by Gil Ronen
(IsraelNN.com) As night fell on Givat HaEitam, hundreds of Land of Israel activists had reached the top of the hill despite violence by security forces. MK Aryeh Eldad was headed towards the hill, in an attempt to lower tensions and report to Public Security Minister Avi Dichter about what was happening.
The activists want to create a new community at the site, which is adjacent to Efrat, south of Jerusalem. 13 people have been arrested, including Baruch Marzel, the head of the Jewish Front movement, who is being held on suspicion he incited youths to enter a closed military zone, and Rabbi Moshe Levinger, the father of the renewed Jewish community in Hevron.
The event's organizers said that hundreds of would-be settlers continue to stream up the hill and that those who reached the top had begun building a stone structure. At least two women were among those arrested. Organizers of the event at Givat HaEitam said that security forces used force on a large scale in their attempt to block activists' ascent to the hill.
"The ascenders, including old people and women, are being beaten with no justification by the IDF and the police," the organizers claimed. They said that Rabbi Levinger was also beaten by police.
'The ascenders, including old people and women, are being beaten with no justification by the IDF and the police.'
After being beaten back by police, the activists scattered in the fields and reorganized in groups of about 30 each before attempting the ascent again.
Before ascending the hill, the activists heard speeches by Rabbi Shlomo Riskin of Efrat, Rabbi Levinger, Rabbi Gidon Perl and Rabbi Shimon Golan, among others.
Activists in Efrat said earlier Wednesday that the IDF should not have deployed large forces to fight them. "It is a national disgrace that in order to prevent the ascent to Eitam, the Yehuda Regiment assembled a large force that includes two infantry battalions, a reconnaissance unit and hundreds of police officers, including YASAM (SWAT) teams," they said. "This force should be used against terrorists and crime families and not against Jews," the HaEitam Headquarters said.
Security forces claim the community on HaEitam Hill is an "illegal outpost."
The HaEitam project is only the opening shot in a large scale campaign of renewal that the activists are planning to put into motion. The organization "Yishuv Achshav" is a coalition of organizations that include the Land of Israel Faithful, Youth for the Land of Israel, Women in Green and the Action Committees for Hevron and Kiryat Arba.
The organizers say that groups of families will settle on different hills in Judea and Samaria, with the purpose of building new communities in the Land of Israel. "This is our answer to the ongoing policy of surrendering to the enemy," they said. "We will ascent HaEitam Hill, strike roots in it and declare: 'we shall continue to build you, Land of Israel!'"
"Two years after the terrible eviction of our brothers from Gush Katif and northern Samaria," they lamented, "Gaza has become Hamastan. Sderot and nearby communities are bombarded." Despite the fact that "anyone with half a brain" now realizes that handing over parts of the homeland to the enemy endangers the country, they said, "our political leaders intend to surrender, retreat, give up, hand over and drive [us] away. Instead of trying to strengthen the People of Israel and defeating the Arab enemy endangering our existence on his own territory, the government busies itself day and night with attempts to set up a terror state in Judea and Samaria."