About 200 people, including families from the displaced residents of northern Samaria, visited the ruined settlement of Sa-Nur over the weekend on the 18th anniversary of the day when the gates of Gush Katif and northern Samaria were closed and synagogues were set on fire by Arab terrorists.
A sunrise (shacharit) prayer service took place at the ancient fortress in Sa-Nur, located near the synagogue in the settlement. This synagogue is the only one that was not destroyed and looted; it was covered with dirt by the settlement's residents to prevent further desecration.
Some of the worshipers at the site observed a voluntary fast and held penitential prayers (selichot) and Torah reading, in line with the tradition that many from the evacuated Gush Katif community follow on this day as a sign of mourning.
"A resounding wake-up call for the State of Israel"
Ahead of the event, the head of the Samaria Council, Yossi Dagan, who himself was deported from Sa-Nur, said: "The destruction of the synagogues we cried over, will eventually bring us back home fully." Dagan also added: "The only synagogue that was not destroyed after the deportation in Gush Katif and northern Samaria is in Sa-Nur, in our home, and it calls us to return. On this particular day, we will work even harder to return home. This year, 18 years after the deportation, we returned to Chomesh, we will continue to work to return to all the settlements in northern Samaria and build new settlements."
Yitzhak Zuckerman of the members of the Sa-Nur nucleus said: "We arrived on this difficult day in the ruined settlement of Sa-Nur to say loudly and clearly that we have not forgotten, the cancellation of the the Disengagement Law that took place about six months ago and the wave of terrorism that erupts at the same time from the northern sector of Samaria is more than ever a resounding wake-up call for the State of Israel that the Jewish settlement in northern Samaria should be renewed as soon as possible"
"Today it is clear to everyone that the crime of the disengagement was a first-degree folly, and in order to ensure Israeli sovereignty in a territory that prevents the establishment of a Palestinian terror state in the heart of the country, settlement in the area is required. I call on the government of Israel to approve the reestablishment of the settlement today and proudly return the flag of the state to northern Samaria," Tzukerman added.
The prayer that indicates the desecration of the 30 synagogues
The prayer and public fast take place annually on the 8th of Elul since the expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Samaria, under the leadership of Prof. Yoel Elitzur, to commemorate more than thirty synagogues that were torched and destroyed along with the expulsion of the Jewish communities from Gush Katif and northern Samaria.
Prof. Yoel Elitzur and Aviel Toker, organizers of the event, told the participants: "This year, 18 years after those difficult events, we had the privilege once again to ascend to Sa-Nur in a large group. About 150 people from all over the country, including expelled residents of Gush Katif, Homesh, and Sa-Nur, along with other participants, gathered and traveled together to Sa-Nur for the morning prayer and Selichot to mark this day. The participants called to return to Sa-Nur, Homesh, and Gush Katif, committing to come back and ascend to all these places until the completion of the mission and the swift reestablishment of the settlements in our days. Amen."