As the people of Halamish in Samaria slowly recover from the brutal July 21 murders of three members of the Salomon family as they were enjoying their Sabbath meal and celebrating the birth of a son, expansion of the Halamish community, with the help of a well-known terror trauma expert, has begun.
In the aftermath of the tragedy, Halamish’s town administrator contacted David Rubin, founder and president of Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund, whose mission is to heal and strengthen children traumatized by terrorism in the Biblical heartland.
“Though Halamish is located outside of the usual areas that Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund services (Gush Shiloh), the Halamish town administrator contacted us, as our work is well-known and respected and, of course, we are happy to help in anyway that we can,” he told Breaking Israel News.
Rubin’s emergency response team jumped into action, providing counseling and support for members of the Salomon family and their neighbors and friends. Additionally, social workers and psychologists trained to deal with trauma from terror were sent into regional classrooms to council children.
“The town administrator also asked Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund to build a substantial playground in memory of the Salomons for the new Achi settlement,” continued Rubin. “We are actively raising funds for this project.”
Halamish is located on a hilltop critical for security and is strategically built on the ruins of a Jewish village dating back to Talmudic times. “God’s plan is for the Jewish people to return to the Biblical heartland,” said Rubin. “But because of US and European pressure and the misguided peace process, Israel’s government has allowed radical Muslim cities to be built next to Jewish settlements.”
Halamish, also known as Neve Tzuf, is one of only two Jewish settlements in an area surrounded by Arabs. The national religious community, situated in the southwestern hills of Samaria, was originally built with the blessing of Israel’s government to resettle the Biblical heartland and strengthen Israel’s security.
Rubin’s excitement at the expansion of Halamish is palpable. He explained to Breaking Israel News that it took years of pressure to get government approval to add more housing in the area. “Unfortunately, it took the Salomon family tragedy to get the government to recognize that young families want to live in the Biblical heartland,” he said.
“This is a big step forward. We know that where Jews live in Israel, there is security in the land. Now, this embattled area will have a greater Israeli army presence and more secure roads.”
Groundwork for the new community has already begun, with the planned Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund playground at its heart. The newly developing area in memory of the three family members is named “Achi”, spelled אחי in Hebrew, meaning “my brother”. It is also an acronym for the first names of the terror victims, Elad (א), Chaya (ח) and Yosef (י) Salomon.
Rubin personally went to see the site of the future park. “The playground will be located in the center of the new community,” explained Rubin. “What once felt like an embattled settlement, surrounded by a barbed wire fence and an army base at the entrance, now has a new road being built which is connecting a lone pre-army preparation base to the neighborhood. These updates are very important for the morale of the people and the security of the region.”
Israel has a serious housing shortage, especially for young, growing families. With the building of Achi, lovers of Israel have the opportunity to help strengthen and develop the Biblical heartland. “The Shiloh Israel Children’s Fund is blessed to have the responsibility to help make Achi a family-friendly place,” Rubin told Breaking Israel News.
“A playground in the Biblical heartland is not just a playground. It is a statement that we do what we must to help Israel’s children to have a healthful and thriving future in the Holy Land.”
To donate to the Achi playground in memory of the Salomon family, please visit here.