Teachers and students from Homesh Yeshiva
Teachers and students from Homesh YeshivaHomesh Yeshiva

Eight rabbis and students of the Homesh Yeshiva, including headmaster Rabbi Simcha Stettner, appeared at the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court for the hearing of the indictments filed against them for violating the Disengagement Law by studying at Homesh.

At their request, the court postponed all hearings for 4 months in light of the state's notification to the Supreme Court that it intends to cancel the law as it pertains to the northern parts of Samaria and formally recognize the Yeshiva.

Attorney Moshe Pulaski from the Honenu legal aid organization asked the court for a postponement in light of the government's intention: "In a hearing at the Supreme Court, the state announced that in accordance with a coalition agreement, it intends to cancel the Disengagement Law, as it applies to the defendants. The Supreme Court asked to conclude the matter within 90 days. Under these circumstances, I believe that it is right to wait and come with an orderly answer." The representatives of the prosecution objected to the postponement. The court postponed the hearings for several months.

Yeshiva headmaster Rabbi Simcha Stettner commented: "Our only crime is that we violated the Disengagement Law, which said that we are not allowed to come to Homesh. Our crime is loving the Land of Israel and its land and the desire to settle it . We will continue to love our country and settle in it. It is time to cancel the terrible injustice of the Disengagement Law. May we be privileged to see the growth of the entire Land of Israel."

Attorney Moshe Pulaski commented: "We are in a situation where for over a year the army has been allowing yeshiva activities in Homesh, albeit under different sets of restrictions. At the same time, the state stated in the ongoing proceedings at the Supreme Court that it intends to cancel the relevant sections of the Disengagement Law that prohibit Jewish presence there, sections that in our opinion were generally enacted in order to allow for the Disengagement from northern Samaria many years ago. In our opinion, under these circumstances, there is no room to hold a hearing on the cases submitted to the court, given that the government intends, in accordance with the coalition agreements, to cancel the provisions of the law, which in fact cancels the offense of the accused and several others in similar cases."

"The court in Petah Tikva, Honorable Judge Oded Moreno, accepted our position and ordered a relatively long postponement of the hearing date, to the month of May, and we hope that by then the discriminatory provisions of the law, which specifically prohibit the presence of Jewish citizens at the venue, will be amended," Pulaski said.

The indictment attributes to the students and rabbis entry into the settlement of Homesh and a violation of the Disengagement Law - "entering/staying in a restricted area without a permit is an offense according to section 27 (a)(1) of the Law on Implementation of the Disengagement Plan of 2005".