The Shmooze

The Latest in Settler Tourism: Hiking the West Bank

By Nathan Jeffay

  • Print
  • Share Share

The summer vacation has started in Israel and people are flocking to attractions — theme parks, hotels, shows and festivals. But like most things here, tourism can be politically-loaded. Increasingly frustrated that they are having little luck expanding settlements, settlers and settler sympathizers are increasingly trying to make their mark on the parts of the West Bank that lie outside settlement fences.

In this mission, hiking has become a key issue. There’s a strong push in settler circles to walk the West Bank to stake an ownership claim. It’s essentially a statement that, in their view, the Jewish West Bank doesn’t stop at the edge of settlements. Favorite destinations are those that highlight that there is Jewish history in the West Bank.

Today saw one of the largest such hikes in several months. Some 200 hikers visited the ancient synagogue of Samoa and the nearby village of Anin, and then went to an ancient synagogue in the village of Susiya, a town dating back to Talmudic times. Making today’s hike more emotionally charged was the fact that it was dedicated to the memories of David Rubin and Achikam Amichai, two Israelis killed in a 2007 terrorist attack while hiking in the West Bank.

This is just one facet of a growing settler tourism scene — some of it state-backed. In mid-February, Education Minister Gideon Saar said that he is making arrangements for children from schools across Israel to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Israel, Tourism, West Bank

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • Why won't the city give an answer?
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.