Where Are the Parents?

Seven teenage girls have been arrested for settling an illegal outpost, and held in jail for over two weeks. Yitzhak Kadman, the director of the National Council for the Child, has called for their release. The girls, most of whom are only 14 years old, broke the law but did not commit a serious crime. The girls refuse to identify themselves or sign any statements because they don’t recognize the authority of the court. Judges have upheld the prosecutor’s decision to keep the girls in jail until they cooperate with the authorities.

The fact that they are still being held is an outrage and an embarrassment for the country. The girls should be released.

On the other side we have the parents, who could identify the girls and file a petition for their release. They have refused. In a Makor Rishon interview one mother said it would be like stabbing her daughter in the back. The parents have gotten together and agreed that the girls would be “hurt” and would get the feeling that the parents “don’t agree with their decisions.”

Parents should not let young teenage daughters fight the community’s ideological battles with jail time. Let the parents sit in jail instead (although one mother says that she’s proud of her daughter for her actions, as she could never sit in jail herself). They are not encouraging their children’s autonomy by subjecting them to prison. The parents’ job is to look at the big picture and get them out of jail, before there is any more psychological and (hopefully not any) physical damage. It’s possible to explain, even to teenagers, that you support their cause but that you cannot let them pay such a price, and that until they are 18 they cannot make such life-altering decisions without their parents’ consent.

In the religious community we discourage adult women from going into the army. How can we let 14-year-old girls sit in jail?

Either the parents are afraid of their teenagers’ reaction, or they believe so deeply in their cause that they are willing to sacrifice their children’s well-being to it.

My husband says I’m being too harsh on the parents, some of whom are still traumatized by the eviction from Gush Katif (the Jewish communities in Gaza). The article quotes a mother who said that the disengagement turned her daughter from a girl into a young woman who “needs to take responsibility because the adults failed.” My husband says this demonstrates a sense of failure on the part of the parents, who are pinning their hopes on the next generation.

My husband is right; I’m being too harsh on the parents. Because they are getting implicit or explicit support from many others in the community, including rabbis and political leaders, who should be telling the parents to do what they have to do to get those girls out of jail.

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Comments

  1. mominisrael says:

    Tamiri, all I have read is about the handcuffs, being denied food, and having a man walk in in the middle of being strip-searched. I’m glad they are warm, but the mothers said they can’t sleep at night because they are worried about what is happening with the girls.
    Rafi, I believe that it is wrong for adults to encourage children to break the law in order to protest government policy, no matter how unjust the law or the policy.

  2. MII, the identity of the parents and therefore the girls, is well-known to the police. It is currently a battle of wills, and the police are playing games with minor girls.
    The parents are behind the girls, all the way. I don’t know what I would do in that position, but I am positive that many of, if not all, the girls are being brought up to deny the existance of the current government and it’s police arm, and to only recognize Torah rule. The girls are safe in jail, it’s not like they are out in the cold with no running water and no food and no toilet facilities. In fact, one of the girls herself said this was better than living on a hilltop (where she was for a few weeks) with no ammenities etc.
    I take my hat off and bow my head to these ideological families and their children, who live with a major purpose in life.
    It’s the police and our government who need to feel shame, but we know they never will.

  3. good post. it is tough, as you are right that this should not be on kids. But the mother is right that she could not sit in jail but the daughter is fighting the fight because she could. Do not forget – the mother probably has a few/bunch of kids to take care of. It is not that she cannot sit in jail because she is not strong enough, but because she has a family with other kids to take care of.
    We have become a society that we allow our kids to fight the battles. We are too worried about missing a day or a few days of work, so we do not go to the protests and fight like we used to. Instead we let the kids do it. they are bored anyway, the school supports it, so it is much easier to let them do it.
    We are fgighting our political battels through our kids.
    Sure you can say that is wrong, but is it only wrong because the kids got arrested or is it wrong in the first place to send them to the protests, to send them to set up the outposts, to involve them at all?
    but if we do not, then who will fight the battle,as the parents often will not or cannot….

  4. mominisrael says:

    I looked at the post, and it’s not convincing. But even if Batya is right, that’s not the point. No matter how wrong the government, young girls should not be used as pawns. Neither by the government nor by the Yesha activists.
    14yo teenagers do not have the perspective to understand the full implications of the “price” they are paying.

