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Controversy Building over Jewish Hebron Suburb

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A controversy over who will control Kiryat Arba, a newly built Jewish suburb of the West Bank town of Hebron, will be brought before the government shortly, Interior Minister Joseph Burg told the Knesset Interior Committee yesterday. The local military government and the Housing Ministry presently have jurisdiction over the 250-house quarter which is inhabited mostly by Orthodox Jews. The latter are trying to gain municipal control for themselves in order to maintain the religious character of the quarter and to perpetuate religious control in the area.

The Housing Ministry prefers to appoint a non-political group of experts to administer the area until its political future is decided. Ac- cording to some reports, behind-the-scenes bargaining between the parties led to a compromise that calls for a municipal council to be appointed by the Ministry of Interior which is in the hands of the Orthodox National Religious Party. Dr. Burg told the Knesset committee that until a solution is found, Kiryat Arba should be run jointly by an inter-ministerial committee and representatives of the settlers.

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