Daily Israel Report

Netanyahu, Barak 'Trying' to Save Hero's Home

Home of fallen fighter Eliraz Peretz is on the chopping block but ministers vow to find a solution.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 1/12/2011, 7:56 PM / Last Update: 1/12/2011, 8:08 PM

Arutz Sheva

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that he is working to find a legal solution that would spare the Peretz family in Eli's Yovel neighborhood any further suffering. Defense Minister Ehud Barak reportedly voiced a similar intent in a closed forum.

The head of the Peretz family, Major Eliraz Peretz, was killed in the course of an IDF operation in Gaza in March of 2010. He became a symbol of heroism and sacrifice, and a source of special pride to the Zionist-religious community. 
 
Netanyahu told his ministers Wednesday that he opposed the demolition of the Peretz home.
 
On Tuesday, it became known that the state has submitted an opinion to the High Court according to which the Peretz's home should be torn down, along with another home in the neighborhood. A motion by pro-Arab group Peace Now claimed that all the homes in the neighborhood were built on land that was confiscated from its Arab owners in an improper manner. This was disproved in the court and only two homes were found to be on land that was not state-owned.  The court left the decision about what to do with the two homes to the state.
 
The two plots on which these homes were built not proven to be Arab-owned, and no Arab came forward to claim the land was his. Only an aerial photo taken tens of years ago showed that the plots had once been tilled, which could mean that a local Arab had illegally grown crops on them.
 
Elyasaf Peretz, Eliraz's younger brother, said Wednesday that the family has "full confidence in the Prime Minister, the State and the government."
 
"We have always believed and we still believe that the people who are supposed to decide in this matter will show sensitivity, be they the Defense Minister, the Prime Minister or the Supreme Court. We have full trust in the government and its head, and with G-d's help the decision that needs to be taken, will be taken," Elyasaf Peretz said.  
 
Minister Limor Livnat (Likud) asked Defense Minister Barak to avoid demolishing the structure. "I turn to you," she wrote, "as an officer who led soldiers in battle, as a defense minister who is supposed to take care of the needs of citizens and IDF soldiers - it is your duty to reach a courageous decision and protect Eliraz's family."
 
Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon told Arutz Sheva: "This is a tough fight but we will succeed. The home will not be razed."
 
Eliraz Peretz's neigbor in Eli, Major Roi Klein, was killed in the Second Lebanon War in an act of heroism. Peretz was a father figure to Klein's orphan children until he, too, was killed. The Klein family home is apprently safe from the threat of demolition, after the state found that it was built on propely acquired state-owned land.