'We Just Want to Be a Town Like Any Other'

Rabbi Listman of Givat Assaf tells Arutz Sheva about government betrayal of Samaria town, concerns over looming destruction at prayer rally.

Yoni Kempinski, Ari Yashar,

Prayer rally at Givat Assaf
Prayer rally at Givat Assaf
Yoni Kempinski

Arutz Sheva got a chance to speak with Rabbi Menachem Listman, a resident of Givat Assaf, during the prayer rally held in the Samaria town on Tuesday. The rally was held in light of indications the government may try to destroy the community in the near future.

Rabbi Listman, who is the Director of the English Department at the Machon Meir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, noted "we've been making great efforts to finalize our matter as a legal yishuv (community) that has final confirmation from our dear government, and that's what the district attorney's office declared about two years ago."

Nearly all of the town has been purchased and registered in the state land registry by residents, and further there are no Arab complainants claiming ownership of the land.

However, the rabbi noted that two-and-a-half weeks ago the state attorney's office "said to the Supreme Court 'we don't see any reason to organize this place as an organized yishuv,' which goes totally against their plan and policy that they've been saying for the past two years, and in spite of the fact that we went out and bought land that supposedly belonged to whatever Arab party."

In light of the reversal in position, Rabbi Listman said residents have a real fear that the government intends to tear down the entire community.

"The property is ours. It was given by G-d to (the Jewish patriarch) Abraham, to the Jewish people, and they told us you're living on private property. What private property? No one's been living here," commented the rabbi.

"We want to be a town like any other town in Judea and Samaria," said Rabbi Listman.

He added that the town was built in memory of the terror victim Assaf Hershkowitz, a resident of Ofra located to the north of the community, who was gunned down by Hamas terrorists on May 1, 2001 as he drove home from Jerusalem. On January 29 of that year Hershkowitz's father Aryeh was likewise shot and killed on his way home from work in the Atarot industrial zone in northern Jerusalem.




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