There are group trips and then some. What I find remarkable about this trip to Binyamin is that:
1: It was organized practically overnight bringing all kinds of people together thru social media.
2:The groups visited the park Oz V’ Gaon.(See Below) That park is an eye-opener, how in a short time so much can be accomplished with volunteer labor. The members of the 3 buses had that opportunity to tour the park and learn of their many activities. However, the park is not easy to reach without a car. There are buses and soon (B’H) families will be able to camp overnight and enjoy a special treat.
3:No-one got lost or left behind. I was a bit amazed that there was not a master list at the bus-stop when we embarked. No one was asked to show I.D.
4.Similarly, when we entered the bus back to Jerusalem the group was divided, leaving a group to visit Oz V’ Gaon and a second bus left early for Jerusalem. I was on that bus. That bus was very empty. I noticed a young fellow in front of me listening to his cell phone. He was definitely not at the wine tasting at Psagot getting sloshed and was not on our bus from jerusalem. So where did he come from?
He explained that he was part of a Yeshivah from Ashdod that had just moved kit and caboodle to Efrat. I replied, “So you were strolling around the neighborhood and sighted the bus and decided to hop on?” “Yes” was his reply. He basically hitched a ride. Nothing wrong, but this indicates that security was loose, or perhaps I am overlooking cameras focused on faces from above.
5.About Psagot winery-background and wine choices. Information below is abstracted from; https://kosherwinemusings.com/2011/12/02/psagot-winery-a-stunning-winery-on-the-peaks-of-the-binyamina-mountains/
The community settlement of Psagot is located on the peaks of the Benjamin Region Mountains, 900 meters above sea level, east of the city of Ramallah, overlooking thWadi Kelt basin, the Jericho Valley, the Dead Sea and the Edomite Mountains. The literal translation for the word Psagot, is Peaks.
In 1998, Naama and Yaakov Berg planted the winery’s first vineyard, 18 dunam of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. In the first year, the Bergs sold their grapes to Binyamina. In 2002, they decided to make a go of it, thereby establishing the Psagot Winery, named for the settlement upon which the vineyards, and winery are located. Soon thereafter, in 2005, the winery added on another 22 dunam of vineyards, with a varied group of varietals, along with the normal mainstays. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay are the usual suspect, with Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, Viognier, and Shiraz adding to the mix.
In addition to a modern barrel cellar, some of the oak barriques are stored in a cave dating back to the Second Temple era. When the owners investigated the cave a gold coin was found, which proclaimed Binyamina’s fight for freedom.
Also, while the settlement was laying a road near the vineyard, Berg says, “we found a little hole in the ground. If was full of mud and rocks and stones. … So we dug for more than a month by hand and we found a lot of things, including a lot of coins, and at end we found a wine-press from the time of the Second Temple.” Today, this cave serves as a large wine barrel cellar next to impressive stainless steel tanks and other winemaking equipment. The cave’s cooling system rarely needs to be activated, as the naturally cool conditions preserve the constant temperature, which during the winter does not go below 54 degrees, and during the summer does not rise above 64 degrees. The natural humidity stands at 90%.
The winery’s vineyards are all planted on rocky limestone, Terra Rosa soil. The vine’s yields are kept low, to about 600 kilos per dunam. The vines are terraced upon the mountainside, but the close proximity to the winery makes up for the difficulty of harvesting. The vineyard’s 900 meter altitude allows the vines to cool down significantly in the evening, thereby concentrating the sugar flavors that are created in a far slower manner than if they were in the valley. The entire harvest is very reminiscent of how Ella Valley Winery does its harvesting, by picking during the early morning, and being close to its winery, thereby assuring the highest quality product from the grapes they source.
With that backdrop, we return to the present day, a lovely morning in the early spring of this year, as we follow Josh Hexter, the wine maker of Psagot to the winery. The winery is situated over the proverbial “green line”, so to get there we went through a large checkpoint. Josh was very kind to navigate us to the winery, we joined up with him in Jerusalem, and we followed him through the checkpoint, and to the lovely winery overlooking the Edomite Mountains.
