Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu in Hevron
Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu in HevronFlash 90

Tzfat Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, who will be visiting Hevron on the Shabbat when Jews read the Torah portion of Chayei Sarah that documents the Cave of Patriarch's sale to Abraham, calls on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to transfer the wholesale market complex from Palestinian Authority Municipality auspices to the Jewish community in Hevron.

The land on which the wholesale market is built is Jewish-owned, but the Jews cannot settle on it despite the opinion of the Defense Ministry Legal Advisor, according to which responsibility for the market can be transferred to Jewish hands.

"This is property worth a fortune. They have taken a huge fortune from the public," Rabbi Eliyahu stated. "If a private person had taken so much money, he wouldn't be sitting quietly. A few houses are in Jewish hands, while murderers are living in the rest of the houses today. The fact that the judiciary hasn't returned the houses to this day is a stain on the justice system."

Rabbi Eliyahu likened Hevron's Arabs to the covetous King Ahab who contrived to murder the owner of a vineyard in order to take possession of it, in the biblical episode documented in 1 Kings 21:1-16: "After the Navot's Vineyard episode, Ahab was told, 'You both murdered and inherited?' This indictment also holds true for the Hevron Arabs, who massacred the Jews who lived among them, helped them, and cured them. In the 1929 Riots, they killed their benefactors, murdered them despicably, and now they want to inherit the place? It's appalling that the Jews haven't returned to their lands to this day."

An opinion also approved by the Legal Advisor states there is no impediment to return the wholesale market land to Jews and allow them to settle there.

To implement the decision, Prime Minister Netanyahu must send a letter to the Mayor of Hevron informing him that the municipality's protected tenure has expired in the market. At present, Netanyahu refuses to do so.