Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Naftali Bennett arrives for a meeting in the Israeli outpost of Givat Asaf in Judea and Samaria, December 17, 2018.

In response to the shooting attack in early May at Tapuach Junction in which Yehuda Guetta Hy’d, 14, was murdered and two students from the Itamar Yeshiva were injured, a nucleus of 40 families from nearby settlements and dozens of teenagers returned to the Eviatar hill near Tapuach junction, to an evacuated outpost established exactly 8 years ago by the then head of the Samaria Council, Gershon Mesika, in memory of Evyatar Borowski, 14, who was killed in a terrorist attack at Tapuach Junction in 2013.

Within a month, 40 houses were built there that were quickly connected to water and electricity, and, as we mentioned, 40 families live there. New roads to the outpost were paved and a Beit Midrash and a nursery were established.


The construction and other works were carried out without permits, and in recent days the residents have received demolition orders. Now the residents hope that in his first days in office, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett would not evacuate their outpost and that the planned evacuation would be postponed. After all, this is the promise that was made by Bennett and Yair Lapid to their partner in the new government, Ra’am chairman MK Mansour Abbas.

But Evyatar residents fear that the outpost will be evacuated in the coming days, before the new government is sworn in, to spare Bennett the embarrassment of his first act in office being the demolition of a Jewish community in Judea and Samaria.

Meanwhile, if you’re into irony, on Thursday, Supreme Court Justice Ofer Grosskopf issued a temporary injunction prohibiting the demolition of the house of the terrorist Montaser Shalabi, who murdered yeshiva student Yehuda Guetta at Tapuach Junction. Let’s see whose house will come down first…

Bennett and the rest of Yamina’s MKs have been under furious public pressure to abandon their deal with the new right-center-left coalition. On Thursday night, in a last-ditch effort to prevent the formation of the “change” government, hundreds of right-wingers and public figures associated with Religious Zionism demonstrated in front of the homes of Yamina MKs Ayelet Shaked and Nir Orbach. The main rally took place in Tel Aviv in front of Shaked’s residence.

Religious Zionism chairman MK Bezalel Smotrich, who until a few months ago was partners with Bennett and Shaked, and recently torpedoed a Netanyahu-led, right-wing majority government over his objection to including Mansour Abbas, spoke as if he were leading an intervention session for at-risk family members:

“Ayelet, listen, Am Israel Chai and you must not go against it, and you must not go with its enemies. Come home. Nir, listen. Am Israel Chai. You know that. You have the power. You have courage. You have a responsibility. Idit [Silman], listen. Drop it. You can. We trust you. Believe in yourself. Do not disappoint us. Do not disappoint God. Do not disappoint the people of Israel. Do not disappoint the Land of Israel. We leave here with our heads held high and our faith strong and that faith will win. The truth will win.”

Possibly. But I, for one, cringe a little when politicians try to represent God in a rally. Many do so without the prerequisite qualifications, such as prophecy.

All of which would turn a normally despicable act of demolishing an established Jewish community into a defining moment in the political life of the Yamina party and its leader, who is slated to become the first religious person to be crowned Prime Minister of Israel.

The prime minister-designate on Thursday told News 12 that he sees Ra’am chairman Mansour Abbas as “a brave leader, a decent man who cares for state-related and not nationalistic issues.” Bennett was asked in the interview about a post in which he defined Abbas as a “terrorism supporter.” He replied that he had changed his mind and added: “During the war and riots there was something that caught my attention. Abbas arrived at the synagogue in Lod in the middle of the tensest moments.”

The Ra’am chairman offered his assistance in rebuilding the burned-down synagogue, which cost him some intense attacks from the Israeli Arab public. Note: it was local Arabs who did the burning.

According to Bennett, a partnership with Ra’am opens up “a considerable opportunity to open a new page in the relationship between the State of Israel and the Arabs of Israel.”

Of course, Bennett stands to lose much of that goodwill should his first act in office would be to destroy his relationship with the Jews of Israel over the Evyatar outpost.

In the meantime, the IDF is on location in preparation for a potential Arab riot and attack today against the outpost.

Friday afternoon update: Arab rioters have begun attacking near the community and the army is pushing them back. Arab sources claim ten rioters have been injured in their attack.


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