Tuesday, October 21, 2014, 13:54 Following a demand from Honenu attorney Adi Kedar the IDF removed exercise equipment from the beit midrash (religious study hall) of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva in Yitzhar several days ago. According to a response from the Defense Minister’s bureau chief, Chaim Blumenblatt, the equipment has been moved to the yeshiva’s dining hall.
On September 29 Honenu reported that Yitzhar residents discovered that exercise
equipment, treadmills, had been placed in the beit midrash of the Od Yosef Chai Yeshiva, which was taken over by IDF and border police forces in April of 2014. Honenu attorney Adi Kedar, who is representing the yeshiva, subsequently sent an urgent letter to the Defense Minister and the GOC of Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon, in which he demanded that they put a stop to the desecration of the yeshiva.
“We are currently marking the High Holy Days,” wrote Kedar. “In a normal situation, at this time of year the beit midrash is filled with students busy learning Torah, saying selichot prayers and prayers for the High Holy Days. It should not be that IDF forces staying at the site desecrate the beit midrash and that in place of the sanctity that had prevailed they are exercising on the site.”
Following the demand from Kedar and also from public figures to whom Honenu had turned for assistance, the IDF decided to remove the exercise equipment from the beit midrash and place it in the dining hall, which the border policemen also took over.
Honenu “We are pleased that the exercise equipment has been removed from the beit midrash however we regret that although the Defense Minister did the right thing but on the other hand chose to use evasive language and did not apologize for the serious desecration of the beit midrash. We are saddened by the continuation of the desecration of the yeshiva inherent in its seizure and we demand that the relevant authorities immediately cancel the seizure order.”
During the recent Succot holiday people associated with the yeshiva discovered that a large amount of equipment used to build the yeshiva’s succa had disappeared from the yeshiva complex and in addition to the doors and windows which had been damaged by policemen, window screens in the classrooms were destroyed by border policemen.
After the Simhat Torah holiday on Thursday, October 16, hundreds of supporters participated in the “hakafot sheniyot” celebration which took place near the yeshiva’s temporary building. Among the participants were Rabbi Yitzchak Shapira, the head of the yeshiva, Rabbi Yehoshua Schmidt, the Rabbi of Shavei Shomron, Rabbi Menachem Felix and Dr. Michael Ben-Ari.
Photo credit: Honenu
Photo: Damaged window at Yeshivat Od Yosef Chai
Photo credit: HaKol HaYehudi