Gov’t Bulldozers Demolish Beis Medrash in Chomesh

Israeli soldiers walk by the water tower on the ruins of the evacuated settlement of Chomesh in 2009. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Accompanied by police and Yasam special unit officers, bulldozers belonging to the Civil Administration overnight Sunday demolished a beis medrash that had been operating for several years at Chomesh, in northern Shomron. The beis medrash had been operating in a set of caravans that had been placed on a hilltop in the former Israeli town. Officers entered the building at about 11:00 p.m., removed sefarim that were inside, and proceeded to knock down the buildings.

Chomesh is one of four towns in northern Shomron that were evacuated as part of the 2006 disengagement. About a year later, Jews began returning to the town, and in 2009 the government agreed to allow the establishment of a beis medrash at the site. Supporters of the yeshivah said that it was not clear why the government had chosen this particular time to destroy the project, but that it may have been connected to reports in recent days that right-wing MKs and candidates, including National Union head MK Betzalel Smotrich, planned to demand that Jews once again be allowed to settle in Chomesh.

Commenting on the demolition, Smotrich said that “the demolition of the beis medrash in Chomesh is a horrible – and unnecessary – act. Everyone knows that eventually we will cancel the Disengagement Law that caused the evictions of the residents, and the activities of the pioneers of the yeshivah and the movement to resettle Chomesh will be vindicated, b’ezras Hashem, already in the next Knesset. I would have expected Prime Minister Netanyahu to first remove the illegal mosque in the Sha’ar Harachamim compound on Har HaBayis before dealing with the yeshivah in Chomesh.”