Homesh Yeshiva destroyed
Homesh Yeshiva destroyedצילום: ישיבת חומש

Srugim Hebrew news site reported that large police forces arrived in the Jewish community of Homesh in northern Samaria today and destroyed the local yeshiva on court orders. The yeshiva included a study hall and living quarters. The Homesh Yeshiva has operated for over 12 years, and was also used to house students.

The report said that the yeshiva had the support of a variety of rabbinic authorities, MKs, government ministers, and public figures. There were 40 students constantly learning Torah in a relatively desolate location and rough climate, taking upon themselves the commandment of settling the Land of Israel.

Head of Samaria Regional Council, Yossi Dagan, strongly criticized the demolition, saying, "I don't understand the urgency to destroy a yeshiva, certainly not residential buildings, especially at a time like this when everyone is shut up in their homes, and certainly nowhere near the same eagerness is shown when it comes to destroying illegal Arab housing in the exact same location. Something is wrong here and I urge Defense Minister Naftali Bennett to clear up this issue immediately. Last week security forces were only too happy to destroy buildings in four communities in Judea and Samaria. I offer my support for the founders of the heroic yeshiva standing guard of our ancestral lands, and preserving the connection to Jewish communities in northern Samaria destroyed at the hands of the [Sharon government]."

Yaakov, a student at the yeshiva who had spent nearly two months in Homesh due to coronavirus-related restrictions, was forced to decide between returning home for a short stay and his commitment to the community. He ended up staying in Homesh until the yeshiva's destruction. "Homesh is home to me, not just during times of the coronavirus, but the entire year. A home to grow in - especially in the spiritual sense."

"The main thing about our hold on this place in northern Samaria is the presence of Jews who love and adhere to the commandment to sette the Land," said a representatives of the yeshiva. "The few buildings used by the yeshiva were meant for enabling the continuance of our stay here, but were not a pre-condition for it."

Rabbi Elishama Cohen, head of the Yeshiva, said this morning, "It is unfortunate that with the State of Israel celebrating its independence, with the coronavirus pandemic upon us, with a united, cohesive country, the police arrive in Homesh and destroy the yeshiva building using brute force and plenty of violence. The building was designed to serve the very basic necessities of life, and its destruction harms a group of people accountable for the welfare of [many others]. 12 years of labor will not go up in flames with the yeshiva. On the contrary, we will intensify [our struggle] until a time when the Israeli government understands, God willing, that the people of Israel have made the choice to return to their Land."