  5. 1. See Batya’s post on “Wrong Place, Wrong Time”. The girls were *not* illegally anywhere, nor breaking the law.
    2. There is a sick segement of Israel that believes in forcing its will at all costs on minotiry groups. Examples include; a. cutting off the peyot of Yeminite children and forcibly “integrating them” into a totally secular
    environment. b. Yair Lapid said the reason for the Disengagement was to “teach the settlers a lesson” c. keeping teenage girls in jail because they “refuse to recognize the authority of the courts.”
    This behaviour of Israel’s police and judiciary highlights the inherent failure Secular socialist Zionism, whose roots link to Marx, Lenin and the Soviet Bolshevists. It’s the party way, or this way to Siberia.
    3. Olmert’s targetting of bloggers for expressing discontent with his policies is another facet of the lack of civil liberties present in Israel.
    4. As for the parents; It’s a tough call. If the teenagers are willing to pay the price, I think they deserve their parents support — and the parents need to be as active as possible in showing what a farce of a “democracy” we live in. The difficulties the teenagers are experiencing now is the ultimate proof that the courts are a sham. This will ultimately strengthen them, and hopefully — they will be our leaders in the coming years.
    I yearn for the day when the tables are turned, and those evil police and judiciary rot in jail for their crimes against Jews and basic civil liberties.

  6. I was sickened when this happened during the disengagement, when parents literally blocked the doors of their homes with their children and it sickens me now to see again, parents using their children to fight an ideological cause. You might hate the government and the police with all your might, but you have no business using your children to fight your cause. It’s that simple.
    If you feel so strongly, picket the knesset and every police station in the country. Write virulent articles denouncing government policy, do whatever you want.
    But this whole affair is a cynical media ploy cooked up by some ideologues to get more attention. (What would garner more headlines- picketing the knesset or seven minors in jail?) And the ones who really suffer are the children. I think it’s sick and I hope the next visit these families get is from misrad harevacha to get these children out of these homes.

  7. Abbi: But it’s also the cause of the children! These teenagers live the struggle daily on hilltops, in “outposts”, and it’s just as much their ideaology (if not more) than their parents.
    And during the Disengagement when you wrote “parents literally blocked the doors of their homes with their children” — do you think the parents were selfishly doing that *for themselves*?
    If anything, it was FOR their children.
    We see how wonderful the government has been with been to children and parents of the Disengagement (little to zero financial, housing, and employment help). If anything, the people thought that it might help them if it would prevent the awful situation the government caused.
    Tell me, do you think there should be no children in Sederot now? Or is that another cynical battle being fought by idealogical parents?
    You can take this as far as you wish; children riding buses in Israel, living in Israel, etc.
    The bottom line is that with all the unpleasantness of being in jail; it’s safe.

  8. mominisrael says:

    Jameel wrote:
    This will ultimately strengthen them, and hopefully — they will be our leaders in the coming years.
    If they were 16 or 17, you might have a point. But 14???
    Ora, I agree with the point about the irreligious teenager. I have teens and you can’t force them to do what you want and make the same choices you made. But this is different–adults (and not just the parents) encouraging children to be pawns in a political game. I am not as convinced as Jameel that the jail is safe; I hope it is.

  9. Abbi–
    These aren’t 7-year-olds, they’re teenagers. I realize that they don’t have the same kind of long-term planning as adults, but to say the parents are “using” them and therefore don’t deserve to be parents (!) seems like a stretch to me. Teens make their own choices; I doubt any of those parents told their girls to go out on that hilltop. And it doesn’t sound like any of them are telling the girls not to identify themselves, rather they are simply respecting the girls’ choice. Should misrad harevacha take kids from every parent whose underage teen goes to bars or has sex with her boyfriend, because hey, the parents probably knew and technically could have forced the teen to act differently?
    motherinisrael–
    There was an interview with the parents of one of the girls in Maariv a while back. The girl in question is now 18 (and in jail for the longest, along with the 13-15year olds); the article was written when she was 16. The parents explained that they would have supported their daughter if she had chosen to identify herself and leave jail, but they didn’t feel that going against her wishes would be wise. They thought it would only push her away. They compared her to their oldest son, who briefly became irreligious. At that time they left him alone and respected his ability to make his own decisions, and he very quickly came back to observance.
    IMO there’s some wisdom in that. Sometimes parents of teens have to put their foot down, but sometimes that’s exactly the wrong thing to do. I would judge the parents favorably on this one and assume that they know that these particular girls need to make their own decision and live with the consequences at this point. It sounds like the girls are not being treated well in jail, but on the other hand, they do not face permanent harm or a dramatic change in their life plans (ex. this won’t bar them from future jobs, get them kicked out of school, etc). If the parents chose to ID the kids, the girls could end up feeling that their parents “just don’t understand,” and would then be even harder to talk to/persuade the next time around.

