Israel Trail in Judea and Samaria hailed as 'historical justice'

Dr. Haggai Ben-Artzi hopes new Israel Trail will connect more Israelis to settlement; 'This is the original biblical Israel.'

Benny Toker - Mordechai Sones ,

Section of Israel National Trail, Ramot Menashe
Section of Israel National Trail, Ramot Menashe
Flash 90

Dr. Haggai Ben Artzi, Jewish history lecturer at Bar-Ilan University writer and tour guide, congratulated Tourism Minister Yariv Levin on changing the route of the Israel National Trail to include Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the Golan Heights.

The Israel National Trail is a hiking path, very popular with Israelis, that was inaugurated in 1995. The trail crosses the entire country of Israel from Dan in the north to Eilat in the south.

"It is unfortunate that it took fifty years, the years since the Six-Day War, for the Israel Trail to return to the main historical biblical heartland of the Land of Israel, after years of not entering the Golan, Old Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and Hevron - it was a real failure," says Ben Artzi.

ד"ר חגי בן ארצי
צילום: יאיר ליברמן

He notes that "the center of Jewish life during the First and Second Temple periods was mainly in Judea and Samaria, the Jordan Valley, Jericho, and the Golan Heights, and the original Trail didn't pass through those areas."

He hopes that the new route of the Israel National Trail will bring more and more Israelis closer to Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria. "When I meet the secular travelers, they tell me that they were everywhere in the Himalayas, South America, and China, but when I invite them to Beit El, they are afraid."

"Therefore, I hope that this project will bring all Israelis closer to their past, to the biblical sites. Of course the change shouldn't be implemented by force and whoever wants to continue the classic Israel Trail through the coastal plain should be able to do so. At least, however, the official route of the Israel National Trail should also pass through all the historical sites from northern Samaria through Elon Moreh, Har Bracha, Shilo, Beit El, Ma'aleh Adumim, Kfar Adumim, Hevron, and the southern Hevron hills."

Dr. Ben Artzi hopes that the feeling of connection established through hiking will bring Israeli hearts closer to Judea and Samaria. "Perhaps this way we'll hear less talk of ceding parts of our homeland, and even if this doesn't immediately change political positions, then at least emotionally the Israeli public will connect more to Judea and Samaria.

"I really salute Levin, who is working energetically to integrate the sites of Judea and Samaria into Israel's tourism sites," Ben-Artzi stressed in his conversation with Arutz Sheva.