In the beginning of the week, the Sovereignty Movement held a two-day seminar for dozens of youths, members of Sovereignty Youth, from all parts of the Land. At the seminar, a large part of the time was dedicated to the matter of sovereignty in Jerusalem and promoting the Greater Jerusalem initiative, which the movement has been leading for the past several weeks.
“During the two intensive days of the seminar, one could see the first buds of the future leadership in Israel”, say the co-chairwomen of the Sovereignty Movement, Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, who note that it was the eighth seminar since the uprooting of Nativ Ha’avot, an event that was the catalyst for establishing Sovereignty Youth Movement.
The first day of the seminar, which was dedicated to the subject of Greater Jerusalem, began at the Ma’ale Hazeitim overlook, under the guidance of Aryeh King, the Deputy Mayor of the Municipality of Jerusalem. The view from this point provided a practical view of the complex reality in Jerusalem, significant development of the Jewish settlement along with the Arab efforts to take over strategic points in the capital.
Later, the youths met with the director of “For You, Jerusalem”, Ma’or Tsemah, who revealed to his young listeners concerning details of the Islamic movement’s activities, in both of its factions, the south and the north, in Jerusalem in an effort to undermine Israel’s sovereignty in the city. Tsemah also presented ways for Israel’s government to act in order to deal with the phenomenon.
Kobi Eliraz, advisor on settlement matters for four different defense ministers, also spoke of the continual Arab erosion of Israeli sovereignty in Jerusalem and of the Palestinian takeover of open areas throughout Judea and Samaria. Eliraz emphasized the necessary solution, the application of Israeli sovereignty, which would stop the daily takeover of the area.
Another speaker on the first day of the seminar was entrepreneur Kevin Bermeister, who presented the vision of Greater Jerusalem, which expands the municipal border of the capital and includes Ma’ale Adumim, Mevaserret Tzion, Gush Etzion and Giv’at Ze’ev. This step would turn Jerusalem into a metropolis, as is customary in many capitals in the world and would strengthen the Jewish demographic majority in Jerusalem.
Remarks of this sort were also presented by the director of “If I Forget”, Haim Silberstein, who presented his movement’s activities in promoting Greater Jerusalem and together with Bermeister, called on the youth to take a significant part in instilling the vision in Israeli public consciousness.
The second day of the seminar consisted of a number of focal points and dealt with the difficult and complex reality stemming from the absence of Israeli sovereignty and responsibility. The day began with a light and sound show in Kfar Etzion, where the youth learned of the dramatic role of Gush Etzion in defending the southern part of Jerusalem in the War of Independence. From there, the participants of the seminar continued to the towns of South Hevron Hills Council, which must deal daily with the systemic Arab takeover of open land, ostensibly under Israel’s control, but in reality, the lack of sovereignty leaves them totally abandoned.
Land coordinator Shai Locke gave a presentation to the youths that shows clearly the nooses that are created around the towns of the council. Locke presented documents that show the well-funded planning and orchestration of strangling the Jewish towns by the PA and its emissaries . The youth responded with the question of how it can be that these things are known and the state allows them to happen right under its nose.
The next stop on the second day of the seminar was Kfar Aza, where the participants met council head Ofir Levstein (Kfar Aza) and Alon Davidi (Sderot), who described life in the reality where there is a high quality of life along with the lack of governance and sovereignty, great demand for housing in their towns and on the other hand, a very concerning state of sovereignty.
Pini Badash, head of Omer Council, was the last speaker on this day and in his talk, he described to the youths the practical situation of the loss of the Negev to the Bedouins, who are becoming the true owners of the area because of the lack of law and order. He brought absurd stories from the impossible reality of his area. “Democracy will ruin what we have built if we do not wake up”, concluded Badash.
Katsover and Matar sum up the event by stating that on one hand, they were moved by the youths’ vibrant spirit and sense of mission, who chose to dedicate two days of their summer vacation to fill themselves with knowledge, values and the Zionist vision, but on the other hand, the situation that was revealed to them and to the youths of Jerusalem, South Hevron Hills and the Negev, is worrying and demands an immediate governmental response
“We are already on the slippery slope. Every single day, we lose more and more land, more and more symbols of sovereignty and governance. If it seems to some of us that the Zionist vision has already been completed, this is a mistake. We have a task no less important than that of the founders’ generation, and this task is the task of sovereignty and governance. The government of Israel must acknowledge what is happening on the ground, look at reality and act with every possible tool – by laws and enforcement – against these dangerous trends. Sovereignty is responsibility”, conclude the two women.