  10. Also, if this is a media ploy, then good!! People need to see this kind of thing and have the necessary debates about police power, rule of law, etc. If these seven girls (actually eight if you count the 18-year-old who has been in jail for almost two months) want to be the ones to bring this particular battle to the public’s attention, more power to them.
    In general I do find it embarrassing that the most significant moments in the “land of Israel” struggle have starred teens (kfar mamon, protesting the hitnatkut, amona, the hilltops, etc). Where are the adults, and in particular, the men?

  11. Ora: I missed Kfar Maimon, because I was with my wife in the hospital (she was giving birth at the time).
    Three days later though, I was protesting the Disengagement in Chomesh.

  12. I agree that teenagers should not be fighting these battles *on their own*.
    Riding busses, or living in Sderot or any other “dangerous” place, is not the same [as living in some maachaz or being in jail] because there are adults, families and all kinds of other people doing it, too. When *only* teenagers are sticking up for something and the adults are letting the kids fight major ideological and political battles without strong support from large number of adults, I think that’s wrong.
    Maybe not enough adults really believe in this strongly enough to take time off from work? Kfar Maimon, if I recall correctly, was *full* of adults, of all ages, in addition to many kids. Although the immediate goal of stopping the eviction was not achieved, an important statement as a community was made loud and clear: when there is something people *really* believe in, they will stop everything to stand up for it. Imagine what we could do if each year as many of us rallied around a shared cause…
    It’s not easy to decide what, of all the important causes in the world, get us to stop our regular lives – which are also important, and I mean in the Jewish way, not in terms of our convenience – and mobilize. Teenagers are old enough to learn that their parents are not lazy cynics who only care about making their next salary. They are people involved in doing their best (we hope) every day to be good, Godly people. They have commitments to parnasa, to limud torah, to family – not like teenagers who are committed mostly to themselves. Let’s face it – what’s more exciting? Going to school and finishing bagruyot, or SAVING THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THE LAND OF ISRAEL! WOW! But doing the Right Thing is not always exciting although it is usually satisfying in a deeper way.
    I do not believe Neve Tirza is a safe place, physically or spiritually, for minors.
    As a citizen I am sorry my government is keeping these minors in a jail with serious criminals. We should find a better way to handle them.
    As a parent I pray that I will be able to teach my kids not only values but judgement. I pray that they will choose worthy adults, lay and religious leaders, to follow and that their teachers, rabbis and elected representatives will be worthy of their trust and loyalty.
    As a Jew I pray that we all merit to raise our kids to lives of good health and kiyum mitzvot and that we merit Rabbis and leaders who lead us through difficult times with wisdom, not false promises.

  13. A 14 year old in Israel is generally equivalent to a 20 year old in the States and probably even more than that from a spiritual viewpoint.
    We are all on the brink of death, which is as old as you can get so the girls are perfectly within their rights to make their own decisions in the political field where the decisions about their lives are being made, usually in the most undemocratic fashion.
    And besides, really, as a parent how do you stop them and why should you? I respect the parent’s choice – this could be a great life lesson for their children no matter what the outcome and they are not in any danger – they can always get out of jail if they get tired of it.
    We would never have reached this point if basic democratic prodcedures were kept. Keep that in mind.

  14. mominisrael says:

    According to this:
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/124972
    only three of the girls remain in jail.

