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...

  • Blogs Sports Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    Two Decades Before Cleveland’s First NBA Title, LeBron James Walked Onto a JCC Court

    JNS.org – The seed for the city of Cleveland’s first professional championship in a major sport in 52 years may have been planted at the Shaw Jewish Community Center on White Pond Drive in Akron, Ohio, nearly 20 years ago. That’s when a tall, lanky kid from Akron named LeBron James walked onto the hardwood court and changed the game of basketball forever. Coach Keith Dambrot, now the head basketball coach at the University of Akron, conducted those sessions that attracted […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    North American Studios Look to Israel for Next Animation Hit

    JNS.org – In 2008, Yoram Honig was a producer and director living in Jerusalem, fresh off his first international hit, when the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) came to him with a challenge: build a film industry from scratch in Israel’s capital. “When we started here, was nothing in Jerusalem,” he said during an interview in his office in the Talbiya neighborhood. Now, the Jerusalem Film and Television Fund, which Honig heads as an arm of the JDA, pumps 9 million shekels […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic Gold Medalist Gabby Douglas to Wear Leotard With Hebrew Letters in National Competition

    Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas will wear a leotard bearing Hebrew lettering when she competes at the P&G Gymnastics Championships over the weekend. Douglas’ Swarovski-outlined outfit will feature the Hebrew word “Elohim,” meaning God, on its left sleeve. The Hebrew detailing honors the athlete’s “rich heritage of faith,” according to apparel manufacturer GK Elite, which produced the leotard and released a preview of it on Wednesday. The company said Douglas’ sister, Joyelle “Joy” Douglas, created the Hebrew design. The outcome of the P&G Championships will help […]

    Read more →
  • Europe Sports British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    British World Heavyweight Champion Should Be Banned From Boxing for Sounding Like Hitler, Says Ukrainian Competitor

    Britain’s world heavyweight champion, Taylor Fury, should be banned from boxing for making Nazi-like comments, a former world champion from the Ukraine said on Thursday, ahead of their upcoming match. “I was in shock at his statements about women, the gay community, and when he got to the Jewish people, he sounded like Hitler,” Wladimir Klitschko told British media, according to Reuters. “We cannot have a champion like that. Either he needs to be shut up or shut down in the ring, or […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Shows Cooking Skills and Humor on Chopped

    Rabbi Hanoch Hecht just made television history; but, unfortunately, he couldn’t have his rugelach and eat it too. Hecht became the first rabbi to compete on the hit show “Chopped,” where contestants are forced to use four random ingredients in their recipes, and have 20-30 minutes to create an appetizer, a main course and a dessert. A contestant is eliminated after each round. Hecht, 32, said that while the dishes and utensils were new, the kitchen was not kosher, so he couldn’t taste […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Music Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox Entertainer Stars in Pepsi Max Commercial as New Face of Company’s Israel Campaign (VIDEO)

    Orthodox singer and entertainer Lipa Schmeltzer is starring in a new Pepsi Max commercial for the company’s campaign in Israel. The commercial begins with a bunch of Jewish men eating at a restaurant, when Schmeltzer walks in and tries to decide what to order. An employee at the obviously Israeli eatery offers him a variety of foods, but the entertainer in the end decides on a bottle of Pepsi. Everyone in the restaurant then joins him, drinking Pepsi Max and dancing to […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Book Reviews Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    Jewish Author’s ‘Messy’ Draft Transforms Into Rock Star Novel on Amazon

    JNS.org – “Writing is a messy process,” says author Elizabeth Poliner. “People who don’t write fiction would be surprised to see what early drafts could look like.” But readers wouldn’t know “what a mess it was for the longest time,” as the Jewish author puts it, when reading Poliner’s critically acclaimed latest book, As Close to Us as Breathing. The volume garnered Amazon’s “Best Book” designation in March 2016 as well as rave reviews from the New York Times,W Magazine, NPR, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    Sundance Tour Features Short Film About Elderly Jewish Woman’s Decision to Eat Bacon for First Time

    The Sundance Film Festival Short Film Tour, which started on Friday in New York City, features a mini-documentary about an elderly Jewish woman whose journey away from Orthodoxy leads her to taste forbidden food for the first time in her life. In Canadian director Sol Friedman’s Bacon & God’s Wrath, Razie Brownstone talks about ending her lifelong observance of keeping kosher as her 90th birthday approaches. The recently declared atheist said the discovery of the search engine Google spurred a lapse in her Jewish faith and made her decide to […]

    Read more →