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September 2023 Heartland Highlight: Gush Etzion Yeshiva Security

The people of Gush Etzion are building a new Yeshiva campus and desperately need your help with security installments and equipment to protect their students and staff from terrorist harm. Your support for their vital security needs will enable security personnel to catch threats before they become full-fledged attacks. Your donation will help keep the Yeshiva’s new campus safe, so they can continue educating the next
generation of religious Zionist pioneers in Biblical Israel.

In June 2014, on a Thursday afternoon, two Arab terrorists disguised as Israelis kidnapped three teenage boys as they were returning home for Shabbat from a week at the Mekor Chaim Yeshiva. Alerted by the boys’ parents, military and police forces launched an extensive search in the region. But as Shabbat approached with no news of the boys’ whereabouts, their mothers publicly beseeched Jewish People worldwide to pray for their boys’ safe return. In a show of global Jewish unity, Jews everywhere joined prayer campaigns for nearly three weeks, while awaiting news with bated breath. Tragically, their safe return never came.

Mekor Chaim is a religious high school and dormitory for boys in Kfar Etzion, known for educating boys with a deep love of the Bible and the Biblical heartland. The curriculum is very demanding, with daytime classes and numerous hours spent in small study groups in the afternoon and into the late hours of the night. For years, the Yeshiva buildings were temporary structures — old pre-fab buildings and converted mobile homes. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the yeshiva was granted a plot of land near the Path of the Patriarchs to build a new campus in memory of the murdered boys.

Construction is already underway, with the new campus slated to open in the Fall of 2023. The new site, in a remote area in Gush Etzion, is located adjacent to Road 60 – a central artery connecting the Arab cities of Hebron and Bethlehem – and close to the Arab village of Nachlin, a known hotbed for terrorists. Even before the completion of its construction, the new campus already suffered two terrorist attacks with burning tires, firebombs, and arson. Despite the constant looming threat, the religious Zionists of Gush Etztion remain steadfast in their commitment to settling their ancestral homeland. But they take the safety and security of their students and staff very seriously. The Yeshiva already hired a security officer, installed a security fence around the campus perimeter, and raised money to purchase surveillance cameras. But to prevent future bloodshed, there is still an urgent need to install and equip a security booth at the entrance to the Yeshiva, a secondary guard post in a vulnerable spot opposite the Arab Village, and a control room to monitor surveillance feed and manage emergency events.

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