by Gil Hoffman
Grassroots movement Darkenu intends to show empathy
But they will make a very different house call next Thursday, when they visit homes set for evacuation and destruction in the controversial outpost of Amona and on the outskirts of Ofra.
Activist Esther Brodt from Ofra, whose home is set for demolition after a long legal battle, met with Darkenu activists for three hours this week. She will be hosting them in her home next week and introducing them to her neighbors in Amona.
“I am not going to persuade them, and they are not going to persuade me, but if they play by the rules of the game, I can respect them,” Brodt said. “I understand they want my home destroyed because they want Israel to remain a Jewish, democratic state. But I expect them to greet me when my home is destroyed with a cup of coffee and a hug.”
Brodt admitted “not everyone is like me” in Amona, but she said she expected the visit to go well.
“I don’t see them as my enemy,” said Brodt. “The people in Amona may argue with them with strong tones, but they will still greet them warmly.”
Darkenu CEO Polly Bronstein said she and her organization’s activists would deliver two key messages: that they want all settlements that are not in blocs evacuated, and that nevertheless, the settlers are their brothers.
“We feel their pain, which is the result of government policies over decades that harmed them,” Bronstein said. “We want them to prefer the unity of the land and honor decisions of the Supreme Court, but we are also coming to listen and tell them we care.”
Bronstein said there was not enough sympathy and caring in the Center-Left for thousands of people who could end up losing their homes in the future, and that the visit was intended to correct that.
“I don’t expect to have tomatoes thrown at us, because we are coming in solidarity,” she said. “I believe that even though the people there have a right to be frustrated, we will be welcomed with warmth.”
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