A modern-day pioneer, Menachem Zur grew up in Beit El, located right near the site where Jacob saw a ladder reaching the Heavens with angels ascending and descending its rungs. The vision was an apparent reminder for the Hebrew Patriarch that Divine Providence would help him persevere as he left the Promised Land. Menachem can relate as someone with a Divinely-inspired recipe for perseverance through any challenge.
A decade after Israel’s miraculous victory in the Six Day War of 1967, Menachem’s parents moved from Jerusalem to Beit El with a clear mission to spiritually strengthen the Biblical Heartland. Fully cognizant of the need to inculcate Biblical principles in the next generation, Menachem’s father helped establish a yeshiva (Bible Academy) in Beit El and did the same in other small communities in the region. “I grew up in a reality in which our household was constantly involved in significant undertakings,” reflected Menachem.
This reality prepared Menachem and his family to persevere through tragedy. On the seventh night of Hanukah in 1996, Menachem’s parents and seven siblings were driving home to light Hanukah candles. As they neared Beit El, terrorists fired on their vehicle, sending shrapnel into their bodies.
Menachem, who was at his yeshiva in Shadmot Mechola, a small community located in the northern Jordan Valley, first heard cursory details of the attack from his teary-eyed cousin and the Rabbi of his yeshiva. “At the time, I thought it was just a routine incident in which nearby Arabs were throwing stones at my family’s car,” Menachem said. But Menachem soon found out this was no routine stone-throwing attack. As he went back to the study hall to retrieve his phylacteries, he unexpectedly saw the entire yeshiva reciting Psalms, a tradition of prayer in response to tragedy. Menachem’s cousin and one of his rabbis accompanied him by taxi to his family who had been dispatched to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital. “It was the longest ride I ever had,” Menachem related. And indeed, it was. On the way to the hospital, he learned of his mother’s death, over the radio. Meanwhile, the rabbi was guiding him through the various rituals that would accompany him through the following days of mourning.
Menachem remembers, after reaching the hospital, his father’s remarks, which still ring powerfully in his ears, as he sat at the bedside of Menachem’s seriously wounded younger sister: “The terrorists may have killed a few of our bodies, but they will never kill our souls. We will continue living on, spreading as much happiness and blessing as possible.” Menachem seized upon his father’s advice and lived life to the fullest. Menachem enlisted in the IDF and during his service, married his wife from Kiryat Arba, a community located near the ancient city of Hebron. Following his IDF career, Menachem joined Beit El’s security team, eventually becoming the civilian security coordinator.
Menachem’s mother Eta was murdered in a terrorist attack in 1996. Pictured left is Menachem, as a baby, with his mother.
Menachem also became a pioneer in his own right. Like his father, Menachem strengthened Biblical education in Judea and Samaria by working for the Shadmot Mechola Hesder Yeshiva, where young men combine Bible study with IDF service. In September of 2019, he served as Shadmot Mechola’s civilian security coordinator, and by December of 2022, he became its administrator. “A few decades ago, the last generation had their specific tasks to fulfill,” Menachem added. “We now have ours.”
Menachem could not feel more privileged to be living life surrounded by miracles. “We are living at a time when prophecy is being fulfilled in front of our eyes. Anyone who cannot see that is essentially denying the existence of Divine Providence.” Menachem expresses enormous appreciation for Christian support of the communities in Judea and Samaria. “We cannot take for granted the fact that there are Christians around the world who see what is good about us, because unfortunately, most of the world simply does not understand us.” And addressing himself directly to our Christian friends: “You will always be welcome in Shadmot Mechola!”