Dear Bibi

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....

Dear Bibi,

Apparently I spoke too soon and to the wrong person. In my previous post, I addressed a message to Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman with simple suggestions as to things he can do to retaliate for the current terror situation around Kiryat Arba-Hevron. However, now that the Prime Minister has become personally involved, perhaps it makes more sense to write to you and up the ante, so to speak. 

As reported today on Arutz Sheva (here):

"The Prime Minister paid a condolence visit to the family of Hallel-Yaffa Ariel in Kiryat Arba. "We are here. Apart from the fighting [against terror], we will strengthen [Kiryat Arba]. I will sit with the Defense Minister and we will decide how to strengthen this community," said the Prime Minister."

I think its pretty clear that the security in Kiryat Arba-Hevron is quite impressive. Despite the horrific tragedy yesterday, the terrorist was located and neutralized very quickly by the local security team. The other wounded Israeli (may he have a refuah sheleimah!) was a member of the team - meaning the terrorist (may he rot in hell) was unable to even encounter another civilian. Today in Hevron, a terrorist was killed without being able to hurt anyone. In short, while security can always be improved, its not the main problem. 

The main problem is the lack of development. I had made some minor suggestions to Mr. Lieberman yesterday, but YOU are the Prime Minister! Its time to both declare and phsyically make Kiryat Arba-Hevron into a recognized "settlement bloc" - never again to be negotiated over or, G-d forbid, threatened with evacuation.  Today, I believe the area has slightly under 10,000 residents. The Prime Minister should act TODAY to get that number between 15,000-20,000. This would require the construction of between 1500-2000 residences. This could easily be done.

How?

-Replacement of caravans in Givat Harsina with permanent housing

-Construction of housing between Givat Harsina and Ramat Mamre

-Construction of permanent housing on Mitzpeh Avichai and Hill 26 ("Karmei Netane") - expanding the borders of Kiryat Arba and deterring attacks from the main highway. (like the car ramming attack last Friday)

-Expansion of the Avraham Avinu neighborhood toward Gross Square

-Relocation of the "Mitkanim" army base in the center of Hevron and construction of permanent housing on the current location

This main sound like alot to ask, but its not. Its really quite simple and it will actually "strengthen Kiryat Arba". You were serious about that, right?

Shabbat Shalom,

Ben Packer

Old City, Jerusalem





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