Spurred on by shooting, Evyatar community retakes hilltop

With the gunshots from Tapuach junction still ringing in the nation's ears, Samaria residents move to reaffirm Jewish presence in the area.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

הקמת המאחז
הקמת המאחז
צילום: יצחק מאיר ואיילת האיתן, חברי גרעין אביתר

In response to the shooting at Tapuach junction in which three Yeshiva students from Itamar were injured, a group of families and youths seized a nearby hill to begin immediate construction on a new neighborhood.

Under the cover of darkness, tents, houses, sanitation facilities, and a synagogue were built on the site. The nascent town was named Evyatar, in memory of Evyatar Borovsky who was killed in a stabbing, also at Tapuach junction, on May 20, 2013. The residents have called on the government to grant immediate legitimization to their efforts. The hill controls the road into the Jordan Valley from Tapuach junction and was chosen for this reason.

Zvi Elimelech Sharaf, chairman of the Nahala movement, was among those who helped establish the site and commented to Kol Yehudi that “In a fitting response to the shooting, the government is obligated to provide us with ten shipping containers within a few hours. We believe this to be a fitting and eminently achievable course of action.” Nahala further commented that “Arab construction has been encroaching on Tapuach junction on a daily basis with no governmental response. It must be stopped immediately.”

Representatives of the new neighborhood commented that "Thank God, we have received considerable public support for our move. It is always the right idea to build more; yesterday’s events only emphasize it. Several Yeshivot in the area have joined in as well, coming to our synagogue to hold morning classes with us. We invite everyone to visit us, to stay a few days eve, and to strengthen our cause and our hold on the land.”

With no formal governmental protection, the new neighborhood was forced to turn to volunteers for security as well as manpower and building supplies. The Israel Dog Unit, a nonprofit specializing in training and deploying working dogs, sent multiple volunteers and dogs to defend the area while the work progressed. Yekutiel Ben-Yaakov, director of the IDU, commented that "For us, it is not just protecting dozens of men, women, and children, nor about commemorating the memory of the late Evyatar. It provides additional security for wayfarers on this road - a road on which no small amount of blood has been spilled.”

Evyatar is not the only new construction in the area. In the town of Tapuach, just up the hill from Tapuach junction, residents swiftly began work on building a long-awaited road joining together Tapuach and nearby Tal Binyamin, using the occasion to bring an end to years of bureaucratic stalemate and court cases against the road in question. The IDU reports having supplied security to that project as well, protecting from theft, vandalism, and sabotage.

IDU volunteers standing guard during the construction efforts.

Rivka Herzlich, one of the hopeful settlers, commented: "Yesterday was the Hebrew date of Evyatar’s death. Every day since, we have been trying to establish a community here in his name. Our last attempt was destroyed by the government. We hope that this one takes root and lasts forever.”