|• unofficial||Elon More|
The two older neighbourhoods, looking south
|Name meaning||Named after Biblical town|
The history of the modern settlement named for Biblical Elon Moreh started in the mid-1970s when a group led by Rabbi Menachem Felix and Benny Katzover organized a pioneering group of dozens of families called Garin Elon Moreh in order to found a settlement in the Shechem area. Eight times, the group tried to choose a plot of land to settle but the Israeli government under Yitzchak Rabin, then in his first term, prevented these attempts - arguing that the settlers' main aim was to secure permanent Israeli possession of the territory and that such possession would preclude any possibility of peace with Jordan or a Palestinian state. However, Shimon Peres - then Defence Minister - was accused of clandestinely helping the settlers as part of his ongoing power struggle with Rabin.
In 1975, after a controversial attempt to settle the area of Sebastia, the group was finally allowed to stay in the area by taking up residence on an army base called Kadum eleven kilometers west of Shechem, with the families living in an abandoned prison. In 1979, the government under Menachem Begin allowed them to take up residence south of Nablus, but an injunction by the Israeli Supreme Court stopped the plan, ruling that that land belonged to local Arabs and that the army had power to confiscate land only for pure military purposes, and not for civilian settlement of Israelis.
At the time, several hundred Israeli activists of Peace Now besieged the settlement site for nearly twenty four hours, demanding the settlers' removal, and going away only when then Defence Minister Ezer Weizman arrived by helicopter and assured them the settlers would be removed.
The site was dismantled and the group moved to the current location in 1980. The land on which it was erected were considered legally as "state lands" and therefore eligible for Israeli settlement. This legal interpretation was disputed, the Peace Now lawyers arguing that it constituted abuse of the Ottoman land law, by which common village lands were deemed to be the Sultan's property (whose ultimate heir was the Israeli military government); however, the law was not intended to give the Sultan the right to alienate the village lands and grant them to people outside the village, and was never so used during the centuries of Ottoman rule, or under the British and Jordanians who maintained the same law. However, in this case the Supreme Court accepted the state and the settlers' position, and the placing of the Elon Moreh settlers in the new location was upheld.
This legal method of proclaiming West Bank village lands to be "state lands" was subsequently used to create many other West Bank settlements. In this, too, Elon Moreh was a precedent-setting case - a positive one in the eyes of some Israelis, an illegal one according to international law.
Later, all soldiers were evacuated from the Kadum army base and the land handed over the settlers located there, becoming the large settlement of Kedumim. The site south of Nablus which had been temporarily settled were eventually purchased and the village of Itamar was founded at that location.
The present location of Elon Moreh was first settled on the Jewish holiday of Tu Bishvat, February 1980. It was the first settlement to be established in the northern West Bank after the Six-Day War. Over 1200 residents now live in the village.
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, with a couple of hundred students. The rosh yeshiva of the yeshiva is Rabbi Eliyakim Lavnon who is also the chief rabbi of Elon Moreh.
On October 7, 2000, Joseph's Tomb was looted and razed by Palestinians. The next morning, the bullet-riddled body of Rabbi Hillel Lieberman of Elon Moreh, a cousin of Senator Joseph Lieberman, was found on the outskirts of Nablus, where he had gone to check damage to the tomb.
On March 28, 2002, a Palestinian gunman infiltrated the village, burst into the home of the Gavish family and opened fire. The lone gunman managed to kill four residents before being killed himself.  The victims were Rachel Gavish (50), David Gavish (50), Avraham Gavish (20), and Yitzhak Kanner (83).
In 2007, settlers from Elon Moreh established a plastic swimming pool by the spring which supplied the Palestinian village of Deir al-Hatab with 40% of its drinking water. They diverted the water from the spring to their pool. The contaminated waste water from this swimming pool was then reentered into the drinking water of Deir al-Hatab.
In March 2012, two Palestinians were spotted attempting to infiltrate Elon Moreh. They were arrested by the IDF when they were found to be in possession of large knives. It is believed by security forces that a stabbing attack was prevented.
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.
- "Locality File" (XLS). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. 2012. Retrieved May 13, 2014.
- "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
- Eyal Benvenisti, The Law of Occupation, 1993, pp. 107-148. Oxford University Press.
- Noam Chomsky, 'Fateful Triangle - The United States, Israel, and the Palestinians', Updated Edition. Pluto Press, London. 1999. ISBN 0-7453-1530-5. Page 494-495.
- Matthews 2007, p. 285.
- Elon Moreh Settlers Contaminate Drinking Water in Deir Al Hatab Village 20 September 2007, POICA
- Altman, Yair. Elon Moreh: Stabbing Attack Foiled; 2 Arrested, Ynetnews.com, 3 May 2012
- Elon Moreh website
- Unofficial website
- American Friends of Elon Moreh
- The "Elon Moreh" High Court Decision of 22 October 1979 and the Israeli Government's Reaction (published by Israel State Archives)