15,000 Expected at Homesh March to Mark Six Day War

Some 15,000 people are expected to converge on Homesh next Tuesday but Hand 1 doesn't agree with Hand 2 on government permission for the event.

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Hana Levi Julian,

Climbing rock-strewn Samaria hills to Homesh.
Climbing rock-strewn Samaria hills to Homesh.
Yishai Fleisher

Some 15,000 people are expected to return to the ruins of Homesh, located in northern Samaria, next Tuesday. The march will mark the 40th anniversary of the Six Day War and its liberation of Judea and Samaria, according to organizers.

The recently thriving town of Homesh was destroyed by the government during the Disengagement of 25 Jewish communities in the summer of 2005.  The march will be the fourth such demonstration in the former Jewish community.

The event will begin with a march past the old railway station in Sebastia, the first community to be built by the Yesha community movement in Judea and Samaria following the Six Day War. Thousands of marchers will then make their way through the green, stone-strewn hills of Samaria leading to the former hilltop community. 

Similar to previous demonstrations, marchers and organizers are receiving mixed messages on whether the government will issue a permit for the event.  During the previous march, IDF permission was granted and then rescinded by Defense Minister Amir Peretz, before the army did in fact allow demostrators to reach the former town.

Officials in the defense ministry told Arutz-7 on Monday that the organizers had not asked for permission to hold the march. "Because of this, there has been no permit issued officially or unofficially," said the ministry spokesperson. "It is possible that the issue will be brought to the defense minister by the IDF in the next few days," she said.  The spokesperson declined to comment on reports that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had decided to allow the event.

IDF General Staff reportedly gave permission as well, but could not be reached for comment.

Speakers at the rally, organized by Homesh First, Bnei Akiva and the Council of Yesha Communities, will include an array of prominent Knesset Members, rabbis and other notables.

“Coming to Homesh is of the utmost importance both from a public and conceptual point of view,” said the Yesha Council in a recently-distributed leaflet, which added that the Disengagement, which uprooted the residents of Homesh and 24 other vibrant Jewish communities, had failed in its mission.

“A magnificent tower built upon 30 years of Zionism…was destroyed in the flourish of a bulldozer like it was a card tower….May the [Disengagement’s] planners and executors recognize the failure…Terrorism was given an encouraging push…Synagogues left in Gush Katif were burned and desecrated, the eternal rest of the dead was disturbed. Was the result worth the price?”

In the past, the Yesha Council has sidestepped the issue of re-settling the communities expelled during the 2005 Disengagement. The Council also avoided official participation in the past pilgrimages to the site, which took place on Chanukah 2006, just before Passover and on Independence Day this year.

Not so this time around; the leaflet goes on to say the event is “part of a long-term effort that will eventually bring the bulldozers back to Homesh. Only this time, they will be used for construction instead of destruction. We aspire and believe that Homesh will be [re]built, as will be the communities of Gush Katif in the Gaza Strip.”