TEL AVIV (Jul. 30)
A settlement was inaugurated today on the west bank at Gush Etzion. the site of Ein Tzurim, a settlement which was overrun and destroyed and its residents taken prisoner by the Jordanian Arab Legion in the 1948 War of Independence.
A group of members of the Bnei Akiva youth movement have settled at Rosh Tzurim, a commanding hill in the center of the Gush Etzion area, in a symbolic restoration of the religious pioneer settlement destroyed 21 years ago. Social Welfare Minister Josef Burg came to greet the settlers on behalf of Deputy Premier Yigal Allon, who was unable to attend the inaugural.
In his message, Allon stressed that “we are back to Gush Etzion not as conquerors but because this is part of our forefathers’ land.” He added that nearby Hebron, which was a “symbol of hatred” would become a good neighbor and that it was the task of the settlers to “weave these ties of neighborhood.” Gush Etzion is now covered with 500,000 trees planted by the Jewish National Fund. It will soon be linked, north and south, to Abdullah and Beersheba, by a road under construction by JNF workers.