February 25, 2016

Spotlight on Israel: Aviela Dietch

Aryeh Lande ‘17

Last issue, The Flame looked closely at the far left of the Israeli political spectrum. This issue, we journey to the opposite end of the spectrum. Enter: Aviela Dietch.
Dietch, a mother of six, made Aliyah at age 20. Today, she lives on Migron, a community north of Jerusalem beyond the Green Line in the West Bank, which has a history of battling pro-Palestinian lobbying groups in the courts of Israel. Some would refer to Dietch, a Wisconsin native, as a settler, but she sees herself differently. She feels that Israel is the land of the Jews and it is within her rights and is even her duty to live where she does.
Growing up, Dietch was exposed to a very pro-Israel environment. Her family spoke about Israel fondly and her father was a supporter of the eccentric and infamously right wing Rav Meir Kahane. They did not, however, visit Israel in her childhood and Dietch, therefore, did not experience the country directly until the end of high school.
When she finally visited, she immediately fell in love. After studying at the University of Minnesota, Dietch made Aliyah. Originally, Dietch and her husband settled in a large, established community, but after some time disputes caused the family to move elsewhere. They chose to live in the relatively new Migron that was appealingly smaller. Also, Dietch believed she had the opportunity to be part of founding a community and shaping her future, so she became active in creating the settlement. Today, there are about 50 families living in the community.
The history of Migron is fascinating in itself. It was founded in 1999 after an archaeological dig brought people to the area and it slowly grew over time. In 2006, though, the government discreetly settled a highly-disputed court case and razed settlers´ houses in the middle of the night, because they were allegedly on Palestinian land.
“In 2006, a lawsuit was filed by Peace Now against Migron,” Dietch said. “[They] found the Jordanian land registries from 1960 and 1962 and called some of the traceable families from those parcels. Peace Now informed the [Palestinian] plaintiffs they were actually landowners of these pieces of land about which they hadn’t been informed before.
“In short, the plaintiffs, by straight legal grounds, had about as much claim to the land on which Migron sat as I would to a plot in Idaho, had my great grandfather signed up for a wagon train to the West, but missed the ride.”
It is important to note that, according to Haaretz, a well-known center-left Israeli newspaper, the buildings lacked the proper building permits needed and so they were technically illegal. In addition, Haaretz reports that government employees exploited their power to give subsidies to the people of Migron for building infrastructure. These latter claims, however, were disputed and never prosecuted as a result of a lack of evidence.
The result of this legal action was the forcible removal of houses, people and even government-subsidized infrastructure. As a result Dietch, resents the current government.
She feels as if her community had been betrayed, since Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed to be pro-settlements. However, his administration evicted the residents from their purportedly legal housing.
Nevertheless, Dietch loves Israel. She treasures the Jewish State and cares deeply about it. Although she has her differences with the government, she continues to support the nation itself. Soon her son will be enlisted in the military, showing how committed she and her family are to the State of Israel.
Remarkably, despite the tensions, Dietch and her community have a good relationship with the Arabs and Palestinians in their neighborhood. Unfortunately, she does point out that outside forces have managed to stir trouble, but locally everything is largely peaceful. Dietch  continues to live in Israel, because she believes it is her duty to hold her head high and proclaim that Israel will remain a Jewish State. Through her presence in the West Bank, she believes she is staking her claim in the land and, through her actions, she molds Israel into a land her children can love.
Dietch truly embodies Zionism. Just like the previously-featured Jewish Voice for Peace activist, Ilana Rossoff, Dietch is devoted to making Israel a better place in her own way.

Instagram Feed

Twitter Feed