The town of Sa-Nur, for example, founded in the mid-1980’s, never attracted more than a few dozen families. Originally a secular community, most of the original founding families left the town long before the government’s bulldozers razed it to the ground.
The Oslo Accords, which in the mid-1990’s, brought the reaches of the Palestinian Authority right up to the town gate, turned the community into an isolated Jewish enclave. The town, noted for its beautiful, pastoral location, scenic vistas and biblical landscapes, became an artists’ colony for a select few who were willing to brave the reality of living on the outskirts of Jenin, a center of Arab terrorism in Samaria.
Just four years ago, a new group of religious families started giving Sa-Nur town a new lease on life. One of the founders of that group, Yossi Dagan, helped turn Sa-Nur into a vibrant, thriving community, despite the security dangers and economic hardships.
When the IDF began dismantling the town and expelling its residents last Tuesday, Dagan tore his clothes in mourning.
But Dagan, like the other former residents of Sa-Nur, many of whom have taken up temporary residence in Beit El, a much larger town northeast of Ramallah in the Binyamin district of southeastern Samaria, is cautiously optimistic about the future.
“We know that we have to move the people of Israel onward,” he said. In his opinion, the faith of Sa-Nur’s residents in settling the land of Israel, despite personal hardship, is the “strength” that will move the nation forward.
On the one hand, he points out, there are still a number of thriving Jewish communities in northern Samaria. But like their unfortunate neighbors who have succumbed to the expulsion bulldozer, these communities are mostly tiny villages that could be easily eliminated, should the government decide to continue expelling Jews from Judea and Samaria.
Dagan specifically named three towns that could meet the same fate as Sa-Nur, unless Jews from Israel and the Diaspora literally start putting their homes where their ideology lies. The three towns are Mevo Dotan, Hermesh, and Shavei Shomron.
“These towns have become front-line communities that need to be fortified by adding new families,” said Dagan. The “national mission” of the Jewish people, he said, is to immediately start settling these towns.
While mourning over the destruction of Jewish towns in northern Samaria, Dagan said, “We need to pick up the pieces, rise above the situation” and get Israel moving again.
This time, Dagan hopes, at least some Israelis will be moving to the remaining communities in northern Samaria, in order to make sure they endure a particularly difficult period in the history of Israel.