Emily is a journalist and publicist. She currently has her own column in the widely circulated Israeli newspaper, Israel Hayom and co-anchors a show on Israel radio’s Kol Israel. Emily has published a fiction novel and a children’s book. She lives in Jerusalem with her four children.
The case for settlement and sovereignty in Judaea and Samaria are clear: Preserving the mountainous backbone of the country, with its important topographic advantages provides strategic depth to a country with a “narrow waist;” the vital water resources of the mountain aquifer; territorial continuity to provide for the defense of the eastern border in the Jordan Valley. All These amount to the security imperative that we stay in the mountain.
But if we are honest, these are not the true reason we are there. The reason is neither security, nor demography. Our presence in the mountain is rooted in a simple and natural connection between the people and the Land. Within six days of unplanned and surprising warfare brought us back to the Western Wall and Shilo, to the Cave of the Patriarchs and Beit-El; to the wellsprings of our being as a people, the cradle of our culture and the locus of our great biblical tales.
For the past five decades, Israel has been indecisive regarding what it wants to do with the gift it was granted. The incessant attempts to remove the Jewish presence from the heartland of the Jewish people and hand this territory over to the Palestinians are led over course, by the Palestinians and by the Zionist left. Yes, their means vary, but both sell promises about peace doves that fly in the face of an Israeli reality defined by bloody terrorist attacks.
Bitter reality exposes these hopes as an illusion. We know the cities of a Palestinian state are but a short bicycle ride away from the Knesset. Israelis too easily imagine ISIS terrorists plotting to spill our blood. There is nothing clearer than the withdrawal from the Gaza Strip that has proven that relinquishing more territory is a bad idea. Israel’s southwestern region has become an explosives lab; Hamas digs tunnels to commit subterranean terror attacks and lobs rockets over the fence.
The desire for an independent and modest Palestinian state are deeply eroded by the Islamic State’s aspirations to cover half the globe — including all of Israel.
Israelis prefer wide and safe borders. The logic behind territorial withdrawals has been proven invalid by recent history. Operation Pillar of Defense clarifying to Israelis a simple message: we don’t want a second Sajjaiya two minutes from Kfar-Saba. Given that, it seems that the Left is motivated in its attachment to the “land for peace” formula almost by a desire to witness the destruction of settler homes. The hate towards settlers has seemingly become the end, rather than a means to peace.
I feel a great love to the land, as well as to the people inhabiting it, children of all nations. In my view, there is no contradiction. One can love both Jew and Arab, for both of us dwell in this land. It is not the land that belongs to me; it is I that belong to her.
This June we celebrate fifty years since the sudden, miraculous expansion of our borders. But instead of rejoicing, we are entrenched in a defense position. But I feel that we Israelis should not be so interested in what the world has to say. It is the internal debate in Israel, above all else, which will determine the future of this patch of land.