  15. As a parent I pray that I will be able to teach my kids not only values but judgement. I pray that they will choose worthy adults, lay and religious leaders, to follow and that their teachers, rabbis and elected representatives will be worthy of their trust and loyalty.
    Unfortunately, what teenagers see today is elected representatives who dont care about the value system they learn at home. Corruption scandal after scandal. Capitulation instead of determination. Capitalistic greed over Love of the land.
    These teenagers will lead our country to better times, and these trials now will only strengthen their resolve.
    Let’s face it – what’s more exciting? Going to school and finishing bagruyot, or SAVING THE JEWISH PEOPLE AND THE LAND OF ISRAEL! WOW! Yes, tell that to the kids from Gush Katif. They saw very clearly what the value of “ezrachut” is, and how the State
    treated it’s most loyal citizens.
    They were fighting for their homes. Is that simply an “exciting” alternative to going to school?
    Now they have no homes.

  16. “Now they have no homes.”
    Yes, now they have no homes- so the right thing to do is simultaneously protest the horrible treatment they received, express anti-government feeldigs AND move on with their lives. That seems to be the mature reaction of most of the adults involved in that terrible story, because that’s what people have to do to keep their families healthy, thriving, intact and growing.
    Yes, I agree, I have to wonder why there are no adults involved in these protests- to me, that says whatever adults are involved are using these children. Sorry, I just don’t buy that this is the simply the “cause” of the children and we have to let them be- because otherwise, what? Otherwise they’ll hate their parents? Boo hoo.
    Someone is indoctrinating them into the cause. They didn’t just wake up to it one morning.
    And I understand about giving latitude to teens. But when their cause turns into something that could be harmful to them, than it is the parents job to step in and protect children from themselves. If an 18 year old wants to spend weeks in jail, that’s their right. But not a 14 year old’s.
    There are many legal ways to protest in this country, despite the paranoid rhetoric of some people’s comments here. Parents of children taken up with the cause need to encourage their children to engage in legal safe ways of expressing themselves.

  17. Abbi–
    “Sorry, I just don’t buy that this is the simply the “cause” of the children and we have to let them be- because otherwise, what? Otherwise they’ll hate their parents? Boo hoo.”
    If they hate their parents, then their parents lose all influence over them. If the kids have fallen, as you seem to think, under external extremist influences, that could be very dangerous. Even if they haven’t, they need parental guidance. Losing all control over your teen is serious.
    “Someone is indoctrinating them into the cause. They didn’t just wake up to it one morning.”
    They are very openly being taught that the land of Israel is of utmost importance, and that giving the land to our enemies goes against the Torah and endangers lives. IMO that’s teaching basic Torah values, not “indoctrination.”
    How they choose to implement those values is up to them. Only eight girls of the thousands and even tens of thousands raised with these beliefs have chosen to sit in jail for the past few weeks, so there’s hardly a widespread trend towards pushing teens to stay in jail.
    “Parents of children taken up with the cause need to encourage their children to engage in legal safe ways of expressing themselves.”
    Every movement that’s actually changed something involved elements of lawbreaking. These teens aren’t looking for ways to express themselves, they’re looking for ways to make a difference. Writing letters to the editor or going to government-approved protests won’t do that. Maybe building structures on hilltops won’t do it either, but they should at least be allowed to try.
    Also, as others have said, the girls are relatively safe. They have food and shelter. They are not being brutally beaten. They can leave whenever they want to. Yes, they are being pressured and humiliated, but IMO the feeling of being pressured and humiliated is probably no worse for them than the feeling of sitting at home and doing nothing. At least now they’ve gained a lot of media attention for the problem of abuse of police authority.

  18. Jameel–
    Sorry, I wasn’t trying to imply that no adults are getting involved. I realize that some events, such as certain major protests against the Disengagement and marches to Homesh, were well attended by adults as well as teens.
    Actually, I’m not so sure it’s a bad thing that adults have been avoiding protests recently. The protests don’t change much, IMO, and are basically just a way of letting off steam. After all, if 250,000 people called on Olmert to quit and nothing happened, what is 10,000 or even 50,000 protesting against plans to split Jerusalem going to do? Nothing. We need to find a new way to get our point across.
    The question is, are constant attempts to build and rebuild new yishuvim useful? If not, why don’t we discourage teens from doing it, and if they are, why aren’t more adults getting involved? Maybe adults are working in a different area, such as gaining public support or pressuring elected representatives, I don’t know.

