Menachem Benn
Menachem BennIsrael news photo: Shomron Regional Council

Gratification in the Shomron: Poet and Maariv newspaper columnist and critic Menachem Benn has moved to the town of Nofim (Horizons), following a tour he took with the Shomron Regional Council.

Over the past two years, the Council has run over 100 trips and tours for Knesset Members, Cabinet ministers, journalists and others who play key roles in forming Israeli policy. This week, it scored one of its biggest successes: One of the participants actually moved to a Shomron town - a mixed religious-secular community named Nofim, above Kaneh Brook near Karnei Shomron.

Benn’s visit took place several months ago, and soon after, he and his wife Shlomit and family decided to pick up and move. Yesterday (Wednesday), they did it.

Shomron Council head Gershon Mesika greeted the Benn family as they arrived, and granted them a new Mezuzuah, which Benn immediately affixed to one of the doorposts in his new home in accordance with Jewish Law.

Menachem Benn has gained notoriety in the past for his views against the existence of AIDS as a new disease, and for declaring that he can prove the existence of G-d “in two minutes” while at the same time opposing Orthodox Judaism. He attacked Defense Minister Ehud Barak in a column last year for his decision to remove Yeshivat Har Brachah from the Hesder arrangement, writing that Barak “destroyed his party and is more than ready to destroy the country… He is already dividing the IDF and pitting its finest knit-kippah [religious Zionist] combat soldiers against it.” 

“When I took that wonderful tour in the Shomron with Yossi Dagan and Boaz HaEtzni,” Benn told Arutz-7 a few hours after his move, “I saw that the Shomron is simply a beautiful place. It has both the magic of Jerusalem and the friendliness of the coastal plane.”

“Beyond the absolute importance of the Shomron settlement enterprise in terms of security and diplomacy,” he said, “these are wonderful places and have warm and special people... The people and what they do here are one of the purest things in the country. I hope to spend the rest of my life here.”

“From the window of my new home I can clearly see the towers of Tel Aviv,” Benn continued. “If Arabs were sitting here instead of me, they could easily fire rockets at the city – and this is true of all of Judea and Samaria… The Shomron is the Land of Israel and Jewish settlement at its best, and whoever is crazy enough to give control of this area to the Palestinians would end up causing a terrible war – both a civil war and one with the enemy…”

A previous high of the Shomron Council touring program was registered this past April, when popular TV and Army Radio broadcaster Avri Gilad told his listeners that his visit to the Shomron had led to a revolution in his thinking. He said at the time, “Yesterday I was on an awareness-revolution tour in settlements in the Shomron. I visited places that I had been taught to hate, and I came back confused. Confused at the stupidity of the State that called on people to settle those areas, gave them licenses to build, and then froze them… I was surprised to meet a community of people with whom I had a lot to talk about, and with much warmth and closeness. Most of the leftist talk about settlers is simply hatred.”