Nine days after the murder of the Homesh yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman at the hands of loathsome Arab terrorists, and on the morning after a massive solidarity march and rally at the site of his murder (Thousands March to Homesh After Terror Attack, Demand Israel’s Return to Site) where a long list of right-wing leaders demanded the regulation of the outpost, on Friday morning, Police, Border Police and Army units began to demolish family homes and a boarding facility in Homesh in northern Samaria, though not yet the Yeshiva building itself or the student’s tent dorm.
The Homesh yeshiva issued a statement saying: “It’s a prize for terrorism. There are no words to describe it. Unfortunately, we see that the Israeli government has decided in the wake of the attack in which Yehuda Dimitman was killed to take down the yeshiva in Homesh. The terrorists achieve their goal through their contractor – the Israeli government.”
Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan reacted sharply to the destruction of Homesh homes Friday morning, less than 24 hours after the family of the murder victim had marched with more than 15,000 people to Homesh demanding to regulate the yeshiva, and only a week after Yehuda Dimentman had been killed in a shooting attack. Dagan attacked the prime minister and defense minister, saying:
Bennett and Gantz – thanks to you, the terrorists are dancing with baklavas and the Jews are crying! You have not yet destroyed the homes of the terrorists who murdered Yehuda Dimentman, but Yehuda’s blood has not yet dried up – and already this morning you destroyed Homes in Homesh! What a shame!
Naftali Bennett, Your government is giving this morning a backwind to terrorism! Coalition members are embracing [leader of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel who was released from jail] Raed Salah and you are destroying homes in Homesh?! You promised the building of the land and we are getting the destruction of the land.
We will not be silent! We demand of you: say no to demolition, and yes for the building of the Land of Israel! We demand that you immediately order a halt to the demolition of the Homes in Homesh and approve the construction of the yeshiva and the settlement. Do not award a prize to terror!
At the end of his speech, Dagan sent a political message hinting at larger demonstrations to come: “The myriad who marched in Samaria yesterday will have to march in tens of thousands on Jerusalem. The people of Israel will not give up!”
Homesh was evacuated in the summer of 2005 as part of PM Ariel Sharon’s “disengagement” plan which was his bribe to the left-leaning prosecution: he would destroy the lives of close to 10,000 Jews, mostly in the Gaza Strip but also in northern Samaria, and they’ll forgive his criminal collaboration with a billionaire that could land him in prison.
In 2009, Jews returned to Homesh, after a judge had ruled in 2007 that visiting the site was legal. The yeshiva was built and since then has been demolished many times. We blamed Friday’s demolition on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, but the truth is that it had been demolished most frequently by the Netanyahu government, including one time when Religious Zionism Chairman Bezalel Smotrich was serving as Netanyahu’s Transport Minister.
It probably comes down to the fact that it’s cheaper for the IDF to demolish the place and evict its residents – knowing they’ll turn around and resettle than to post a company to protect the residents against the very hostile local Arabs – those Arabs fired on the Army and the rally Thursday night.
At the moment, PM Bennett does not have the political capital to force his left-wing coalition partners to endorse the regulation of Homesh. It’s not going to happen. So Homesh will have to wait for the next elections when, God willing, a right-wing coalition government will be established. And then, most likely, Homesh will be demolished yet again. Because to make sure it stays the Knesset would have to overturn the 2005 Disengagement Act, which Netanyahu could have done in his 11 years in power and didn’t.