Photo Credit: TPS
Thousands call on the government to prevent the evacuation of Amona.

Thousands of Israelis gathered in Jerusalem Tuesday night to demonstrate against the impending evacuation of the Jewish community of Amona.

The demonstrators protested in Paris Square, across from the official residence of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is on a state visit to eastern Europe. Netanyahu was not there, however: he spent the afternoon meeting with the president of Azerbaijan and was slated to visit the Chabad Or Avner Jewish Education Center in Baku as well.

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Before leaving on his trip, Netanyahu and Education Minister Naftali Bennett had already reached a legal solution on the issue of Amona that would allow the residents to remain in the community in their homes, but would require them to permit those homes to be moved to another location within the municipality boundaries.

Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit had approved the plan, which would be implemented using impounded absentee landlord plots. It is not clear whether or not the residents had agreed to the plan.

Meanwhile, the IDF is still preparing to carry out the evacuation on the legal due date of December 25 if the deal falls through. Attorneys for the state were to request a delay from the Supreme Court in order to allow time to carry out the new plan, but it’s not clear whether that took place and if it did, whether the Court is willing to allow the delay for the new plan to be implemented in time.

A number of soldiers in IDF units and those of the Border Guard Police have already expressed their opposition to being ordered to forcibly pull Jews out of their homes, and have requested to be excused from that duty. Some have done so publicly via social media by posting hand-lettered signs which are photographed being held without their faces being shown; others have submitted their requests privately or anonymously via the media.

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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.