|Many thanks to Esser Agaroth for this picture (last posted here), and for making it possible not to have to rely on anti-Israel websites for pictures of "the occupied territories."|
Can Israel Annex The West Bank?
An Interview with Women In Green Co-Founder Nadia Matar
By Jewish Press Staff, January 3, 2019
Nadia Matar has been a fighter for Eretz Ysrael, Am Ysrael, and Torat Yisrael for the last 35 years. Along with her late mother-in-law, Ruth Matar, Nadia founded Women in Green in the 1990s, a grassroots movement opposed to any surrender of biblical Israel to Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority.
She was arrested numerous times and sat in jail on several occasions with her mother-in-law, resulting in a wonderful bond between the two. “I tell every girl that the best formula for a wonderful marriage is to go to jail with your mother-in-law, fighting for Eretz Yisrael,” she told The Jewish Press during a recent interview from her home in Efrat.
Today, she heads the Sovereignty Movement alongside Yehudit Katzover, whose heroism in 1979-1980 helped lead to the founding of modern Chevron and whose husband served as mayor of Kiryat Arba for 20 years.
The Jewish Press: What’s your background?
Matar: I was born to a non-religious traditional family in Belgium. On Shabbos we lit candles and made Kiddush and then ate non-kosher and watched TV. As I grew up, I started asking questions – how could we keep Yom Kippur one day and be mechallel Shabbos the next? – so I joined Bnei Akiva and started keeping Shabbos and kosher.
But then I couldn’t understand why people who were keeping these mitzvos were not also fulfilling “Vetechezeina einenu beshuvcha l’Tzion berachamim” and moving to Eretz Yisrael. I went to Eretz Yisrael for one year and came back because of kibud av va’eim. But my parents saw how miserable I was in chutz la’aretz, so they finally gave me their beracha to move to Eretz Yisrael.
JP: How did you become the activist you are today?
NM: I guess it was in my genes, and the upbringing I got at home. I was very involved in the struggle for Russian Jewry. But when I first got married, all I wanted to be was a stay-at-home mommy. My first three kids were born with me as a housewife and mother.
JP: When and how did that change?
NM: In 1992, the Rabin-Peres government came to power with four promises: no talks with the PLO; no Palestinian state; no division of Jerusalem; and no retreat from the Golan Heights.
But almost immediately after the elections, we started hearing talks of giving up the Golan. So when my husband and I heard about a demonstration in Jerusalem against retreating from the Golan, we took our kids and went.
The next day, the media published a horrible-looking picture of a settler with a beard, peiyos, a gun, and two little kids. The caption read something like: “Settlers and religious Bnei Akiva youth demonstrate against giving away the Golan Heights.” My mother in-law, Ruth Matar, immediately grasped the full meaning of the headline: “They’re trying to delegitamize us and portray us as lunatics,” she said.
So we decided to organize, and that’s when Women in Green was born.
JP: Women In Green soon became known for its animated street protests. When did those begin?
NM: We were growing fast in the beginning, but we got no press coverage whatsoever. We were naïve and inexperienced and didn’t realize the press didn’t want the world to know there was opposition to the Oslo Accords.
So we decided if the press wasn’t going come to us, we would go to the press. Whenever there was a newsworthy event, we went. If the prime minister, for example, was talking somewhere, we went, made noise, held up provocative signs, and got the attention of the media.
And that’s when our troubles began. All of a sudden, the police — who previously had ignored us – started beating us, breaking our ribs, and arresting us on false charges.
Some of us forget how charged the atmosphere was in the 1990s with Israel ceding more and more land to the PA – despite vigorous protests — and only getting terror in return.
I speak to my kids and they don’t remember the terrible years we went through. Buses were being blown up. Every day we left our house not knowing whether we were going to come back or what funeral we were going to attend. We buried so many friends.
After the Disengagement in 2005, many people gave up and said, “What’s the point?” But we felt that if we didn’t succeed in preventing the Disengagement it was only because we didn’t work hard enough.
JP: Today, you are one of the leaders of what’s known as the “sovereignty movement,” which essentially calls on Israel to annex the West Bank. How did that start?
NM: We realized that demonstrations and vigils were not going to save Judea and Samaria. I always compare it to an aquarium. You can kill the fish in two ways: either by taking the fish out of the aquarium or by making a small hole in the aquarium. The fish continue to swim, but little by little the water disappears.
That’s exactly what’s happening today. What is the water? The water is the land in Judea and Samaria. You have Jewish communities and Arab villages there, but in the middle there’s a lot of empty land. The Arabs, very smartly, said, “Let’s take over those empty lands and choke the Jewish communities.”
And that’s what they’ve been doing, completely unhindered by the authorities because the Civil Administration here in Israel, unfortunately, is very left-wing and doesn’t care. They say, “Judea and Samaria is not ours, so what do I care if the Arabs take over Area C with illegal construction, illegal agriculture, and illegal takeover of abandoned army bases?”
JP: What’s your solution?
