Regional Secretariat Rejects Migron Compromise

Imminent threat of destruction, as promised by State to Court, hovers over Migron's 45 families - with grave ramifications for the rest of Yesha.

Hillel Fendel,


An imminent threat of destruction this very month, as promised by the State to the Supreme Court, hovers over Migron's 45 families - with grave ramifications for the rest of Yesha.

The hot-potato saga of the "unauthorized outpost" of Migron passed another milestone on Wednesday, when the Binyamin Regional District secretariat rejected a plan to relocate Migron to Adam.  The proposal was rejected by a large majority.

The decision was taken in keeping with the "Greater Land of Israel" approach that Jewish towns must not be destroyed.  It must still be approved by the Binyamin Regional Council, however - and even then the national government will have the final word.

The story of Migron (Samuel I 14:2 and Isaiah 10: 28) began in 1999 when its first settlers arrived, but it became an official outpost only in March 2002.  Like many other Jewish communities over the past several decades, Migron never received all its written permits, but its construction was encouraged and rushed along by many national and local government offices. In particular, a road was paved, caravans and playgrounds were stationed at the site, and security and other help was provided. All in all, six different government ministries provided aid to Migron during its early years.

The welcome sign at the town's entrance announces its mission statement: "Migron, a communal town, was founded on the 19th of Adar 5762 [March 3, 2002], despite difficulties - out of the belief in the Eternity of Israel. The force that drives us is the knowledge that the unity of Nation, Faith, and Land brings peace and redemption. Welcome." 

Peace Now Steps In
The radical left-wing Peace Now organization sought out Arabs who claimed they owned land in Migron, and legal proceedings were then begun against Migron. The bottom line of this process, as of now, is that the State of Israel informed the Supreme Court, earlier this year, that it would evacuate the Jews of Migron by this month. 

Easier said than done, however.  An attempt to destroy Migron at the end of 2003 fizzled out when it became clear that thousands of people would arrive on the scene to oppose the destruction. The government's fears of out-of-control violence were proven right two years later in Amona - where only nine houses, most of them unoccupied, were destroyed.  Migron today numbers 45 families.

State Wishes to Avoid Tisha B'Av Connotations
The State was supposed to present to the Supreme Court a "progress report" on its plans this week, but has asked for an extention until next week - after the fast of Tisha B'Av.  Observers say the State was anxious not to repeat the experience of three years ago in which the destruction of Jewish towns coincided with the day that commemorates the destruction of the two Holy Temples.  The Disengagement/expulsion from Gush Katif and northern Shomron began in 2005 during the week of Tisha B'Av.

Though the Yesha Council stood firmly against any attempt to destroy Migron in 2003, today it favors compromise - specifically, a plan to relocate the 45 families to Adam, a growing community north of Jerusalem and about four kilometers due south of Migron. 

Residents Oppose Yesha Council Compromise
The residents of Migron, for their part, are united against this idea.  A vote taken yesterday in the town stated unanimously, with one abstention, that the Yesha Council does not represent them in this matter.

"We refuse to consider any proposal of relocation," said Gideon Rosenfeld, the head of the Migron secretariat, to Arutz-7. "Relocation is just another word for destruction. This is a thriving community, which has received help from many different government bodies, and there is no reason or justification to destroy it. The fact that Peace Now went to the Supreme Court against us - first of all, we have plenty of legal claims as well, involving forging of documents, and our documentation of our purchase of properties here - yet the Supreme Court dismissed us."

"Not to mention," Rosenfeld continued, "that it is quite unheard of that Peace Now went to the Supreme Court with this; property disputes are supposed to be judged in local courts, not the country's highest.  It must be that Peace Now knew what it was doing when it went directly to the Supreme Court - and this was proven correct."

Binymain Regional Council to Decide
The refusal by the Binyamin secretariat to consider relocation gives a boost to the Migron residents, but the decision must still be approved by the Binyamin Regional Council.  The Council is expected to convene in the coming days, and will make a decision after hearing leading rabbis and settlement leaders. 

Whatever decision it makes, however, may not matter to the government, whose promise to destroy the community this month still stands.  One possibility is that a compromise will be reached, over the heads of the Migronites, stating that they will be relocated - but only after houses are already built and ready for occupancy.  This could take months or years, Yesha Council sources say.

What About Ofra?
Migron's Rosenfeld says that even such a decision could have grave ramifications for many other Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.  "Ofra, for instance," he noted, referring to one of Yesha's oldest and largest Jewish communities, with close to 3,000 residents. "There are hundreds of homes there, and Peace Now has already begun claiming that they were built on private Arab land.  If the government wants to solve this problem, as it has over the course of decades, it can."