Esh Kodesh

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Esh Kodesh
אֵשׁ קֹדֶשׁ, אש קודש
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Esh Kodesh is located in the West Bank
Esh Kodesh
Esh Kodesh
Coordinates: 32°04′01″N 35°20′10″E / 32.066824°N 35.336023°E / 32.066824; 35.336023Coordinates: 32°04′01″N 35°20′10″E / 32.066824°N 35.336023°E / 32.066824; 35.336023
Council Mateh Binyamin
Region West Bank
Founded 2000[1]
This article is about the geographic location. For the book by rabbi Kalonymus Kalman Shapira, see Kalonymus Kalman Shapira#Works.

Esh Kodesh (Hebrew: אֵשׁ קֹדֶשׁ, lit. Sacred Fire) is an Israeli outpost in the West Bank near Shilo. It falls under the jurisdiction of the Mateh Binyamin Regional Council. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.[2] The population in 2005 was under 12 families.[3]


Esh Kodesh was founded in 2000 near Shvut Rachel,[4] one of several such settlements in the area.[5] It was named for a terrorist victim, Esh Kodesh Gilmore, 25, who was murdered by Palestinian gunmen while working as a security guard at a branch of the National Insurance Institute in East Jerusalem.[6][7] Esh Kodesh is also a book of sermons delivered by the Admor of Piaseczno in the Warsaw Ghetto from the outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939 until July 1942, when the Jews of the ghetto were deported to the death camp at Treblinka.[8]

The residents of Esh Kodesh earn a living from vineyards and goat-herding.[9] To meet the security challenges of living in an area where their presence generates hostility, they have undergone Mishmeret Yesha self-defense training.[10]

In September 2011, in the wake of the Palestinian Authority's plans to request unilateral recognition at the United Nations leading to expectations of unrest,[11] the Israel Defense Forces established a base near Esh Kodesh[1] On September 23, 2011, Israeli security forces were called in to break up a clash between the settlers and a group of 300 villagers from Qusra.[12][13] Due to the growing tension, residents of Qusra armed with flashlights and sticks began to patrol the perimeter of their village at night to thwart possible incursions by Esh Kodesh settlers.[14]

In 2010, the Israeli Supreme Court sentenced a resident of Esh Kodesh, the son of Orit Struk, head of the Human Rights Organization of Judea and Samaria, to 18 months in prison for the kidnapping and assault of a Palestinian teenager.[15]

On January 5th, 2013, approximately 200 Palestinians cut through the fences of the vineyard and attacked the vineyards and residents of Esh Kodesh. 12 outpost residents were injured, with one taken to the hospital. The vineyards were destroyed, a security vehicle was damaged and the attackers neared homes before the military arrived. The incident was part of a continuing dispute between the Esh Kodesh settlers and nearby Palestinians over land ownership.[16]