The bar mitzvah celebrant was Eitan David Ilya from the town of Beit El. His family and friends joined him for the event despite the unusual venue.
Eitan's father explained that he hoped the location of the bar mitzvah would leave a lasting impression on his son. “Most people stay where the grass is green... We pray that the bar mitzvah boy will have the courage to stick to places where help is needed – to turn bad to good and lack to plenty, and to reveal G-d's glory through his work here on earth,” he said.
A group of determined activists has maintained a Jewish presence in Homesh for the past two and a half years. During that time Homesh has been the site of a brit milah (ritual circumcision) and a wedding.
The group, which calls itself Homesh first, believes the Disengagement was a mistake that must be made right.
Six months ago, Ministers Moshe Yaalon, Eli Yishai, Daniel Hershkowitz and Yuli Edelstein visited Homesh in an unprecedented display of government support.
Yaalon, the Minister of Strategic Affairs, said, “There's no doubt that this place is very important in terms of strategy and policy... Most Israelis understand that withdrawals only strengthened terror and made Jihadist Islam even more extreme. That needs to stop. We must consider a return to Homesh.”
Edelstein agreed, “The Disengagement was a mistake, and our only hope is to return and rebuild the town of Homesh... Let us hope that during this parliament's term in power we will see the first families return to here.”