Friday, March 14, 2008
Amona (The Biblical Amonim): Rebuilt
A year ago, the coalition government destroyed the Amona settlement near Ofra, sited on a windy, cold, bare hilltop (990 msnm) in the tribal lands of Benjamin. The place is called Amona because the nearby ruins of the Biblical village of the Amoni people. The Amoni were forbidden to marry into the Jewish people, as the verse states, "Lo Yavo Amoni u'Moavi b'Kehal HaSh-m, Gam Dor Asiri..." - "An Amoni or Moavi shall not enter into the congregation of HaSh-m; even to their tenth generation [shall they not enter into the congregation of HaSh-m forever.]" (Devarim 23:4). This prohibition does not apply today because the Moavim and Amonim about whom the Torah speaks have become lost among the nations. The Gemara records a case where Rebbi Yehoshua allowed a male Amoni convert to marry a Jewess of unsullied lineage, claiming that the original Amonim have been lost since they were dispersed by the king of Ashur (Berachos 28a).
The pic shows a phalanx of Israeli soldiers charging to expel and destroy the settlement in 2007. Today, the place has been resettled by the hilltop youth. They are very interested in recycling water and green building. Not what you would think.