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Husbands Join Wives in Hebron

The Israeli authorities appear to be relenting in the case of a group of women and children from the Orthodox township of Kiryat Arba who have been squatting for the past 65 days in the former Hadassah hospital building in the adjoining Arab town of Hebron. The Military Government permitted their husbands to spend the Sabbath with them for the first time yesterday. The families conducted religious services and celebrated the birth of a daughter to one of the women.

The women lay claim to the premises because they belonged to a Jewish institution 50 years ago. They consider themselves a vanguard of the Kiryat Arba settlers, mostly Gush Emunim members, who demand the right to live in Hebron and to repossess buildings said to have been owned by Jews who were killed or fled during the Arab uprising in 1929.

When they took over the deserted building more than two months ago, the squatters were kept in isolation. Premier Menachem Begin even went so far as to criticize the Gush for taking unauthorized action. But the Military Government supplied them with food, water and other necessities and Later allowed the women free movement to and from the building. The family reunion was the latest concession although journalists and other civilians are still banned from the building. Last week Begin offered to bring the womens’ demand up at a Cabinet meeting if they agreed to evacuate, but the Kiryat Arba residents association rejected the proposal. (By Gil Sedan)

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