Tisha B'Av gathering at Homesh
Tisha B'Av gathering at HomeshHomesh First

Not only was Gush Katif evacuated and demolished ten years ago – so was northern Samaria, with the community of Homesh the most important of the four Jewish towns that were razed by IDF bulldozers. While Jews were forbidden to live in those communities, the IDF has kept up its presence in the area, and in recent years has even allowed a yeshiva to operate there..

On Saturday night, the eve of Tisha B'Av, dozens gathered to read the book of Eicha, which describes the destruction and subsequent exile of the Jews after the destruction of the first and second Temples, as well as the reading of the dirges (kinot) that describe Jewish suffering throughout the ages.

In recent months, a group of yeshiva students has set up a study center at the site. Meir, one of the students who studies there, told Arutz Sheva that throughout the year, there is a special feeling to the studies at the yeshiva, but “on Tisha B'Av, reading the sad scriptures here and looking forward to the Redemption, as well as the return of Jews to northern Samaria, is especially emotional.”

Today, he said, “it is clear to everyone that the destruction of the Jewish communities here and in Gush Katif was pointless, and needless to point out the time has come to return. G-d willing we will soon return here and these settlements will begin to grow again.”

The Homesh yeshiva was established in 2007, with a small number of students. On occasion, the IDF allows larger numbers of people to attend events there, as was the case Saturday night. Last night, for the first time, the IDF allowed a mass event at Sa-Nur, another town in northern Samaria that was evacuated in the disengagement.