Police Chief Karadi Outshoots Paladin

Throughout Hevron you can see Arabs building grand structures, all without permits and without penalty from the government. Only Jews renovating the inside of existing structures on Jewish property are harassed and, at the same time, prevented from obtaining proper permits.

Aliza Karp

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Paladin was the star of the classic television show "Have Gun Will Travel", which was set in what was known as the Wild West. He would shoot from the hip and never miss. Each episode brought him a new villain to liquidate. But even in the Wild West, Paladin never drew his gun on someone just because they did not have a proper permit!

Police Chief Moshe Karadi overshot the wildness of the Wild West when admitting, during a television interview, that he would not rule out using weapons during the planned evacuation of the Mitzpeh Shalhevet neighborhood in Hevron.

Mitzpeh Shalhevet consists of two strips of modest apartments adjacent to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood near the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron. The area in question is owned by Jews as part of the Jewish Quarter of Hevron, which flourished since the days of the Spanish Inquisition, when many wealthy Jews fled Spain and settled in Hevron five hundred years ago.

The Jewish Quarter was abandoned in 1929 when Jews were tortured and massacred by Arabs, after which, any survivors were expelled by the British. Following this forced expulsion, Arabs stole the Jewish land upon which Mitzpeh Shalhevet now stands and built a marketplace on it. In 1967, when Hevron was liberated, the land was not given back to the rightful owners; instead, the Arabs were allowed to continue using it.

Today, only a very small percentage of the Jewish-owned land in Hevron has been resettled by Jews. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, protested this phenomenon saying, "They kill and then they inherit!" Many properties in Hevron are owned by Lubavitch, whose Rebbes had an affinity for this holy city.

In the past ten years, the army evacuated this Arab market for security reasons, but still did not grant permission for the rightful owners to reclaim their property. In 2001, Arab snipers murdered 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass in her carriage in the playground of Avraham Avinu. In response to that terrorist attack, the Jewish community in Hevron settled the area nearest the playground, which had been the marketplace. The legal owners, Kollelot HaSefaradim B'Eretz Yisrael, endorsed and encouraged this achievement.

Young Jewish families, with support from abroad, began to renovate the shabby, dilapidated storefronts of the market. With their own hands, they created lovely living quarters for themselves.

With the help of an enthusiastic Moshe Karadi, who tasted success in Gush Katif, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and company now want to oust these Jewish residents and reinstate the Arab murders and thieves onto Jewish-owned land. Will they also invite Yigal Amir to live in the home of Yitzchak Rabin?

The absurdity of the matter is that both the government and the courts recognize that the homes are on Jewish property. Furthermore, throughout Hevron you can see Arabs building grand structures, all without permits and without penalty from the government. Only Jews renovating the inside of existing structures on Jewish property are harassed and, at the same time, prevented from obtaining proper permits.

The reason Mitzpeh Shalhevet does not have proper permits is because of the ambiguous policies and state of affairs in Judea and Samaria, not for lack of trying on the part of the community.

According to MK Arieh Eldad, former Chief Medical Officer of the IDF and department head at Hadassah Hospital, "The issue in Hevron could be resolved through a legal compromise, but Olmert prefers to ignore this option... with the assumption that this will net him political gains."

The residents of Hevron are known to be uncompromising and strong. The entire Jewish world benefits because of it. Thanks to these committed Jews, who sacrifice personal safety and comforts while suffering continual misrepresentation in the media, Jews from around the world have access to Maaras HaMachpela.

The resting place of Yosef HaTzadik, Kever Yosef in Shechem, did not have a community near it and proved to be indefensible. This tragic loss reinforces the importance of keeping a Jewish presence in Hevron. Shechem and Hevron are two places mentioned in the Torah as having been purchased with silver as public real estate transactions, which have never been refuted.

Escalating the events that occurred recently in Hevron, hundreds of youth came to protest the unjust removal of young families from their homes. These youth were in Gush Katif and are still hurting from witnessing its destruction. The media took advantage of their passion and blew their actions out of proportion. Their actions were far more civilized than what transpires at the protests against the security wall, where live ammunition is not used against left-wing protesters and Arabs.

Although they seemed extreme at the time they were written, the words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe in 1968 are accurate in describing the essence of what is happening today. In a letter to General Ariel Sharon dated September 5, 1968, the Rebbe wrote regarding bitter clashes between those in charge and those planning to move to the newly liberated Hevron: "The conflict would be to the extent that the government would issue laws against those who would go to settle. This would reveal to the world that those who make the decisions are bent on making it difficult for the settlers, and even worse than 'difficult.' They would humiliate them and strengthen the morale of the enemies of Israel."

The Rebbe clearly puts the responsibility in the hands of the government officials, as indicated in a letter of December 12 of the same year to Rabbi Moshe Levinger: "It is not the non-Jews I fear... but rather the Jews... who are misled. It makes no difference if the delusion is unintentional or forced upon them, for this does not change the practical outcome."

That was 1968. With the help of G-d, the community in Hevron has held the perpetrators at bay for almost 40 years. With G-d's help, the community will hold strong this year also, and into the future; and gunslinger Moshe Karadi will become a faded memory, with no more impact on Hevron than Paladin, Pollyanna or Popeye.