This Week Today - Current Events from Israel

Ben Packer,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Ben Packer
Originally from Petersburg, Virginia, Ben Packer moved to Israel in 1999, where he served in the IDF's Givati Brigade in the Gaza Strip. Ben served as a Rabbi on campus at Univ. of North Carolina and at Duke Univ. Ben now serves as Director of the Jerusalem Heritage House (www.heritagehouse.org.il) and Co-Director of Young Jewish Conservatives (www.youngjewishconservatives.org). He lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and 6 children....

The Festival of Redemption is nearly upon us, but this week redemption came early this year in Hevron! In the past few days, Jewish buyers were finally able to enter two properties that they purchased years earlier from an arab. An attempt was made to settle the properties almost 2 years ago, however, the Israeli Government at the time (specifically Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon) had the Jews evicted until more investigation could be done to verify the purchase. That finished this week with the Jews taking possession of the legally purchased properties, called "Beit Rachel" and "Beit Leah". 

THIS IS A HUGE DEAL!!! As someone who is personally and professionally very involved in trying to strengthen the Jewish Presence in Hevron, I would like to discuss this a bit more. 

A few more points about this very significant development:

-These are the 3rd and 4th houses purchased by Jews in Hevron over the past few years in a "new" tactic (dating back to Abraham) of increasing the Jewish population in Hevron by buying new properties, this as opposed to trying to settle already-owned Jewish properties or gaining legal approval for additional construction of Jewish residences. Both those latter ideas, while seemingly easier, have been successfully stymied by the leftist Israeli legal community. This most recent success is a massive boost to the idea of purchasing property. 

-The Jews previously purchased and inhabited "Beit HaShalom", after a long legal battle. "Beit HaShalom" sits at the entrance to Hevron, near neighboring Kiryat Arba. Plans are for renovations in the near future and the construction of 17 apartments. "Beit Leah" and "Beit Rachel" should be able to house about 12 families total. THIS WOULD BE A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE TO THE JEWISH POPULATION!! 

-The remaining house purchased by Jews, but not yet legally inhabited, is "Beit Machpela". Jews had been inside this property for the past 6 months, but recently evacuated until more legal proceedings are conducted to finalize the purchase. At least another 8 Jewish families will eventually live there - directly across from the Tomb of the Patriarchs. 

Conclusion: 

All told, the current purchases and development will result in at least a 50% increase in the Jewish population in Hevron. More importantly, instead of living in "enclaves" as the international community often refers to the Jewish neighborhoods in Hevron, now Jewish families will live throughout the area under Israeli control. Its reasonable to assume (but still pray for) that all of this success will lead to both more purchases from arabs by Jews and a weakening of the current legal impediments to the growth of the Jewish Community in Hevron. Hevron is being made great again! 

In other news connected to Judea and Samaria, the new community of Amichai has been officially established and some families that were evicted from Amona have moved in. Just today, tenders were issued for the construction of hundreds of houses in Beit El. Both the Amichai/Amona and Beit El situations were the result of leftist Supreme Court decisions that have now been completely reversed by the current right-wing Israeli Government.  In place of 70 residences destroyed, 500-600 will be built. Plus another 300 in Netiv Ha'avot (in place of 15 residences being destroyed by Supreme Court order).  This week Defense Minister Lieberman laid the cornerstone for the houses in Netiv Ha'avot. 

Prime Minister Netanyahu went to the hospital last night with a high fever. He will recover and be fine. If Abu Mazen, president of the palestinian authority, got a high fever, he would probably die. In the meantime, he just celebrated his 83rd b-day. Seems like President Trump is waiting this one out and banking he doesn't celebrate too many more. 

In honor of Passover and a strong tradition of hatred of Jews, arabs from Gaza are planning some kind of protest for this Friday when they may or may not attempt to cross the fence, en masse, into Israel. The head of the Israeli army promises that it won't happen and claims to have placed at least 100 snipers along the fence. While we sit down for Seder this Friday night, the soldiers will most likely be working hard. G-d should grant them much success. 

Next year, with an even stronger Jewish Presence, in Jerusalem! 

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem 



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