At The Israel Guys, we are more than just an advocacy channel for Israel. A good part of every week we are also out in the fields in Israel’s Heartland, leading volunteer teams to be part of projects that serve the land and people who live here. This week, we were part of one of the most significant projects we’ve been involved with in a long time. Our Special Ops volunteer team planted a vineyard in memory of Elisha Anteman, a young man who was killed in a terrorist attack in the Jewish community of Eli, Samaria a few weeks ago. In total, four Jews were killed at the gas station along Highway 60, but Elisha was a resident of the nearby community.
After the murder happened, a local farmer was driving near the scene of the attack and saw some Jewish youth who were burning fields and wreaking havoc at a nearby Arab village. (Incidents like this are not the norm, and do not represent the majority of the Jews who live in Judea and Samaria.) After Chezi (the farmer) saw that the youth from his community were looking for how to respond to the brutal murder of their friend and brother, he wanted to channel their zeal into something positive. He called his partner, and together they sprang into action.
Within 30 days, they had brought in bulldozers, cleared the rocky land, and prepared the land for a new, twelve-dunam (three-acre) vineyard. This week, the local community of Eli, along with our volunteer group, were blessed to participate in this special planting of “Elisha’s Vineyard.” According to his friends and family, Elisha was an amazing young man who loved the land and people of Israel, and he even worked in Chezi’s vineyards just a few months before he was tragically murdered.
The Palestinian Arabs continue to perpetuate violence and terrorism in the land of Israel, while – contrary to what the world believes – the majority of the Jewish people in Judea and Samaria respond to such attacks in ways that pertain to life. The terror attack took place just outside a gas station and hummus restaurant below the town of Eli. Immediately afterwards, three more restaurants were established next door to make a bold statement that Israel is not afraid. Unfortunately, due to pressure from the US State Department, the buildings were quickly removed.
Elisha’s memorial vineyard that was planted this week is the community’s positive response to terror from the people of Eli and the people of Israel’s Heartland. Our hope and prayer is that the US State Department will not see this memorial vineyard as a threat to peace in the Middle East, and instead, as a restoration of the land of the Bible.
A young man who was helping to plant the new vineyard said this:
“I’m very proud to do the planting, and I think that it is a good answer to the terror. They kill us and we build…”
One of the points that is very important for the international community to understand is that building homes and settling the land is THE response of the Jewish community in Israel. When a terrorist goes out and kills a Jew, the Jewish people don’t retaliate by killing Arabs. Instead, they build new homes and new restaurants, and plant vineyards and forests. Their goal is to give life in response to death.
Joshua Waller asked Chezi (the farmer) how Elisha’s family felt about this project, and he said:
“Amazing. Amazing. I knew Elisha. Elisha worked in our vineyard in the past two months several times. When I heard what happened, I said this is the best way to establish a vineyard after his name – “Karem Elisha.” When people will hear the story, they will want to be like Elisha, to be very good workers, to do good things, not to hate…”