Dear Friend of Israel,
I recently spent a day in the Hebron Hills, visiting communities where I had never been before. Two of the communities were pioneering outposts, not yet legally recognized as full-fledged communities. Perched on isolated, windswept hilltops, these communities have been settled by truly dedicated Zionists who believe wholeheartedly that their very presence on these hilltops will make a difference. That despite the challenges they face on a daily basis, they are fulfilling G-d’s promises and moving us all closer to redemption. And I have to say that they are so right. They are so important to the settlement movement in particular and to the Nation of Israel as a whole.
The story of Avigayil says it all. On the eve of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, in 2001, a young man gathered a few friends and they parked an old bus on an empty hilltop and called it home. Gradually others joined them. A few mobile homes were transported to the hilltop, a generator provided temporary electricity, a tractor ploughed a temporary access road, and life began on Avigayil. Located just across the road from Biblical Maon, where the Biblical Avigayil once lived, the young people who founded this new community were inspired by G-d’s Biblical promises to do their part in settling the Land of Israel.
Today, Avigayil continues to face challenges unique to the younger communities of Judea and Samaria. Their electricity is still limited and families take turns running their washing machines and operating their heaters. But there is a spirit in these communities that is infectious. Each man, woman and child of Avigayil knows why they are on that hilltop. They know their very presence is a strategic asset to Israel. And they know they are following G-d’s word in every small aspect of their lives.
The story of Avigayil is the story of many similar communities. And it is the story of most communities when they first started, some more than 40 years ago. But we are witness daily to the blessings that G-d has bestowed upon us as our communities grow, as families have new babies and raise their children in faith and love, as senior citizens who founded these communities can now sit back and feel the satisfaction of a dream come true. Not all dreams have come true, of course. And there is a great deal still to be done. But with your help, we will prevail. We are determined. We have faith. And we will not give up. Thank you for partnering with us in the greatest adventure of the Jewish people in modern times. Thank you for standing with the people of Judea and Samaria.
Sondra Oster Baras
Director, Israel Office