Settlers rally at unauthorized West Bank outpost


(JTA) — Settlers gathered for a prayer rally in support of an unauthorized outpost in the West Bank.

The prayer rally was held at Givat Asaf Thursday evening to oppose against anticipated efforts by the Israeli government to demolish structures within the outpost, reported the pro-settlement website Arutz Sheva. The website estimated that 3,000 people participated.

"Our call is twofold: to the public to come and prevent this immoral destruction and secondly, to call to soldiers and police to disobey an order and not to lend a hand and participate in this criminal deed, which is covered in legal guise," Givat Asaf spokesman Benny Gal said, according to Arutz Sheva.

The rally was attended by prominent rabbis, including Dov Lior, chief rabbi of the settlement of Kiryat Arba, the website reported.

Some 25 families reportedly live in the hilltop outpost, which is located near the settlement of Beit El. It was founded 10 years ago without government authorization and was named after Asaf Hershkovitz, a resident of the settlement of Ofra murdered in a 2001 ambush of his van by Palestinian terrorists.

A 2004 effort by Israeli soldiers to remove some newly placed caravans at Givat Asaf was thwarted when some 1,000 residents from nearby settlements showed up to stop them.

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