Rabbi Bareli
Rabbi BareliCourtesy

Rabbi Ariel Bareli, the Rabbi of the town of Beit El, commented on the joint letter from a number of Rabbis that he signed following the demolition of the buildings on a hilltop near the town of Kochav Hashahar in the Binyamin region after some of them were built on private Palestinian land without permits.

Security officials said that Smotrich himself approved the demolition after all attempts to reach an understanding with the local residents about the relocation of the buildings came to naught.

"Sages teach us that the Land of Israel was held for us by our ancestors, and we have never given up on it. In addition, in the War of Independence and the Six Day War, God gave us the privilege of liberating large parts of the country, far beyond the partition plan approved by the United Nations," says Rabbi Barali.

According to him, "There is a law called 'war occupation' which expropriates the private ownership of the Arabs, and henceforth, everything belongs to the State of Israel. By the way, this is the main claim of Judge Edmond Levy, who paved the legal way for the application of Jewish sovereignty in Judea and Samaria also according to international law."

To the question of whether it is possible to talk about an occupation when the state itself does not recognize it, the rabbi replied, "First of all, the state certainly embraces the concept of occupation, and on this basis, it also received international recognition for places that were not in the partition plan and have been part of the State of Israel since the War of Independence. In Judea and Samaria, towns were established on the private land of Arabs (some of which were subsequently legitimized by expropriation orders for security reasons) so that the principle that conquest in a war (especially if the other side started it) gives the winning side the land.

“Unfortunately, due to improper considerations, the State of Israel did not fully apply its sovereignty over Judea and Samaria, and the Supreme Court throughout the years has been gnawing at the governance of the state in these places and even established a precedent even when there is no connection between an Arab and the land because he never cultivated it and did not pay the fees to the government. Despite all this, they consider it private land that a Jew is not allowed to settle on, and on this basis, they destroyed the settlements of Amona and Migron."

Regarding Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who backed the destruction of the buildings because the attempts to negotiate failed and said that the law in Judea and Samaria must be respected, Rabbi Bareli replied, "I prefer to adopt his completely different statements from the time he headed the Regavim organization."

"He urged all of us to understand that the towns in Judea and Samaria are in danger. When the Palestinian Authority had a clear plan to strangle the settlements and take over vast areas of land up to the Jordan Valley, Regavim revealed aerial photographs showing construction and new roads in Area C with European funding and without any intervention from the Civil Administration. We are dealing with the Arab takeover of the land and have no plan of action.

For example, all the land along Route 60, which is the main road between Samaria residents and Jerusalem, are properties considered by the Supreme Court as private land (without any clear ownership). It is impossible to close your eyes and wake up to the reality that there is Arab control over all the main Routes in Judea and Samaria."

Rabbi Bareli says that the Rabbis’ position does not conflict with the principles of Rabbi Kook, who claimed that Arabs can own land privately. “Rabbi Kook speaks of those who bought land legally, and even then, if there is a security need, of course, it can be expropriated. The letter talks about lands that do not have specific owners and were distributed during Hussein's days to the Arabs for various reasons and often without their knowledge. Saying that the law of the land has the force of Jewish law is not valid where this is an independent interpretation of the Supreme Court in particular that does not accept as a starting point of our right to the Land of Israel.”

“That's why the rabbis, led by Rabbi Dov Lior, encourage the founding of new communities located in very important areas and that people prevent with their bodies and souls the Arab takeover. These are not boys who come to fight with the Arabs but cling to our holy land out of ideals and a sincere desire to serve God."