Yeshivat Homesh: Hearings for rabbis and students postponed

Yeshivat Homesh, rabbis and students; Photo credit: Yeshivat Homesh

Thursday, January 19, 2023, 14:50 Eight rabbis and students from Yeshivat Homesh, among them Rabbi Simcha Shtatner, the yeshiva’s president, reported for a hearing at the Petah Tikva Magistrates Court following their indictment for violating the Disengagement Law due to their studies at the yeshiva. At their request, the court postponed all of the hearings in their case by four months in light of the government’s announcement to the High Court of Justice of their intention to repeal the Disengagement Law as it pertains to the Northern Shomron (where Homesh is located) and to formalize the status of the community at Homesh. Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski is representing the defendants.

The Ariel branch of the Claims Department of the Shomron Police Prosecution filed the indictments and attributed to the students and rabbis of Yeshivat Homesh a violation of the Disengagement Law: “Entry to/presence in the restricted area without a permit according to Section 27 (a)(1) of the Disengagement Plan Implementation Law 5765/2005.”

Poleski wrote in the request to postpone the hearings, “In the proceedings at the High Court of Justice, the State [of Israel] announced that in accordance with the coalition agreement, the Disengagement Law should be repealed. … The section with which the defendants are charged is Section 27 of the Disengagement Law. The High Court of Justice demanded that the matter [repealing the Disengagement Law] be completed within 90 days. Under these circumstances, I am of the opinion that it is correct to wait and [postpone the hearings].” The representatives of the prosecution opposed the postponement, but the court did postpone the hearings by four months.

Rabbi Simcha Shtatner, the President of Yeshivat Homesh and Nahalat Yisrael Institutions, who has been put on trial for coming to Homesh to teach classes, stated, “The only charge against us is that we violated the Disengagement Law, that is to say, we are not allowed to come to Homesh. We are guilty only of the love of the Land of Israel and a desire to settle it. We will continue to love our Land and to settle it. The time has come to repeal the terrible injustice of the Disengagement Law. May we merit seeing all of the Land of Israel flourish.”

Honenu Attorney Moshe Poleski stated, “For over a year, the army has allowed the yeshiva to operate, under various restrictions, in Homesh. Simultaneously, the State of Israel declared during a High Court of Justice hearing that they intend to repeal the relevant sections of the Disengagement Law forbidding a Jewish presence at Homesh. In our opinion, these sections were legislated in order to allow the expulsion of Jews from Northern Shomron over 17 years ago. In our opinion, under these circumstances, there are no grounds to hold a hearing on the cases submitted to the court, given that the government intends to repeal the provisions of law, which in effect cancels the violation of staying at the site and consequently the indictments that were filed against many defendants for staying at the site of the destroyed community of Homesh.

“The Honorable Petah Tikva Magistrates Court Judge Oded Moreno accepted our position and ordered a relatively long postponement of the hearing, until May. We hope that by then the discriminatory provision of law that prohibits the presence of specifically Jewish citizens at Homesh will be amended.”

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