MK Orit Struk of the religious-Zionist Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, who resides in Hevron and has raised her 11 children in the holy city, voiced her pleasure Monday at the decision by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to immediately allow the Jewish residents of Hevron's Machpela House to return to the building they were evicted from.
Struk also referred to the fact that thousands of Jews are expected to visit Hevron today and throughout Sukkot.
"I am pleased with the prime minister's decision to immediately populate the Machpela House,” she said. “A just and value-based decision, which expresses the healthy feeling of the multitudes of Israel who continue, even today, and especially today, to vote with their feet for a Hebrew Hevron.”
"Whoever tries to uproot us from the city of our forefathers will achieve the opposite,” Netanyanu declared. “We will continue to fight terrorism and hit the terrorists with one hand, and we will continue to strengthen the settlement enterprise with the other hand.”
Earlier Sunday evening, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett asked cabinet secretary Avichai Mandelblitt to immediately approve the entry of Jews into Beit Hamachpela, saying, "We know how to build and settle. Not to kill. This would be the appropriate Zionist answer [to the terrorism].” He also called on the prime minister to consider canceling the release of more Palestinian Authority terrorist prisoners.
Deputy Religions Minister, Rabbi Eliyahu Ben Dahan (Bayit Yehudi), praised Netanyahu's decision on his Facebook page. “Kudos to the prime minister for making a courageous decision, to populate the Machpela House,” he wrote. “It is too bad, though, that it took the murder of a soldier to make that happen. My condolences to the grieving family, which lost its loved one.”
Rabbi Ben Dahan added that he also hopes that Netanyahu will consider halting the release of more terrorist prisoners. “Their release will cause more terror,” he said.
MK Moshe Feiglin (Likud) did not see the decision as the right response to the murders of two soldiers, however. “The abductions and the murders are closely connected to the release of terrorists,” he wrote in a statement. “Settling the Land of Israel is not punishment for the murder of Jews and does not make up for neglecting to protect them.”
The city of Hevron is one of Judaism's holiest sites and an early Jewish capital, having been chosen by King David as his seat of power before moving it to Jerusalem. It has had a Jewish population contiguously since Biblical times, but in 1929, a particularly horrific massacre perpetrated by local Arabs drove out the Jews. The Jews returned in 1967 and currently inhabit several enclaves within the city.
The Cave of Patriarchs, where the graves of six of the seven Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs are located, is also located in Hevron, on a plot of land bought by the first Patriarch, Abraham, or Avraham Avinu.