Residents of the Jewish community of Givat Assaf in Samaria have reached a partial agreement with the Defense Ministry over the fate of their homes.

The talks came in an effort to avoid a traumatic demolition similar to the one that took place Wednesday in Gush Etzion.

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The deal, which came Thursday morning, means the residents will begin to dismantle five of their own houses and buildings by themselves. Included among the structures are a mikvah and an electrical utility building. The fate of seven other buildings is still under discussion.

According to the Civil Administration, residents have already removed their personal belongings from the buildings.

Under the agreement the residents are expected to have left their homes by Sunday, when the Jewish holiday of Lag BaOmer, which marks the passing of the great Torah sage and mystic Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, will already have started the night before.

Bonfires will have been kindled after the Shabbat has ended, lighting up the hillsides, valleys and beaches of Israel, including the mountainous regions in Judea and Samaria.

During the daylight hours Jews generally celebrate the holiday in parks and nature reserves, or at the mountaintop Galilee tomb of the sage, near Meron — but for residents of Givat Assaf, the only “celebration” may come in the form moving trucks.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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