As Efrat inaugurates a beautiful new promenade, the town is fast becoming the go-to settlement ahead of the upcoming elections.
Prime Minister Netanyahu took the Likud’s reelection entourage to the Gush Etzion town of Efrat on Wednesday to inaugurate a beautiful, new promenade (Tayelet) connecting distant sections of the Zayit neighborhood.
Netanyahu was joined by Likud ministers Tzipi Hotovely, Amir Ohana and Ze’ev Elkin.
Netanyahu’s visit follows in the footsteps of Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett who visited the town just a week before. It comes two days after the duo’s recent merger with Rafi Peretz and Bezalel Smotrich.
The merger may have Netanyahu a little concerned, as the latest polls show the new United Right party siphoning off 2 seats from the Likud.
Following yesterday’s politically controversial cabinet vote to build housing for Arabs in Area C, the prime minister may have also wanted to shore up his settler credentials with a visit to a large, growing settlement that is well within the national consensus.
At the inauguration, the prime minister mentioned the 1000 homes currently being built in Efrat, and that over the coming years, 8000 more homes will be built in the community.
The town of Efrat, with its 13,000 residents, is unique among the many settlements of Judea and Samaria. Located south of Jerusalem and 960 meters above sea level, the town was established in 1983 by Moshe Moskovits and Rabbi Shlomo Riskin, and quickly became the preferred destination for Olim from English speaking countries.
The town is very well known for its political activism; among its celebrity activists you’ll find Nadia Matar, Caroline Glick, Yishai Fleisher, Kohelet founder Professor Moshe Koppel.
The late Ari Fuld HY”D also lived there.
Its very strong representation in the activism sphere isn’t limited to avowed Zionists; the residents are known to be politically diverse on all sides of the political spectrum.
The town, while primarily Modern Orthodox, has both non-religious and ultra-Orthodox, Ashkenazim and Sephardim, New Olim and native Sabras living together in harmony – which certainly makes it a good stop for any election campaign.
Surrounding the town are notable Jewish archaeological sites, the most important of which are the Biyar aqueduct that once fed water from Efrat’s Eitam hill to Jerusalem and the Temple; and Solomon’s Pools, which were mistakenly handed over to the Palestinian Authority during the heady days of Oslo, due to a line accidentally drawn on the wrong place on the map.
The new promenade crosses through a nature preserve and looks over Efrat’s Tamar and Dagan hills and the valley between them. Standing to the east of the promenade one can even see where the Temple used to be in Jerusalem.
Video by Kalanit Taub