Purim in Homesh, at Joshua's Tomb
Hundreds of Jews used the holiday of Purim as a chance to connect to the land of Israel, visiting places that are often off-limits to Jews. Readings of the Book of Esther were held at Joshua's Tomb in Samaria, and in the destroyed northern Samaria town of Homesh.
The reading at Joshua's Tomb, which lies in the Palestinian Authority-controlled village of Kefel Hares, took place early on Sunday morning. IDF soldiers were present to protect worshipers.
Gershon Mesika of the Samaria Regional Council took part in the reading. “It was particularly moving to read the Book of Esther, a book about the bravery of the people of Israel, at the gravesite of the first Chief of Staff, and settler of the land, Joshua son of Nun,” he said.
“During these days in particular – these days that are hard both for Samaria and for all of Israel – on Purim, we draw strength and joy from Joshua son of Nun and his immortal words, 'Let us ascent to the Land and inherit it, for we will surely succeed,'” he added.
At the same time, former residents of the northern Samaria towns of Sa-Nur and Homesh returned for the site of the towns, along with activists from the Homesh First group. They read the Book of Esther in Homesh.