Following last week’s brutal murder by an Arab of Daphna Meir in the Judean community of Otniel, Build Up Israel, an organization which raises funds for important projects in the Holy Land, is increasing its efforts to get enough donations to complete a much-needed permanent building for the community’s nursery- and kindergarten-aged children.
Noting the resiliency of the Jewish people in Israel, especially when faced with terror, Gabi Sackett, Director of Build Up Israel, explained to Breaking Israel News, “Young families with children under five years of age tend to be the ones who move to settlements. They are resolved to doing all that they can to build up the country.”
Sackett continued to explain that these families often lean towards having many children, increasing the need for proper educational facilities. “Presently, the many preschool students in Otniel are educated in prefabricated trailers,” he shared. “Within the next few years, Otniel is expecting to grow into a 500-family community. The need for a permanent nursery and kindergarten building is clear.”
Otniel, located about 30 minutes south of Jerusalem in the Hebron Hills, is presently home to 150 families. Plans are already in place for an influx of an additional 350 families.
Though counter-intuitive, historically, acts of terror often bring greater settlement to the areas which have been hit the hardest. “When an enemy tries to hurt us, we believe that the Zionist response is to show that they do not get what they want – the pushing of the Jewish people into the sea,” explained Sackett to Breaking Israel News.
Sackett continued by stating that in the past twenty years there have been thousands of terrorist attacks, especially in Judea and Samaria. Yet instead of discouraging Jews from living in those Biblical areas, the settlement enterprise has actually tripled its population.
“Of course, we don’t want terror to be the catalyst for people to move to these regions,” clarified Sackett to Breaking Israel News. “But, the facts speak for themselves. The more our enemies seek to destroy us, the more we will strive to build.”
Sackett is quick to point out that 100 percent of the building in Otniel is legal and has the backing of the Israeli government. Soon after the Meir murder, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett paid a condolence call to the family. During his visit, he vowed, “We will build more kindergartens and give more life to the community.”
The Israeli government has already provided half the funds to build the preschool facility. The remaining $474,000 will be raised through donors wishing to strengthen the community.
“We at Build Up Israel, deeply mourn the horrific murder of Otniel’s Daphna Meir,” Sackett said. “At this time of tragedy, it is especially apropos to show the residents of Otniel our support. Now is the best time to finish this much-needed nursery school and kindergarten building. As we bury and weep, we must also build and grow.”