A ceremony to observe Israel’s Arbor Day, known as Tu B'Shvat, was held at the illegal outpost of Homesh, located in the disputed territory between Modi’in and the Neve Ilan Forest.
Having made the outpost off limits, the Israel Defense Forces shut down the celebration, clearing out participating rabbis and yeshiva students.
Yeshiva head Shmuel Vendy stated, “With God’s help, we will soon announce the reversal of the Disengagement Law,” referring to the 2005 evacuation of the Gaza Strip, which took place under the Ariel Sharon government.
Although military personnel did not prevent Tu B’Shvat participants from entering the area, they dispersed the celebrants by midnight, after a traditional, festive meal, stating that the area was a closed military zone.
Buses, which transported participants to the event, became the target of Palestinian stone throwers, injuring one bus driver who was treated on site by military medical personnel. There are only a few makeshift buildings which remain on the Homesh grounds, and the area still sees daily visits by yeshiva students, unhindered by the military.
The Netanyahu-led government has stated its intention to legalize the outpost, turning it into a legally-recognized settlement.
The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.