“We came to stand behind the families and the students. We came to commit to settling the Land of Israel in all its areas, to continue Zionism.”
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
About 20,000 Israelis marched in support of the community of Homesh in Samaria on Tuesday in response to the government’s attempt to demolish the yeshiva (Talmudic academy) and the few homes at the site and to minimize the Israeli presence there.
The marchers demanded that the government “lift the siege on Homesh” and completely legalize the status of the yeshiva at the site.
Among those who participated in the march were Yossi Dagan, head of the Samaria Council; Homesh Yeshiva head Rabbi Elishama Cohen, and members of the Knesset.
The families of Shuli Har-Melech, Ido Zoldan and Yehuda Dimentman marched as well. All three lived in Homesh and were killed by terrorists, most recently Dimentman in December 2021.
“The majority of the people demand – remove your hands from the yeshiva of CHmesh, build Homesh and Sa-Nur anew, today,” Dagan stated.
“The public that came here en masse represents the vast majority of the people of Israel and have national dignity and uprightness. And this public tells the government to take your hands off Homesh, stop the evictions and checkpoints, and Israel will correct the mistake of deportation and restore Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim.”
“A government that abandons both the Negev and Homesh will be replaced with a government that the people of Israel deserve – a full right-wing government,” Dagan said.
Bezalel Smotrich, chairman of the Religious Zionist Party, stated at the march that he has “no expectations from this government that has surrendered to Islam. Whoever narrows the steps of the heroes from Homesh — we have no dialogue with them; we will replace them soon.”
“We came to stand behind the families and the students. We came to commit to settling the Land of Israel in all its areas, to continue Zionism. The people of Israel are alive and strong and will win,” he declared.
MK Idit Silman, who recently quit Bennett’s coalition, said that “our trust is in the Creator of the world, and this is our safety net, this is our truth and thanks to it we are here. The inheritance of the land is only due to the holy Torah. Thanks to Yehuda Dimentman and thanks to his learning, we are here. Our Torah is the truth and it is our resilience.”
In 2005, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip while destroying 21 Israeli communities.
It also destroyed four communities in northern Samaria, including Homesh, but retained a military presence in the area, which is part of Area C, under full Israeli control under the Oslo Accords.
Dagan, who was expelled by the state from his home in Sa-Nur in 2005, is demanding the resumption of settlement there.
The yeshiva in Homesh has been active for the past 15 years.
In August 2020, MKs Miki Zohar and Smotrich introduced a bill to repeal the 2005 Disengagement Law from northern Samaria “to correct the injustice.”
In June 2018, Maj. Gen. (ret.) Yair Naveh, who commanded the IDF’s withdrawal from northern Samaria in 2005, declared that Israel’s unilateral withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and Israeli communities in northern Samaria in 2005 was “a grave mistake.” Naveh said that reality has proven that the move has failed to give Israel any security or diplomatic advantage.
“There’s no doubt that we weren’t able to create any sort of security advantage, neither in Gaza nor in Samaria,” Naveh said in an interview with Israel Hayom. “If the disengagement from Gaza contributed anything to history, it did so by proving that terrorism has nothing to do with the settlement enterprise, and by proving that an eviction of this nature cannot be carried out in such a way again.”
“There was no advantage to this eviction. None. Zero. Nothing has changed for the better there. It had no added value to security or to anything else. It was a frustrating event that left a feeling that it was all for nothing,” Naveh said.