Photo Credit: Nasser Ishtayeh / Flash 90
Israeli soldiers block the entrance to Homesh, in northern Samaria, on May 28, 2022.

A group of IDF commanders have banned their soldiers from praying in the synagogue at Homesh, the site of the former Jewish community evacuated in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza and Northern Samaria.

A thriving synagogue and yeshiva were revived and now operate at the site.


Now, IDF officers have banned their religious soldiers from praying in the synagogue or even simply alongside those who are staying at the site.

The move is one that is intended to prevent complications in the military-civilian relationship, according to IDF Radio-Galei Tzahal’s political correspondent Shachar Glick.

“In one case, the officer even stopped the prayers in the middle and dragged a soldier back to the base who was completing the minyan for residents” at the site, Glick reported Monday in a tweet.

The IDF has decided to build a separate synagogue for its soldiers for the upcoming High Holy Days to prevent them from praying with civilians at the site.

“While there will be no minyan, at least each of the groups will be able to maintain the Jewish tradition of two synagogues – one to pray in, and one their feet will never set foot in,” Glick added with sarcasm.

In response, the IDF said in a statement, “A synagogue is situated at the Homesh Yeshiva. The IDF operates in the area in accordance with state policy directives, and policies of the security forces regarding the evacuated settlement of Homesh have not changed.

“For the benefit of IDF fighters deployed to the area, a synagogue will be built for their future use.”


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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, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.