Photo Credit: YouTube screen grab courtesy, Sovereignty Movement
Nadia Matar of the Sovereignty Movement speaks at ceremony to inaugurate Memorial Compound in memory of late AFSI executive director Helen Freedman, z"l, on Oct. 14, 2021

A memorial compound was inaugurated last week in an event held at the Oz Ve’Gaon Nature Preserve to honor Helen Freedman, z”l, the late executive director of AFSI (Americans For a Safe Israel).

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The event marked the one-year anniversary of Freedman’s passing.

A longtime leader of AFSI, Freedman worked to strengthen the settlement enterprise and promote the vision of Israeli sovereignty in Judea and Samaria.

The event opened with the screening of a film documenting Helen’s activities and those of AFSI activists during one of their visits at Netzer in Gush Etzion in 2010. At the time, a tree-planting event being held at the site “escalated into a conflict with Arabs who came to the place to remove the people planting the seedlings,” Matar said.

“Her name was a synonym for action,” Matar said. “When she came to the Land of Israel, her schedule was loaded; she would run from a town to a new outpost, from an agricultural farm to south Tel Aviv, always in action. . .her heart and her entire being were totally involved with the Land of Israel.”

Freedman was the first one that Katsover and Matar spoke with about sovereignty, they said, and about the need to found a sovereignty movement.”

The site chosen for the event was “natural,” they said, “since the place is a symbol of clinging to the land and an expression of the People of Israel’s love for it.”

Speakers at the event included Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, leaders of the Sovereignty Movement, Hebron Jewish community spokesperson Dr. Noam Arnon, and Professor Moti Kedar, an Israeli expert on Arab culture, former IDF military intelligence analyst and lecturer at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies in Bar Ilan University.

Kedar spoke on “Between Kabul and Jerusalem, What is Happening with Jihad,” pointing out the vital lessons for the People of Israel in the US withdrawal from Afghanistan, and the appropriate way to regard the Arab threats to destroy the State of Israel, among other topics.

Judy Kadish, current director of AFSI and Freedman’s daughter, unveiled the memorial at the event.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.