military checkpoint at entrance to Homesh
military checkpoint at entrance to HomeshHomesh Yeshiva

Rabbi Elishama Cohen, the Rosh Yeshiva of the Homesh Yeshiva, was indicted for violating the Disengagement Law, which bars Jews from entering and living in the four northern Samaria communities which were evacuated in the 2005 Disengagement.

According to the indictment, Rabbi Cohen visited the Homesh Yeshiva without the proper authorization on November 15.

The prosecution has stated that it would seek prison time if Rabbi Cohen is convicted.

The Samaria Regional Council has launched a campaign to pressure the government to repeal the Disengagement Law as it applies to northern Samaria and to legalize the Homesh Yeshiva.

As part of the campaign, the council published ads in the media and on the internet saying: "The time has come. A national government would save the Homesh Yeshiva. Repeal the Disengagement Law for northern Samaria."

Samaria Regional Council chairman Yossi Dagan, who himself was expelled from the community of Sa-Nur during the Disengagement, said: "There would be nothing more morally just than for the new government to undo this historic injustice, which everyone agrees was folly, and to legalize the Homesh yeshiva. We support the leaders of the Religious Zionist and Otzma Yehudit parties, and all those in the government which is being formed, who work on this issue. And we support the incoming Prime Minister, who is continuing his activities on this issue."

"In each Knesset since the Disengagement, including the Knesset where Ehud Olmert was Prime Minister, a bill to repeal the Disengagement Law with regards to northern Samaria was submitted and was not passed. Now there is an opportunity to pass it and remove this disgrace," he said.

"This is a moral demand, and we expect to see the repeal of the Disengagement Law for northern Samaria and the legalization of the Homesh Yeshiva happen immediately upon the formation of the government. There will be a Supreme Court hearing on less than a month, and there is no time to delay on this issue. he responsibility is now in the hands of the new government, and it must prove itself and correct this injustice as soon as it is established," Dagan concluded.

Rabb Chaim Druckman, one of the leading religious Zionist rabbis, met with Rabbi Cohen on Sunday and expressed his support for the campaign.

Rabbi Chaim Druckman said: "The Disengagement Law is just stupidity, and it should be repealed as soon as possible. I have no words to say and I don't want to talk about how we did this to ourselves, this nonsense and stupidity. We should be freed from it as soon as possible. I am sure that the current government with its healthy approach will act as soon as possible to free us from this stupidity."