building new outpost
building new outpost

A yeshiva student in the north-central Samaria town of Yitzhar fired a homemade Kassam-like rocket at a hostile Arab village; no one was hurt.  The GSS is investigating.

After the violent events of Thursday morning, in which police and army forces destroyed a caravan and a storage container on hilltops in Yitzhar, using clubs to beat and disperse protestors, the people of Yitzhar found themselves facing another "incident" just a few hours later. 

Police reported that a student in the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar fired a home-made Kassam-like rocket towards a nearby Arab village.  The rocket landed in an open area - some 50 meters away from a Jewish man engaged in prayer.

Rabbi Yitzik Shapira, Dean of the yeshiva, was questioned by General Security Service agents afterwards. He reportedly told them that the yeshiva has made it clear to the students that the priority is "net Torah study," and that he personally is against any form of anarchy in which citizens take the law into their own hands.

Notably, nine out of ten talkbacks to the NRG-Maariv article in which the story was first published expressed some measure of support for the rocket firing.  Many said that it was an understandable reaction in the face of government inaction.

Rabbi David Dudkevitch, the Rabbi of Yitzhar, told Arutz-7, "It is clear that many Israeli citizens feel that the government is not filling its most basic obligation of defending its populace. Instead of fighting terrorism, it fights against its citizens." 

"Taking the State Into Our Hands"

Asked his opinion on "taking the law into one's own hands" in situations such as this, Rabbi Dudkevitch said, "The issue is not taking the law into our hands, but rather taking the entire State into our hands. We have to be thinking about how to create a real alternative to the leadership that we have now.  Some in the religious-Zionist camp feel that if we were just to have a Foreign Minister who would be religious, or maybe someone from the National Union, then everything would be perfect.  This is of course not true; the foundations are rotten, and we have to find the way to replace them."

Asked what would be the first step towards such a goal, the rabbi said, "First there must be a commitment to doing this.  We must stop thinking that just little patches are needed here and there; we must realize that there must be a total change. Also, we must not cooperate with a system that endangers its soldiers on behalf of false ethics [by preventing themselves from fully defending themselves], or that sends them on immoral missions such as destroying Jewish houses in the Land of Israel."

The Yeshiva

Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai, or the Joseph's Tomb Yeshiva, was founded over 25 years ago at the site of Joseph's Tomb in Shechem (Nablus), and remained there until 2000, when the Arabs overran and destroyed the site.  The yeshiva was later rebuilt in Yitzhar, five kilometers south of Shechem.

The yeshiva released a statement, saying it plans to sue the NRG-Maariv reporter for libel in implying that the yeshiva ideologically supports such actions: "It could be that the reporter wants to spread such ideas and heat up the atmosphere, as the talkbacks show, but if these are his opinions, he should stand behind them himself and not throw mud on others."

A yeshiva official told Arutz-7 that it is making strong efforts to change its focus: "The other day, when there was a [Land of Israel] incident in [the nearby community of] Brachah, the administrator of the yeshiva stood at the gate and said that anyone who goes to Brachah will not be able to return to the yeshiva."

"We know that people come here because they identify with our goal of taking responsibility for the entire nation," the official said, "but we are making it clear that specific actions towards this end may not be taken during yeshiva time. If they want, they can do this during vacation time, or when they get older - but not here."

NRG-Maariv reported that the firing of the rocket was preceded by a phone call to the Yitzhar secretariat office, warning that a loud boom would be heard and should be ignored.  Army forces heard the explosion, however, and thought it was caused by terrorists.  They arrived quickly on the scene, but once they realized their mistake, investigation of the matter was transferred to the police and GSS.