Hilltop youth outpost in Samaria entirely populated by girls

In the only hilltop outpost of its kind, eight girls have taken to pioneering living in Samaria.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

‘Hilltop Youth’ is a term that usually brings to mind young, deeply religious men. Sometimes they clash with Israeli authorities as the outposts they set up aren’t built with approval. But one outpost breaks from the mold in at least one important respect – it’s made up only of girls.

Maoz Esther, (or “Esther Stronghold”) is a small outpost in the middle of Samaria in the hills of the Binyamin region.

Eight girls, ages 13-19, who left their homes and schools live there in a plywood home which they built themselves.

Efrat Atia, 16, tells Carmel Dangor of Channel 11 News: “I left [school] in order to invest my life now in what is needed. Now I am a soldier. Where am I needed? On a hilltop? Fine. So I leave and go to the hilltop.”

Atia says friends, teachers and parents were against the idea. They ridiculed their attempt, saying they’d be back in school in a matter of months.

They’ve already proven the naysayers wrong. Some of the girls have lived there for a year, others already two years.

The conditions are relatively good, Atia says, noting that they have running water which isn’t always the case. They have a bathroom and showers, which they didn’t six months ago.

They don’t yet have electricity but they do have a solar charger.

The girls live a few kilometers from a Bedouin village but none of the Bedouin have approached their outpost. Atia says the reason is that it’s Jewish territory and the Bedouins understand that.

“I’m aware that in principle there could be an attack here, but we’re in a war here for the land, and in a war as in war you have wounded. This is the mission now,” said Shalhevet Goldstein, 16.

The girls see themselves as part of a historic process to take back the Land of Israel for the Jews.

“If tomorrow in the morning they’ll apply sovereignty on Maoz Esther, we’ll advance to the next hill.” Goldstein said.

“And if they apply sovereignty to the next hill, and on all of Judea and Samaria, we’ll go forward. There are two banks to the Jordan River. And if [there’s sovereignty] on the two banks of the Jordan, then we’ll advance to the entire Land of Israel,” Goldstein said.