In the Israel-Palestine conflict, symbolism is everything. And there is a small tussle going on right now that is so heavy with symbolism, it might as well be an Ingmar Bergman film. At issue is a set of Jewish holy books that were allegedly burned by a group of Arabs. The books were being studied by Homesh Tehila (“Homesh First”), an Israeli group looking to re-establish a settlement that had been dismantled by the Israeli government. They had been maintaining an ad hoc yeshiva (a kind of school) on the site of the former settlement.
Unfiltered information about this kind of thing is difficult to come by (hence our hedging in the title of this post), but Homesh Tehila alleges that Arabs raided the yeshiva and burned the books a few weeks ago, and plans were afoot to bury the texts as part of a, well, highly symbolic ceremony.
From the The Jerusalem Post:
According to David Ha’ivri, a spokesman for the Samaria Regional Council, one night when there was no guard, local Arabs broke into the yeshiva and “burned to ashes” the holy books studied by the students.
In a press release, Ha’ivri juxtaposed the fire created by the burned holy books with the spiritual fire kindled by the yeshiva students’ learning.
(The ceremony, by the way, appears to have been postponed after some of its leaders were threatened with arrest.)