Hebron Jewish families in standoff with IDF over response to terror

In response to what they see as “weakness vis-a-vis our enemies,” dozens of Hebron residents are in a standoff with the IDF after taking over a building they say was purchased legally, although the government has prevented them from taking up residence. 

Dozens of Hebron residents took over the Hebron building known as Beit Hamachpela late Tuesday afternoon, in what they said was a response to the massacre of three members of the Salomon family in Neve Tzuf, or Halamish, on Friday.

Some 15 families are believed to have entered the three-storey building, which the community says they purchased from private Palestinian owners, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs. In 2015, however, the IDF Civil Administration rejected their ownership, saying they had not “proven purchase of the property, nor the possession of it.”

“In these day of Jewish bloodshed and bereavement, the Israeli government has shown weakness vis-a-vis our enemies,” Shlomo Levinger, a spokesman for the families, declared, the Jerusalem Post reported.

“We call on the government to bravely raise the flag of settlements and faithfulness to the land of Israel,” he told the Post by phone from inside the building.

“There are men, women, children and babies here,” he said.

Minister Elkin: ‘Appropriate Nationalist Response’

Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and Minister of Environmental Protection Ze’ev Elkin praised the move into the building at a meeting of the Likud Knesset faction. He called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman to allow the families to remain in the building as an “appropriate nationalist response.”

The settlers have occupied the building before in the past, but were evicted twice, in 2009 and 2015.

“Beit Hamachpela was purchased several years ago, but the government of Israel shamefully prevents the families from taking up residence in the property they purchased without any legal or moral justification,” representatives of the 15 families said.

“At this time, when Jewish blood is being spilled, we call on the government to proudly raise the flag of settlement in the Land of Israel. In the face of the murder of Jews and national stammering, we demand that the government of Israel allow the families to take up residence at Beit Hamachpela forthwith.”

By: Ilan Evyatar/TPS and World Israel News