Defense Minister Ehud Barak refuses to budge on a 3 p.m. ultimatum to Jews to leave their newly-purchased home in Hevron or face forced expulsion. However, he has left himself a ladder if he wants to climb down from the limb by holding out the possibility for further proof that the property deed is legal.
Likud Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely arrived at the home in Hevron Tuesday and declared, “It is clear there will be no expulsion….Jews mist continue to live here and whoever thinks differently is anti-Semitic and nothing less than that.”
The IDF and virtually all Israeli media pundits have conceded that the property transaction was legal, but Hevron’s Arab mayor claims that it was falsified.
The Civil Administration order for the 15 families to leave the 3-story building because of “security concerns” has pitted Barak, the most left-wing member of the coalition government, against senior Likud ministers.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu requested Barak to postpone the order, but the Defense Minister so far has refused.
Likud minister Limor Livnat and Yisrael Katz arrived in Hevron to show solidarity for the new Jewish residents in the building, located across from the Patriarchs’ Cave purchased by the biblical forefather Avraham for “400 pieces of silver” 3,500 years ago.
Likud MK Ofir Akunis stated, “Hevron is the first capital of the Jewish people and the symbol of renewal of a Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria. No one can harm that, not even the Minister of Defense.”
His observation hits the crux of the dispute, and if Barak carries out an expulsion that results in violence, it might challenge the stability of the coalition.
Shas and Yisrael Beiteinu, the largest coalition party partners, have remained silent since the purchase of the building.