Photo Credit: Sraya Diamant/Flash90
Jews returning to Evyatar. April 10, 2023

As the subject of Israel’s settlements continues taking front stage throughout the world, it is fitting that a halachic perspective be added to the political argument to “set the record straight”.

Despite the world’s adamant refusal to identify these phenomena in Biblical terms, even the nations believe in the idea that the truth will make you free. Well, here’s the truth and the basis for the legitimacy of these Biblical locations, politically labelled “settlements”, being reincarnated through modern day Israel.


In the end, Islam had an integral role to play in Israel’ s total redemption and will also be the beneficiary of Jewish presence, especially throughout its “Biblical belt”, Yehuda and Shomron.

A little history is in order and perhaps will help eliminate some of the “religious” hatred generated thereby.

After the Likud Party won a national electoral victory in 1977 with Menachem Begin as Prime Minister, the settlements moved ahead aggressively as Begin was best known for his uncompromising stand on the question of keeping the West Bank.

While the beginning of the modern Israel settlement movement started right after the Six Day War in 1967 with the re-settling of Gush Etzion, where the Arabs butchered 35 settlers in 1948.  The late Harav Tzvi Yehuda Kook zt’l, who urged young religious Jews to support efforts to settle the land.

Reb Chaim Zimmerman, zt’l taught:

Throughout the Torah, wherever “Ve’yashavta”, settling Eretz Yisrael is mentioned, it is immediately followed by “Ve’yarashta”; you will inherit the land. Obviously, one cannot settle the land before he acquires it: individually, through purchase, inheritance, or gift; collectively, through conquest, war and occupation. Eretz Yisrael was promised to our forefathers, Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov, at the Covenant, subject to the extent we are willing and able to conquer and settle the land. The command to “conquer” the land indeed is a prerequisite to settling therein.

We read:

כי יַכְרִית ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה בָא-שָׁמָּה לָרֶשֶׁת אוֹתָם מִפָּנֶיךָ וְיָרַשְׁתָּ אֹתָם וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בְּאַרְצָם
דברים פרק יב::כט

כִּי-תָבֹא אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ נֹתֵן לָךְ וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּה בָּהּ
דברים פרק יז:ד

כִּי-יַכְרִית ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ אֶת-אַרְצָם וִירִשְׁתָּם וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בְעָרֵיהֶם וּבְבָתֵּיהֶם:
דברים פרק יט:א

[פרשת כי תבוא] וְהָיָה כִּי-תָבוֹא אֶל-הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר ה’ אֱלֹקֶיךָ נֹתֵן לְךָ נַחֲלָה וִירִשְׁתָּהּ וְיָשַׁבְתָּ בָּהּ:
פרק כו:א

God promises the Children of Israel that when they will enter the land and conquer it, then they will be able to settle and dwell therein.

However, in one place only in the Teanach, the order is reversed, that is, first you will settle the land and thereby inherit it.

לו   כִּי אֱלֹקים | יוֹשִׁיעַ צִיּוֹן וְיִבְנֶה עָרֵי יְהוּדָה וְיָשְׁבוּ שָׁם וִירֵשׁוּהָ:
לז   וְזֶרַע עֲבָדָיו יִנְחָלוּהָ וְאֹהֲבֵי שְׁמוֹ יִשְׁכְּנוּ-בָהּ

David Hamelech (Ps. 69:36-7) says: [At the end, in the Messianic era] God will redeem Zion, and rebuild the cities of Judah, and they will settle there and [thereby] inherit it. And [the land] shall be bequeathed to His faithful children, and those who love His Name shall dwell in it [forever].

Is this not Israel’s story today?

First, the State of Israel was established in 1948 by the United Nations (and we did not “storm the walls” to conquer the land as in the time of Yehoshua, and as argued by some ignorant Israel bashers).

