Rabbis at Elon Moreh Yeshiva
Rabbis at Elon Moreh Yeshiva Shomron Regional Council

Rabbis Metzger and Amar are not identified politically with right or left, but apparently they see the settlement movement in the Shomron as a success story.

At a tour of Israel’s rabbinate in Shomron (Samaria) communities on Thursday, Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger said that he hopes that the new government will be more sympathetic to new communities in the Shomron. Rabbi Metzger also addressed Shomron outlying communities which have not yet received government recognition.

Rabbi Metzger understands that many young couples have nowhere to live. Two weeks ago, during his first official visit in the Shomron, Rabbi Metzger became aware for the first time that building permits in Judea and Samaria are merely one signature away,” David Ha'ivri, Shomron Community Council liaison stated.

The one signature necessary to approve of the outlying communities is that of Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is opposed to future expansion of communities in Judea and Samaria.

The chairman of the Yesha Council, Danny Dayan, addressed the rabbis and stated that the previous government which came into power three years ago ended the expansion of building in Judea and Samaria, creating a housing shortage. Dayan expressed his hope that the present government will be able to address the problem.

Six outlying communities in Samaria are not officially recognized, causing snags for the residents. The Ministry of Education cannot fund school buildings in these areas. In Bruchim, concerned parents built a school, which was considered an illegal structure, since the town of 100 families isn’t officially recognized.

“The government is forcing citizens into common criminals,” David Ha'ivri said. He pointed out that Judea and Samaria's natural growth rate is six percent, three times the growth of other parts of the State of Israel. Ha'ivri further stated that he ascribes Judea and Samaria’s large growth rate to a large birth rate among its mostly religious population. “The young people growing up in Yesha are now getting married and coming to live in communities within Judea and Samaria.” he explained.

The rabbinate’s tour of the Shomron came as a surprise to Ha'ivri. “Rabbis Metzger and Amar are not identified politically with right or left, but apparently they see the settlement movement in the Shomron as a success story. They’re being welcomed by the Jewish community,” Ha'ivri said.

“The rabbinate represents and serves the Jewish communities, including the Shomron,” Ha'ivri stated. “All the rabbis that spoke today mentioned their excitement about seeing Mount Grizim and other biblical places in the Shomron."

On his visit to Samaria, Rabbi Metzger voiced enthusiasm about plans to connect Jewish communities in the region with Jewish communities in the Diaspora. He has published a letter calling on communities around the world to take part in the Shomron Liaison's sister community program and to adopt the towns of Samaria.

One of the ideas that Rabbi Metzger suggested at a special session at the Shomron community of Elon Moreh, near Shechem is that Council members devote a Shabbat to Judea and Samaria, with each rabbi being the guest of a different community.