The winery’s top wine is a Bordeaux blend named Edom. Regular varietal wines are produced in the Psagot series and there is also a Port-style wine. In 2007 and 2008, the winery produced 65,000 bottles annually. In 2010, the winery produced 80,000 bottles of wine a year, the majority for export. By 2015, the number produced had grown to 250,000 bottles per year, of which 65% are exported. Palestinian Arabs and Israeli Jews work there side by side, creating an island of co-existence in sea of mistrust. The American evangelical Christian organization HaYovel has sent volunteers to tend and harvest Psagot Winery’s vineyards. Berg says calls to boycott his wines have only increased demand. The winery has developed into “a favourite destination” for right-wing Israeli and American politicians. Other wineries exist around Psagot, and the Yesha Council hopes to make them a tourist attraction.
2008 Psagot Edom (80% Cabernet, 11% Petite Verdot, 4% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, 13 months in 50/50 oak) – Score: A-
The nose on this purple to black colored wine, is rich and smoky with plum, blackberry, cassis, chocolate, raisin, rich cedar, vanilla, and leafy tobacco. The mouth on this rich and full bodied wine is concentrated and layered with plum, cassis, blackberry, mouth coating tannin, along with an inky attack of rich cedar and black fruit. The mid palate flows from the mouth, with chocolate, acid, rich cedar, nice tannin, and tobacco. The finish is long and luscious, with still gripping tannin, rich dark chocolate, tobacco, cedar, and lovely crushed mint and herbs rise on the finish.
2007 Psagot Cabernet Sauvignon (13 months in new oak) – Score: B++ to A-
The nose on this garnet to purple colored wine has smoky notes, crushed herbs, plum, cassis, oak, vanilla, raisin, tobacco, and chocolate. The mouth on this medium to full bodied wine has plum, cassis, currant, nice tannin, chocolate, and raisin. The mid palate is balanced with acid, chocolate, oak, raisin, and tobacco. The finish is super long and spicy, with rich raisin, nice tannin, chocolate, oak, tobacco, and vanilla. Raisin, nice tannin, and tobacco linger long on the palate.
2008 Psagot Cabernet Franc (13 months in 30/70 oak) – Score: A-
The nose on this garnet colored wine is crazy rich with floral notes, green notes, mint, raspberry, currant, dark cherry, oak, and light chocolate. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich with super ripe raspberry, fresh green herbs, plum, cherry, and floral notes. The mid palate is balanced with nice acid, chocolate, and still gripping tannin. The finish is long and spicy with chocolate, nice tannin, and lingers with vanilla, raspberry, and hints of smoke and tobacco. This is a wine that lives up to its varietal type, and makes it unique and enjoyable.
2008 Psagot Shiraz (12 months in 60/40 oak) – Score: A-
The nose on this purple to black colored wine is super rich and extracted with raisin, plum, blackberry, cassis, rich espresso coffee, tar, pencil, loamy dirt and bramble. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich, layered, concentrated, and inky, with tar, blackberry, cassis, and cheese flavors. The mid palate is rich with acid, chocolate, more gripping tannin, tar, and raisin. The finish is long and super spicy, with chocolate, tar, blackberry, and lingers with tar, raisin, and vanilla. This is a super rich and spicy Shiraz, with rich layers and oak extraction.
2010 Psagot Chardonnay (5 months in new oak) – Score: B+
The nose on this light gold colored wine is a bright and round with kiwi, guava, melon, grapefruit, aromatic white peach, hint of oak, vanilla, and orange peel. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is rich with guava, melon, white peach, kiwi, and grapefruit. The mid palate is balanced with bright acid, orange peel, and oak. The finish is long and tart with white summer fruit, kiwi, melon, and oak. The wine lingers long with grapefruit, kiwi, with a hint of orange peel, tart and bright fruit.
2009 Psagot Edom (61% Cabernet, 17% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot and 7% Petite Verdot) – Score: A-
The nose on this dark garnet colored wine is aromatic with crushed herbs, bramble, blackberry, cassis, plum, oak, asphalt tar, and light chocolate. The mouth on this full bodied wine is rich and layered with rich asphalt tar, crushed herbs, raspberry, currant, blackberry, and gripping tannin. The mid palate is balanced with acid, asphalt/rocks, chocolate, raspberry, and more nice tannin. The finish is super long with raisin, raspberry, chocolate, rich spice, tar, oak, currant, and vanilla.
