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Elon Moreh

Elon Moreh (Hebrew: אֵלוֹן מוֹרֶה‎) is an Orthodox Jewish Israeli settlement in the West Bank. Located northeast of Nablus on the slopes of the Mount Kabir ridge, it falls under the jurisdiction of Shomron Regional Council. In 2020, it had a population of 1,943.

In the Bible, Elon Moreh is where God told Abraham, “To your descendants will I give this land” (Genesis 12:7). Jacob, the son of Isaac and grandson of Abraham, purchased land near Elon Moreh and Shechem (Genesis 33:19). The name of the village comes from a passage in the Torah relating to the first location where Abraham settled after crossing the Jordan River.

Elon Moreh was the location of the first of many confrontations between the government and Jewish settlers. It was provoked when a group of Jews established a settlement without government permission on the hilltop of Elon Moreh in June 1979.

On October 23, 1979, Israel’s Supreme Court ruled there was no security justification for its establishment on Arab-owned lands expropriated for the purpose. The court gave the settlers 30 days to evacuate and ordered the confiscation of private land abolished. The appeal was brought by Arab residents of Rujeib village whose land was confiscated for the settlement. It was the first ever to succeed.

Three months later, the first group of settlers left the community and moved to larger homes built for them by the government at Djebil Kebir, about six miles from the original site of Elon Moreh. Reportedly, the government spent more than $1 million to build homes for 17 families.

The community’s 14-mile distance from the pre-1967 lines and its proximity to Nablus place it outside the “consensus” settlements. This makes it a candidate for evacuation should a peace agreement be reached in which Israel agreed to dismantle settlements. Under the Trump plan, it was one of 15 settlements that would be in an isolated enclave.

The village’s primary school, Nahalat Tzvi, is named after Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook, who had been the leader of Gush Emunim. Elon Moreh also has a hesder yeshiva, called Birkat Yosef. The community has its own medical and dental clinics, post office, supermarket,  and several retail stores. There is a sports center and an outdoor swimming  pool, a public library, a senior citizens center, and a youth center. The community has several synagogues and two mikvahs. Most of the residents  are employed in Elon Moreh, but some commute to nearby towns.

Sources: “Elon Moreh,” Wikipedia.
“Israel’s Supreme Court Rules Elon Moreh in Samaria Must Be Removed,” JTA, (October 23, 1979).
“Evacuation of Elon Moreh Begins,” JTA, (January 30, 1980).
American Friends of Elon Moreh.
Tovah Lazaroff, “‘Giving up on Elon Moreh is like giving up on the Temple Mount,’” Jerusalem Post, (June 18, 2020).
Mitchell Bard and Moshe Schwartz, 1001 Facts Everyone Should Know About Israel, (Jason Aronson: 2003).

Photo: Shuki, CC BY-SA 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.