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.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    Retreat Gives Young Artists New Platform to Engage With Jewish Ideas

    JNS.org – Many young Jewish artists struggle to define who they are personally, artistically, and religiously. Against the backdrop of that struggle, the recent Asylum Arts International Jewish Artists Retreat provided a space for some 70 young Jewish artists to explore Jewish ideas, to build community and a culture of reciprocity, and to learn skills to assist their career development. “We are trying to encourage and excite people to engage in Jewish themes,” says Rebecca Guber, director of Asylum Arts. [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Literature Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    Darren Aronofsky Adds Psychological Depth, Little Else to ‘Noah’

    JNS.org – Has the era of large-scale biblical epics returned? Not since “The Ten Commandments” has there been so much torrential water on the big screen (not counting weather-related disaster films such as “The Impossible”) than in “Noah,” the latest blockbuster from writer and director Darren Aronofsky. “Noah” takes the traditional tale and splices it in an eco-friendly and psychologically driven plot. After Adam and Eve got booted out of the Garden of Eden and after Cain killed Abel, mankind [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.