MK Bezalel Smotrich, the head of the Religious Zionism party, traveled to the beleaguered Samarian town of Evyatar on Sunday, and met with Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and the head of the Nahala movement, Elimelech Sharbaf. Last week, the Religious Zionism party transferred its party offices to Evyatar in a sign of support, a few days after Dagan moved his own offices there.
“There are hundreds of illegal Arab outposts in the area around here, as I speak,” Smotrich said. “And there’s one settlement here that was established on land that belongs to the Jewish People, that was established following terrible terrorist attacks, in order to demonstrate that we are not weakening, G-d forbid – no, we are actually strengthening our hold on our land, the Land of Israel.”
Smotrich noted that, “Evyatar could and should be legalized, especially in light of the incredible arrogance of our enemies who surround us. Woe to us if we encourage them to humiliate Jews and the Israeli settlement enterprise. Evyatar must remain exactly where it is and I call on all those who have any influence – the Defense Minister, the Prime Minister – you are obligated to enable this settlement to remain here and to legalize it.”
Samaria Council Head Yossi Dagan added that, “The process of establishing the town of Evyatar as a response to the despicable murders of Evyatar Borovsky and Yehuda Guetta, Hy”d, at the hands of perverted terrorists, is the true Zionist civilian response to our enemies. Evyatar occupies a strategic position and it protects the State of Israel. It is also almost the sole Jewish presence on the road that connects the center of the country to the Jordan Valley. Anyone who considers himself a Zionist, anyone who loves this Land, whether Left or Right, should be encouraging Evyatar’s residents, our heroes, and calling for the town’s status to be legalized.”
Evyatar was founded eight years ago, following the murder of Evyatar Borovsky, a married father of four, at the nearby Tapuah junction. Construction was renewed at an accelerated pace just over a month ago, following the murder of Yehuda Guetta, also at the Tapuah junction, in a drive-by shooting. Two of his friends who were injured in the same incident are still being treated for their wounds.
Around fifty families currently live in Evyatar, and another approximately 70 families are on the waiting list. A large number of Israelis including prominent rabbis have come out in support of the town in the wake of threats to evacuate its residents and demolish it. Last week, the widow of Evyatar Borovsky and her new husband and children arrived to take up residence there.
Just over a week ago, community representatives submitted a master plan for the town in the hope of firstly, getting plans for the evacuation frozen and secondly, having the plan approved and the demarcation order overturned. Along with the submission, the representatives submitted proof that the land on which Evyatar is built is not privately held land, and also, that there is no evidence that the land was cultivated over the past 21 years.
In addition, their petition noted that evacuation and demolition of Evyatar would constitute selective enforcement of the law, given the large number of illegal Arab towns in the area that have not been served with similar orders. According to official documentation, 15 demarcation orders have been issued for Jewish settlements in the area, and just two to illegal Arab settlements, even though there are ten times as many of the latter in the lands of Judea and Samaria.