Peduel park
Peduel parkIsrael News Photo: Shomron Regional Council

The largest park in the Shomron (Samaria) was dedicated Tuesday, at the height of the construction freeze, with the participation of hundreds from Israel and the United States.

The new, lush, green park is located in the Jewish town of Peduel, just south of the Ariel-Rosh HaAyin highway. In addition to playgrounds, lawns, paths and trees, it has a special attraction that is unique to Samaria: a panoramic view of the Mediterranean Sea, the Coastal Plain and Ben Gurion International Airport.

Participating in the joyous dedication ceremony of the seven-dunam (1.75-acre) park were hundreds of children and families, leaders of the Shomron Regional Council, representatives of the Jewish National Fund, and the family of the late Chaya Evelyn Gross, who designated a large amount of money for the park in her will in memory of her parents, Rebecca and Aharon Yosef.

The park is set to be enlarged at a later date.

The symbolism of the dedication in the midst of the construction freeze was a major theme of the event. The scheduled end of the freeze is only 100 days away, and pressure is increasing on the government to announce the resumption of construction throughout Judea and Samaria. Several Cabinet ministers have said that they will favor and push for construction to resume – though others have not, or have called for “limited” building.

Even plans for public construction such as classrooms and playgrounds have been put on hold, causing the Peduel secretariat to dig up an old plan for the public park. It began intensive work on it five months ago, and brought it to successful completion in record time.

Shomron Regional Council head Gershon Mesika, currently abroad in the United States, sent this message: “We thank the Gross family for its decision to strengthen us in these challenging times, by planting roots in the place where the Nation of Israel’s roots were planted long ago. Evelyn’s personal history is a moving Jewish story, and we who have been privileged to fulfill her last request rejoice together with you. Thank you from all of us who live in the Shomron, and we are confident that this is another step of taking root in the land, leading towards the renewal of the construction momentum in Judea and Samaria three months from now, with G-d’s help.”

Peduel is a religious town founded in 1984 by a core group from the Har Etzion hesder yeshiva in Alon Shvut. It currently has a population of nearly 1,500 people, and its educational institutions include a pre-military yeshiva academy, an elementary school, and the Eretz HaTzvi hesder yeshiva. Peduel has two main neighborhoods, Amanah and Hilltop 409, as well as an aborted Chabad neighborhood whose construction was stopped several years ago. Nearby is the Nachal Shilo nature preserve, as well as an archaeological site in which were found remnants from the FirstTemple period, including an olive press that delivered oil straight to the HolyTemple.  

Peduel is located adjacent to Alei Zahav, named in memory of Aliza Begin, wife of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin.