From Israel: “It Rests upon Our Shoulders!!

The shoulders of those Israelis who are true Zionists, and love our nation: who have been heartsick about the state of affairs here, and understand there is no time to be lost.

Credit: Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum


I have been reporting on the situation in the Negev with the Bedouin; and the move to take down the Yeshiva at Homesh; and the huge amount of illegal building done in Area C by the PA (funded by the EU) that the Civil Administration does not dismantle; and the plans (currently on hold) to uproot a vineyard planted on state land in Gush Etzion (Judea) in memory of a victim of Arab terrorism.   

Courtesy Arugot Farm

We are dealing, at one and the same time, with an enemy from without that challenges our right to the Land (and utilizes lawfare to accuse us of illegitimacy), and members of the current government who side with those enemies – not just Ra’am, but members of Meretz, and possibly Labor. And that’s not counting those who would fashion themselves as devoted to Israel, but who close their eyes to infringement upon our land because of their political orientation.

I am hardly the only one sounding the alarm.  From “merely” disturbing, the situation has become appalling.


The more information that comes through regarding the Bedouin in the Negev, the more serious the picture that emerges. I had written about the fact that polygamous Bedouin males often bring in wives from Gaza and the PA who are hostile to Israel and raise their children with that perspective.  

But we can carry it one step further as the population is becoming radicalized.  Maj. Gen. (Res.) Israel Ziv, former head of the IDF Operations Directorate, recently warned that (emphasis added) :

“The State of Israel should not take the matter lightly. If we continue like this, we will lose the Negev in another year or two.

“There is a group of young people here, some…are husbands of women brought from Gaza or the southern Hebron Mountains. There is a phenomenon of accelerated Islamization among this society. In all recent years, while the State of Israel ignored them, they have built a kind of autonomy.

They live in an independent system of economy and conduct, some also do not know Hebrew and do not go to school. We are seeing a kind of uprising, of course it is also heated up by politicians who want to earn their points from it.” 

The general explained that this is not simply a legal land dispute.  “There is also a traditional perception of the Bedouin to hold on to the Negev and they consider themselves the owners, and there is also the nationalist interest. When the two things come together, we see the result we are seeing now. This is not really about them taking from some farmer the land on which he grows his wheat. There’s a much heavier story here than this. Look what’s going on there, I do not believe there is even one business there that does not pay protection to the Bedouin. Is this sovereignty? Is this a situation where there is law and order? The one who controls there is the one who uses force.”


Credit: Wikipedia

The Bedouin do consider the Negev to be theirs.  But let us be clear about it: there is no court ruling that says it is theirs, no land deeds they can present, they have no title registered.  They believe if they send their sheep out on the land, it becomes theirs. And, of course, with the incredible growth of the population, more sheep are being sent out in more areas of the Negev.

We should note, as well, that the rioting continued and actually increased, after the planting of trees had stopped.  The issue for them is far bigger than planting at one location.


Nor is this the end of the story.  As General Ziv described, “the situation heated up by politicians.”    There is Mansour Abbas (head, Ra’am) who fought for the Bedouin to have their illegal homes connected to the electric grid, thereby reinforcing their right to stay where they wish to be.  It was a huge mistake for Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett to have forged a relationship with Abbas for the sake of a coalition.  But I suspect they were too self-serving, too narrowly focused to recognize what they were doing.

The irony here is that Mansour Abbas, who everyone thought was so smart, turns out to have been short-sighted as well.

Credit: Abir Sultan/AFP

Ra’am is the political arm of the Southern Branch of the Islamic Movement.  When the more radical Northern Branch was outlawed by Israel in 2015, it simply went underground.  As it turns out, it has had a presence in the Negev for many years and is currently promoting a Bedouin protest against Abbas.  

Said one Bedouin leader: “Abbas has become a tool in the hands of the Bennett government and is the knife that cuts the flesh of the Bedouins for the money promised to him.”  


Abbas thought he could play both ends at once.  Now he’s between a rock and a hard place.


Hamas has its finger in this unrest as well, and it should be noted well. Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem has called upon the Bedouin to escalate their struggle to “prevent the Judaization of the Negev and the damage to its Palestinian Arab identity.”  The Bedouin are not “Palestinian Arab.”  This identity, as far as it can be fostered, is the “nationalist interest” General Ziv speaks of, fostered by women brought into the Negev illegally to serve as Bedouin wives.

