During infantry corps school, they took us to Ofra, gave us a lecture there. They called the trip “In the footsteps of the Maccabees.” Some rabbi started talking about something everyone can relate to – he talked about Derrick Sharp’s three-pointer against Zalgiris at the time, (of) Maccabi, and compared it to the Jewish people against the world and the fact that we’re always up against everyone and that we always have to believe in pushing to the end. Then they took us to some settlement somewhere. There’s a caravan there that looks out onto the valley and we saw the massive construction with a guide who told us about the area’s history. The construction in the settlements, really serious buildings. It was a very big hilltop and on top were some of our isolated settlements, separated, three of four settlements far apart from one other. The entire area was annexed to us and she explained to us that this area is considered a regional council and that eventually it will all be connected to one local council – all these isolated settlements. If I’m not mistaken, they gave each settlement the same name because of their determination for it to be one settlement in the end, but it was made of three blocs, in which two isolated streets comprised each bloc, 5-10 minute drive from Ofra. There was a Palestinian village there that looked really good; a village that you could tell had money. She explained that this was the Palestinians’ vacation village. From there they took us to a caravan overlooking the area, she told us the history, about the Maccabees’ battles that took place right there, and about the Jewish settlement. On the way there she took the microphone and said “By the way, all the settlements we’re passing through are in Area C, Israeli territory in the full sense of the word.” She said: “Area C is ours, Area B is both, and Area A is Arabs.”
Who was it?A settler doing her national service in Ofra and who gives tours there. She did her tour and then explained through half a smile that the Palestinians already settled in all the valleys down below so all we have left is to take the hilltops, and that’s why we’re on the hilltops. Not because it’s a strategic advantage and not because we’re trying to provoke them. After we left the caravan they took us to Beit El, to some lookout point that had a mosaic floor in the middle with a map of Greater Israel. We also went past two outposts that she pointed out, blocs of four or five caravans. She avoided saying (the word) Palestinians – she didn’t talk [about Palestinians] once. I purposely asked her every time, “This Palestinian village – what’s it called?” Or, “Palestinian license plates, what’s the difference between the green and the white ones?” And every time she said, “this Arab village, this Arab town, the Arab residents, the Arab license plates.” That’s also what she explained to everyone. She took the microphone and said, “Notice that all the Arab villages here are named after Jewish settlements that existed during the Biblical Period. When the Arabs settled here, they adopted the names of the Jewish settlements that were already here.”
This tour was for trainees in the squad commanders course?Yes, trainees in the squad commanders course, and they brought along girls doing their national service from the settlement.