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Mauer-080814-WomenAnother success story is the Adurayim Base in the southern Hebron hills. After a year and a half of Women in Green bringing in visitors and lecturers every week, the base was turned over to the southern Hebron hills municipality rather than to Arabs. It is now an emergency medical center.

The highlight of my Lag B’Omer tour with Nadia and Yehudit was Netzer. Arabs have been slowly taking over state lands in between communities in Area C. “We call it agriculture Jihad,” said Nadia.


Right outside the community of Elazar, Arabs were planting on land owned by Israel between Elazar and Alon Shvut. A farmer from the Galil named Ori Plasse suggested the women start planting. So they obtained a map with state lands clearly marked and started planting in the hills between Elazar and Alon Shvut. They called these hills Netzer.

Slowly, with the help of volunteers from Jerusalem and Judea and funding and sponsorship from friends in Israel and abroad, they managed to plant hundreds of trees and redeem many dunams of land. Things did not always go smoothly. The Arabs never expected Jews to walk in these hills, let alone plant. It didn’t take long before they uprooted trees and set fire to water pipes. But our righteous women were undeterred. For every tree uprooted, two new ones were planted. All the trees were connected to the water pipes by Ori Plasse, that wonderful farmer from the Galil.

Nadia and Yehudit realized it would be wonderful to get young people involved in the project and so they arranged agricultural youth camps, connecting the youth to the land by having them work on it. After years of traveling these hills every day, planting in it, watering it, etc., they finally got the results they’d been praying for and the lands were officially declared state lands of Israel.

“Had we not planted there years ago,” said Yehudit, “we know these lands would have been taken over by Arabs.”Mauer-080814-Boys

As we bounced around in Nadia’s jeep along the dirt roads of Netzer, we saw little signs all over proclaiming: State Land of Israel. On all sides I saw young people planting and working the land. Since it was Lag B’Omer there was no school, and despite the heat the kids were busy planting and laying pipes, smiling and singing.

At one spot I saw an area with a sign planted in honor of the bat mitzvah of Ayelet Fishberger. As a mitzvah for her bat mitzvah, this young girl from Efrat, a granddaughter of Rabbi Avi and Toby Weiss, had come with her friends to reclaim a part of Eretz Yisrael.

Of all the things girls do in honor of becoming bnot mitzvah, this must be one of the most unusual – and possibly the most rewarding.

There are other areas, such as Eitam in Efrat, that have been saved thanks to the dedication and hard work of Nadia and Yehudit, and I hope to visit those places at another time.

As I watched the young men and women hard at work in the heat, I thought of all the people their age who are bored when they have time off. They look for something interesting and different to do, but can’t think of anything. Just imagine if they would come out to Gush Etzion to work the land, which in effect is a way of saving the land.

Our tour was almost over. I looked at these two mothers in Israel and knew I was glimpsing a picture of our redemption, may it come speedily in our day.

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Naomi Klass Mauer is the co-publisher of The Jewish Press.