The Samaria (Shomron) town of Rachelim has finally become a fully authorized community, following a lawsuit from the far-left group Yesh Din.
Rachelim, a Jewish village built in honor of victims of terrorism, was established with the government’s full cooperation and assistance. The Housing Ministry even built many of the homes through the Amidar company.
The community had all the right paperwork and signatures as well – save for one. The Defense Minister did not sign off on the community for years, apparently for political reasons.
The 2004 Sasson Report made life in Rachelim increasingly difficult. The community was labeled “unauthorized,” a categorization that prevented development, including the construction of desperately needed daycare centers for the growing population.
Things came to a head with a lawsuit filed by the far-left Yesh Din organization against the community. Similar lawsuits have led to demolition and displacement elsewhere.
This time, the Samaria Regional Council’s Strategy Center decided to take preemptive action. Regional leaders focused on bringing as many politicians as possible to see the “illegal” settlement, hoping to show them the absurdity of the situation, in which a thriving community created by the government faced the chopping block for lack of a single government signature.
The initiative was wildly successful. Several ministers and more than 60 Members of Knesset came to see Rachelim, and nearly all, including those on the political left, agreed that it would be unjust for the government to destroy as “illegal” the town that it had created. When it came time for the government to submit an opinion to the Supreme Court in response to the Yesh Din lawsuit, ministers and MKs pushed for a solution that would finally authorize the community as legal – which is what ultimately was done.
Samaria Regional Council head Gershon Mesika expressed satisfaction with the decision. “This means the victory of basic logic over the politics and mean-spiritedness of the anti-Zionist left,” he declared. “The Prime Minister made the logical decision and ended years of unneeded harm to residents of the town.”
Deputy council head Yossi Dagan chose to send a tongue-in-cheek “thank you” to Yesh Din for its lawsuit. “In the name of Rachelim, I am grateful to the extreme-left group Yesh Din for its contrarian lawsuit, which caused the Israeli government to come to a decision, to grab the bull by the horns and right a wrong that had lasted for years,” he said.
“They came to curse,” he added, “but in the end, as in the [Biblical] story of Bilaam, they gave a blessing.”
Rachelim was built in 1998 in memory of two Rachels both murdered by Palestinian Authority terrorists. Rachel Druck, 35, was murdered in a shooting attack on a bus in 1991 as she and her son traveled from Shilo to Tel Aviv. Rachel Weiss, 26, was burned alive in 1988 as she desperately tried to save her three young children, who were trapped in the flames after a terrorist hurled a firebomb at a bus.
The children died as well, as did a young soldier who heroically tried to save the young family.