Has no one of authority in Israel been paying attention??  Rhetorical question.


And still we are not done:  Last Wednesday, the thoroughly despicable Yair Golan (Meretz) addressed the Bedouin in a video, advising them to calm down (emphasis added):

Today you have power in the government that the Bedouin in the Negev never had. And not only Ra’am. Meretz will protect your interests, I hope Labor will as well. I can tell you that Meir Cohen from Yesh Atid is with you. Alon Schuster from Blue and White is with you. We set up an agricultural lobby in the Knesset. What is the problem?”


As vile as I believe Golan’s words are, I see the silent acquiescence of Bennett and Shaked, and Sa’ar as more distressing still.


A few other recent disturbing occurrences:

“A building used as a synagogue at a memorial site in the West Bank’s South Hebron Hills was torched in an apparent arson on Saturday, firefighting officials said.

“The synagogue, located at Ziv’s Lookout near the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Hever and the Palestinian village of Birin, was found with its entire contents burnt, including Jewish prayer books…”



MK Mossi Raz (Meretz) planted trees this past week in the Arab village of Awarta, near Itamar in the Shomron. He claimed he was planting olive trees to replace others that had been destroyed on a hilltop. Bully for him.  The village of Awarta helped the terrorists who had obscenely massacred members of the Fogel family escape and hid their weapons. How sick is Raz, how distorted his perception.



“Arab farmers planted a massive grove of hundreds of olive trees along the northern border of the Dagan neighborhood of the town of Efrat, in Gush Etzion.  Some of the planting took place secretly overnight.”

The olive saplings, placed illegally, essentially block the future development of the neighborhood.



And so we see that Israel needs a complete government overhaul.  The current governing coalition has got to go!!  If Israel is to be saved, they must go post-haste and be replaced with genuine Zionists devoted to the Land and prepared to protect it.

For the first time in half a year I have some hope that this might happen.  Because I refer to a situation that is still in flux, I will not provide details yet:

As most of my readers undoubtedly know, former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is currently in the midst of a corruption trial involving several charges.  At the moment he is negotiating a plea deal with Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit.  

Credit: Yediot Ahronot

The deal would guarantee that Netanyahu would see no prison time; he would plead guilty to certain counts and be required to do community service.  Most significantly, he would not be permitted to do political service for a number of years.

Rumors and reports are indicating that Netanyahu favors this path and may sign a deal as early as this week – although a number of particulars are still undecided.

IF Netanyahu were to no longer head Likud, the entire political picture might very well be revamped.  First would come the scramble within Likud for Netanyahu’s replacement.  But following this??

On the right side of the current governing coalition (as much as we can refer to a “right side”), there are several people who left Likud only because of Netanyahu. This includes Gideon Sa’ar, who started his party, New Hope (and is currently a minister and not an MK), and Ze’ev Elkin (also a minister), Sharren Haskell, and Yifat Shasha-Biton, all of whom joined Sa’ar. With Netanyahu gone, might not some of them go back to Likud?  And what about within Yamina itself?  Might there not be some so repulsed by current behavior of coalition members that they would walk as well?  Nir Orbach? Amichai Chikli?  

It would not take many defections from the current government to bring it down.

The point is that there is hope now, and the possibility of a genuinely Zionist government.  Something I pray for daily.  

We can only, wait and watch. If and when the time comes, I will track the process.


Tonight marks the beginning of Tu B’Shvat, known as the New Year of the Trees.   It marks the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle – which is of relevance in Jewish law.

The day is marked by planting of trees.  This is less the case during Shmitah, which we are observing now (although planting is done in the Negev because it is a mitzvah to secure the Land).  

Typically, fruits and nuts are eaten in celebration, most especially fruits mentioned in Torah, connected to the Land:  grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates.

Credit: Chabad

There are mystical associations with Tu B’Shvat, and ecological. Some do a seder, which involves the eating of various fruits and nuts and drinking of wines.

Mizrachi has put out a seder on video, done by Rabbi Doron Peretz.  You might like to simply access his explanatory remarks, or see the entire ceremony.

But I share this with you primarily because of a beautiful introduction by Rabbi Jeremy Gimpel that connects the Land of Israel and the People of Israel – so relevant to my theme today regarding Zionists and the need to protect the Land.  


It is true, my friends, the Land blossoms for us.


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.