Daily Israel Report

Jews Evade IDF, Spend Yom Kippur in Homesh

Jews flocked to Homesh for the Yom Kippur holiday. IDF troops attempted to expel the worshippers, but were unsuccessful.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 9/28/2009, 10:40 PM / Last Update: 9/29/2009, 8:09 AM

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Jewish activists living in Homesh, in northern Samaria, were joined for the Yom Kippur holiday by rabbis, academics, and activists from central Israel. The unusually large Jewish presence came after two months in which IDF soldiers expelled Jews from the area on several occasions, often on the Sabbath.

Those who were present reported that IDF soldiers attempted to expel them from the area on Sunday as the holiday approached. However, activists were prepared for the attempt, and ran and hid.

The soldiers eventually left, and Homesh residents and their guests returned to their pre-fast meal.

Rabbi Dr. Matanya Ben-Gedalya, one of the worshippers who joined Homesh activists for the holiday, described the prayers as inspiring. “I have not seen such heartfelt prayers in several years,” he told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew news service. “We prayed for the entire Jewish people, and for the state. We prayed that G-d would open our leaders' eyes, and that we would merit to return to Homesh and Sa-Nur this year.”

Homesh was demolished in the 2005 “Disengagement,” as were two other Jewish communities as well as Sa-Nur, all in northern Samaria. The group “Homesh First” has led a campaign to resettle the town, and has managed to create a steady Jewish presence at the site for more than two years.

Homesh First activist Yossi Dagan expressed hope that in merit of the sacrifice demonstrated by those working to resettle Homesh, Israel would return to northern Samaria and resettle the Jewish towns destroyed in the Disengagement.