Homesh to be demolished, but don’t ask when, says gov’t to Supreme Court

Government officially says it plans to evacuate Homesh, but some ministers express vehement opposition to the move.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Israeli government told the Supreme Court on Sunday that the northern Samarian community of Homesh is illegal and that they intend to raze all structures at the site, but did not commit to a time frame in which that would happen.

In response to a petition by the left-wing Yesh Din advocacy group, the government submitted to the court that “the place must be evacuated.”

But the government maintained that it conducts “weekly situational assessments” at the outpost and that “the security forces are actively working to prevent Israelis from entering the area.”

Because of the efforts to restrict new construction and prevent “disturbance of the peace” at the site, the government should not be obligated to commit to a specific timeline in which to fully evacuate the outpost.

Homesh, in northern Samaria, was evacuated under the 2005 disengagement plan, which saw Israel destroy all Jewish communities in Gaza and a number of communities in Judea and Samaria.

However, a yeshiva at the outpost has remained active in the years since the evacuation. The Israeli government has periodically razed homes and other structures built at Homesh.

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In December 2021, Yehuda Dimentman, a student at the yeshiva in Homesh was murdered in a terrorist attack near the entrance to the outpost, sparking renewed public interest around the site.

Dimentman’s widow has said that reestablishing a permanent Jewish community at the site would be the correct way to honor her late husband’s memory.

On Sunday, former Defense Minister Tzachi HaNegbi wrote to current Defense Minister Benny Gantz, noting that the disengagement law gave the IDF permission to permit a Jewish presence at a previously evacuated site under exceptional circumstances.

“The attack…requires the issuance of such a permit for the Homesh Yeshiva in order to make it clear to the murderers that terrorism will never defeat the State of Israel,” he wrote.

Notably, although Gantz has pledged to evacuate the site, Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked said she was working to ensure that the destruction of the yeshiva at Homesh would not happen.

“We are doing everything we can” to prevent the evacuation, Shaked said at a conference last week. “The continued activity of the yeshiva there is symbolic and meaningful. [It] has been evacuated many times. We need to put an end to that and allow the students there to study.”

In April 2022, some 20,000 Israelis marched to the site and called on the Israeli government to “lift the siege on Homesh.”