Leaders of the settlement movement gave thanks to Ina Viniarsky
Ministers, leaders of the settlement movement, scholars and intellectuals gathered at Shdma, Gush Etzion,
to thank the woman who was a partner in the establishment of 45 communities in Judea and Samaria
- Ina Viniarsky.
Arutz 7 4-10-2012 by Yishai Karov
translated by A. Ancselovits for Women in Green
On Thursday, October 4th, in the Shdema military base, a tribute and recognition event was held by the heads and senior members of the settlementmovement in YeShA (Judea, Samaria and Gaza) for Ina Viniarsky, a veteran of the hit’yash’vutmovement who took part in the establishment of no less than 45 communities over the course of 35 years. About 600 residents of those communities and supporters of the settlements from across the country, men, women and children, all gathered to say “thank you” to the woman that outlines and conducts trailblazing actions for the hit’yash’vut (settlement) in YeShA.
The event, which was conducted and initiated by Women in Green heads, Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover, was kicked off by Rabbi Yaron Durani, Rabbi of the Nokdim community, one of the leaders of the struggle to return Israeli sovereignty to Shdema. Rabbi Durani mentioned the connection between the mitz’vah (commandment)of the su’kkah and the mitz’vah of establishing communities in the Land of Israel - both are mitz’vot that a person enters and engages with both body and mind, fully committed to doing completely.
Later on he noted Viniarsky’s actions as a model for the young generation of the hit’yash’vut leadership. As for the future of the Shdema camp, he stated that a new neighborhood for the Nokdim community, possibly a new neighborhood for Jerusalem, will be built there. The matter of deciding on the municipal affiliation he leaves to the authorities, but he is absolutely certain that the location will be populated soon.
You may recall that the Shdema camp was abandoned by the IDF in 2006. 2 years later journalist Hagai Hoberman reported the intent to hand over the area to the Palestinian Authority. Matar and Katsover, who initiated the event, share how such a small report was enough to lead them to a persistent struggle to restore Israeli sovereignty over the area, a struggle that had the encouragement and help of Ina Viniarsky. Two years later the decision was made to restore IDF control to the area.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman and the Minister of Information and Diaspora Affairs, Yuli Edelstein, both spoke to the same effect at the tribute event, praising Viniarsky while expressing complete confidence that just as other communities had started off as a group of caravans in some desolate location, and today they are booming communities, so shall it be with Shdema. “The ‘Homa U’Migdal’ [Tower and Stockade, lit. Wall and Tower - a settlement method used by the Jewish pioneers in the BritishMandateofPalestine during the 1936–39 Arabrevolt. During the course of the Tower and Stockade campaign, 52 new Jewish communities were established overnight throughout the country] principle is still relevant today”, stated Minister Lieberman. Minister Edelstein continued to the same effect and stated that just as communities like Tekoa and El-David Nokdim blossomed in the wilderness, thanks to visionaries and men of action, so shall it be with Shdema.
After descending from the speakers’ podium, Minister Lieberman received a detailed plan for the civilian re-population of Shdema from Nadia Matar and Yehudit Katsover.
Chairman of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Davidi Perl, told of the first steps towards turning the place into a new neighborhood, steps which he reported to the Brigade Commander of the area, who responded “I’m with you, but you’ll have to run it by the General of the [Central] Command”. Davidi announced that indeed, that is what he will do in order to push for this move.
One by one the speakers and lecturers stepped up and mentioned the hit’yash’vut related and pioneering actions of Viniarsky. Zviki Bar Hai, Chairman of the South Hebron Hills Regional Council, mentioned the days of 25 years ago, when the roads in the area were disrupted, yet this never seemed to hinder Ina, who knew every path and trail on the way to establishing another community.
Former Chairman of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Shilo Gal, sent his blessings to the event and noted as well Viniarsky’s unique contribution to the communities in the area, adding: “History is fueled by people who dare to dream”.
Written blessings were received from MK Uri Ariel, who mentioned his years of working together with Viniarsy while serving as the General Secretary of the “Amana” movement [the settlement movement of Gush Emunim, was established in 1978 with the primary goal of developing communities throughout Israel].
Former MK Zvi Hendel, who shared many long work hours with Viniarsky while planning and establishing communities in the Katif Strip [Gaza Strip], mentioned Ina’s meticulous and demanding work ethic, a work ethic that was received lovingly by everyone, “even when she raised her voice at us and demanded more from us”, as he put it. “Ina takes on the mitz’vah of [inhabiting] the Land of Israel with her complete body and soul”, says Hendel.
Datya Yitzhaki, who helped establish the Northern [Gaza] Strip communities and was evicted, also told of the early days of the establishment of the Gush Katif communities. “It was a great honor for me to work with Ina as the Gush Katif ‘Amana’ coordinator. Ina worked relentlessly, around the clock. In the society we worked in, which was mostly comprised of men, she stood indomitable, and everyone knew she was a professional, an authority”.
Yitzhaki added and expressed hope and faith in the return [to Gush Katif] and future construction. “We hope and believe that all which was destroyed shall be rebuilt”, she said and read the list of names of the Katif Strip communities that Ina helped creating. “B”H we will return and rebuild all of them, and make them even better”.
