Israel’s future lies in building the heartland of the country – Judea and Samaria.
Jerusalem is exploding by the seams. Israel is running out of room in the Gush Dan (Tel Aviv) area. There is no doubt that the Jewish State must continue to build new communities and expand preexisting towns in Judea and Samaria.
Just to be clear, Judea is the mountainous region south of Jerusalem, and Samaria, with a similar topography, is the area which spans from Jerusalem to the Galilee.
A Brief history of Judea and Samaria
Even before the Israelites conquered the Land of Israel at the time of Joshua (1273BCE), the Avot aka the Patriarchs (1813-1506BCE) settled predominately in Judea and Samaria. During the First and Second Temple periods (827BCE-70CE) these areas flourished.
In 1948, when the State of Israel was declared, Jordan annexed Judea and Samaria, taking it away from the Arab population that lived there. Jordan controlled it until the Six Day War (1967) when Israel conquered Judea and Samaria with little opposition.
For the most part, Israel has spent the last fifty five years building up Judea and Samaria. There have been construction freezes in Judea and Samaria, highlighted by the period when Barak Obama was President of the United States.
Currently, there are 140 Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria. As of 2021, the population of Judea and Samaria was up to 491,923 Israeli citizens.
The Start Up Nation
The growth in the State of Israel over the first 74 years since “Independence” has been nothing short of miraculous. The sacrifice and tireless efforts of the chalutzim (pioneers) and the founders of the State, combined with lots of help from Above, created a successful and growing country.
That being said, Israel as a nation must now refocus and build Judea and Samaria the way it did the rest of the country. The national housing shortage problem and real estate crisis can be solved if Israel would build hundreds of thousands of units in this centrally located area. The infrastructure in these areas also needs to improve, making it both feasible and more attractive for families to move to Judea and Samaria. It goes without saying the important strategic and military benefit that Judea and Samaria give Israel.
Greater investment in educating Israel’s future about Judea and Samaria needs to be made. Studying Tanakh with emphasis on the rich history that happened during the Biblical period can create the necessary connection which will inspire settlement in the heart-land of Israel. Israeli schools, both religious and non-religious, must take their students to visit the important historical sites like Hebron, Shiloh and Gush Etzion located in Judea and Samaria.
Additionally, Israel and the local councils must do a better job attracting new Olim to different areas of Judea and Samaria. New immigrants to Israel from Anglo countries are looking for affordable housing that can match their quality of living in the diaspora. Since housing prices in Judea and Samaria are still reasonable, unlike the major centers of Israel where prices have become unreasonable, there is potential that Olim will apt for communities in these areas. Ulpanim need to be opened and resource help needs to be developed in order for Olim to have a successful absorption.
Finally, both Israelis and Olim making Aliyah must recommit themselves to the values with which this country was built. The “pioneering” and start up attitude which built Israel must reestablished and applied in building Judea and Samaria.
If Judea and Samaria remain stagnant, without serious growth and development, Israel will face a future crisis which will have significant negative effects on the entire country.