Sixth Time: Forces Raze Jewish Neighborhood
Once again, special Yassam and Border Police units, accompanied by Civil Administration personnel, destroyed the neighborhood of Maoz Esther on Tuesday. The outpost neighborhood is located outside Kokhav HaShachar in the Binyamin region, not far from an illegally-built Arab neighborhood.
This was approximately the sixth time since last summer that the outpost has been razed. After each destruction, the residents vowed to rebuild – and have kept their promise. Today, as well, the residents said that they would begin rebuilding within hours, and that "the answer to eviction and destruction will be construction and settlement in all parts of the land of Israel. We will settle everywhere in the Land."
MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said, "[Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak are strong and resolute when it comes to Jews, but they don't dare to touch thousands of illegal Arab homes."
The neighborhood was founded in late 2007, and it was named in memory of Kokhav HaShachar resident Esther G'alyah, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in a roadside shooting in November 2002. Esther left seven orphans behind; one daughter, along with her young husband and baby, were among the first residents of the new Jewish settlement site.
Earlier Tuesday, MK Tzipi Hotoveli (Likud) said that the Sasson Report – drawn up by a Meretz party member and which determined that outpost neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria built after 2003 are "illegal" – should be nullified. Hotoveli noted that it was the Sasson Report that led to the destruction decrees on the Yovel neighborhood in the community of Eli, where the widows and orphans of two fallen war heroes reside.
"But this has nothing to do with bereavement and the like," Hotoveli said. "Existing neighborhoods should be legalized. The Government of Israel has changed its policy towards the towns in Judea and Samaria, and there is no plan on the agenda to leave these areas. Therefore the time has come to legalize those towns that are not situated on private land."
In response, Sasson said that such a move would impair Israel's relations with the United States.
Five families currently live in Maoz Esther, and an active synagogue named Shirat Yonadav serves dozens of people every Sabbath. The synagogue is named for Yonadav Hirschfeld, who was murdered in the Merkaz HaRav terrorist attack and whose family lives in Kochav HaShachar.