“My daughter Merav and I planted this tree in memory of Eyal Yifrach,” Lieberman told The Jewish Press.
“We planted the tree, said shehechiyahu (the prayer recited when something significant happens for the first time “Blessed are you our God and creator of time and space, who has supported us, protected us and brought us to this moment”). And then we cried.
Matar explained that the site is perfect as it is near already established communities and yeshivot, and there is 1000s of years of Jewish history within walking distance.
What Matar seemed most excited about was the rush of people who came, immediately, to become a part of this new site. Women in Green purchased a generator and water tanks and a caravan for the tourism literature and seminars.
“Olim chadashim (new immigrants), secular Israelis from Tel Aviv, a contingent from a Zionist community which emigrated from Kiev, a family from Brooklyn, others from Rishon Lezion, a young couple with a one month old baby – they all came to be a part of this positive response to a terrible tragedy,” Matar explained with great enthusiasm and pride.
“We were so excited to call the local sanitation office and tell them we needed receptacles, and we were even more excited to call them again to say we needed them to empty those receptacles because they were all full!”
And then Matar’s voice grew quiet. “I must tell you, I saw a group of young girls working hard, helping with the clearing and the cleaning. When they began to leave, one girl came over to me, and quietly thanked me. Thank me? I said, I have to thank you for your help,” Matar continued.
“And then she told me she was Eyal Yifrach’s cousin. She was so appreciative. She said to me, ‘this is so uplifting.’ Can you imagine how that made me feel? I knew, even if I didn’t know before, this was the right response.”
The effort will continue until the site is fully operational. Givat Oz v’Gaon has the full support of the local Gush Etzion council. Even the IDF have been helping to coordinate steps with Matar and Kassover.
If readers want to participate in reclaiming some land to honor the memory of Gilad, Eyal and Naftali, they should contact Women in Green.
Watch this video to see how the site is cleared, cleansed and reclaimed: