Vehicles being stopped on their way to the Samarian town of Homesh
Vehicles being stopped on their way to the Samarian town of Homesh Courtesy of Homesh yeshivah

Three vehicles belonging to members of the administration of the Homesh yeshivah have lost their entrance permits to the Samarian community, due to what appears to have been a breach of regulations, albeit in extenuating circumstances. One of the vehicles is the family car of the Rosh Yeshivah (dean), Rabbi Elishama Cohen.

Entrance to Homesh has been forbidden by Israeli security forces for a number of weeks following an order given by Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who decided that only the yeshivah's students and teaching staff would be permitted entrance to the town, which is slated for evacuation at an as-yet-undetermined time. Students and teachers were thus permitted to use their own vehicles to travel to and from the yeshivah, but not to transport anyone else in those vehicles.

Three vehicles, including one belonging to the family of the rosh yeshivah, have now lost their entrance permits, following the visit of a group of girls to Homesh. The group was spotted along the way as they walked past a nearby Arab village and the drivers of the three cars told the girls to get in, for their own protection.

The cancellation of the entrance permits follows a similar incident that occurred last week just an hour before sundown on Friday, when the rosh yeshivah and his family were driving to Homesh in order to spend Shabbat there with the yeshivah's students. The family was stopped on the way by security forces and informed that they were not permitted to enter Homesh (as only the rosh yeshivah himself was allowed to drive in). The family therefore parked the car by the side of the road and completed their journey on foot, in order not to be prevented from spending Shabbat in Homesh.

"The stranglehold around Homesh is getting tighter," said the Homesh yeshivah in a statement, "and all this is happening under the auspices of right-wing political parties. Apparently the government prefers to endanger the lives of these girls on their way past an Arab village rather than to allow us to transport them for a journey of just a few minutes to Homesh. This act of revenge will not deter us, and we invite the entire Jewish People to join the many who have already visited Homesh, to strengthen and encourage the yeshivah."

The IDF issued a statement following the incident: "A number of unauthorized people have recently been entering the evacuated settlement of Homesh, by means of vehicles that are authorized to enter. Therefore, the entrance permits issued to these vehicles have been revoked."