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

The rabbi who heads the yeshiva in the former northern Samaria community of Homesh has been indicted for spending time at the site.

Rabbi Elishama Cohen said in a statement that the indictment was “a mark of Cain against the Israel Police, the State Attorney’s Office and the government of Israel.


“We expect that the incoming government will remove the disgrace of the Disengagement Law from Israel’s statute book in its first days; that is what we have been promised and we expect it to happen,” he added.

The indictment charges the rabbi with violating the 2005 Disengagement Law by staying at the site on November 15 without prior authorization. It also said the prosecution may request the court mandate prison time for the rabbi, if convicted.

The rabbi was arrested in December 2021 for the same reason, barely a week after Homesh Yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman was murdered by Palestinian Authority terrorists near the entrance to the site. The rabbi was not charged following his arrest.

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The outgoing Bennett-Lapid government had informed the High Court of Justice that it intended to re-evacuate Homesh, in response to a 2019 petition by the far-left Yesh Din organization claiming the town is built on land that is privately owned by Palestinian Authority citizens who are being denied access by the yeshiva and its students.

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At this point, it is not clear whether the rabbi will ultimately be convicted, since the incoming Netanyahu government is mulling repeal of the onerous Disengagement Law, which would open the way for reconstruction of at least some of the towns.

Former Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and 11 other Knesset members, including members of the Likud, Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit parties issued statements denouncing the indictment and said they would work to repeal the law.

The Disengagement Law prohibits Israelis from entering and residing in Homesh and other former communities that were evacuated and demolished during the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif and northern Samaria.

Homesh was among four such communities in northern Samaria.


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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.