Then, through bitter wars and untold onslaughts by our enemies, Israel managed to achieve relative stability after the miraculous return of Jerusalem in 1967 into Jewish hands once again. After the Six Day War there was an awakening to “settle” the land throughout Yehuda and Shomron, the Golan Heights and other strategic areas throughout Israel. Many of these settlements started out as “outposts”, which were later turned over to the Gush Emunim settlement movement as thousands of settlers moved in to fortify these blocs as the army moved on.

Some of the early settlements:*

Bet El – After the  1967 Six-Day War , many of Rav Kook’s followers under the banner of Gush Emunim, began to openly and clandestinely move into military outposts and later turn them into front line security settlements against the constant marauding Arabs living there before the war.

Shilo – While Shilo was considered a potential site for a settlement as early as 1974, it was only in January 1978, that a modern community was established adjacent to the ancient biblical site, Tel Shilo. And in 1979, Shilo was officially included in the list of settlements under the Jurisdiction of the Settlement Section of the Jewish Agency.

Elon Moreh – The modern community of Elon Moreh, which was established in 1980 and is home to roughly 250 families, lies on the southern slopes of the Kabir mountain range, about five kilometers east of Shechem. It was the first established settlement in Samaria since the liberation of the territory in the 1967 Six Day War.

Ofra  – Ofra’s establishment in April/May1975 was part of a struggle between the Gush Emunim settlement movement, which was founded in February 1974, and the Israeli Labor government, which opposed Israeli settlement amid densely populated Palestinian areas.[

Kedumim – Kedumim is an Israeli settlement organized as a local council located in the northern Samaria. Founded on Hanukkah 1975 by members of the Gush Emunim settlement movement, it later became a local council. In 2021 it had a population of 4,590.

In late 1974, a Gush Emunim  Garin named Elon Moreh, attempted to establish a settlement on the ruins of the Sebastia train station dating from the Ottoman period. After several attempts to remove residents from the site by the Israel Defense Forces, an agreement was reached in which 25 families were permitted to settle in Kadum, an army camp southwest of Nablus. The small mobile home site developed into the town of Kedumim. The Sebastia agreement was a turning point that opened the northern West Bank to Jewish settlement.

From 1977 on, the government of Menachim Begin strongly backed settlement at Kedumim. Begin visited on 19 May and declared “We stand on the land of liberated Israel”.  In July, the Begin government granted full legal status to Kedumim (then numbering around 100 settlers), Ofra, and Maaleh Adumim.

Since the Six-Day War in 1967, Sebastia has been held under Israeli military occupation, while the Palestinian Authority is the civil authority of the area.

In modern-day Sebastia, the village’s main mosque, stands within the remains of a Crusader cathedral that is believed to be built upon the tombs of the prophets Elisha,  Ovadia
–  Wikopedia

Maale Adumim

As early as 1968, just after the Six-Day War, Yigal Allon had advanced a proposal to establish a settlement somewhere in the area of Ma’ale Adumim and Jericho.

The idea of making an industrial park for Jerusalem around Ma’ale Adumim had been circulating for some years. In August 1974, Yisrael Galili, a major presence in the settlement privately offered it as a recompense for settlers who had attempted to establish themselves in Sebastia, to be rebuffed when that group refused to compromise.

The links with Gush Emunim attested to a growing impact of Religious Zionist ideology on Israel’s developing policies regarding Yehuda and Shomron. Many thought that the agreement to develop an industrial zone for Jerusalem there was the result of a deal struck between the National Religious Party and the government of Yitzhak Rabin, as part of a bargain between members of the coalition government, for which the green light was given in November 1975. This government strategy to create “facts on the ground” was a response to the Rabat Summit decision in Morocco in October that year to recognize the PLO as the sole representative of the so-called “Palestinians”.

* All Settlement information adapted from- Wikopedia

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Rabbi Yehuda Schwartz discusses current issues on Eretz Yisrael from a Torah perspective gained from the many years drinking from the wellspring of the Great Gaon Harav Chaim Zimmerman, זצ"ל.