Thousands who yearn for the rebuilding of Homesh, destroyed by Ariel Sharon in the Disengagement during the summer of 2005, voted with their feet by marching to the town Monday
Arutz-7 presents a photo essay of Day One. Photos by Yishai Fleisher and (the last two) Elyakim Levine.
(Click here if you cannot see the photos below.)
The natural beauty of Eretz Yisrael surrounds Homesh
More Samarian beauty on the road to Homesh.
The site of the destroyed community of Homesh came alive Monday night
with dancing, singing, visits to various corners of Homesh, campfires to stay warm by - and pioneering plans for the future.
Monday's trek to Homesh begins on asphalt...
... and continues through the mountains.
By today (Tuesday), several hundred of the original 3,500 Land of Israel-lovers still remained - and took part in the 8th-day brit milah (ritual circumcision) of the baby of Limor Har-Melekh, now remarried after her husband Shuli was murdered by Palestinian terrorists before her eyes in 2003. She and Shuli were among the founders of the Torani core group that moved to Homesh six years ago.
The army took a more aggressive stance
today, not allowing supplies to be brought up and threatening to remove the remaining pioneers by tomorrow. However, the army did allow the brit milah to be held - though it held up some or all of the busloads of visitors who wished to take part in the joyous occasion.
Alone in the area since the Disengagement, Arabs have turned parts of the Land of Israel - in this case, the scenic road to Homesh - into a garbage dump.
Yaakov Feldman, of the Shomron community of Peduel, who lived in Homesh for two months before he was evicted during the expulsion, said, "We're very lucky to have a day to conquer the hills of the Land of Israel." Click here to listen to his conversation with Yishai Fleisher as they walked to Homesh together.
Land of Israel-loving girls on top of the mountain.
Dr. Sodi Namir, beloved doctor of Gush Katif who was expelled from N'vei Dekalim, was also there. "We are waiting to see the materialization of the Divine promise to return us to Zion," he told Fleisher. "We pray that G-d give our political leaders the strength to withstand external pressures, and allow all Jews to live all over the Land of Israel - and the Jews of the Diaspora should join and reinforce us as well." Click here to listen.
After destroying the Jewish town in 2005, the IDF returned to defend the Jews of Homesh.
Some of "Homesh First" leadership: (l-r) MK Tzvi Hendel, unkown, MK Uri Ariel, Baruch Marzel
Baruch Marzel of Hevron said, "We see here the pure madness of giving up this strategic territory, with barely any Arabs around... The army knew it didn't have a chance against us..."
Click here to listen.
Homesh's commanding view of Samaria
Homesh's water tower, the last vestige of a thriving community
On the route to Homesh is the city Sebastia, site of the first attempt to settle Samaria the 1970's
Clear view of Tel Aviv skyline. It's 20 miles away, within Katyusha range.
The army stationed itself in Homesh behind barbed wire
Organizers set off fireworks to celebrate the Jewish return to Homesh
View of the strategic Hadera power plant, 20 miles away - within Katyusha range.
View of Afula from Homesh. It's 21 miles away - within Katyusha range.
for photos from Day Two of the return to Homesh and click here
for the forced removal on day three.