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Repulse Efforts by Jews to Establish Presence in Hebron

The Israeli military government repulsed attempts yesterday and Sunday by Kiryat Arba residents to increase the Jewish presence in Hebron.

Kiryat Arba residents, who two weeks ago established an operational headquarters to implement their decision to force the renewal of the Jewish presence in the city of 38,350 Arabs, tried to force their way into the Cave of Machpela (the burial grounds of the patriarchs) Sunday during the hours in which only Moslems are allowed. The small group was evacuated by the local military government which also moved them out when the Jewish group tried to post guards at the entrances of the cave.

Yesterday, a group of about 30 Kiryat Arba militants tried to enter the empty building which served as the Hadassah clinic in Hebron until Jews fled the city in the Arab riots of 1929. However, the place was guarded by soldiers and the settlers left “in order to avoid clashes between Jews and Jews.”

VOWS EFFORTS WILL CONTINUE

Rabbi Moshe Levinger, who was the leader in establishing Kiryat Arba over government opposition, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that efforts to extend the Jewish presence in Hebron will continue. He charged that he has been unsuccessfully pressing the military government for years to extend the Jewish time for prayer in the Cave of Machpela beyond the present seven hour limit.

Rabbi Levinger said it was also time to rebuild the Jewish quarter in Hebron which was destroyed in 1929 and reconstruct such buildings as the synagogues of Tiferet Leyaacov and Avraham Avinu which are now in ruins. He said the Arabs had desecrated holy books and objects.

Asked whether the actions of the Kiryat Arba residents might unnecessarily destroy Arab-Jewish relations, Rabbi Levinger replied, “As long as there is Jewish presence in Judaea and Samaria (the West Bank), the Arabs will feel that we are to blame for anything that happens here.”

Rabbi Levinger said he met with Defense Minister Shimon Peres two weeks ago but received no substantial answer except a promise that Peres would visit the Jewish settlement. Asked whether he would halt the militant operations until Peres’ visit, Rabbi Levinger replied, “not necessarily.”

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