  19. Most of the girls were released before the weekend.

  20. Jameel and everyone –
    (a) elected officials are not our only leaders, b”h, and their rotten behavior is no excuse to give up on the Medina as a Jewish value.
    (b) Certainly when presented with “nisyonot” a good Jewish reaction is to try and learn and grow while facing troubles bravely. That doesn’t mean these teenagers, or their parents, are making wise choices.
    (c) These teenagers may, or may not, grow up to be leaders. Certainly if they are going to lead anyone other than those who already follow them they will have to learn more about negotiation, compromise and other adult leadership skills. How I wish all the good were clearly on one side and all we had to do was follow the good guys in white to the happy ending. There is not any “yehareg v’al ya’avor” here that I can see.
    (d) As I said above, there is a big difference between the youth who fought to prevent the eviction from Gush Katif — who were part of a larger struggle in which many, many other people were involved, including their own parents, and youth and adults from other parts of the country — and a handful of teenagers acting apparently on their own.
    (e) the value of “ezrachut” is not determined solely by the policies of the present government so that “eviction from home = no value to good citizenship” is a false equation. Clearly there is much to be changed and improved in our country. This was true even before Oslo, imagine that, and the list keeps growing. Many Israelis I know try hard in ways large and small to be part of those needed changes and I believe that to be the best and most authentic Jewish response: keep trying. Giving up on ezrachut and screaming louder and louder about what we want, believe, demand: that’s a tantrum.

  21. mominisrael says:

    Ora wrote:
    Even if they haven’t, they need parental guidance. Losing all control over your teen is serious.
    If the parents are acting a certain way because they are afraid their children will hate them, they have already lost control.

  22. I was at a friend in avraham avinu neighberhood in chevron motzei shabbos.. he got a call and then says “want a ride home?” turns out orit struck needed a ride to the givat avot police station..
    What happend ? the kids here are building the giborim outpost between kiryat arba and chevron. As someone that walks down the road every friday night.. I litarraly tremble with fear!!
    A arab attacked one of the girls.. she tried defending herself.. the cops came and the arab claimed she hit him.. the girl was promptly arrested..
    Why should they have to identify and defend themself for such ludacris charges ?
    YES YES YES the adults failed!!!!!
    I went bankrupt in gush katif, my business closed down for 3 monthes, spent every penny I had and incurred thousands in debt…
    And I pound my chest all the time asking myself what more I could have done..
    So maybe you adults could pack some warm clothes and spend the night in chomesh without delegating that to us..

  23. Lion of Zion says:

    my impression as an outsider is that israeli kids grow up much quicker and are more mature than there american peers. for example, when i volunteered on kibbutz i could find myself working in dayyig with a forty year old boss or in the fields with a fifteen year old boss. and the first time we picked up a teenage hitchiker in the middle of the night i was amazed. when i was 15 i would have woken up my father and begged him to get me if i needed a ride at 2 am.
    also, your fire burns greater when young and simmers as you get older.
    so i would not surprised if these girls are where they are because they want to be there rather than because they are unwitting pawns.
    regarding “indoctrination,” we all indoctrinate our kids with the values we believe in.
    out of curiosity, is that outrage because of the age or the sex (or both) of the girls.

  24. The parents have gotten together and agreed that the girls would be “hurt” and would get the feeling that the parents “don’t agree with their decisions.”
    A parents job is to raise their children. Sometimes that means that you hurt their feelings because you disagree with their decisions.
    Abdicating that responsibility is negligent behavior.

  25. “They are very openly being taught that the land of Israel is of utmost importance, and that giving the land to our enemies goes against the Torah and endangers lives. IMO that’s teaching basic Torah values, not “indoctrination.””
    Ora, saying that giving land endangers lives treads a very fine line between basic Torah values and indoctrination. To me, it’s not clear-cut at all. Actually I think this belief is one of the biggest mistakes of the settler enterprise.
    Human life, including physical and mental welfare, is of utmost importance. Anything else, except for three big sins, of which giving away the land of Israel is not one of them, is secondary.
    And I’m wary of anyone who claims to know exactly what endangers human life according to the Torah, since no one has a direct hotline to Hashem.Saying that giving away land endangers human life is a “Torah Value” is dubious because it’s certainly not a widely accepted belief among Jews who live according to the Torah.
    “These teens aren’t looking for ways to express themselves, they’re looking for ways to make a difference.”
    The very saddest part is there is so much land that needs to be settled WITHIN Israel, (wide swaths of the Negev and Galil come to mind) there are so many problems WITHIN Israel that could use their energy and passion.
    But I guess it’s not as thrilling to set up an outpost in the Negev or to protest how the government ignores development towns or go on a hunger strike for Sderot. Certainly not as glamorous and exciting because it would probably involve less police “abuse” and less tv cameras.

