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      Clandestine Burial of Holy Texts

      After hundreds of soldiers gathered near Homesh to prevent burial of vandalized holy books, ceremony was called off – and held secretly at night.
      By Hillel Fendel
      First Publish: 7/9/2009, 11:29 AM

      After hundreds of Border Guardsmen and soldiers gathered around Homesh to prevent the burial of vandalized holy books, Homesh activists called off the ceremony – and then held it secretly at night.

      Hebrew Video of Burial Ceremony:

      Ten days ago, shortly after the students at the makeshift yeshiva at the site stepped away, local Arabs snuck in and made a shambles of it. Apparently overlooking all other objects in the study hall, they went straight to the bookshelf and turned shelves of dozens of holy texts into a pile of ashes.

      Fragments of pages that were not totally burnt were buried on Wednesday night, on the eve of the fast of the 17th of Tammuz, in a sad ceremony attended by some 80 activists and former residents of Homesh and neighboring Sa-Nur.

      The sadness was augmented by anger at the security forces, who had gathered en-masse a few hours earlier to prevent the scheduled public burial ceremony. The forces underwent a vigorous training exercise beforehand, including the use of clubs and similar tools of violence. IDF Central Commander Gen. Gadi Shamni was personally on hand to oversee the exercise, activists said.

      Shortly before the burial was to begin, SMS messages were circulated, announcing its postponement until a later date, which was not specified. The ceremony was quickly and clandestinely rescheduled for later that night, and went off without a hitch, under the leadership of the Homesh First grassroots organization.

      Homesh First was formed shortly after the 2005 Disengagement from Gush Katif and four northern Shomron communities – Ganim, Kadim, Sa-Nur and Homesh. This was the beginning of the unceasing efforts of the residents of Homesh, together with some from Sa-Nur and other Land of Israel loyalists, to return to the site of their former homes. They buttressed their actions by explaining that, unlike Gush Katif, the area was not turned over to the Palestinian Authority, and that the only result of leaving the area was to embolden the local Arab terrorists elements.

      “To our great astonishment,” Homesh First activists explained last night, “shortly before the scheduled burial, the IDF and police began a hysterical call-up of hundreds of forces in order to prevent us from burying the holy texts. At the same time, public figures and activists in the Shomron began to receive threats that they would be arrested and charged with all sorts of crimes if they took part.”

      “Even when Arab marauders desecrate and burn Jewish holy books, Defense Minister Barak remains steadfastly hard-hearted and fights automatically specifically against the Jews. How would he act if Jews would infiltrate a mosque and burned Korans?”

      In recent days, land was prepared at the edge of the former town of Homesh for the burial of the remains of the holy texts, in accordance with Jewish Law. The burial procession, led by the head of the Homesh yeshiva, Rabbi Elishama Cohen, passed quietly and sadly along the road on which lived Shuli Har-Melekh, who was murdered by terrorists six years ago, and buried the remains in clay jugs.

      Rabbi Cohen read aloud a dirge written nearly a millennium ago by the Maharam of Rotenburg when Talmudic texts were publicly burnt in France.