'We will fight with all our strength'

Nearly a thousand Israelis gather in Gush Etzion neighborhood slated for demolition, for a Shabbat of mutual support and encouragement.

Ido Ben Porat,

Thousands hear havdala in Netiv Ha'avot
Thousands hear havdala in Netiv Ha'avot
Netiv Ha'avot headquarters

Hundreds of youths and families from all across Israel spent Shabbat (the Sabbath) with rabbis and public figures in the Gush Etzion town of Elazar's Netiv Ha'avot neighborhood.

The guests toured he neighborhood and viewed from up close the homes which are slated for destruction. They also saw the preparations for evacuation, listened to speeches, and were asked to return to protest the upcoming demolitions.

The Cohen family from Kiryat Shmona, who spent Shabbat in Netiv Ha'avot, said, "We came here despite the rainy weather up north, and despite the fact that we wanted to see the flowing streams. When we heard about this absurdity, in which the Israeli government is working to evacuate [the residents], we decided to sacrifice a warm Shabbat [at home] and come here to support the residents."

"We call on the government to legalize this neighborhood before it is too late - and it is already late."

The Netiv Ha'avot Headquarters said, "We thank the thousands who spent Shabbat with us despite the storms, and we apologies to the hundreds who wanted to come but who we did not have enough space to hold."

"We join the others in calling on the government and its leader to delay the destruction and complete the legalization of Netiv Ha'avot."

In November, Israel Police destroyed a carpentry shop in Netiv Ha'avot. Another sixteen buildings are slated for demolition in March.

The Supreme Court in December 2016 ordered the destruction of Elazar's Netiv Ha'avot neighborhood, after an unclaimed strip of land was found to run through it.

In September, the State informed the Supreme Court that it supported the petition of the residents of six houses slated for demolition to have only the small sections of their homes which were built on privately owned land demolished. However, in October, the Supreme Court rejected the residents' request and ordered the homes destroyed completely.