Cave of Patriarchs
Cave of PatriarchsIsrael news photo: Flash 90

A group of Jews has moved into a house in Hevron near the Cave of the Machpela (Patriarchs), after buying it from an Arab owner.

The Jews quietly moved into the building, renamed “Machpela House” overnight, hoping to avoid a confrontation with local Arab neighbors.

The new residents insist they possess all the necessary legal documentation to prove their purchase of the building. “It's very exciting,” said Shlomo Levinger, one of the new owners. “It's taken us years to buy a house near the Cave of the Patriarchs. Police are not allowing anyone to enter until higher-ranking officers make a decision on the property,” he added. “We have been told that anyone can leave, but no one can enter. Naturally, we're not going anywhere.”

A large contingent of IDF troops arrived to maintain security at the scene and declared the area a “restricted military zone” soon after the new residents moved in.

"The issue now is whether Defense Minister Ehud Barak will allow them to stay," Hevron Jewish community spokesman David Wilder told Arutz Sheva Thursday morning.

An IDF spokesperson told Hebrew-language media the Jewish purchase and move was “irresponsible,” and a “dangerous provocation that could inflame passions, especially ahead of Land Day.”

MK Michael Ben-Air disagreed, referencing in his remarks the 1929 pogroms in which 67 long-time Jewish residents of Hevron were slaughtered by their Arab neighbors, and their homes stolen from them.

Ben-Ari told reporters in a statement, “It's time to reclaim all of the homes seized by the enemies in the City of the Fathers. The rule of law must allow for the most basic thing – to let the Jews return to the dozens of Hevron homes that belong to the Jewish community.”

The far-left Peace Now organization has worked tirelessly to pry Jewish families out of Hevron, one of the four holy cities of Judaism mentioned in the Bible.

Peace Now recently filed a petition with the Supreme Court asking the government to evict Jewish families from their apartments in Beit Ezra – a building that belongs to the Ezra family, the last to leave after the 1929 Hevron massacre.