Hashomer Revived: Protecting Israeli Citizens

Published: June 24th 2010
in News » Israel

L to R: Aharon Pulver and Yoel Zilberman
Pic: Dan Verbin

Imagine being a farmer or cattleman in the middle of the Negev or the Galilee, and having your property constantly being under threat due to thefts, damaging of property, arson and protection fees.


If this sounds like a scene taken from a movie, think again. This is the reality that many farmers and cattlemen in Israel have to face from their Bedouin neighbours.


Two weeks ago, Aharon Pulver, Executive Director of the Israel Independence Fund, and Yoel Zilberman, one of the founders of Hashomer Hachadash (an organization aimed at protecting those farmers and cattlemen who are under threat), visited Toronto. The two spoke at several events, in hopes of raising awareness about these threats, as well as to gain public support here in Canada for Hashomer Hachadash.


“Several years ago, several friends and I founded the Israel Independence Fund in order to bring to the attention of philanthropists in Canada, the United States, and Britain, several points which we see as extremely sensitive, and to try and turn Israeli society back to sane Zionism,” explained Pulver, who was born in New York and made aliyah to Israel in 1977. “The Fund is aimed at financing projects that strengthen Israel’s Zionist and Jewish ethos. We are especially focused on those projects that raise a new generation of Zionist leadership, who will be the leaders of a new Zionist revolution which is needed in Israel. It’s obvious to anyone who is willing to open their eyes that we have many challenges, especially in this generation, and we require new answers to face these challenges.”


According to Pulver, one common problem in modern Israeli society is that “post-Zionism” as he calls it has become popular. Another problem he identified is the loss of Israel’s strategic space - that space being the Negev and the Galilee.


“Can the State of Israel be strong without the strategic space of the Galilee and the Negev? Can the State of Israel survive if we give up such a wide range of space, both in Judea and Samaria as well as in the Galilee and the Negev? I’m convinced it can’t,” said Pulver. “We are actually losing that strategic space. There are farms in Israel in Moshavim and Kibbutzim that abandon extensive parts of lands, both in the Galilee and the Negev due to Bedouin calamity, and regretfully there’s no other definition to describe this process.” He added that the “smoking gun” in this calamity is that it is funded by Arab nationalist factors. “This is a risk to the Zionist enterprise, to the Zionist settlement enterprise in the Galilee and the Negev, and we see and feel it.”


One of the projects funded by the Israel Independence Fund is Hashomer Hachadash, which was founded about 4 years ago by Yoel Zilberman. Zilberman was born in Zippori, a Moshav in the Galilee. His grandparents were the Moshav’s first couple. His father owns cattle which he inherited from his grandfather. His story began following the Second Lebanon War in 2006, when he was serving in the IDF. Zilberman felt a “spiritual loss” during the war which caused him a personal crisis. After the war, Zilberman and his friends read a book by A.D. Gordon entitled Man and Nature which talks about the spiritual and physical connection to the land of Israel, as well as a book by Rabbi Soloveitchik which talks about turning fate into destiny. At the same time a family crisis evolved in Zilberman’s family.


Related articles: (Israel Independence Fund, Hashomer Hachadash, Bedouins, Negev, Galilee)
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