  26. mominisrael says:

    Abbi, I agree with your point that the Torah is not clear-cut about many of these issues. I have no problem with parents “indoctrinating” children with their political views but it’s wrong to teach them that if they reject a particular political outlook they are rejecting the Torah.
    The concept that Israeli children are more mature than Americans is irrelevant. Why compare them to American children and not to Chinese, Nigerian, or Indian ones? When Israeli 14yos can buy liquor, cigarettes, vote and enlist in the army, let me know. When the mothers interviewed let their children get married at 14 because they want to support their choices, maybe I’ll change my mind.
    And the commenters arguing about the corruption, lawlessness and mind-control of the government and the judicial system are the same people who are convinced that a maximum-security prison, also run by government authorities, is a perfectly safe place for 14yo girls.
    LOZ, both age and sex. But because of the religious community’s attitude toward girls and the army, the reaction of the parents is even more astounding.

  27. Abbi,
    And what would be gained by settling in the negev ? just to populate land?
    There is a clear cut security link to yehuda and shomron.. ask the army why they have a base in chomesh..
    Ask moshe yaalon why there are rockets raining on gaza.
    Giving away land DOES endanger lives!!!! who’s indoctornating ?!?! every security expert that isnt in politix will tell you so!
    And yes besides for the obvius pikuach nefesh, there are laws in the torah regarding your borders.

  28. Abbi–
    You are right. I meant “basic Torah values” about the first part of the sentence. The idea that giving away land endangers lives is still basic, IMO, but that’s politics.
    What does the fact that there are other problems to address have to do with these girls? Kids in Yehuda and Shomron deal with the issues closest to them, just as kids in Sderot protest in Sderot and teens in Jerusalem volunteer in Jerusalem, etc. They see Yesha as being WITHIN Israel, so I doubt they see settling the Shomron as any less important than settling the Negev (which is a desert with few job opportunities, if you haven’t noticed. Settling the Negev will require serious government intervention and not just going to live there in caravans).
    Also: as teens they can’t settle the Negev and Galilee just yet, and hunger striking is at least as dangerous for a growing teen as sitting in jail. If they want to protest other issues as well good for them, but I see no reason to criticize them for choosing this particular issue and not another just as I think it’s OK that I mostly avoid Yesha issues in favor of doing what I can about the issues in my own area.
    mominisrael–
    I don’t think the parents are afraid their teens will hate them. If I recall correctly Abbi said that, not me and not the parents. I’m just thinking back to my own high school days, when the issues were fairly different. Parents who let their opinions be known but didn’t actually put their foot down over borderline harmful behavior generally kept much better connections with their teens than parents who put their foot down over relatively small issues. The second kind of parents often ended up with kids who were much more out of control. It wasn’t about fear of hatred, it was about letting kids take a certain amount of risks and even suffer the consequences as part of letting them grow up.
    “And the commenters arguing about the corruption, lawlessness and mind-control of the government and the judicial system are the same people who are convinced that a maximum-security prison, also run by government authorities, is a perfectly safe place for 14yo girls.”
    I haven’t been arguing over government “mind control,” and I don’t think anyone has said prison is “perfectly safe.” I’m sure these girls are being negatively affected by their experience, and the government has absolutely no cause to stick non-violent juvenile offenders in a high-security prison for adults. However, I do think that in this particular case prison falls somewhere in between “perfectly safe” and “get them out of there now,” in a grey area where parents are justified in letting the teens figure out for themselves what they plan to do next.

