Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon permitted the enlargement of Gush Etzion in Judea by an increase of 40 dunam to the land belonging to the regional council. The land that is being added was purchased by American millionaire Irwin Moskowitz and his wife, and is referred to as “Beit Bracha."
“Beit Bracha” consists of eight buildings that are strategically located on Highway 60, which is the main thoroughfare that connects Gush Etzion to Hevron.
The location was previously called Bayit-Al-Barka and the current structures on the site were built in the 1940s. They served as a hospital for people who suffered from tuberculosis, and as a way station for pilgrims who came to visit the area, until the Presbyterian Church suffered a financial crisis and was forced to sell the location.
Moskowitz, a well known philanthropist from Florida, had established a security force already a year ago to protect and renovate the site that he owned.
Ya’alon’s permit allows the building to be included under the auspices of the Etzion council and also will allow for the buildings to be inhabited immediately. Since the buildings previously existed, there is no need for a building permit.
Davidi Perl, the head of the Gush Etzion council, posted a scriptural response to the permit on Facebook: “Blessed is the One who establishes the widow’s border.”
The IDF wing for the Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) also issued a statement which said: “The addition of Bayit-Al-Barka to the auspices of the regional council of Gush Etzion was evaluated according to the existing criteria which had been established by the relevant professional parties. It was ratified by the Executive branch of government and was finalized in accordance with their directive.”