Samaria town prepares for second Tisha B'av under siege

The hilltop town of Kumi Ori, near Yitzhar in the Samaria, is ready to undergo its second Tisha B'av under siege by the IDF.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

הפנינג בגבעת ''קומי אורי''
הפנינג בגבעת ''קומי אורי''
צילום: שלמה מלט

For nearly two years, the IDF has enforced a military order declaring the hilltop town of Kumi Ori - a small locality near the town of Yitzhar in the Samaria region - a closed military zone. The order is similar to that which was imposed on the recently-emptied town of Evyatar, but goes several steps further; residents are forbidden not only from bringing in building materials, but also grandparents, repair workers, babysitters, or friends.

Neighbors from nearby Yitzhar are forced to meet the residents outside the military blockade that closes the road to the top of the hill. On Wednesday, when a resident wanted to hold a brit milah (ritual of circumcision) for a newborn infant, a combined force of border guards and IDF soldiers prevented the officiating Rabbi from reaching the synagogue on the hilltop, and the ceremony was carried out under a makeshift sunshade outside the blockade instead.

A resident attempted to bring playground structures into Kumi Ori on Thursday, in the hopes of giving the children of the town some much-needed recreation, only to be stopped at the blockade. He was eventually left with no choice but to abandon the structures at the blockade and continue without them, and commented 'Don't worry, our children have plenty of experience playing with just sticks and stones.'

Residents of nearby Yitzhar have repeatedly attempted to force their way onto the hilltop for prayers and community events, with some success. Security forces have clashed with them and groups of hilltop youth in the area on multiple occasions, including while attempting to demolish alleged illegal construction in the area.

A number of events are planned there for the upcoming fast of Tisha B'av, its second with the order in place. One resident commenting that 'With God's help, the Temple will be rebuilt, the siege lifted, and both Jerusalem and Kumi Ori will be redeemed together."