State affirms Homesh yeshiva demolition to court, but doesn't set date

The illegal West Bank Homesh yeshiva is all that remains of the settlement that had been located on that hilltop, but which the government destroyed in 2005.

 Left-wing protestors call on the government to dismantle 150 settlements, with a bulldozer allegedly intended for the razing of Homesh in the background, on May 28, 2022. (photo credit: PEACE NOW)
Left-wing protestors call on the government to dismantle 150 settlements, with a bulldozer allegedly intended for the razing of Homesh in the background, on May 28, 2022.
(photo credit: PEACE NOW)

The state affirmed its determination to demolish the illegal West Bank Homesh yeshiva but gave no evacuation date in its latest submission to the High Court of Justice.

"The place must be evacuated," the state told the court on Wednesday in the name of the IDF and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, as it explained that it was strictly preventing any new construction at the site. 

It spoke in response to a 2019 petition by the NGO Yesh Din against the small modular seminary that has been located on an isolated hilltop in the Samaria region of the West Bank for over 15 years.

Remnants of a settlement

It is all that remains of the settlement and yeshiva that had been located on that hilltop, but which the government destroyed in 2005.

Settlers and right-wing activists want to see the community and yeshiva rebuilt and authorized. They have redoubled their efforts in the aftermath of a terror attack in Homesh in December 2021, that claimed the life of yeshiva student Yehuda Dimentman, 25. 

 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)

"We hope the government won't reward terror, not in Homesh and not anywhere else."

Ethia Dimentman

The bulk of the hilltop, however, belongs to the Palestinians from the nearby Burka village. The High Court of Justice in 2013 recognized the right of the Palestinians to farm their land on that hilltop.

In June the court upheld that right and accepted an earlier declaration of the state, which mirrored this one, that it intended to remove the yeshiva from the hilltop.

It had asked the state for an update on the situation by August 10. 

Yesh Din said in response that "the State of Israel continues to procrastinate and continues to refuse to perform its legal and moral duty which is evacuating the outpost that was established illegally on private land belonging to residents from the village of Burka. 

"The dispossession of Palestinians and the theft of their land must end - every passing day further increases the injustice and rewards the offenders. 

"Like their predecessors, Israel’s Minister of Defense and Israel’s Prime Minister prove that the rule of law always retreats in favor of political interests and in favor of the settlers’ satisfaction," Yesh Din stated.

Dimentman's window's appeal

In advance of the state's submission Dimentman's window Ethia had appealed to Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar who heads the New Hope party to authorize the yeshiva in her husband's name and if not, to at least delay any action until after the election.

Her husband studied on the Homesh hilltop as an emissary for the Jewish people, "he didn't go there for himself" but for his "brothers in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa."

She noted a Jewish presence on the Homesh hilltop would help preserve Israel's hold on the strategically important region of northern Samaria.

The former Homesh community was one of four northern Samaria settlements Israel evacuated during the 2005 Disengagement in which 21 Gaza settlements were evacuated.

Those on the Right view its demolition as a second Disengagement. Ethia noted that the date of the state's submissions fell on the 17th anniversary of the 2005 Disengagement.

The presence of the Homesh yeshiva on the hilltop shows that the "people of Israel has returned to their land." 

She added the hoped the Homesh settlement would soon be rebuilt along with all the other destroyed settlements.

"We hope the government won't reward terror, not in Homesh and not anywhere else," she said.