Daily Israel Report

War Hero Maj. Roi Klein's Home is on the Chopping Block

One of several homes facing destruction in Samaria is that of Roi Klein, who died protecting his soldiers during the Second Lebanon War.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 7/15/2009, 10:33 PM

On Monday, the High Court ruled in favor of the far-left organizations Peace Now and Yesh Din and ordered that 11 homes in the Samaria town of Eli be torn down. One of the homes in question belongs to IDF Major Roi Klein, who was killed in the Second Lebanon War when he jumped on a live hand grenade thrown by Hizbullah forces, in order to save his soldiers.

Maj. Klein's last words, his soldiers later said, were "Shema Yisrael."

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The Klein family home is located in the Hayovel neighborhood of Eli. The neighborhood received government support and services over the course of more than a decade, but never received official authorization.

Peace Now claims that some houses were built on Arab-owned land. According to residents of Eli, a part of one building does extend onto Arab land, but the other homes in the neighborhood, including the Klein family residence, were built entirely on state land.

Klein's final act of bravery led the state to posthumously award him the Medal of Valor, the IDF's highest honor. Klein was the first to be awarded the medal in more than 30 years.

Klein's widow, Sarah, declined to respond to the High Court decision that could leave her and her two young children with no home. Neighbors described the news as “a harsh blow,” particularly in light of the fact that it came almost exactly three years after Roey's death, and shortly before a scheduled IDF memorial ceremony in his honor.

'Will Your Hand not Tremble?'
Following the ruling, the Land of Israel Legal Forum sent an emotional appeal to Defense Minister Ehud Barak, calling on him to honor Major Klein by authorizing his family's home and making it legal. “Will your hand, as that responsible for destroying the home of this hero of Israel, not tremble as you sign the demolition order?” asked Forum chairman Nachi Eyal.

"With your signature, you could turn his home 'legal,' but you refuse... The law does not require you to destroy the home of a hero of Israel who gave his life for his people,” the letter continued. “If there is any legal way to prevent this travesty, you must make use of it.”

When he gave his life, Klein became a national symbol of bravery and sacrifice, Eyal noted. If Barak allows the Klein family home to be destroyed, “the message sent will be disastrous, for both civilians and soldiers,” he warned.

"If there remains any significance to 'our duty to the fallen' – now is the time to prove it,” he concluded.