Israel’s Supreme Court, sitting as the High Court of Justice, on Wednesday struck down a petition demanding that the state dismantle the Homesh Yeshiva, or religious school, in Samaria.
The decision, handed down by Supreme Court President Esther Hayut and justices Uzi Vogelman and Yael Willner, noted that the yeshiva structures were recently relocated from Palestinian-claimed land to state land, rendering the legal claims moot.
Accordingly, the petitioners were ordered to pay 15,000 shekels (approximately $4,000) in court costs.
Homesh was one of four Jewish communities in northern Samaria that then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon unilaterally dismantled when he undertook the withdrawal from Gaza in 2005.
Six months ago, the Knesset repealed articles of the 2005 law banning Israelis from entering and residing in the four Samaria communities, and in May IDF Central Command head Maj. Gen. Yehuda Fuchs signed an order allowing Israelis to reenter Homesh.
Shortly after, yeshiva students and volunteers moved the school to a new, permanent location, several hundred meters off of disputed land.
The Yesh Din organization, which represented local Palestinians, on Wednesday condemned the “disgraceful” Supreme Court decision, which it claimed de facto authorizes the reestablishment of Homesh and testifies to what it called “apartheid rule” in Judea and Samaria.
Israeli officials, however, praised Wednesday’s ruling. “This is an important day for Homesh,” said Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich.
He added: “The Israeli government nullified the Disengagement Law in northern Samaria and is regulating the Jewish settling of and hold on Homesh. I wish to thank Defense Minister [Yoav] Gallant and the Settlement Authority for their joint work for Homesh and the communities [of Judea and Samaria].”
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan told Hebrew media that “the delusional petition of the extreme left against Homesh was thrown into the dustbin of history—the future belongs to the return and rebuilding of the communities of northern Samaria,”
The Homesh Yeshiva administration said in a statement: “The yeshiva in Homesh will flourish, the community of Homesh will flourish, and the light will continue to illuminate all of northern Samaria… Now, the ball is in the Israeli government’s hands [and it should] follow up on its promise: regulating [the entire community of] Homesh.”