A special reading of Megillat Esther was held at Oz Vegaon on Monday evening and again on Tuesday morning at Oz VeGaon. Bentzie Matar read in the evening and Pro. Michael Wilschanski read in the morning.
The Oz VeGaon Nature Preserve was established by members of ‘Women in Green’ and residents of Judea with the support of the Gush Etzion Local Council as a Zionist response to the murder of the three youths, Eyal Yifrah, Gil-ad Shaer, and Naftali Fraenkel, on the night that it was discovered that they had been murdered by Arab terrorists, the third of Tammuz, July 1, 2014.
Nadia Matar, co-chair together with Yehudit Katsover of the Women in Green pro-Israel movement, explained that the Megilla reading was “a Jewish response to terrorism.”
“We went there on the night that their bodies were found, on the night before the funeral, we came here and established Oz Vegaon,” she told Israel365 News. “The goal of terrorism is to drive the Jews from the land. Our response is to deepen our connection to the land of Israel. The answer to terrorism is a resounding, ‘This land is ours’.”
Matar emphasized that the reading of the Megillah at the site was “nothing special.”
“We come here every holiday,” she said. “The most important thing is to have the voice of Torah coming out from the heart of Judea. That is, after all, why the Jews are here.”
The preserve overlooks the Gush Etzion Junction and is located 300 meters west of Kibbutz Migdal Oz. The preserve has become an active educational and tourism site. There is playground equipment for children, a picnic area, a camping area, a synagogue, an event hall for 150 people, and more.