Pollard and Dagan planting a tree in Sa-Nur
Pollard and Dagan planting a tree in Sa-NurElihai Menachem

For the first time since the Disengagement Law from northern Samaria was repealed, the displaced families from the Sa-Nur community returned to the site of the destroyed village. The families were accompanied by former Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and Samaria Regional Council Chief Yossi Dagan, the latter himself a former resident of Sa-Nur.

Each family planted a tree at the entrance to the ancient fortress at the site. The Chief Rabbi of Samaria, Rabbi Elyakim Levanon, allowed the trees to be planted despite being the intermediate Passover days.

Jonathan Pollard told the participants: "When (my wife) Esther OBM came to me in jail before the disengagement, there was a possibility that I would be released then, she came with two orange shirts. I asked her why, and she told me, 'One shirt for you, one for me, and when we get to Israel, we will walk from Ben Gurion Airport to Gush Katif (in the Gaza Strip).' I asked her, 'By foot?.' She said, 'Yes, by foot.' I asked her, 'And if we won't manage to walk all the way to Gush Katif?' so she answered, 'So we'll walk to Sa-Nur.' That's how I learned about Sa-Nur, and I knew that I needed to come here, and I'm here also in her memory."

Dagan, who came with his wife and children, stated while planting a tree in the yard of what used to be his house, "We came here many times, and it always hurt. Now, too, we come in tremendous pain, but the excitement is unfathomable, we came here for the first time after 17 and a half years, the uprooted families from Homesh and Sa-Nur, with them a large crowd, after we managed to abolish this crime, to repeal the Disengagement Law from northern Samaria.

Thanks to our faith, our insistence, and the support of the majority of the people of Israel and the government, we will be able to amend in a stately manner and reestablish the communities in northern Samaria. 17 and a half years later, we already have one foot in, in another moment, a foot and a half in. In the beginning, we will build a yeshiva and a community in Homesh, and after that, with G-d's help, in Sa-Nur, and after that, in Ganim and Kadim, and there is plenty of space for many new communities in northern Samaria."

Avraham Shapira, one of the residents who were uprooted from Sa-Nur, recalled the last circumcision in the community, which was his son's, 18 years ago: "We prayed for salvation, and today we again pray 'During the (Jewish month of) Nisan we were redeemed, and during Nisan, we will be redeemed again.'"

Akiva Smotrich, one of the residents, walked to the site where his home once stood, showed his children the spot of the house and his garden, and added: "18 years ago, we were removed, and now the state of Israel is allowing us to return and plant trees, as the IDF accompanies us, what is more, joyous than that?"

Three weeks ago, the Knesset approved the repeal of the Disengagement Law from northern Samaria in the second and third readings. The repeal means that Israelis can reach the sites of the uprooted communities in northern Samaria. The repeal was promoted in seven straight Knessets by residents of Sa-Nur, Homesh, and Regional Council Chief Dagan.