Photo Credit: Courtesy of Homesh Yeshiva
1,500 Israelis Celebrated Tu B’Shvat in Homesh, Feb. 15, 2023.

Despite tensions with the Biden administration over developing and constructing Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, the coalition does not intend to bow down to the American pressure, Reshet Bet Radio reported Wednesday morning. Instead, the coalition plans to introduce next week a bill regulating the settlement of Homesh in northern Samaria, which was uprooted in the 2005 expulsion.

The 70 Jewish families of the Homesh settlement, named after the five Jewish villages that existed in the area during the Mishna and Talmudic periods (its Greek name was preserved in the name of the Arab village of Fandaqumiya––pénte means five in Greek), were expelled during the “disengagement” of 2005 (named after the Spanish disengagement of 1492). Rooted in a deal between corrupt PM Ariel Sharon and the prosecution, the expulsion uprooted all the Jews of the Gaza Strip and four settlements in northern Samaria.


The homes in Homesh were demolished, but in the years that followed, Jews continued to visit the place, defying the law that forbade access to Israelis (Arabs continued to live there undisturbed). In 2009, the Renewed Homesh Yeshiva was established, which was subject to numerous evictions over the years. One of the promises of the Religious Zionism and Otzma Yehudit coalition was to regulate Homesh once and for all, making it inseparable from the legal settlement enterprise.

At Sunday’s cabinet meeting this week, Religious Zionism Minister of Settlement Orit Strock (pronounced: Strook) raised the urgent need to advance the issue of regulating Homesh in light of the deadline set by the High Court of Justice requiring the government to explain why the yeshiva should not be evacuated.

In response, Justice Minister Yariv Levin informed Strock that the bill in this matter is already scheduled to come up for a vote in the Ministerial Committee for Legislation this coming Sunday, and next Wednesday will be submitted for a first reading by the Knesset. Levin also promised that the bill would be given a high priority, and this was confirmed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

More than 1,500 people participated in the Tu B’Shvat seder at the Homesh yeshiva last Sunday night, including rabbis and public figures. The event was attended by Rabbi Mordechai Dimentman, father of Yehuda Dimentman Hy’d who was murdered about a year ago in an attack near Homesh. Also attended: Rabbis Eliakim Lebanon and Shmuel Eliyahu, Homesh Rosh Yeshiva Rabbi Elishama Cohen, and many other rabbis. The folks sang and danced that into the wee hours of the night and had a good time.


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