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Hanukkah Brings Hope to Hevron, Despite Threat of Evacuations

The hope of Hanukkah is palpable in the Jewish community of Hevron this year, despite evacuation threats.
By Rachel Hirshfeld
First Publish: 12/10/2012, 11:25 PM

The hope of Hanukkah is palpable in the Jewish community of Hevron this year, despite yet another threat of evacuations.  

There is a menorah lighting the entrance of every Jewish home in Beit Ezra, as children play dreidel, eat jelly donuts and the residents wait for another miracle, hoping that this year will not result in the uprooting of Jewish residents from the land they hold so dear.

The Beit Ezra building's entrance is an example of Jewish construction 500 years ago. On its arched stone doorposts, the decorations and indentations carved into the stone for mezuzahs are beautifully preserved.

"This is a real struggle- la ong and hard one,” Hevron Jewish community spokesman, Noam Arnon, said in an interview with Arutz Sheva, as he explained that two Jewish buildings in the neighborhood are once again under threat of being evacuated.

“Currently Jews are forbidden to buy or build a house in Hevron,” he said, “but the struggle will continue until we break the walls of the ghetto and the Jewish community can grow and flourish."

"How is it," wondered Arnon, as he looked at the remnants of destruction from the summer of 2007, in which historic Jewish homes in the shuk area were evacuated forcibly and ransacked and ruined after being left abandoned,  "that the Israeli government will enable yet more ruin, disgrace and destruction?”

Tziyon Elmalliach, who lives with his family in one of the apartment buildings under threat, told Arutz Sheva that he is “really confident” that the Jewish community will prevail and continue to live and prosper in the land.  

Orit Strook, a Bayit Yehudi-Ichud Leumi party candidate for the 19th Knesset, whose home is actually in Beit Ezra, elucidates the situation of the two apartments from a legal standpoint: "As soon as the writ to vacate the apartments was filed, we turned to the Appeals Committee, which heard testimony on the matter for an entire year and ruled unequivocally that even though the Jewish families were squatters, the official in charge could not allow the property to be abandoned. The Committee concluded that  because the official appointed to take care of the property is responsible for keeping it in good condition, it must be put up for  rent."

Strook added that "the Committee suggested a creative solution, which would have the property rented to residents of the Jewish community of Hevron or be used as a public building, as long as it is taken care of and the rent is given to the state." The state has until Monday to present its position to the court, while the looming elections cast a shadow on the controversial issue.



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