IDF, Border Police Leave Yitzhar Yeshiva

Yeshiva calls upon security forces not to evict Jews in the future upon return to building after year-long military occupation.

Netanel Katz, | updated: 11:19

Border Police at Od Yosef Chai (file)
Border Police at Od Yosef Chai (file)
IDF Spokesman

The IDF and Border Police have finally vacated the premises of the Od Yosef Chai yeshiva (Torah academy) in Yitzhar on Tuesday, ending a year-long military occupation of the site based on the whims of Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon. 

"Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai continued while in temporary quarters, and will now continue in its permanent headquarters, to teach without fear the voice of the Torah," the institution stated Tuesday afternoon. "We call upon border policemen, soldiers and all the Jews to do only acts in favor with Israel and refuse to participate in any act that defies the people of Israel and the Torah."

"We support our brothers in Givat Ronen who experienced house demolitions this morning, and we hope that the resolution of all Jews to unite and take care of the people of Israel will stop soon the desecration of God such as the desecration of the yeshiva and the destruction of Jewish homes," it added. 

The yeshiva was initially seized by Border Policemen in April 2014, following clashes between an extreme element in the community and security forces.

The cyclical clashes began after a house was destroyed by the IDF, sparking tire-slashings of two IDF cars. In response, four local homes were demolished, triggering conflict with local youths and the destruction of an IDF outpost.

In the interim, yeshiva activities have been moved to a different complex, and students may only enter the original building at certain times and for very short periods. 

A spokesman for Yitzhar protested the extension, which follows months of what residents say is discrimination specifically targeted at their community.

Since then, Yitzhar has also protested the ongoing discrimination against not only community members, but officials who try to help; several months ago, MK Meir Porush (UTJ) was turned away at the door during a campaign visit.