Sightseeing in the Parsha - Ofra
Right from the earliest days of the Jewish nation, along with the choice of the first patriarch, Avraham Avinu, God designated a national home for His chosen people. Avraham was sent to explore the land and to begin building a new life there, away from his homeland, his family and everything he was used to. Already at that time, God knew that not everyone would be happy about the area Avraham was going to inhabit. Therefore, in the Brit Bein Habetarim, the Covenant of the Pieces, God promised Avraham: “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river.”
There are disagreements among the commentators and researchers about the exact time and location of this important covenant, but in any case, its influence is felt on all of Israel particularly, and on the whole Jewish people until today. One of the places which is presumed to possibly have been the location of this covenant is Mount Hazor – the highest mountain in Samaria, north of Jerusalem.
The mountain is 1016 meters above sea level, and because of its height and location, there is a tremendous view from the top of the mountain. On the west, you see the coast from the Carmel until Ashkelon and the Mediterranean. To the east, you see the Jordan Valley, the Dead Sea and the eastern side of the Jordan, from the Hermon, the Gilead Mountains and the Moab Mountains until the Red Mountains. To the south, you can see Mount Scopus in Jerusalem and Herodian in the Judean Hills, as well as the Hebron Hills. To the north, there is a view of the Samarian hills as well as the lower Galilee..
Until today there is a continuous struggle around the mountain, the continuation of the original struggle around the covenant where God bequeathed the land of Israel to Avraham and his people. This struggle is led by various organizations that are trying to annul the connection and the sovereignty of the Jews over the land by appealing to Israeli courts against Jewish settlement in the area.
About 40 years ago, at the foot of the mountain, the Ofra settlement was founded. This was the first Jewish settlement in the Benjamin Mountains, which fulfilled the promise of God to Avraham right at the spot of the promise. Recently, the court ruled to demolish houses in another neighborhood which is at the foot of Mount Hazor, based on various legal claims, without any real cause or need. In the coming months, the future of Jewish settlements in the area will be decided. May the promise that we received be realized: “to give you this land to inherit.”