[Photo Credit: Ezra Ridgley]
Halamish, also known as Neveh Tzuf, is a national-religious community located in the southwestern Samarian hills, approximately 15 kilometers northwest from the community of Beit El, the Biblical the site where Jacob slept and dreamed of angels going up and down a ladder which connected the heavens and the earth (Genesis 28:19).
On 16 October 1977, two groups of pioneers, one religious, calling itself “Neveh Tzuf” and one secular, called “Neveh Tzelah” with a total of 40 families moved into the abandoned former British Tegart fort building near the Arab village of Nabi Salih. The community was established on November 1, 1977 in accordance with the decision of the Government of Israel, with the full agreement of the United States Government, as one of the ten development areas in Judea and Samaria, following the signing of the peace treaty with Egypt in October of that year.
Most of the residents live in private homes built in the community, but some live in rented homes or live in temporary housing facilities and plan to build their homes in the near future. Most of the residents commute and work in the central region of Israel and in Jerusalem, both of which are within a reasonable distance of less than an hour drive from the community.
Among the beautiful attractions that the community and surrounding areas offer residents lies the Neve Tzuf Forest. The Neve Tzuf Forest is a nature reserve that stretches over about 800 dunams of land and lies just east of the community. The paths of the trails found in the forest there were blazed in by the British government and continued to be developed during the Jordanian rule Samaria. This reservation was the first one of its kind to be established in the Land of Israel; it was declared by the British Mandate government in 1922. In recent years, the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council has been holding its main event in the forest. Thousands of people, including tourists from around the world, attend the event.
Halamish was the scene of a most gruesome and brutal massacre by an Arab terrorist this past July. The massacre occurred after 19-year-old Omar al-Abed, an Arab from a nearby village, burst into the home the Israeli family armed with a large knife and began stabbing members of the family. The family was celebrating the birth of a child when the Arab surprised them and went on his rampage. The Judea Military Court handed down four life sentences on February 15 to the terrorist who slaughtered Yosef, Chaya and Elad Salomon in their Halamish home on that fateful night.
The community of Halamish falls under the jurisdiction of Mateh Binyamin Regional Council. In 2016 it had a population of 1,328. The community is located in the portion of Israel that was designated for the tribe of Efraim (Ephraim).