Five years and two months after the Israeli government razed Homesh as part of the Disengagement, activists celebrated Simchat Torah at the site and went on to dance the Second Hakafot there. Homesh was one of four communities in northern Samaria that were bulldozed in 2005 at the same time that Israel evicted all Jews from Gaza and demolished Gush Katif.
The Homesh activists held prayers, festive meals and danced with Torah scrolls on Simchat Torah. They were joined by yeshiva students who have been studying at Homesh for the past two years, and by other guests from all over the country.
Border Police raided Homesh before the holiday but could not find the activists, who had found hiding places among the rocks ahead of time. The security forces left the scene shortly before the holiday began.
"It felt uplifting," said one of the guests immediately after the holiday. "There was great holiday joy in the air and excitement about the right to dance the Hakafot at the very place where a very grave and criminal deportation occurred. Simchat Torah in a place like Homesh gives us renewed energy and forces for the next year."
On Thursday evening, the Second Hakafot were held at the Homesh and Sa-Nur Deportees' Neighborhood at the community of Shavei Shomron. The children of the deportee families danced with little Torah scrolls facing the mountain on which Homesh once stood.
"Holding Simchat Torah at Homesh is the most symbolic thing," the Homesh First organization stated. "The forces that destroyed Sa-Nur and Homesh wanted one central thing : to crush religious Zionism, which is the power of Torah and love of Israel joined together.”
“We are confident that by the next winter, the political establishment, which already overwhelmingly admits that the deportation was a bad mistake, will correct that mistake and formally reestablish the razed communities – beginning with Homesh, Sa-Nur, Ganim and Kadim, and then, with G-d's help, the communities of Gush Katif,” the organization continued.
"The Disengagement was designed as a gesture of appeasement to Israel's enemies in the hope that it would bring about peace. Instead, it resulted in the takeover of Gaza by the barbaric and genocidal terrorist group Hamas".