Elon Moreh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Elon Moreh
אֵלוֹן מוֹרֶה
Hebrew transcription(s)
 • unofficial Elon More
The two older neighbourhoods, looking south
The two older neighbourhoods, looking south
Elon Moreh is located in the Northern West Bank
Elon Moreh
Elon Moreh
Coordinates: 32°14′2.15″N 35°19′52.69″E / 32.2339306°N 35.3313028°E / 32.2339306; 35.3313028Coordinates: 32°14′2.15″N 35°19′52.69″E / 32.2339306°N 35.3313028°E / 32.2339306; 35.3313028
District Judea and Samaria Area
Council Shomron
Region West Bank
Affiliation Amana
Founded 1980
Population (2016)[1] 1,861
Name meaning Named after Biblical town
Ark in Rahamei Tirtzah synagogue

Elon Moreh (Hebrew: אֵלוֹן מוֹרֶה‬) is an Orthodox Jewish Israeli settlement in the Judea and Samaria administrative area of the West Bank. Located in the Samarian hills northeast of Nablus on the slopes of the Mount Kabir ridge, it falls under the jurisdiction of Shomron Regional Council. In 2016, it had a population of 1,861.

The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.[2]

Elon Moreh is located on land confiscated from two Palestinian villages: 639 dunums from Azmut,[3] and 659 dunums from Deir al-Hatab.[4]


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-Defense Minister - was accused of clandestinely helping the settlers as part of his ongoing power struggle with Rabin.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

The site was dismantled, and the group moved to the current location in 1980. The land on which it was erected was considered legally as "state land", 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.[citation needed]

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.[5]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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 Levanon, who is also the chief rabbi of Elon Moreh and Shomron district.

The present-day settlement of Elon Moreh receives municipal services from the Shomron Regional Council, and the closest neighboring settlements are Itamar, Har Bracha, and Yitzhar.

Arab-Israeli conflict[edit]

On May 21, 1987, 8-years-old Rami Chaba was found dead in a cave with his head smashed by a rock, outside of Elon Moreh perimeter. His parents and neighbors searched for him all night after he was last seen riding his bicycle the day before.[6][7]

On April 6, 1988, Elon Moreh resident 15-year-old Tirza Porat was accidentally shot dead in the neighbouring Palestinian village of Beita by fellow Jewish settler Romam Aldubli.[8]

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.[9]

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. [1] The victims were Rachel Gavish (50), David Gavish (50), Avraham Gavish (20), and Yitzhak Kanner (83).[10]

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.[11]


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.


  1. ^ "List of localities, in Alphabetical order" (PDF). Israel Central Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved September 26, 2017. 
  2. ^ "The Geneva Convention". BBC News. 10 December 2009. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  3. ^ Azmut village profile, Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem p. 15 (ARIJ)
  4. ^ Deir al Hatab Village Profile, Applied Research Institute - Jerusalem p. 15, (ARIJ)
  5. ^ Eyal Benvenisti, The Law of Occupation, 1993, pp. 107-148. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ "West Bank Slaying Stirs Jews` Anger". Chicago Tribune. May 22, 1987. 
  7. ^ "Jewish Child from the Elon Moreh Settlement Found Murdered Nearnablus". JTA. May 22, 1987. 
  8. ^ 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.
  9. ^ Matthews 2007, p. 285.
  10. ^ "Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000". 
  11. ^ Altman, Yair. Elon Moreh: Stabbing Attack Foiled; 2 Arrested, Ynetnews.com, 3 May 2012

External links[edit]