  29. “The concept that Israeli children are more mature than Americans is irrelevant. Why compare them to American children and not to Chinese, Nigerian, or Indian ones?”
    I assume that most of those commenting here are originally from the states, and are trying to compare the perspective they would have as an American to what they think as Israelis.
    “When the mothers interviewed let their children get married at 14 because they want to support their choices, maybe I’ll change my mind.”
    Sitting in prison is something that can be changed at any minute if the girls want to give ID. It won’t do them permanent physical harm. Comparing that to making the decision to get married (supposedly for life) and possibly go through pregnancy at age 14 is not reasonable, IMO. I would worry a lot more about my child going through divorce or childbirth at age 15, or choosing the wrong life partner, than I would about letting her sit in jail for her beliefs. Just because the parents wouldn’t let their teens make every decision for themselves right now doesn’t mean they shouldn’t let them make this particular decision.
    Personally I don’t think that Israeli teens are that different from teens elsewhere. As a teen in the states I was involved in activism and protests (even from age nine, actually) involving issues I thought were important. My parents didn’t tell me what to do or even suggest that I get involved, and there was no “indoctrination” from elsewhere. IMO certain teens are just idealistic. If they’d grown up elsewhere these girls might have been protesting with the leftist youth groups outside the Knesset yesterday, or working in animal shelters and telling people to spay and neuter their pets.

  30. “And what would be gained by settling in the negev ? just to populate land?”
    Elchonon- they would be fulfilling the mitzvah of yishuv ha’aretz, one that I heard was pretty central to people living in Yesha. And in an age where much of the world is questioning Israel’s very right to exist, “just populating the land” is actually pretty critical at this juncture.
    Ora, as for the technical logistics of this- why is setting up an outpost in the negev or the galil any more dangerous then setting up up on a hilltop in Yesh? There doesn’t seem to be any running water or electiricity let alone solid structures with rooftops at these outposts, no matter how close they are to existing yishuvim. I’m sure it can’t be that difficult to set up a new kibbutz type of community within proximity to many yishuvim in the galil or Omer, etc in the negev. But that would take planning, forethought, maybe even consultations with the gov’t- again, not very glamorous.
    More importantly, as to your comment about kids protesting about what is closest to them- I think this really speaks to the heart of the problem- I think many “hilltop” Yesha teens (I won’t speak for all yesha teens, because I really don’t know) feel isolated from the rest of medinat yisrael- in part, because of this indoctrination that yesha takes precedence over all. Again, I think this is very sad.
    Israel is not a huge country like the US. I would understand how teens in CA don’t give a fig about what’s happening to the homeless in Virginia. But that’s just not the case here. We’re all a matter of km from each other. So maybe it’s time for teens in Yesha to start caring about what’s happening in Sderot and the Galil (that goes for all of us, of course.) But particularly for these teens, because this particular mix of danger and futility is the ultimate waste.

  31. Abbi-
    The mitzva of yishuv haaretz applies in both the Galil and the Shomron. Why do you say that people should settle in the Galil over the Shomron, particularly in light of the unique security value of certain Shomron towns? For that matter, why should anyone live in the Negev instead of Tel Aviv? Both areas are in the land of Israel.
    Also, remember that we are talking about 14yo girls. They can’t leave their homes and schools in order to build a new city in the Negev just now. Building a few structures on a hilltop right near home is something they can do right now.
    I don’t see how the fact that teens are involved in one particular project says anything about whether or not they care about other issues. Who says they “don’t give a fig” about the homeless, or Holocaust survivors, etc, just because they are involved with something else?
    They do think that keeping control of Yosh has an impact on other areas, and I don’t think they’re wrong there. If they are right that a withdrawal from the Shomron would lead to rocket attacks on Kfar Saba and Tel Aviv, then they are helping the homeless, Holocaust survivors, single mothers, and all other Israelis living in the merkaz area by working to keep control of the Shomron.

  32. Just to clarify, I would support a parent who chose to ID their daughter and get her out. I just think it should be an individual choice based on the teen.

