Chol Hamoed Sukkot in Efrat: Onward to Eitam Hill!
Eitam Hill is the northernmost hill within the municipal jurisdiction of the Efrat Local Council.
In 2008-2009, council heads and residents, in cooperation with Women in Green and action committees waged a stubborn battle that led to the proclamation of 1700 dunams as state lands. The land was designated for construction of 2500 housing units, to be located on the hill.
Residents of Efrat and their supporters plan to go up to the site on the Friday of Chol Hamoed to pray the Shacharit morning service, departing at 8:00 a.m. from the Eitam gate in the Zayit neighborhood of Efrat, after the Orot Etzion Girls School. A shuttle van will also depart from Kiryat Arba-Hevron at 7:45 a.m. and from the Gush Etzion Junction (Tzomet HaGush) at 8:00 a.m. A sukkah will be built on the hill.
Prayers, including a musical Hallel with David Litke and Steve Rodan ("bring your instruments!") are scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. followed by refreshments at 9:45 a.m. and greetings at 10:00 a.m. by Efrat Chief Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, Rabbi Shimon Golan and Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi. A festive Simchat Beit HaSho'eva celebration will follow with music by Bentzi Thee and Avi Shmell of the MiShir Tzion Band. There will be inflatable rides for the children.
The event will also serve as a launch for a weekly campaign to demand settlement of the hill.
Eitam is mentioned in Jewish sources as a city in the portion of Judah, close to Solomon's Pools. It was also once considered as a possible location for the building of the Holy Temple, according to the Talmud. Ultimately, the decision was made to build the Temple in Jerusalem.
The “Aqueduct extended from Eitam,” notes the Jerusalem Talmud in Yoma 3:8, because “the Eitam well was twenty-three cubits above the ground of the Temple Court (Babylonian Talmud, Yoma 31a), and “the water flowed to Jerusalem by the force of gravity.”
The Committee for the Development of Eitan currently in formation includes rabbis, members of the Efrat Local Council and Land of Israel activists from Kiryat Arba-Hevron, Women in Green, and the Efrat and Gush Etzion Action Committees.
“With G-d's help, and with much perseverance, humility, and faith in the rightness of our way, it will be possible to build on Eitam, so that our children will be able to build their future on the Eitam Hill that overlooks Jerusalem,” said the committee in a statement.
For further information about the event, interested readers are asked to call 050-716-1818 or 050-550-0834.