A large group of Hebron Jews on Thursday afternoon entered two empty buildings on King David Street, near the Cave of the Patriarchs, which they say they purchased legally. Apparently, they opted to take over the buildings without a formal arrangement with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), possibly because such contacts in the past ended up with the Defense Ministry evacuating Jewish residents from their legally bought homes.
The new residents named the two buildings “Rachel House” and “Leah House,” after our two matriarchs, one of whom, Leah, is buried in the nearby cave, according to Jewish tradition. Police forces missed the opportunity to block the Jewish newcomers from entering their homes, arriving after they had already taken possession of the properties. Now the Defense Minister, who is the highest authority in Judea and Samaria—which have been under martial law since June of 1967—must decide whether the Jews get to stay in their homes which would mean extending the Jewish enclave in Hebron.
The announcement of the purchase sparked immediate riots, which the IDF brought under control, TPS reported. Shortly after the outbreak, medical teams treated an Israeli civilian who sustained light head injuries from a rock thrown by an Arab.
Throwing his lot with the Jewish side, Absorption and Jerusalem Minsiter Ze’ev Elkin congratulated the new homeowners, saying, “I bless the Hebron settlers for their determined action to expand Jewish presence in the city of our patriarchs.” Elkin added, “The homes the settlers have entered were purchased fully and legally. I call on the Defense Minster to do everything he can to help the settlers and to not capitulate to the pressure coming from the Palestinian rioters. The right response to the murderous Palestinian terror all along Jewish history has been to expand the Jewish settlement.”
Back in 2012, when the Hebron Jews last announced the legal purchase of a building, a military appeals committee determined that the purchase had not be legally completed. The building was evacuated by the IDF a short while after it had been settled. However, back in 2007, Jewish settlers legally purchased the Brown House in Hebron, and the purchase was eventually approved by the Supreme Court, after a very long legal process. It is now cheerfully populated by Jews.
Malachi Levinger, head of the Kiryat Arba Municipal Council, said, “We are privileged to be able to salvage two additional buildings in Hebron, the city of our forefathers. By doing so we join the long chain of redeemers of the land of Israel which Abraham purchased at a high price.”
Levinger called on the Israeli government to “stand strong” and enable Jewish people to purchase and live in homes anywhere in Israel and particularly in Hebron.