Dozens of families, numbering around 150 people, from the Settlement Core in Judea and Samaria made their way to Maalot Halhul on Tuesday night and set up temporary structures at the site, calling on the Israeli government to approve the area as a new settlement and permit the erection of permanent homes.
The families arrived with waterproof tents, heaters, and of course a huge menorah, ready to brave the cold and rain and determined to prevent the site being transferred to Arab control.
The Settlement Core was established around a year ago, in order to promote the establishment of new settlements and create facts on the ground. Their first attempt to settle in Maalot Halhul, located between Gush Etzion and Kiryat Arba in the Judean Hills, was made half a year ago, shortly after the map attached to the Trump “Deal of the Century” placed the area within the borders of a future Palestinian state.
Yehuda Ben-David, the head of one of the families, said on Tuesday night: “In dozens of places beyond the fences of the settlements in Judea and Samaria, Hanukkah candles were lit tonight in order to illuminate the desolate mountains and inspire the Jews here. In recent years, Arabs have taken over more and more land in Gush Etzion, and we are now here, together with our children, to assert the right of Jews to live in all parts of the Land of Israel.”
Wednesday morning, Rosh Chodesh Tevet, began with prayers and a festive recitation of Hallel complete with song and dance. The head of the Gush Etzion Regional Council, Shlomo Ne'eman, also paid a visit to the site to strengthen the resolve of the new settlers.
Amichai Ben-David, a member of Garin Yehuda and one of the new settlers of Maalot Halhul, described the “first morning in Maalot Halhul after a rainy and stormy night – but we are full of joy that we have the privilege to establish a new settlement in Eretz Yisrael. We invite all Jews, and especially those who live nearby, to come and join us here to strengthen our hold on the hilltops of Judea.”