Outrage as gov’t shuts down electricity for yeshiva ahead of boiling-hot Sabbath

The Samaria yeshiva was left in darkness on one of the hottest weekends of the year.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Politicians protested in real time to no avail the IDF’s confiscation two hours before the Sabbath of the Homesh Yeshiva’s solar panels, leaving the community without electricity on one of the hottest weekends of the year.

Former Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud), head of the “Homesh First” lobby in parliament, blasted Defense Minister Benny Gantz, “who sent the forces” to take the panels that would leave the students in darkness.

“I strongly condemn any harm to the Jewish settlement, of course, but one thing does not give me rest – why does Benny Gantz always send troops just before Shabbat? Where does this obtuseness and disregard for the sanctity of the Sabbath come from?”

MK Orit Strook (Religious Zionism) was one of several who took Gantz to task for trying to intimidate the yeshiva while the security situation around it in Judea and Samaria deteriorates.

“The Defense Minister is busy with… Homesh! Forget about such trifles such as: riots on the Alon highway, a shooting attack on the way out of Nablus/Shechem (plus a terrorist who came to collect the weapons later), a child who was killed because of the Civil Administration’s failures in dealing with Palestinian drivers…. These are the instructions of a person who presents himself as a man of the [political] center, while he is really a complete leftist,” she said.

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MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, a longtime critic of the Blue and White party head, said Friday that “Gantz continues to be heroic over Jews and serve the interests of the terrorist [Palestinian Authority president] Abu Mazen.”

He then tweeted Saturday night, “Over the entire Sabbath, hundreds of thousands of residents of Judea and Samaria suffered from nonstop live gunfire and fireworks due to the revelation of the matriculation scores of Palestinian Authority residents.

“And where is Defense Minister Benny Gantz? Instead of sending soldiers for a one-time chance to seize thousands of weapons, Gantz sends soldiers to confiscate the solar panels providing electricity to the Homesh settlers. Gantz isn’t left-wing, he’s the far left.”

Homesh has been targeted by the IDF repeatedly over the past several months, with the road to the community blocked to all but those who study there, the yeshiva head being called in for an interrogation, and various structures around the yeshiva being pulled down.

Homesh yeshiva director Shmuel Wandy called the army’s harassment an “obsession.”

“Unfortunately, the security situation is getting worse, there are attempted attacks, rock-throwing; just a few hours ago a resident was [almost] lynched near Alei Zahav, and the security forces are only bothered by the yeshiva in Homesh. It’s unbelievable,” he said.

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“Starting with the murder of [student] Yehuda [Dimentman] outside of Homesh in December 2021], the yeshiva is being obsessively harassed. This is a reward for terrorism. Confiscating parts of the yeshiva’s electrical system is a step up in the violation of Homesh, but we don’t despair. They won’t silence the voice of Torah in Homesh.”

Dimentman’s family has demanded that Homesh be legally reinstated as the proper answer to the attack that took his life.

Gantz said in May that “Israeli law requires” that the community be razed since the High Court ruled that much of it allegedly sits on private Palestinian land. It is one of the four villages in northern Samaria that the Israeli government destroyed along with those in Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip in 2005.

Supporters of the yeshiva that was returned to its original site after the destruction say that the Disengagement Law gives the IDF permission to permit a Jewish presence at a previously evacuated site under exceptional circumstances.