Extreme leftists protest hikes in Samaria

Extreme left expresses surprise, protests army trips to historic Samaria sites.

Orly Harari ,

Peace Now rally
Peace Now rally
Miriam Alster/FLASH90

The extreme left in Israel expressed surprise and strong opposition on Thursday to the army's new regulation, allowing schools to bring students to hundreds of historical sites in Samaria.

Schools may not hike in Samaria without permission from the army and coordination of IDF security measures to protect hikers.

Two years ago, the Samaria Regional Council prepared a list of dozens of hiking trails that were safe for schools. The army went over the list, entry by entry, and in the end changed the hiking regulations and relaxed the necessary security precautions (e.g. short weapons instead of long weapons; a soldier for every fifty students instead of every 25) due to the improved security situation.

The army sent the new regulations to the Education Ministry, which insisted on a few changes and adopted a second version which incorporated them. They are now awaiting final approval.

Meretz MK Michal Rosen said, "Dictator Minister Naftali Bennett is trying to control our childrens' minds. Schools are not propaganda systems for the Jewish Home [Party]. I insist on an emergency meeting with the Education Minsitry."

MK Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) also vehemently criticized what she called "end-of-year trips outside the country's borders, secured by IDF soldiers."

Peace Now CEO Yariv Oppenheimer wrote, "Bennett is using the government system in order to push his political perspective on everyone, when it only represents one side of things. You may as well just transfer the Education Ministry to the Judea and Samaria Council."

Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan, who started the "Meet Samaria" project when he was still spokesman for the Samaria Regional Council and succeeded in bringing tourists from all over the world on day trips to the area, said, "We will continue to work to bring all of the Jewish nation, and definitely every Israeli student, to beautiful Samaria and to our historical and nature sites, as well as to all the other sites which until now students were not allowed to visit. I suggest Mks Rosen and Zandberg take a long drink of cold water, calm down, and look for headlines elsewhere."

Head of the Samaria Center for Learning and Tourism Yair Elmakias, who helped the IDF with its new tour regulations, said, "This is a holiday for all those who love nature and history, and definitely for all Israeli students, who will finally be able to physically meet every site and every stone, from the relics of the ancient monarchy of Israel to the remains of the altar of biblical Yehoshua bin Nun, and from gorgeous Wadi Kaneh to Mount Kabir's breathtaking views."