Three thousand students, parents, soldiers, and Israelis of all ages and backgrounds on Wednesday joined together to celebrate Jewish life in Samaria, by participating in the Shomron March. This year, the annual march was conducted as part of the ongoing “Nice to Meet Samaria” campaign, conducted by the Samaria Regional Council in order to bring more Israelis from the coastal region to an area of the country right in their backyard that many have never visited.
This year, the march proceeded through Nachal Kana, an environmentally protected area that runs throughout Samaria. The Nachal (wadi) contains numerous natural springs and pools, wildlife historically indigenous to the Land of Israel (including deer, wild boar, and other large animals), and important historical and archeological sites.
Marchers traversed a route between the towns of Yakir and Revava, a relatively easy six-kilometer hike. A ceremony was held at the conclusion of the march with hikers treated to a celebration featuring popular singers Aharon Razel and Idan Amadi, along with a presentation by the Pirchei Jerusalem choir.
The event was dedicated to the memory of former Tourism Minister Rachamim Ze'evi, who was murdered by Arab terrorists in Jerusalem in 2001. Speaking at the ceremony, Samaria Council head Gershon Mesika said that “this march perfectly preserves the legacy of Rachamim Ze'evi, the spirit of unity and the love of the Land of Israel. Thousands of observant and secular marchers from Samaria and from around the country marched together with IDF soldiers on the Land of Israel, united in their memory of the minister.
“Gandhi,” said Mesika - using the nickname Ze'evi was lovingly called by soldiers under his command when he served in the Palmach, and later in the IDF - “used to say that it was best to walk the Land of Israel barefoot, because of its holiness.
“He loved Samaria,” Mesika said. “He walked the length and breadth of its paths, always stressing the eternal bond between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. He was the first IDF Central Commander after the liberation of Judea and Samaria in the Six Day War, and help organize and establish its first Jewish settlements. I intend to make this march a tradition,” he added.