Border Police guard new Jewish home in Hevron
Border Police guard new Jewish home in Hevron Reuters

The expulsion of Jewish families from the Machpelah House in Hevron on Wednesday afternoon caused outrage in the coalition as well as the opposition. MKs and ministers in coalition parties strongly criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak for giving his go-ahead to the eviction, and several called to restrict his powers.

Barak approved the violent expulsion despite a request from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to delay eviction until the legal facts could be determined.

Deputy Minister Leah Nass of Likud called Barak’s decision “an outrage” and accused the defense minister of “ignoring the buyers’ human rights.”

“Citizens in the state of Israel must not be treated this way,” Nass said.

Minister Limor Livnat of Likud accused Barak of overstepping his bounds. “We should all remember that this is a Likud government, not an ‘Independence government,’” she said.

Barak is disturbing the peace in Hevron, not preserving it, Minister of Diaspora Affairs Yuli-Yoel Edelstein (Yisrael Beiteinu) accused. “I call on the Prime Minister to take over authority over Judea and Samaria from Barak, in order to maintain the delicate balance of life there,” he said.

Minister of Science Daniel Hershkowitz, head of the Bayit Yehudi party, expressed displeasure as well. Barak is ignoring the will of the majority of Israelis, he said. “His authority in Judea and Samaria must be taken away,” Hershkowitz said.

“This isn’t a struggle between those who uphold the law and those who break it,” he added, “but between those who love Israeli settlement in Judea and Samaria and those who seek to destroy it.” The expulsion was carried out “for personal political reasons,” he accused.

Minister Michael Eitan criticized Barak’s critics. “It’s ridiculous that there are ministers in the government who bash Defense Minister Barak over something he did based on a recommendation from the Attorney General, with the full agreement of the Prime Minister.

“If these ministers have criticism, they should have the courage to direct it at the person in charge,” he stated.