NM: Sovereignty! Apply Israeli law over Judea and Samaria – which is what we should have done the day we won the Six-Day War. At the time, the government was in such shock that we won that they didn’t know what to do with those areas, so they created something called the “Civil Administration” and thought that within a few months they’ll decide what to do with the land.
But those few months turned into 50 years, and we now have this weird situation where a Jew living in Judea and Samaria has a different status than a Jew living in Raanana, Tel Aviv, or Ashdod.
JP: Why is applying sovereignty in Judea and Samaria so significant?
NM: Because when Israel didn’t apply sovereignty, the world started asking questions. “Wait, if it’s yours, why don’t you include it?”
It’s like the famous story of King Solomon and the baby. If somebody else is saying it’s his and you’re not saying it’s yours, and you’re even willing to give parts of it away, then maybe it’s not yours. In other words, all the complaints of the world that we are occupiers we can at least partially blame on ourselves.
JP: People argue that you can’t declare sovereignty over the West Bank because then you would have to give the Arabs living there the right to vote.
NM: That’s not true. There’s legal backing to prove that. The best example is the Jerusalem Arabs. There are 300,000 Arabs in Jerusalem, who have no voting rights for the Knesset. They are residents, not citizens, and the sun is still shining every morning.
JP: People argue that if Israel doesn’t give all residents voting rights, it can’t be considered a democracy.
NM: We are saying that democracy has different definitions. First of all, every democracy has to defend itself. It cannot be suicidal in giving tools to a minority within its borders to take over the democracy and turn it into an Arab dictatorship.
There is something that we call “Zionist democracy,” which means that you give everyone basic human rights but no voting rights. In Puerto Rico there are no voting rights and nobody makes an issue out of it.
JP: You have an urgency in your voice.
NM: Yes, because there is no other alternative to sovereignty. The alternative is a two-state solution, which is suicide. And the status quo is impossible because every minute that we are on the phone the Arabs have taken over another hill. They do it all the time. Everyone who lives in Judea and Samaria sees it, and if we don’t act fast we will have no more land left.
JP: What are the chances, practically speaking, that the Knesset will apply Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank?
NM: Let’s start with applying sovereignty over the existing Jewish communities in Area C where there are hardly any Arabs. Or at least let’s apply sovereignty over the Israeli communities. There should be no opposition to that at all. There is not one Arab in any Israeli community, so that is practical.
The Likud actually voted for this unanimously in December. It’s now in the official platform of the Likud party.
JP: So why didn’t the Knesset, which was led by Likud in recent years, do it?
NM: There is only one answer: Bibi Netanyahu.
JP: Why is he against it?
NM: He’s not saying. But we know one thing: We have to increase the pressure. It’s going to happen in the end, whether it’s with Bibi or somebody else. Bibi is not the Messiah.
JP: People sometimes say that if Israel is too hawkish it will lose the support of America. What’s your response?
NM: G-d arranged it that we now have an administration that told us from the very beginning that America will respect what Israel wants. So we are here to tell them that the majority of the Jewish people wants sovereignty and not a Palestinian state – that we want Eretz Yisrael and not suicide.
JP: President Trump is supposed to soon unveil his peace plan, which allegedly calls on Israel to make concessions of various sorts to the Arabs. Are you going to fight him?
NM: From what we understand, the Trump plan is something they’re going to suggest – not impose. The Trump Administration people are smart and know about our Biblical right to this land. They know that the Palestinian Authority are basically terrorists who want all of Israel. They don’t want peace. They want piece after piece after piece.
It’s very hard for me to believe that anyone who is smart will try to impose on us concessions that are against Israel and against simple logic.
I hope and pray the Trump plan calls for the application of Israeli sovereignty over Judea and Samaria because that will bring real peace and good life for the Jews and the Arabs.
JP: But what if it calls for a two-state solution. Will you fight it?
NM: We will oppose it and bring down any government or prime minister who will agree to a two-state solution just like we did till now.
For some humor — It's funny even though it's true! — read this article from Honest Reporting!
On a more serious note, it seems as though our "experts" claimed last year that Israel's Jewish population growth rate is unsustainable. I'd like to make Leonie Ben-Simon my newest best friend for writing: Overpopulation in Israel. Really?
Absolutely no one has the right to demand that Jews stop contributing to "overpopulation" of our planet, since we comprise far less than 1% of it. Taking back our land in YEHUDA (where the word JEW comes from) and SHOMRON (that a king of Israel took a long time before there were Palestinians) will help a lot, and filling up the land we already fully possess will help even more!
Also, I stumbled on a video last night (it was presented as a comment to an article it had nothing to do with), called Caesar's Messiah. It proposes that Christianity is an invention of the Romans for the purpose of controlling the populations they governed, and for scattering the Jews and bringing us "to heel." I don't agree with the solutions it suggests, but I think it explains how the Esavians have been ruling the earth for 2,000 years — with HQB"H's permission, of course. I believe they don't have much more time.
Despite all this, committing national suicide is neither in our plans nor in the Jewish destiny according to our prophets, and I'm not at all sorry for saying so. See my Time of Jacob's Trouble series for more on that.
In case I don't post next week, have a blessed T"u b'Shevat!