full of swords, it is the “pens” and voices of our people that will emerge victorious.

You are not alone my friend. We are all katonti, small together from the events of today….

The verse for the song mentioned above, comes from next week’s Torah portion where Jacob prayed to God to deliver him from the hand of his brother Esau (Genesis 32:11):

קָטֹנְתִּי מִכֹּל הַחֲסָדִים וּמִכָּל הָאֱמֶת אֲשֶׁר עָשִׂיתָ אֶת עַבְדֶּךָ

“I am too small for all the kindnesses and the truth that You have done for Your servant.”

See also: Refugees in a Jewish Land.

File Closed Against 13 Year Old in Gush Etzion Taxi Bombing

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

The Jerusalem District Attorney’s office decided on Sunday to close the file against the 13 year old boy who was their final suspect in the throwing of a firebomb that hit a Palestinian taxi in Gush Etzion in August.

The prosecutor closed the case due to lack of evidence that the boy or his friends, whom they had released months earlier, had thrown any firebombs.

On the day the taxi was hit by a firebomb, Arabs thew firebombs and stones at Jewish-driven cars in ten different locations throughout Judea and Samaria, causing some to consider the possibility that it was an Arab who threw the firebomb, and it missed its intended target, hitting the Arab taxi instead. It’s not known if the police investigated that possibility.

Remaining Bat Ayin Boys Released

Friday, August 31st, 2012

The remaining two Bat Ayin children, ages 12 and 13, accused of firebombing an Arab taxi were released from police custody on Friday morning without charges. They will remain under house arrest for one additional week.

The third child, age 12, who was released without any additional conditions a few days ago reported that the police treated them very poorly. They were hardly given any food their first day in jail and the interrogations lasted for hours during which they were screamed and yelled at.

Honenu, the Israeli legal rights organization reports that police denied the minors their basic civil rights on a number of occasions, including being denied access to their lawyer and the presence of an additional adult during interrogation, as required by law when minors are involved.

Initially the police denied the children access to a lawyer, until the Honenu lawyer brought his request to court, and the police were forced to comply with the law.

 

 

Remaining Bat Ayin Minors to be Released From Police Custody

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

Honenu, the Israeli legal rights and aid organization announced that the two remaining minors from Bat Ayin who were arrested by police on suspicion of being involved in the August 16th firebomb attack on the Arab taxi will be released on Friday morning.

On Wednesday, a third minor was unconditionally released, other than being forbidden to contact the other two children.

The two other minors, ages 12 and 13, were left in police custody. The Police have been limiting their access to their lawyer over the past few days.

The three minors were originally among those rounded up and questioned by police on the night of the attack. The police then arrested the three children a few days later.

Last Sunday, the court said the police must release the minors, unless significant new evidence appears. On Monday, the police said they had new information and the court said the police could, in that case, extend the detention until Thursday.

The court decided that the remaining two children should be released to house arrest for one week with a NIS 2500 shekel third party guarantee for bail.

The Honenu lawyer for the minors, David Halevy, said that it appears that the police never had any evidence against the children and were simply trying to drag a false confession out of them by depriving them of their basic legal rights.

Two of the Arab victims said they saw a man in his twenties throw the firebomb.

The Rabbi of Bat Ayin, Daniel Cohen, condemned the attack in a letter to Bat Ayin residents. In the letter he expressed the hope that the children of Bay Ayin weren’t involved despite the suspicions against them, and called for ‘soul searching’ on the part of the town as the allegations have been primarily directed at them.

So Far, One Bat Ayin Minor Released in Firebomb Investigation

Thursday, August 30th, 2012

So far, one of the Bat Ayin minors, ages 12-13, arrested in suspicion of throwing the firebomb on the Arab taxi has been released.

The Legal Rights organization Honenu reports that the police have not allowed the two other children, still being detained, to talk with lawyers.

They furthermore claim that the police are not following proper procedure in investigating the case including the investigation of their alibis. And to add to that, one of the victims has stated publicly that their attacker was an adult in his twenties, while a second victim made it very clear that it could not have been 12-13 year old children that threw the firebomb.

Three Detained 12-13 Year-Olds Deny Firebombing Arab Taxi

Monday, August 27th, 2012

Three young residents of the Gush Etzion community of Bat Ayin, aged 12-13, were on Sunday on suspicion of involvement with the Molotov cocktail incident that took place a week and a half ago, Honenu reports.

On Thursday, August 16, a fire bomb was thrown at an Arab taxi on Route 60 in Gush Etzion, between K’far Etzion and several hilltop communities. The taxi caught fire and went up in flames. The injured passengers were evacuated to a hospital.

