Prime Minister Naftali Bennett agreed to advance the legalization of Evyatar as part of a compromise agreement by which its residents would agree to voluntarily evacuate. They will be offered the possibility of resettling in Evyatar if the land is verified to be state-owned.
The compromise deal was announced earlier this week by the Nahala movement and the Samaria Regional Council, which spearheaded Evyatar’s construction last month. The scope and the speed of the community’s ability to receive a nod of approval for a new Jewish community on a Judea/Samaria hilltop is unusual and represents a victory for the grassroots movement. Nahala movement head Daniella Weiss said. “The strengths of Evyatar’s residents illuminate the Zionist spirit.”
Samaria Regional Council head Yossi Dagan said he was ultimately satisfied with the agreement. “The compromise we agreed upon is not the deal of our dreams,” he said. “But each side took steps to meet the other for the sake of Israel in these difficult days when the nation is divided.”
Meretz MK Mossi Raz condemned the deal in no uncertain terms, hinting at a possible coalition crisis just weeks after the new government was sworn in.
Bezalel Smotrich stated: “There’s a limit to hypocrisy. As long as Khan al-Ahmar and tens of thousands of other illegal Arab structures remain standing, there is no reason in the world for Evyatar to be evacuated. The settlers showed responsibility and agreed to a compromise that discriminated against them – to avoid a confrontation. The government must stand behind the agreements and if it withdraws them it would bear full responsibility for the results.”
MK Itamar Ben-Gvir warned Evyatar residents to watch out because “I fear Bennett will cheat you. He did not say this was a core promise. I’m afraid that the government will eventually decide to evacuate the settlement of Evyatar and claim that ‘we promised not to evacuate, but we didn’t promise to abide by the arrangement.”
While a compromise is not the decision we hoped for, it will have to do for now. The full evacuation of another Jewish community on legally owned Jewish land is something we cannot bear to hear about again. Community leaders are positive about this deal and no buildings will be demolished. We hope Prime Minister Bennett, if he keeps this “Frankenstein Coalition” (term borrowed from Jonathan Pollard) together will keep his word and not reverse course. We pray that the government confirms – what we know to be true – that Evyatar is found to be on state-held land and that the Jewish presence there will be regularized with no delay.