Machpelah House in Hevron
Machpelah House in Hevron Residents of the house

Israeli security forces on Sunday night blocked Jews from entering the "Machpelah House" and "Rachel and Leah House" in Hevron, both of which were bought by Jews several years ago.

The decision to move into the properties was made in response to UNESCO's decision that the Cave of the Patriarchs (Mearat Hamachpela) is an "endangered Palestinian site" and after the Military Appeals Committee decided to order the Registration Committee to renew the process, abandoned approximately 18 months ago, of registering the property under the name of its Jewish owners.

The Appeals Committee concluded that the Registration Committee ignored original or notarized documents sent to them. They also noted a list of mistakes made by the Registration Committee which led to the file being closed.

Appeals Committee member Professor Haim Zandberg and two other committee members wrote in a notice that the Registration Committee should reopen the file and re-examine the documents and whether the properties can be registered under the Jewish owners' names.

NPO "Harchivi Makom Ohalech," which works to redeem houses, said, "UNESCO's embarrassing decision must wake up everyone who holds our forefathers' city dear. These homes were bought a few years ago by Jewish buyers."

"The buyers paid the full price, just like Avraham, our forefather, did in his time.

"If the Israeli government is not willing to give Jewish buyers the rights to their properties in Hevron, why should any of the world's nations recognize the Cave of the Patriarchs - which was the first Jewish property to be bought here for the full price?

"We call on the Prime Minister: Allow the Jews to move into their homes, which were bought rightfully and for the full price.

"This is our response to UNESCO, to the world, and to the Jewish people of all generations."