The members of Women in Green, together with residents of the Gush Etzion settlements block, have set out, as part of the “Revitalizing Gush Etzion Junction” project, to renovate and restore the Gush Etzion Junction. The junction has been marked by violent incidents in recent months, as a focal point for terror attacks, and marred by attempts to secure pedestrians against ramming attacks by Arab terrorists. Now Jewish activists have begun to apply a new, more inviting look to the place.
The activists and residents together with youth from the surrounding area decorated the path that goes up to Oz veGaon, overlooking the Junction, with decorative plants and natural rocks from the area; a “Welcome to Gush Etzion” sign was placed on the slope toward the nearby nature preserve; and the Gush Etzion Council planted an oak tree of about a hundred years in the center of the circle.
The project has won warm support from the military commanders of the area.
“We took on this initiative with the understanding that normal life, which is what we aspire for here, cannot exist if we feel that we are living in a bunker and in an atmosphere of having to defend ourselves. The square at the Junction is actually the calling card that welcomes those who come to the entrance of Gush Etzion, Israelis as well as tourists, and the appearance of the concrete barriers is not a welcoming sight,” said the heads of Women in Green, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar.
Katsover and Matar praised the youths from the communities of the Gush and Judean Hills who joined the activists in dedicating long work days renovating and improving the face of the Gush Etzion Junction. The two women also noted the artistic contribution of the students and teachers from the Art Department of Neve Hanah and Oriah Schools, who painted the concrete protection barriers scattered throughout the bus stops, hitchhiking spots and guard posts at the junction. “We were able to do all of this thanks to donations from Jews in Israel and abroad, and among them our friends, the members of AFSI,” the two women added.
This Friday, July 1, will mark two years since the founding of Oz veGaon, the nature preserve established in memory of three youths who were abducted by Hamas terrorists, an attack that resulted in the 2014 Gaza war. The date will be commemorated with a family happening, a musical appearance and attractions, attended by the head of Gush Etzion Council Davidi Perl and members of the abducted youths’ families.
“At the event we will salute the residents, our wonderful youth, IDF soldiers and their commanders, businesses at Gush Etzion Junction, the many visitors who make Oz veGaon a bustling, lively place and the hitchhikers who maintain the blessed routine of life,” Katsover and Matar said.JNi.Media