Homesh yeshiva relocated during the night to state land, with government approval

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant signed off on the move, infuriating members of the Opposition.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

In an operation reminiscent of pre-State settlers’ overnight construction of Tower and Stockade settlements, Jewish civilians rebuilt the Homesh yeshiva Sunday night, angering opponents.

On May 20, the head of the IDF’s Central Command signed off on permission for Jews to enter Homesh and annex it to the Samaria regional council. This followed the Knesset’s repeal two months ago of the Disengagement Law as it pertained to the four villages that were forcibly evacuated in 2005 in northern Samaria.

While Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim have always remained empty, there waws a yeshiva in Homesh already before the Disengagement, and its students soon came back to study there in temporary accommodations that were periodically destroyed by the army over the ensuing years.

Israel’s High Court of Justice had ruled that the yeshiva was illegal, as it allegedly stood on private Palestinian property.

The only permission granted towards the actual reconstruction of the yeshiva was to plan new buildings there, on paper. The Biden administration strongly objected to the rebuilding of the settlement itself, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu assured Washington that this would not happen.

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Before dawn Monday, students and volunteers set up the study hall in new mobile homes several hundred meters from its original location on land legally designated for construction. The yeshiva stressed that it was done legally, as Defense Minister Yoav Gallant had given them the go-ahead.

As Judea and Samaria are formally under military law, any building there requires the permission of the Defense Ministry.

This did not sit well with Labour party head Merav Michaeli, who slammed Gallant for giving a “gift” to “moonstruck settlers and their destructive whims” that “come at the expense of Israel’s security, its future and its democracy.”

The defense minister “proved that he doesn’t care about the hundreds of thousands who supported him after he was fired,” she charged. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sacked Gallant after he spoke in opposition to the government’s planned judicial reform but backtracked a few weeks later after mass protests broke out over the decision.

Some security officials reportedly objected to the move, preferring that a more permanent structure be built only after all the formal planning procedures were completed and final approval received.

Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan affixed a mezuzah to the door of the yeshiva to mark its official opening. He called it “a historic moment… one of the steps that will correct the terrible wrong of the expulsion of Homesh” and the other three Jewish villages of the region. The opponents of the Disengagement had never stopped working to reverse this wrong, he said, calling it “a mark of Cain” on the State of Israel.

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He told Ynet Radio on Monday that the undertaking was “a big celebration,” even though “it’s a shame” that it had to be done “in the dead of night.”

According to Dagan, “The next step will be to submit a TAMA (zoning and development plan) and regulate the place as a settlement. Let there be no doubt, we will fully build Homesh, it will be a city in Israel, and will be followed by Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim. There is justice in the world; even if it takes time, it does occur.”

Donors from across the country as well as overseas funded the new buildings.