update desk

80 years of renewed Jewish life in Gush Etzion celebrated

“With God’s help, will stand forever,” says Gush Etzion Council head Shlomo Neeman.

Children watch a skit at Kfar Etzion in Judea on the founding of the community, April 13, 2023. Photo by Yehoshua Menashe.
Children watch a skit at Kfar Etzion in Judea on the founding of the community, April 13, 2023. Photo by Yehoshua Menashe.

Celebrations commenced last week to mark eight decades of renewed Jewish life in Gush Etzion, a bloc of Israeli communities located in the Judean Mountains south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem.

“The Gush is developing due to your work establishing the Gush that stands strong, and with God’s help, it will stand forever,” Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neeman told the crowd at Thursday’s opening ceremony, which took place at Kibbutz Kfar Etzion, the first out of the four original communities established in April 1943.

Gush Etzion Regional Council head Shlomo Neeman speaks at an event in Kfar Etzion marking 80 years of renewed Jewish life in Gush Etzion, April 13, 2023. Photo by Yehoshua Menashe.

The regional council and the Kfar Etzion Field School organized Thursday’s event, which drew many veteran community members under a tent despite the unseasonal rainfall. Brig. Gen. Avi Bluth, commander of the IDF’s Judea and Samaria Division, was also in attendance.

Members of Masu’ot Yitzchak, Ein Tzurim and Revadim were present. These communities were founded in the immediate years after Kfar Etzion, which was conquered by Jordanian forces and destroyed during the 1948-49 Israeli War of Independence and reestablished following the 1967 Six-Day War.

Gush Etzion community members attend an event at Kfar Etzion celebrating 80 years of renewed Jewish life in the area, April 13, 2023. Photo by Yehoshua Menashe.

On May 13, 1948, the day before Israel declared independence, Jordan’s Arab Legion with the help of local Arabs massacred 129 Jews at Kfar Etzion following a two-day battle. The site was re-established as a kibbutz in September 1967 as the first Jewish community restored in Judea and Samaria after the territory was liberated during the Six-Day War.

“For 19 years we were sure that we’d return. We lived it in our thoughts and our dreams, and we knew that we would rebuild it with reinforced and renewed strength,” said Shaya Altman, one of the founders of Kfar Etzion.

Thursday’s event included a performance for children about the founding of Kfar Etzion.

Activities celebrating the anniversary will take place throughout the month under the title “80 Years of Gush Etzion—The Story of Israel.”

You have read 3 articles this month.
Register to receive full access to JNS.

Just before you scroll on...

Israel is at war.

JNS is combating the stream of misinformation on Israel with real, honest and factual reporting. In order to deliver this in-depth, unbiased coverage of Israel and the Jewish world, we rely on readers like you.

The support you provide allows our journalists to deliver the truth, free from bias and hidden agendas. Can we count on your support?

Every contribution, big or small, helps JNS.org remain a trusted source of news you can rely on.

Become a part of our mission by donating today
Topics
Comments
Thank you. You are a loyal JNS Reader.
You have read more than 10 articles this month.
Please register for full access to continue reading and post comments.
Never miss a thing
Get the best stories faster with JNS breaking news updates