Holy night

I finally took part in a very worthy project that I was made aware of recently.

Last night, I did not sleep. I volunteered for the “Shomrim (watchmen) of Judea and Samaria”, the Bible heartland.

This organization was formed in order to help isolated Jewish shepherds who are returning to the occupation of our forefathers. They must secure their flocks from what they say is the ever-present danger of Arab thieves who sneak up at night.

The loss of a flock that takes years to raise, destroys the lives of the owner and their families in a moment.

Besides the personal loss, it is yet another painful blow to the cause for which these idealists chose to live and shepherd there in the first place – to secure the biblical heart of Yisroel for the Jewish people and prevent the danger of the  areas being taken over by intruders,

By herding sheep in a wide area, others cannot establish yet another trespassing presence whom the Israeli authorities are not quick to evict. The intruders target the bible true pioneers for nationalist reasons as well as for booty.

 The couple who lives on the small farm cannot work during the day and also guard at night.

Those who are forced to do so often must give up and leave, delivering the very victory that is sought.

 I decided that these idealists  deserved at the very least one night from me.

The idea of “guard duty” is something that is very familiar to anyone who has ever served even a week in the military.

That was quite a few years ago for me and this was a deja vu experience. At the same time, it made me feel my advanced years and also younger.

Older because I think I am less tolerant of the ever-increasing cold that seeps through one’s clothes and the unique phenomenon; the night seems to grow longer as the time goes by.

At the same time, I felt younger as I looked up at the quiet star-filled sky that I remembered from my earlier guarding experiences. The silence of the night, distant sounds mingling equally with ones nearby.

The camaraderie of a fellow guard and the exchange of philosophy and rather personal history with a buddy returned to me as well.

We sat adjacent to the pen that the sheep shared with some geese.

A donkey lay nearby and dogs alertly observed them all. I definitely learned some new things about the habits of these creatures that night.

Between them and the stars above, I thought, how wonderful is the creation and its creator.

How wonderful is our land and heaven?

The young Jewish shepherd greeted us from the back of his truck where he sleeps every night. Volunteers or no (volunteers are not available every night) he needs to be close to his flock. He has heard too many stories about friends’ lives wiped out in a single night.

I guess he was the type of man I expected to meet.

A weathered look, few words, individualistic, robust, rugged; these people are what the Jewish nation in its land needs.

Just as the “West was won” with pioneers, and dreamers, so too is this small, holy piece of land that God has promised us.

I was honored to be in their presence for one special night.

My new book, “Jews, Israelis and Arabs” is about the current struggle for the soul and identity of the Jewish nation in it’s land.

About the Author
I made Aliyah after receiving an MA in International Relations. I have been writing articles about Israel since my arrival. I am a licensed tour guide since 1980. I served in the IDF. I am the author of ,"Jews, Israelis and Arabs" available on Amazon.
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