On Thursday morning, we received an exhilarating email from a friend of a friend, Sharon Katz, who is producer and a dancer of Dames of the Dance, a dance production/project in the Gush Etzion area in Judea (See: ‘Dames of the Dance’ Heat Up the Stage Ten Years Later).
Every year, for the past decade, a group of women and teens from Gush Etzion and Efrat have devoted four months of their lives to dancing for charity. That is normal for them. What’s not normal is that this year, as they dance, some of the dancers are thinking about what’s about to happen to their homes in Netiv Ha’Avot – a neighborhood where the High Court of Justice, in a bizarre preference of destruction over justice, has sided with dubious claims of ownership by, supposedly, local Arabs who own slivers of property there, and order that fifteen Jewish homes be razed.
Sharon wrote, “I spent the morning with my dancers and their friends in Netiv Ha’Avot.” She continued, “They are wonderful, Israeli mothers. They are raising their families with the values of Torah, Love of Israel and a devotion to the land. Here are their stories.”
Moriah Dayan, has lived in Netiv Ha’Avot for 10 years, Israeli Folk Dance:
“I am very active in the struggle for our homes, and am always busy with meetings and activities to overturn this terrible decree.
“When I go on stage, it’s very difficult to stop everything and go to the stage. Despite that, I decided not to give up on Dames of the Dance. I perform every year. This year, especially, both in order to do chessed (charity) for others while hoping it will bounce back to us, and also to clear my head and have a place that is away from the struggle. But truthfully, it’s difficult to have both of them at the same time.
“My house is not in danger right now, but there is also a High Court order on my house. We haven’t received the decision of the High Court yet.
“We’re all in the same boat, not just the residents of Netiv Ha’Avot, all of Gush Etzion, all of Judea and Samaria. If the High Court destroys our homes here, it’s only the beginning and there will be more destructions.”
Meg Alexander, four small children, Dames dancer:
“My family made Aliyah from South Africa ten years ago. We’ve been living here for three years. It’s really a privilege to be here, to walk on Derech Ha’Avot (Path of the Forefathers), to show our children, ‘This is where Abraham walked!’ And every single day we are living that legacy, living a dream.
“Dancing is such a tool to strengthen your body and your soul, and an outlet for expression. I know that even within our family, when I put on music, everyone starts dancing, and the whole atmosphere in the house completely changes. Dancing is such a huge part of our lives.”
Orit Noi, living in Netiv Avot for 16 years, six kids under 16 years old:
“The residents of Netiv HaAvot are very good friends, and became family in this past year. From our standpoint, it’s ‘Major Zionism’ to live here and raise our children here in Gush Etzion, which was here before 1948, before Independence. We came back in 1967 and we’re here to stay. You can move us from here to here, but we’re staying here in Netiv Ha’Avot, in Gush Etzion.
“My four-year-old was in the bath when he told his aunt, ‘On Purim, they want to destroy my home, and I have a birthday.’ She asked, ‘Who wants to destroy your house? Evil people?’ He said, ‘No, confused people.’
“This is what we are telling them. The people are not bad, they are confused.”
Tal Bar Lev, 6 children, Two daughters are dancers, they’ve lived in Netiv Ha’Avot 16 years, her daughter is a ballerina—who happens to be a soldier—and has danced for a few years with choreographer Yehudit Hirsch:
“Dance gives dancers a lot of strength. Thanks to dance, they can escape a bit from the difficulties of life, feel joyous, and have great faith that maybe something will change.
“In essence dance is prayer. Through dance, in our own way, we pray and we ask Hashem that everything will change for the good. May they all continue to dance and see good things happen.
“Life isn’t shigra (routine), it’s not normal to live like this, but amongst ourselves we hope that something will change for the positive. And really, we believe that everything that happens will be for the good, and we feel that, as a family.