On Sunday, one of the three youths was detained in his home in Bat Ayin and the other two in Jerusalem, at the yeshiva they attend. The three detainees were taken to the Central Unit of Judea and Samaria police station in Ma’ale Adumim, where they were interrogated about their suspected involvement with the firebombing.

On the night following the firebombing incident, GSS agents and Yassam (Special Unit) Police forces raided the homes of several youths in Bat Ayin and spoke to them, warning them regarding fire bombs and other illegal activities. No-one was detained that night.

Last week, an additional youth, also a resident of Bat Ayin, was detained on suspicion of involvement with the fire bombing, but the police, who at the time told his parents as much, now deny that that was the reason for his detention. The youth himself said that he was interrogated regarding the firebombing. The youth was held for several hours of interrogation and then unconditionally released.

Jewish residents of the Gush Etzion region noted that rocks and firebombs are frequently thrown at Jewish cars in the area in which the firebomb was thrown. “The determination that Jews threw the firebomb is hasty and most irresponsible,” say residents of the area.

The three detainees are currently being brought before the Jerusalem Magistrate Court. The police are demanding a remand extension in order to continue the interrogation. Honenu attorney David HaLevi is representing the youths.

Honenu’s response to the allegation was: “During the past few months we have been witness to dozens of detentions and interrogations which, though they made big headlines, did not result in arrests. In the course of many of the detentions and interrogations the rights of the detainees, many of whom were minors, were violated. We hope that the police will be able this time to maintain the rights of the detainees, especially considering the fact that they are young minors. We estimate that this time, too, the incidents will conclude with no arrests.”

The Joy of the Soul – Remembering 13 Year Old Shlomo Nativ HY”D

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Three years ago on the 8th of Nisan, 5769, an Arab terrorist with an axe ran into the center of our community of Bat Ayin and killed a 13 year old boy named Shlomo Nativ.   Every year at this time before the anniversary of this terrible event, our community comes together to remember and honor Shlomo and his family and to connect with one another.  This year a new film has been produced by Shlomo’s family in collaboration with filmmaker Yosef Muskal.  (The full one hour film can be viewed in the JewishPress.com video section – Editors)

I’ve written before about the higher level of life force that pervades this land.  For the most part, this higher level of life force manifests in ways that are clearly and outwardly life affirming – the natural beauty, the clean air, the spiritual richness, etc.   Today, we faced an ugly and uncomfortable side to that higher level of life energy, one that brought us face to face with an incomprehensible paradox.

The attitude of the community is that Shlomo was not a victim.   Rather he was a holy Korban (sacrifice), whose death brought us closer to Hashem (G-d), drawing a greater light and life force into the world.

I was struck today by how deeply paradoxical this attitude is from a people with such profound respect for life.   Almost every one of the 613 mitzvot of the Torah is pushed aside in order to preserve life.  Taking a life, whether that of another or one’s own, is considered among the worst betrayals of our relationship with G-d.   On a gut level, the cruel and horrific taking of a young boy’s life seems anything but life affirming.    Yet there is some peculiarly Jewish spiritual instinct that is aroused by such events, that takes us over, and that stubbornly insists on viewing events like Shlomo’s murder as life-affirming for all of us.

For me that was the main lesson of the day that I absorbed from my fellow Bat Ayin residents.  Many people related stories of personal salvation and strength that they attributed to Shlomo’s elevation.  The stories unfolded from the moment of his passing down to the present, 3 years later.

It’s a beautiful time of year in these hills.  Every living green thing, from the biggest trees to the smallest grasses, is flowering and in the midst of a wondrous celebration of life.  The seasonal transition of this landscape from the intensely brown and barren Fall to the wildly green and colorful Spring is incredibly dramatic.

For me this year, the great drama of Spring in these hills is intimately bound up with the lesson of Shlomo’s life and elevation.  It’s as if the natural world takes us to a summit of appreciation for life in all its green and flowering glory.   Shlomo’s yahrzeit gives me an appreciation for life beyond what nature has the power to easily reveal, a level of life that transcends its embodied state, life beyond the distinction of life and death.  It’s a level beyond intellect that we can’t possibly understand and explain but somehow can experience through events like Shlomo’s elevation.

Sometimes I feel like I’m very much a part of this community (having moved here two years ago), and sometimes, feeling a small taste of what this community has been through, I stand apart from it in awe and admiration for a level of strength and dignity that’s way beyond me.  That distance is closed when I contemplate a personal element that binds me to Shlomo Nativ, the day of his yarzheit is also the day that another Shlomo, me, came into the world exactly 52 years ago.  I stand on the hills of his boyhood with my two young sons growing in the fresh air of the ancient Judean hills.  May we raise families and grow a community that is an honor to his special soul.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/the-joy-of-the-soul/2012/03/29/

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