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'View was awful.' Burnt prayer book
Photo courtesy of Homesh First
Prayer book remnants
Photo courtesy of Homesh First
Suspicion: Palestinians burned holy Jewish books at Homesh
Dozens of Talmuds, bibles, prayer books defaced at unauthorized yeshiva located in evacuated West Bank settlement; Minister Edelstein demands permanent structure, adequate protection for Jewish students

Police suspect that Palestinians defaced and burned holy books at a yeshiva located on the grounds of the evacuated West Bank settlement of Homesh.

 

"The sight was awful," the yeshiva’s dean, Rabbi Elishamah Cohen, told Ynet. “Dozens of holy books – Talmuds, bibles, and prayer books – were almost completely burned.”

 

Police have launched an investigation, but no perpetrators have been detained as of yet.

 

Homesh was evacuated during Israel's unilateral withdrawal from parts of the West Bank in the summer of 2005. Since then, right-wing activists have made repeated attempts to rebuild the settlement, and every once in a while IDF forces arrive at the site to evacuate them.

 

About a dozen people have returned to Homesh to live and study in a wooden structure housing a yeshiva. Several weeks ago, security forces destroyed the yeshiva, but students have made use of a remaining courtyard of one of the homes destroyed during the Disengagement.

 

It is suspected that Palestinians raided the yeshiva while its students were visiting the nearby settlement Shavei Shomron. "It is evident that the Arabs who torched the holy books did so meticulously," said Rabbi Cohen. "The books were almost completely charred. We managed to salvage a few pages."

 

Yossi Dagan of Homesh First, the grassroots group planning to rebuild the West Bank settlement, said "we demand that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu order the establishment of a large, official settlement in Homesh. This should be the government's response to this national humiliation."

 

Minister of Information and Diaspora Yuli Edelstein (Likud) called on the government to erect a permanent structure that will house the yeshiva and see to it that the students are protected "so that such severe anti-Semitic incidents will not repeat themselves".

 

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