In a letter to Mofaz this week, the residents write:

The ancient Chabad cemetery in Hevron is named after the Rabbanit Menucha Rachel Slonim, the daughter of the Middle Admor of Chabad. The Rabbanit was a leader of the Jewish community here for many years, and her grave is an important site for visitors even today.

In the Hevron Agreement [of early 1997], the cemetery remained within Israeli territory - Area H2. However, the plot adjacent to it, plot 37, was handed over to the Palestinian Authority, despite the fact that it is listed as a Jewish-owned plot.

Several years ago, following repeated incidents of Arab vandalism in the cemetery, including the repeated smashing of the gravestone at the Rabbanit's grave, the IDF placed a permanent guard post near the cemetery. The Defense Minister at the time, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, permitted the re-opening of a Kollel for Torah study there, which runs successfully even now.

However, of late, the Palestinian Authority has initiated actions with the goal of harming our security and the Jewish presence in the area of the cemetery:

1. In Plot 37, which is owned by Jews, the PA suddenly placed caravans.

2. In Plot 40, which is also adjacent to the cemetery, the PA has established a school - which, in accordance with Arab tradition in Judea and Samaria, will become a center for Arab attacks against Jews.

To our great astonishment, the IDF and the Civil Administration are doing nothing to stop this trend and prevent these activities. This, despite the fact that the Hevron Accords obligate the PA to "coordinate" activities of this nature with Israel. In the past, Israel used to take full advantage of this clause to totally stop construction that would endanger the Jewish residents.

This failure on the part of the IDF and the Civil Administration has been ongoing for more than a week, and as mentioned, does not correspond with previous behavior in similar cases.

We ask for your quick intervention against the threat on the Jewish presence in the area by stopping the theft of the lands and removing the caravans, and stopping the establishment of the school which will present a security risk to Jewish visitors at the cemetery.


The Jewish Community of Hevron