Herzog to turn to US over legalizing West Bank Homesh yeshiva

The family of Yehuda Dimentman believes that Gantz will destroy the Homesh Yeshiva after seven days of mourning are up.

 President Isaac Herzog attends the shiva of Yehuda Dimentman. (photo credit: Esther Alush)
President Isaac Herzog attends the shiva of Yehuda Dimentman.
(photo credit: Esther Alush)

President Isaac Herzog plans to inform the United States of the Dimentman’s family’s request that Israel legalize the Homesh Yeshiva which is located on an isolated West Bank hilltop near Jenin.

Herzog spoke about the issue during a condolence visit he made Tuesday night to the family of Yehuda Dimentman, 25, who was killed by Palestinian gunmen on Thursday as he left the Homesh Yeshiva where he studied.

The family has called on Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to authorize the yeshiva and a settlement on that hilltop in Yehuda’s name so that his death would not be in vain. The US has repeatedly urged Israel not to engage in any settlement activity, particularly building in isolated areas of the West Bank.

The request comes as US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is due to arrive in Israel Tuesday night to hold talks this week with Israeli officials on Iran.

“Tonight I am the first person who will receive the US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, a friend of Israel. He is arriving here for two days and is arriving at my home late with his staff,” Herzog said.

 Yehuda Dimentman, killed by Palestinian terrorists at Homesh, is seen with his wife and child. (credit: Courtesy the Dimentman family) Yehuda Dimentman, killed by Palestinian terrorists at Homesh, is seen with his wife and child. (credit: Courtesy the Dimentman family)

He was careful to explain to the family that as president he was not empowered to decide on the fate of the yeshiva.

“But I can certainly listen and I understand the logic in what you are saying,” Herzog said as he sat in the small living room in the home of Yehuda’s parents in Mevaseret Zion.

Herzog told them that during his visit with Sullivan, “I will tell him about your family and I will tell him about your request,” Herzog said.

He cautioned them that the request could not just be viewed from a humanitarian perspective because it had regional and international implications.

“I hope you find comfort,” Herzog told the family.

The Homesh Yeshiva is located on a hilltop considered to be private Palestinian property from the nearby village of Burka.

Israel seized the land and placed a Nahal unit there in 1978 and by 1980 had created a settlement there called Homesh. The Homesh Yeshiva opened in that settlement in 2002.

Homesh was one of four settlements in Samaria that Israel destroyed in 2005 in the aftermath of the Gaza pullout. The other three – Kadim, Ganim and Sa-Nur – were all built on state land.

In the aftermath of the Gaza pullout, the Homesh Yeshiva illegally returned to the site with modular buildings that are periodically destroyed by the IDF.

Separately, the High Court of Justice has ruled that Palestinians from Burka can access the hilltop solely so they can farm their land.

The Dimentman family, including Yehuda’s wife Ethia, has said they plan to head to Homesh once the seven-day mourning period is over and have asked the public to join them.

They have stated that they believe Defense Minister Benny Gantz plans to destroy the yeshiva next week and prevent it from being rebuilt.

On Tuesday the IDF set up a temporary army base on the hilltop.