Photo Credit: courtesy, Nadia Matar
Speakers address activists demanding the return of an official Israeli presence at the northern Samaria community of Homesh, where Jewish residents were expelled during the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza. Dec. 23, 2021

Thousands of Israelis from all over the country arrived on Thursday at the community of Homesh in Samaria after the end of the Shiva mourning week for terror victim Yehuda Dimentman.

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Dimentman, 25, husband, father of a baby and a student at the Yeshiva of Homesh, was shot and killed by an Islamic Jihad terror cell last Thursday night. Two other yeshiva students were injured in the attack.

Activists march from Shavei Shomron to Homesh in northern Samaria on Dec. 23, 2021

The thousands, led by the Dimentman family and his widow Etya, marched from Shavei Shomron towards Yeshivat Homesh.

A memorial service was held in Yehuda’s memory at the site of the attack together with rabbis, public figures, and Knesset Members.

Buses carry marchers towards a demonstration demanding Israel’s official return to Homesh, on Dec. 23, 2021

Head of the Shomron (Samaria) Council, Yossi Dagan, said “more than ten thousand people are on their way to the Homesh, from all over the country, a huge flood, which no one thought of and especially not this government. The people want a built Homesh, the people want the Yeshiva of Homesh established, the people want a Zionist and determined answer to terrorism.”

“We have come to give this people hope – of settlement, of Zionism, of the restoration of national honor and national security, and we tell the government to take your hands off of Homesh,” Dagan said.

The march comes amid rumors that the government plans to destroy the yeshiva and ban all Israeli entry to the area.

On Sunday, the police blocked the students’ access to the Yeshiva and leveled several structures erected at the site the night before.

A source at the Homesh yeshiva accused Prime Minister Naftali Bennett of “placing the Disengagement Law back to the table – a reward for the murderers.”

Etya Dimentman called on the government to properly establish the Yeshiva of Homesh “as an answer to the murder.”

Speaking after the deadly attack for the first time on Sunday, Etya said that “Yehuda did not leave me a will. Yesterday a friend of his showed me that they asked him six and a half years ago what he would do if he had only a week left to live, he replied – ‘study Torah in Homesh’. This is his will,” she said.

“Yehudah’s blood is too precious. It is impossible to return to a routine when the blood of such a pure soul is shed,” she added. “I feel Yehuda all the time and he is asking through me to build Chomesh.”

President Isaac Herzog met with the family on Tuesday evening and said that “the things you say [about properly establishing a yeshiva] make sense and I will pass this message on to US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan” with whom he met Wednesday.

Avigdor Dimentman, Yehuda’s brother, told the president that “if they [government] destroy the Yeshiva immediately after a yeshiva student from there was killed in a shooting attack, it will first and foremost harm the national spirit. What the people of Israel have first is spirit. Do not break the spirit.”

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Aryeh Savir is director of the International division of Tazpit News Agency.