Yom Hautzma'ot 5762 - Beit Shemesh Tiyul to Yishuv Elon Moreh.


                                                    By Moshe Burt



At 10:30 AM, a full bus of Beit Shemesh/Ramat Beit Shemesh residents set out for a Yom Hautzma'ot Tiyul to Yishuv Elon Moreh.  The Community of Elon Moreh commemorated Independence Day by breaking ground for a new cultural center.


I know about Elon Moreh from reading about the many marches of Gush Emunim in the late 1970s under the leadership of Rabbi Moshe Levinger.  Many times, in those days, I would see the captions under the pictures in the Jerusalem Post Overseas Edition indicating that Rabbi Levinger was leading a long procession of marchers in a walk to Elon Moreh.


Elon Moreh is mentioned a number of times in Chumash.  The most prominent mention of Elon Moreh is that regarding Avram's initial entry into Eretz Yisrael.    He entered and camped at Elon Moreh and continued on until Shechem. 


Elon Moreh is one of theYishivim in the block which includes Kedumim, Shavei Shomron, Homesh, Ithamar, Har Bracha, etc.  It is in the area where we find Har Grizzim and Har Eival where the Brachot and Klalot were pronounced  to B'nai Yisrael upon their entry into Eretz Yisrael.


I remembered the stories which I had heard while residing in Shavei Shomron for Ulpan.   I was told that they made numerous attempts to establish a Yishuv at the Sebastia Train Station.  Each time, they were rebuffed by the Government.  Finally, they were given a different tract of land where they established Yishuv Shavei Shomron.  The residents of Shavei Shomron are still spiritually connected to Sebastia and travel there to celebrate in good times and to pray there in trying times.    While I resided in Shavei Shomron, we went there to celebrate Yom Hautzma'ot and davened Ma'ariv, say Hallel, dance and wave the flag.


Most recently, this year on Motzi Pesach Rishon (the first night of Chol HaMo'ed), Arabs invaded a home in Elon Moreh killing 4 members of Mishpocha Gavish and leaving 6 others wounded.


We traveled to Rosh Ha Ayin where we picked up the Trans-Shomron Highway toward the town of Ariel.  We stopped at a gas station on the outskirts of Ariel where one of the autos in our procession  gassed up.  We left Ariel and proceeded along the Shomron autobus route passing the Tapuach Junction   Tapuach Junction has also been the scene of many pigu'im (terrorist attacks) over the past 18 months.


As we proceeded through the Shomron, we stopped at an IDF encampment established during the current hostilities.  This camp had a number of lines of tanks.  I'm guessing that there were approximately 30 tanks at that location.   Some people left the bus to dispense cookies to the soldiers.



We also stopped at a checkpoint just outside Elon Moreh near Har Eival.  A number of us popped out of the bus to greet and shake hands with soldiers.  Here we saw more taanks and bulldozers.


We arrived at Elon Moreh at 12:30 PM and proceeded to the Matnas (Mercaz Peace Kehilloti -- Community Center) where there was a recreation area with many children's activities outside including an electronic bucking, wild bull (Anyone seen "Slim Pickens" lately??) and a scenic view. 


While in the recreation area in front of the Community Center, I viewed the various levels on which Elon Moreh was built on a number of mountains.  Looking out over a hill to the right of the Community Center, one can see Shechem in the hills before Har Eival.  Straight ahead and below the Community Center, one can see a park of Caravanim.


Inside the Community Center, there were exhibits which included Od Yosef Chai and residents who died at the hands of terrorists or in action in the IDF.   Included in the exhibit of terror victims were pictures of Mishpocha Gavish mentioned above.


Above the level of the Community Center is the Beit Knesset.  Across from the Beit Knesset at a distance of 50 -70 feet, chairs and a bandstand were set up for the ground-breaking.  I'm told that the Cultural Center is dedicated in memory of Mishpocha Gavish, the recent victims of terror.


Below the Community Center is a small playground area with a few horses providing rides for children. 


As I walked through Elon Moreh, I greeted numerous soldiers as well as Menachem Felix who was the secretary in Gush Emunim under Rabbi Levinger.  I also shook hands and spoke briefly with MK Tzvi Hendel.


While Chaver Knesset Hendel and I spoke, he dropped his spent cigarette to the ground.  When I asked him to please pick it up and put it in the trash, he half bent over and arrogantly stomped on the cigarette leaving it on the ground.  I showed him my Ne'emani Nikayon Volunteer Card but to no avail.   Even though he and I are both Nationalist Right-Wingers, I will have to report him for littering.  As I once said, I'd run after and mussar the Prime Minister if he dropped a cigarette on MY LAND.


At a little after 3 PM, the ceremonies and political hot air began.  Among the speakers were Rabbi Yitzchak Levi, MK Tzvi Hendel, Rabbi Dov Lior, the Chief Rabbi of Haifa and Menachem Felix.



Somehow, no special or extraordinary messages or revelations ever come from these type of political speeches at this type of event.  We invariably hear the same old rhetoric -- albeit nationalistic.  We will truly be in the days of redemption if the tough rhetoric to a nationalistic audience ever got transmitted into Action.


The Chief Rabbi of Haifa repeatedly made reference to "Bush" this and "Bush" that.  And Tzvi  Hendel made repeated reference to the 6 Day War while indicating that Arafat and the Arabs were "no problem."  Oh, that Memshelet Yisrael (the Government of Israel) would only act as Hendel spoke and allow Zahal to take care of business the way that we know that it can be done and eradicate the cancer -- the terror machine within us.   Eradicate the cancer within us even it means weaning ourselves from the annual addiction to $2 Billion in American Foreign aid.


The festivities drew to a close shortly after 5PM and we were on the way back to Beit Shemesh by 5:30PM.   We arrived home in Beit Shemesh some 2 hours later.


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