Residents of Yakir celebrated 35 years since the Samaria community's founding last night, as well as the government's approval of a planning scheme.
Despite being home to hundreds of families for decades, the government only approved the existence of Yakir about a month ago.
The Yakir approvals are part of the changes in government policy that have come into effect in the two months since Samaria Regional Council Head Yossi Dagan set up a protest tent following the murder of Eitam and Nehama Henkin. Itamar, Shvut Rahel, Sansana, and other communities have also received official approval during this time.
During the celebration, the head of the Yakir community council, Asher Ilovitz, thanked the Samaria Regional Council for its success. "We have seen true leadership that is prepared to go out in the rain and the cold and to stand for the rights of residents."
Rabbi Aharon Cohen, the official rabbi of Yakir, added that "Yakir has already been waiting 30 years for its planning scheme to be approved. It's not a coincidence that it took so long to get this approval. It has a deep meaning – that we have ownership over this land is not a simple thing. 'This emanated from G-d, it is wondrous in our eyes.'"
Yossi Dagan also spoke at the ceremony. "The community of Yakir is a model and example for all such communities. At its forefront are its spirit of volunteerism and mutual responsibility. This community has not asked for more than it is given and I hope that, at least in this issue, we have succeeded in assisting and allowing a little breathing space for the community and its residence to build and grow.
"We are here in Samaria as part of a historic mission," he added. "We are privileged to build up Samaria and, with G-d's help, will will see additional new communities and to increase the momentum of communities."