  33. Lion of Zion says:

    “If they were 16 or 17, you might have a point. But 14???”
    13 and 12 represent coming of age. people could be married by 14. i understand that this does not represent today’s general reality, but i think it shows that at one time at least, humans entered adulthood at a much earlier age. i think that even today we all know individual adolescents who are like mini-adults.
    also, the capacity for adolescents to make their own decisions and act on them becomes stronger under stressful situation. i mean really stressful, situation-altering situations, such as during the holocaust. many of us also know of individuals who made it through the war on their own durig adolescence. (and to those who might jump on me, i am NOT comparing the holocaust to disengagement, but this does not take away from the manner in which the latter completely altered the daily reality of these girls in a very negative manner).
    finally, these girls were raised from their infancy imbibing the fire of ahavat ha-aretz in their mothers’ milk. (call it indoctrination if you may, but we are all “indoctrinated.”)
    all this, together with my observation above that israeli children (particularly those raised in in ideological environments, whether settlements or kibbutzim) mature at a younger age, is really making me think these girls were acting on their own accord.

  34. LOZ- no one is saying that the girls didn’t act of their own accord and certainly at certain points in history, 14 year olds were capable of great responsibility. This does not mean that parents today need to take a completely hands-off approach when they feel their teen is doing something that could be harmful, for fear of alienating them.
    Ora, Yehuda and Shomron differ greatly from the Galil and Negev for the simple fact that the former don’t have final status borders and the latter do. And the bottom line that the majority of Israelis today agree on is that, sooner or later, a good chunk of Y’sh will be given back, except for the large settlement blocks. (Which is why I thought it was curious how you labeled these teens actions as “making a difference” rather than “expressing themselves”. These outposts couldn’t be farther from “making a difference” because the chances of these outposts amounting to anything more then a collection of crude tents and jerry cans is slim to none.)
    The settlers clearly had some success in attracting enough population to maintain the settlement blocs but setting up outposts will not make much of a difference in the long run with regard to how much we do or don’t give back.
    So, it’s a great exercise in expressing distress, but I don’t see how much of a real “difference” it’s going to make in the long run.
    Whereas, if these teens actually channeled their energy and passion into “settling” the Galil and Negev, or working towards greater social good throughout Israel, that actually would make a real difference, now and in the long run.
    I’m not saying the every Yesh teen doesn’t care about what’s going on outside their backyards. But my impression is that this ideology is so encompassing and the anger at the gov’t and the “left” (and probably anyone who doesn’t believe as they do) is so overwhelming, I doubt there is much room for caring about much else.

  35. mominisrael says:

    In case anyone missed it, all of the girls were released. The judge ruled that they don’t need to identify themselves in order to be released.
    Ora, you’re right that the part about children hating their parents came from Abbi, not you. The second part of that reply, about the safety of the government-operated jail, wasn’t directed at you.
    LOZ, I agree with Abbi’s first paragraph.
    The Holocaust was a matter of life or death. Having to grow up too fast has negative consequences in the long run (and some positive ones, of course, beyond mere survival). Even if the situation in Gush Katif caused children to grow up quickly, I don’t think it should be reinforced in this instance.

  36. Abbi: Yes, now they have no homes- so the right thing to do is simultaneously protest the horrible treatment they received, express anti-government feeldigs AND move on with their lives. That seems to be the mature reaction of most of the adults involved in that terrible story, because that’s what people have to do to keep their families healthy, thriving, intact and growing.
    It’s far from simle to just saym “get on with your lives”, when people have lost their homes, jobs, communities and have next to nothing.
    This is *seriously* the situation for many; I helped pack a family up in Gush Katif, and the majority of their stuff was ruined in storage. The “caravillas” are shanty towns. People who used to have property and jobs now have nothing.
    To give them mussar that they should just be “mature adults” about it is rather unfair…perhaps even a bit callous?

  37. sheesh – haloscan really mangled my comment above. It should read:
    It’s far from simple to just say “get on with your lives”, when people have lost their homes, jobs, communities and have next to nothing.

  38. Jameel- I wasn’t “ordering” pple to get on with there lives or giving them mussar, I was describing how most pple are getting on with there lives- because when you have a family and particularly when you have small children, you don’t have much choice in the matter. Kids need a stable home, food on the table and school. So, though I recognize that it’s tragic to lose your home and it’s even worse if the gov’t is being crappy about it, you still have to do something about it, for the sake of your children.
    Which is why you probably don’t see masses of adults from the West Bank or Gush Katif at these outpost building sessions- they’re too busy getting on with there lives.

  39. Lion in Zion says:
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