MK Hotovely in Hevron
MK Hotovely in HevronIsrael news photo: David Wilder

Likud Cabinet ministers Tuesday demanded action and not words after Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu promised “we will find a solution” for the Ulpena neighborhood in Beit El and other Jewish communities threatened with expulsion by Defense Minister Ehud Barak. 

Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar said the Cabinet ministers also were not happy at the Prime Minister’s non-committal statement concerning the “Machpela House” in Hevron, where Barak expelled 15 families three weeks ago even though they provided proof the building had been purchased legally from an Arab.

Barak’s order came a day after Prime Minister Netanyahu had reached an understanding that no expulsion would take place until the purchase was further investigated to be legal. Barak took action on the grounds that the presence of Jews in the three-story building across from the Patriarchs’ Cave constituted a “provocation.”

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz flatly stated Tuesday that Barak’s decisions to expel residents from Hevron and from the Ulpena neighborhood are “driven by political considerations.”

After the expulsion from the Hevron building, Prime Minister Netanyahu promised that he would take action to legalize the communities of Rechelim and Bruchim, in Samaria, and Sansana, which straddles the temporary 1949 Armistice Lines north of Be’er Sheva.

In response to the Prime Minister’s statement that “we will find a solution” Saar warned that if he does not, the Knesset will take action and pass a law to legalize the communities.

Deputy Prime Minister Silvan Shalom said he sees no problem with passing such a law, which would overcome obstacles set by the High Court on the legality of the communities, but Minister Benny Begin objected.