IDF seizes Yitzhar Yeshiva (file)
IDF seizes Yitzhar Yeshiva (file) Yitzhar

MK Rabbi Meir Porush (United Torah Judaism) visited Yitzhar's Od Yosef Hai yeshiva (Torah academy) on Monday, in a show of support for the students of the facility, which was raided by the IDF and Border Police nine months ago and has not been returned to Yitzhar residents since.

Porush was impressed with the students for refusing to cease their studies despite the ban, and was incredulous at the harsh conditions students face in their temporary quarters. 

After a brief tour of the offices and of the meeting and dining rooms, the group continued to tour the building occupied by the Border Police.

The Border Police would not allow Porush to enter the building, even after explaining that he was an MK and a Defense Ministry official. 

"We came to strengthen Torah scholars in Yitzhar," Porush stated after the tour. "Although the Defense Ministry stated that it would allow visitors to enter the building and pray, they did not allow me to enter." 

"I intend to continue working on this issue, G-d willing," he continued. "It is inconceivable that the State of Israel will take over a Beit Midrash [Torah study hall] and prevent the study of Torah."

"I hope I will see students sitting and flourishing in their spots here in the yeshiva during my next visit," he added. 

The yeshiva was initially seized by Border Policemen in April, 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.