The terrorist group Hamas recently posted a video targeting the community of Shavei Shomron near Shechem, showing the town from a drone’s point of view, including the homes of Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan, the community synagogue, and the medical clinic. The video also displays the image of Rabbi Yehoshua Schmidt, the community Rabbi, and Yeshivat Nachalat Yosef, of which he is the dean.
The video is part of a series of threats that have recently been made against Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan via Hamas media outlets, on social networks, and even on Dagan’s personal Facebook page. In response, security has been beefed up around Dagan and his family.
Rabbi Schmidt responded to the threats telling the Jewish Press Online, “In every generation they rise up against us to destroy us and God saves us from their hands. Thank God, we have returned to our holy land – to the estate of Joseph the righteous, next door to the town of Shechem, which is one of the three places that the nations cannot say we stole from them; to the place where Abraham our forefather entered the land of Israel. Thank God, our return involves many challenges, and we have indeed gone through many difficult times in the past twenty years. God willing, He will save us from future catastrophes as well.”
Rabbi Schmidt experienced an assassination attempt 17 years ago, as a passenger in a car on the way to Shavei Shomron. An Arab vehicle passed the car he was in and fired 28 bullets at it. The driver was injured, and one of the bullets passed through Rabbi Schmidt’s yarmulke but he was not harmed.
In response to the latest threats, Rabbi Schmidt said, “We are not afraid of your threats and in spite of your threats we will continue building in our land, continue building the yeshiva, and continue to study Torah for the glory of the Jewish people in our homeland.”
The hesder and advanced yeshiva Nachalat Yosef was founded in Shavei Shomron by Rabbi Schmidt nearly 20 years ago, and serves dozens of students, including advanced kollel students preparing for the rabbinate exams. The yeshiva is particularly well-known for the unique methodology of study it applies, known as “shitat hasimanim” [the methodology of symbols], which makes it easier to commit text to memory. With hundreds of alumni, most of whom have built their homes in Judea and Samaria, the yeshiva is fundraising to build a second floor for additional classrooms.
“The residents of Samaria are special – the more they are afflicted, the more they grow,” said Rabbi Schmidt, citing the Hagadah. He blessed all of the House of Israel with a joyous and kosher Passover holiday, saying, “In several days we will sit at the seder table. The primary mitzvah is ‘You shall tell your son.’ This is the night when we pass from one generation to another our faith in God, our faith in the total redemption, our faith in the building of the Temple, and our faith in the coming of the righteous Mashiach. May we merit still this year to build the Temple and eat from the sacrifices and the offerings.”