Dozens of people gathered at Homesh Saturday night to hear the reading of the Megillah (Scroll of Esther) on Purim evening. Many of those at the reading were former residents of the northern Samaria town that was dismantled during the 2005 Disengagement. Also present were former residents of nearby Sa-Nur, which was also cleared out by the government and IDF, with the Jews living there thrown out of their homes as part of the Disengagement.
Unlike in Gush Katif, where some 10,000 Jews were also thrown out of their homes, the area of northern Samaria that was included in the Disengagement was not handed over to direct PA control. The IDF still has a presence in northern Samaria, and the only change that came about as a result of the Disengagement was the banning of Jews from living in the area.
This was the fifth time residents and activists came to Homesh to read the Megilla. After the reading, participants, including students at the new Homesh Yeshiva, danced throughout the night to Purim melodies and other songs. Rabbi Elishama Cohen, head of the Yeshiva, said that one of the special powers of Purim is its “turnabout” ("nahafoch hu") quality. “Even a reality that appears difficult and includes a terrible edict can be instantly turned around and fixed, as a result of faith. We in Homesh draw our strength from Mordechai, the hero of the Megillah, who daily showed his faith in front of the palace of the king,” as told in the Purim saga.
Members of the “Homesh First” settlement group, which hopes to resettle the area with Jewish families, expressed satisfaction at the event. A spokesperson for the group said that it was planning a major event for Pesach which it expected would attract thousands of visitors.