During her speech she mentioned a little anecdote from Viniarsky’s past: “When I was the spokesperson of ‘Moledet’ , I asked Ina to be a MK. But she said ‘What will I do if I need to photocopy something in the hall and Yossi Sarid is standing there? What will I do then?’, and that’s what killed Ina’s political career...”.
A special section in the speeches and blessings was dedicated to the actions of Ina Viniarsky in recent years as part of her devoted work at the Uri Zvi Greenberg House (UZG) in Jerusalem. The first one to give her blessings in this section was Israel Prize Laureate and head of the UZG House, Geula Cohen, who emphasized the growing female leadership in our time, both in the form of Viniarski and in the forms of Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar, Women in Green heads, and when she turned to Viniarsky she asked: “That vigor, that motivation, that readiness, that excitement. Where do you draw it from?”.
Later she read a few lines from the writings of Uri Zvi Greenberg which emphasize the readiness and devotion to fill any roll needed for the Land of Israel. “We need people who are ready for anything the Land of Israel needs. Not interests nor habits, but rather a flexible iron bar. A metal that can be forged in to anything that is needed for the national machine. A wheel is missing - I am a wheel. A nail or screw is missing - take me. There is a need to dig in the ground - I dig, there is a need for a soldier - I am a soldier”. In her speech, Cohen connected that vision regarding the unique character of those who contribute to the nation in every way, to Viniarsky’s personal conduct.
This section, of her activities in the UZG House, was continued with the words of the writer, Rabbi Ze’ev Sultanovitch, one of the people of the UZG House, who worls with her on distributing the Russian translations of the writings of UZG.
Rabbi Sultanovitch of his early days in the UZG House and of the first projects that Viniarsky ran, the first of which combined the poetry of UZG with her knowledge of the hit’yash’vut. “We traveled from community to community, lecturing about UZG, with the focus of the lectures being the poem ‘In the ears of a child I shall tell’”. Later on Viniarsky led to the publication of the first book of the Russian translations of UZG’s poetry.
Another project of hers in that field, tells Rabbi Sultanovitch, was the translation of UZG poetry workshop - a group of poets and translators gathered and came to study, analyze and explain UZG’s poetry and later on compared and studied several versions of translations.
Later on the conference participants were informed of the Foreign Ministry’s agreement to distribute the writings in communities in Russia.
Details of Viniarsky’s character were given by Arieh Heskin, a resident of Tekoa, who conducted a research paper on her. His speech focused on her warm and unique personality. Heskin read from his paper, and among other quotes, he gave the following: “I’ve seen here lead several hundreds [of people] to protests, groundbreaking ceremonies, all this without giving belligerent speeches, without that ‘show’ we’re used to seeing [from others], but rather with that same kind of quiet and very modest tone that projects great authority. A temporary site had been established, with most of it’s infrastructure being sleeping bags under the stars. Us [local] youngsters, together with many supporters, arrived to stick around and sleep there occasionally, many politicians made the pilgrimage, supported and left, but Ina, who was no spring chicken by then, didn’t move from that empty hilltop, surrounded by Arab villages, for a whole month of blazing hot summer, she slept there, she ate there, and it was there that she lead the public struggle by personal example.
Later on Ina’s daughter, Yula, spoke, mentioning the motto that her father had imprinted on them at home, ‘a person should do what needs to be done without talking too much’, a motto that was well implemented in Ina’s conduct.
Another person who is familiar with Viniarsky’s spiritual-cultural work is Yehuda Etzion, a philosopher who had an active role in bringing immigrants from Russia together with her. Etzion told of how he had felt honored and proud to be standing beside Ina. He mentioned Amos the Prophet, who walked around Tekoa, bringing the word of G-d to the people, yet in his humbleness refers to himself as a grower of sycamores. “The sycamore is not like the fig, which is penetrated and fertilized internally by the wasp. The sycamore remains unfertilized many times. The sycamore grower would stab and insert the blossom to the sycamore, effectively assuring the continuance of the tree”. Etzion found an instant connection to Viniarsky’s character from the actions of the grower: “Communities do not come into being without those who go by one by one with a toothpick and fertilize them. Your touch, Ina, in these communities is what gave them the ability to grow”, he said, turning to her.
During the event, a video was shown from the early days of the Rehelim community in Binyamin, one of the communities Viniarsky worked on establishing, a community where she established the principle which says that anywhere a Jew is killed, we must retaliate by establishing a community on that very spot. That was also how she established her method of establishing a community - arriving on site, pitching a tent and not leaving until the location is populated. That is how she became the leading figure in the establishment of dozens of communities.
Viniarsky received gifts from the Women in Green movement, the artists of Sa-Nur and a large bouquet of flowers from the next generation, the children of the Tekoa community.
Ina herself was requested to give a speech at the end of the speakers’ section, yet surprised with her brief statement, saying: “I never expected an event like this because each person lives their daily routine. It’s nice to see so many Jews come here and say ‘this is ours’. People, this [land] is ours!”, she wrapped up her brief statement and left the podium to the sound of thundering applause.
The event ended with the planting of olive trees for both Viniarsky and Geula Cohen.
Pictures by Shlomi posted at the end of the arutz 7 Hebrew article
Pictures by Gemma Blech