What comes to mind when you hear “West Bank?” If you depend solely on what you hear on the news, you likely think of the West Bank as a dangerous place, filled with terrorists. However, that view is far from true!
We spent the first two nights of our recent tour to Israel in Ariel, just south of Nablus. Because I had seen Jews and Palestinians living peacefully side-by-side, it seemed important for our group to be exposed to that reality as well. Indeed, even the hotel staff was a mixture of Jews and Palestinians, and nowhere during our time in the West Bank did we see conflict between the two!
In Biblical geography, the West Bank is actually the ancient Judea and Samaria, the setting of the vast majority of the Old Testament! For example, the Ark of the Covenant once rested in the tabernacle in Shiloh, and Hannah prayed for a son there. A glance at the map above will pinpoint Samaria and Judea.
Also, while in Samaria, we visited Mt Gerizim and the Samaritan Museum. Undoubtedly, you remember Biblical accounts regarding Samaritans…the woman at the well and the Good Samaritan, for example. It was here that we met a Samaritan priest, and ate one of the tastiest meals on our entire trip!
BTW – the West Bank is “ground zero” for the BDS Movement. The growing effort to boycott, divest and sanction (BDS) products produced in the West Bank are meant to cripple Israel’s economy as punishment for “Israeli occupation” of the West Bank. However, be reminded that the Biblical name is Judea and Samaria, very obviously Biblical lands belonging to the Jews. There can be no “occupation” of land that belongs to you!
Furthermore, Jews and Palestinians work very peacefully in factories and other industries in Judea and Samaria. If BDS is successful, Israelis will simply close up shop and move to Israel proper. Meanwhile, Palestinians would be out of work. Thus, the very people BDS is supposed to protect would be most greatly harmed.
Happy Thanksgiving…and shalom!