2009 Psagot Cabernet Franc – Score: A-
The nose on this garnet colored wine is rich with crushed herbs, floral notes, violet, rose, raspberry, cherry, red plum, light chocolate, coffee, and vanilla. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is layered with rich violet petals, rich black cherry, ripe raspberry, plum, and nice mouth coating tannin. The mid palate is bright with acid, black cherry, nice tannin, floral notes, and bramble. The finish is long and rich with nice tannin, rose, oak, black cherry, coffee, and chocolate.
6.Rabbi Riskin, Caroline Glick and Efrat Mayor, Oded Revivi spoke to the group. Rabbi Riskin spoke about the history of Efrat.
Kfar Etzion is a group of four settlements established on the strategic route between Hebron and Jerusalem, right in the middle of Arab inhabited territory. It had 400 inhabitants at the end of 1947. After the adoption of U.N. Resolution 181(II), which called for partition, it was the object of Arab attacks. Ben-Gurion reinforced it on 7 December, protecting it with a Palmach division, but on 8 January, he authorized the evacuation of the women and children of the settlements.
After 26 March, the last date on which a supply convoy successfully reached it, despite heavy losses of life, the defenders were completely isolated.
7. Relationship between the fall of Gush Etzion and the proclamation of a Jewish State on May 14th:
On 12 May, Arab Legion units started to attack the settlements. The motivations advanced include their desire to protect one of their last supply convoys before the embargo took effect, which had to travel down the road by Kfar Etzion. Another theory is that the block of settlements obstructed the deployment of the Legion in the area around Hebron, whose attack was one of Jordanian King Abdullah’s principal objectives.
External defenses fell quickly, and, on 13 May, the first kibbutz was captured, and those who were taken prisoner were massacred; only four survived. Of the 131 defenders, 127, including 21 women, were killed, or massacred after they surrendered.] The other three establishments surrendered, and the kibbutzim were first plundered, then razed to the ground. In March 1949 320 prisoners from the Etzion settlements were released from the “Jordan POW camp at Mafrak”, including 85 women.
The events that took place at Kfar Etzion made apparent the limitations of the policy prohibiting evacuation. Although it was effective during civil war, when facing militias, isolated Jewish settlements could not resist the firepower of a regular army, and an evacuation could have made it possible to avoid the captivity or death of those who defended the settlements.
According to Yoav Gelber, the fall and massacre of Kfar Etzion influenced Ben-Gurion’s decision to engage the Arab Legion on its way to Jerusalem, although the Haganah General Staff were divided about whether the Legion should be challenged inside Jerusalem itself as such a move could harm the Jews in the city. Ben-Gurion left the final decision to his staff member, Shaltiel. The battle for Jerusalem was thus set in motion.
On 14 May 1948, David Ben-Gurion, on behalf of the Jewish leadership, declared the establishment of a Jewish state in Eretz Israel, to be known as the State of Israel.
Rabbi Riskin pointed out that this declaration was promulgated a day after Kfar Etzion fell. He explained that is why the Memorial to the Fallen is commemorated on May 13th.
Ben-Gurion received the sad news of the decimation of the Kfar Etzion bloc at the time discussion was taking place regarding the proclamation’s wording. Rabbi Riskin described the moment. Arose the question of G-d’s role in the State’s establishment. Mercifully – almost miraculously – the argument lasted only two hours, with Ben-Gurion mediating a debate on the issue of whether to refer to G-d as the “G-d of Israel”, “the Almighty and Redeemer of Israel” or whether to ignore Him altogether. Ben-Gurion, an atheist socialist, proposed the phrase “Rock of Israel” – and succeeded, making one faction believe it referred to G-d while convincing the other that it didn’t.
