Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Widow of Hamas Terror Victim Keeps Farm Running in Hebron (VIDEO)

September 12, 2013 6:44 am 2 comments

Dalia Har Sinai. Photo: Tzuriel Cohen-Arazi / Tazpit News Agency.

Dalia Har Sinai is not your typical grandmother. She is the woman behind the operation of the Har Sinai Farm in Susiya, located in the south Hebron hills, where she and her family have resided for the past 30 years. Har Sinai single-handedly manages the flour mill, dairy farm, and the herd of sheep and goats.

Since her husband Yair was killed by Hamas terrorists as he was grazing their flock of sheep 12 years ago, Dalia has had to struggle to keep the farm operational with the assistance of a hired shepherd, her family, and volunteers.

Dalia and her husband Yair, both originally from agricultural communities in the Hefer Valley region, near Netanya, moved to the arid desert region of Susiya with their four children in 1984 after they became religious.

“When we started here, it was really a question of survival,” Har Sinai said in an exclusive interview with Tazpit News Agency last week.

At that time, there were only 10 families living in Susiya according to Har Sinai. “But we were the only farmers among the residents. The land was barren – this was state land that had been captured from Jordan during 1967,” said Har Sinai.

The Har Sinais had plenty of experience with agriculture prior to moving to Susiya. In Emek Hefer, they ran a dairy farm and later spent four months in the United States learning about organic farming from American farmers. The couple began implementing organic farming methods in Susiya as well, growing grapes, olives, and wheat with organic farming and environmentally-friendly techniques.

In addition, Yair began to get to know the local Arab villagers and learned some Arabic. He developed friendships with some of the Arabs and learned how to tend a flock, purchasing his first ten sheep from local Arabs.

Dalia describes her husband as a peaceful man, who believed that strength was in spirit and not in force. “When Yair became the first Jewish shepherd in Judea and Samaria, he didn’t want any problems with the Arabs in the area. He never resorted to force or violence and did not carry arms while he watched the flock.”

Economically, the life of a farmer and shepherd was not an easy one. “The beginning was very hard,” says Har Sinai. “The local Arabs that Yair befriended didn’t believe that he would succeed with the flock – the weather conditions were tough with summers very hot, and winters very cold – but Yair’s persistence paid off.”

With her husband working with the sheep, Dalia was also busy. “I had my own flock to tend to – our nine children,” she says with a smile.

But all that changed on July 2, 2001, when Dalia’s husband left home early in the morning to graze the flock in the fields nearby. He was met by Hamas terrorists who claimed they wanted to purchase some sheep. Instead, they murdered him.

It was clear to Dalia that even after her husband’s death, she would continue to run the farm.

“I wouldn’t allow this tragedy to end our lifetime’s work together,” she explains. “Yair was so loyal to this land – he showed that whoever survives this region is the true victor. If I didn’t continue with this farm, who knows what would happen to our thousands of empty dunams of land here.”

Today, Dalia sells the organic cheeses, milk, olives, and whole wheat that her farm produces. Every week, she goes door to door and markets the farm’s products to customers in Beer Sheva.

Opposed to technology and mechanization – Har Sinai doesn’t own a cellphone, TV, nor a computer and her home doesn’t have Internet access –  the grandmother does not trust the media. “The media is a monster that holds us in a terrible place,” she says.

However, with regards to her youngest son, David, 14, Har Sinai feels that she has failed. “I let him get a smartphone this year,” Dalia says, as David finishes seasoning the fresh goat cheese with za’atar that his mother will sell in Beer Sheva the next day.

For Har Sinai, the greatest joy is seeing her farm still running despite all the hardships. “My great satisfaction is when I wake up every morning and see that our farm still exists.” With more than 1,000 volunteers that have come to help out the farm over the years, Har Sinai also appreciates being able to share her way of life with others.

“Working the land and leaving behind the iPhone, gives a different kind of appreciation for life,” says Dalia. “Farming is something that everyone should have a chance to experience at some point in their lifetime.”

Watch a video about Dalia Har Sinai below.

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →