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Hundreds attend joyful Rosh Chodesh prayers in Evyatar

The Samaria town received official recognition under Israeli law last week, 11 years after it was established.

Israelis attend a special prayer event in the newly recognized town of Evyatar in Samaria, July 7, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israelis attend a special prayer event in the newly recognized town of Evyatar in Samaria, July 7, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

Hundreds of Israelis, including Knesset legislators, attended a festive musical prayer service early Sunday morning in the recently legalized Jewish community of Evyatar in central Samaria.

The prayer event, which was held on the occasion of the new Hebrew month of Tammuz, was attended by lawmakers Zvi Sukkot and Moshe Solomon (Religious Zionism Party), as well as Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan and Safed Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu.

Initially established in 2013 in the wake of the fatal stabbing of Evyatar Borovsky in the area but dismantled numerous times, Israeli civilians moved back to Evyatar following the June 2023 shooting attack at a gas station outside Eli.

Evyatar received recognition under Israeli law last week in a quid pro quo that saw Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who leads the Religious Zionism Party, prevent the Palestinian Authority’s financial collapse.

“We are here to correct the sin of rejecting the land, a sin that can bring down an entire nation,” said Dagan, according to the Srugim outlet. “We see it in the Gaza Strip; we see it on the northern border; this is a direct result of the sin of rejecting the land. Correcting this sin has the power to lift up the entire nation, and that’s what we’re doing here today.”

He continued, “We stand here in Evyatar and declare: Evyatar is not just houses. Evyatar is an idea, and this idea cannot be defeated. We are standing here and saying to the government of Israel and to the entire world that there will be many, many more Evyatars in Samaria.”

Eliyahu said, “A week ago, [President Joe] Biden said that Evyatar was a red line and should not be legalized under any circumstances.

“But it looks like there was someone above this giant,” said the rabbi. “This victory teaches us that it is not because of a government decision that the legalization of five settlements was decided; it is God’s counsel.”

Solomon told attendees, “Exactly one year ago, I came to the town under unfortunate circumstances: After the terrible attack at the Eli Junction that claimed the lives of four of our children. The appropriate answer to this is to hold on to the land where our ancestors walked.”

According to the MK, the return to Evyatar is “proof of the unbreakable Jewish spirit.”

Last week, an Israeli government body advanced planning for nearly 5,300 new housing units in communities throughout Judea and Samaria.

The Supreme Planning Council of the Israeli Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration approved or advanced plans for 5,295 homes in dozens of towns. It also legalized three outposts as new neighborhoods of existing communities in the Jordan Valley and near the city of Hebron.

Speaking with residents of a recently legalized town in the South Hebron Hills on Saturday night, Settlements and National Missions Minister Orit Strock (Religious Zionism Party) said she was content with the “miracle period” in Judea and Samaria but stressed she was unsure how long it would continue.

“Look at what we have achieved in just these last few months,” said Strock, per Army Radio. “As long as this government lasts—and it’s unclear whether it will, completely unclear—but if the government continues with God’s help, it is like a miracle period for me.”

In March, the Supreme Planning Council approved the construction of 3,500 housing units in three Judea communities in the wake of a deadly Feb. 22 terrorist shooting near the city of Ma’ale Adumim.

This year is on track to be a historic one for construction in Judea and Samaria. The total number of approvals is expected to surpass those of 2023, when work on a record of 12,349 housing units was advanced.

However, many building projects have been stalled since Hamas’s Oct. 7 massacre in Israel and the subsequent decision by authorities to bar Palestinian construction workers from entering most Jewish towns for security reasons.

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