Minister Limor Livnat
Minister Limor LivnatIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Samaria celebrated Thursday over the opening of an archaeological site on Mount Gerizim, one the mountains used in the Biblical ceremony of blessings and curses described in Deuteronomy.

“This is a historic day, and a moving day,” said Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika. “We’ve waited for this place for twelve years.”

The celebration took place in the spirit of the upcoming Rosh Hashannah holiday, with renowned cantors and singers performing piyutim, the poem-prayers said on Rosh Hashannah and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.

Culture Minister Limor Livnat attended the event, and declared that Samaria’s culture deserves more government support. “Judea and Samaria suffered for years from a ‘freeze’ in everything related to culture, and now we are making serious efforts to correct that,” she said.

“In central Israel it’s not needed,” she continued. “The ‘state of Tel Aviv’ is all set. We’re moving on to the places that really need social justice. We are in favor of social justice and cultural justice.”

Livnat noted her family’s personal, tragic ties to Samaria: her nephew, Ben Yosef Livnat, was shot and killed by Palestinian Authority police while visiting Joseph’s Tomb in Samaria. He was survived by a wife and four young children.

“Council head Gershon Mesika took me on a tour of the site where I could see Joseph’s Tomb,” she said. “Over a year ago my brother’s son was murdered there in cold blood just because he wanted to be in this holy place.”

“For whatever reason the state, which I am part of, decided to give up [Joseph’s Tomb] despite all the agreements” with the PA, she added.

Mesika thanked Livnat, the Civil Administration, the Nature and Parks Authority, members of the Samaritan faith and more for making Thursday’s event possible.

“Samaria welcomes the recognition from the nation of Israel,” he said. “We see how the blessing we read about in Deuteronomy, which was given on this mountain, is fulfilled each day in our region.

“The joyful laughter of children in our many communities, the blessing seen in agricultural produce, and more – this is the blessing G-d gave us.”