8:Many reservists were on the trip and some were wearing an amazing winter jacket; here’s the link if you are interested in contributing to the IDF: http://www.stogether.org/5-things-can-idf-soldiers-right-now/
Weather and Waterproof IDF Jacket Campaign
The Standing Together jackets are both warm and waterproof. The inner lining is fleece while the external side of the jacket is made of special waterproof material. These jackets are a favorite with infantry units who spend most of their time outdoors. The cost of a jacket is $60 per soldier and we have requests for over 1,000 of these jackets from different units.
Original invitation to the trip follows:
חיזוק יהודה ושומרון
יהודי בשם יוסף וואקס יזם, בתגובה לנאום ג’ון קרי וההצבעה באו”ם, תמיכה ספונטאנית ביהודה ושומרון.
שלח בפייסבוק קריאה לציבור להצטרף אליו ליום של תמיכה ביהודה ושומרון
למרות הארגון של הרגע האחרון כבר התמלאו כמה וכמה אוטובוסים
הם יוצאים בעשר בבוקר מגן העצמאות – משם לפסגות- ואז לאפרת ואז לעוז וגאו”ן ומסיימים בכותל
ההודעה המפורטת מצורפת למטה
נקבל את פני הקבוצה בעוז וגאו”ן בשעה 14:30- כולם מוזמנים להצטרף
יהודית קצובר ונדיה מטר
TODAY! STRENGTHENING JUDEA AND SAMARIA
Apologies for this very last-minute email…
We got this late last night from our friend Ari Fuld who has joined Joseph Waks, the organizer of this exciting trip to strengthen Judea and Samaria
You are invited to join… for contact see below
Kol hakavod to the organizers- see you at around 2:00-2:30 in Oz veGaon
Yehudit Katsover and Nadia Matar
From: Ari Fuld
Sent: Sunday, January 01, 2017 6:35 PM
To: Nadia Matar
Subject: Sternghtening Judea and Samaria
In reaction to the Obama’s administration’s defining Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria as illegal, Joseph Waks has launched a Judea and Samaria support outing.
We will be leaving 10:00 AM from Liberty Bell park in Jerusalem and making it over to the majestic hills of Psagot where we will be tasting wine from the local winery and hear from Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York.
We will then travel towards Gush Etzion and have lunch in the hills of the Efrat town at 1:00 PM together with Rabbi Riskin and Efrat Mayor, Oded Revivi.
At 2:00 Pm we will be traveling towards the Gush Etzion junction and stop by the location where the 3 boys (Eyal Yifrach, Naftali Fraenkel and Gilaad Shaar) were kidnapped as well as where Ezra Schwartz was murdered and hear a short speech in their memory..
At 2:30 we will drive up to Oz Vgaon, a new area built and cultivated in memory of the 3 boys, and hear from Nadia Matar, Nadia will explain how we react to terror and why Judea and Samaria are an integral part of who we are as the Jewish nation.
We will be finishing off the trip at the Western Wall to witness the swearing in of Israel’s heroes, IDF soldiers.
Join us in clearly answering those who challenge our birthright to the Land of Israel.
Transportation is paid for as well as lunch.
Monday 2nd January: An International Day Of Support In Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem
After the UN and John Kerry’s outrageous statements about Israel a group of mates from around the world came to Israel to show support our to these communities. we have chartered a ton of armored buses, with security details etc (as many as needed, the more the merrier) to travel and meet families communities and local officials etc. We have live music with us and The press will tag along. Let’s send a strong message, we stand with israel! Oh and it’s ALL FREE! Please spread the love, these communities will love it and appreciate it and were sending a strong message to the world!
10:00 am SHARP!!!- Buses depart from the Liberty Bell Park Parking Lot, Jerusalem (across from the first train station).
11:00 – 12:00 Psagot – wine tasting etc!!! Get the day started right,
1:00 pm Efrat – lunch with Rabbi Riskin and the mayor
(Eat lunch in Efrat on the look out (View of the entire area) פארק חורשה בזית
2:00 Gush Etzion. Ezra schwartz and 3 boys.
2:30 Ezra Oz Vegaon
3:30 The Kotel (The Western Wall) joined by representatives from Jerusalem’s municipality. nissim, mayor, rabbi
4:00 p.m. Optional return to Liberty Bell Parking Lot
Assistant Director Standing Together