History

Beit HaShalom - Success Story in Jewish Repatriation to Hebron

After multiple court cases, the building today is home to the thriving modern Jewish community.

5.10.18, 16:16
Beit HaShalom is a four-story residential complex in Hebron located near the entrance and bus route from Kiryat Arba on the way to the Tomb of Machpela. Part of the ground floor of the building is home to a modest recreational center for Israel Defense Force soldiers. The building went through a series of court cases before being declared legally purchased and highlighted the struggle Israeli residents have with building rights. 
 
In March of 2007, Israeli civilians first moved into the building after it was purchased from the previous owners. In December of 2008 they were forcibly evicted by the Israel Police after a petition against the eviction was rejected by the Supreme Court. The event was fiercely debated in the Knesset and led to protests in the capitol.
 
On September 13 , 2012, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that the house had been legally purchased and required the state to return the house to the residents within 30 days. The Defense Minister ordered the transfer of the house to the Jewish purchasers, but the District Court decided to delay the move until the decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal. On March 11, 2014 the Supreme Court rejected the appeal of the seller appeal and confirmed that the house had been legally purchased. In addition, the Court ordered the seller to pay 50,000 shekels in legal fees. In April 2014 Israeli civilians returned to their home after approval by the Minister of Defense.
 
Part of the reason the seller, Faez Rajabi, a resident of the Palestinian Authority  controlled part of Hebron may have appealed was the fear of repercussions from his fellow PA residents. In the case of Beit HaMachpela, another contested property in Israeli Hebron, the Palestinian Authority resident who arranged the sale of the property, Muhammad Abu Shahala, was arrested for the crime of selling land to Jews. 
 
He was sentenced to death and has been in prison ever since. The Jewish Community of Hebron sent a petition to the United Nations pleading for a stay of execution.
 
Beit HaShalom was purchased for over 1 million US dollars by Jewish-American businessman Morris Abraham and family members. One of the Abraham family spoke to Haaretz news in 2007 stating "my paternal great-grandfather lived in Hebron before the riots and the deportation of 1929. Part of my mother's family also lived there. They experienced the horrors of the massacre and knew many of the victims. My family survived, and were deported to Jerusalem," he said. The family member noted that his mother and father, both born in Syria, still visit Hebron regularly.
 
 
"We were presented with several options for buying houses in Hebron. We could have bought a house in Tel Rumeida, in the Avraham Avinu area. But eventually we opted for Beit Hashalom, because it's a bridge between Hebron and Kiryat Arba - which could have a dramatic and welcome effect."
 
The family member said that he and his father are "not particularly wealthy" and that they had to break into their savings to pay for the real estate. "We decided to invest in the future of the people of Israel, because that future is everyone's future: the future of my children and of everyone's children."
 
Part of the court case hinged on video evidence proving Beit HaShalom was legally purchased. Allegations of forged deeds and other excuses were eventually rejected by the same Supreme Court that ordered the eviction of the residents in 2008.
 
Another contested area is the old wholesalers market or triangle market, located near the historic Avraham Avinu synagogue. While courts proved the land was purchased by the Jewish community in 1807, the old empty structures were built by the Jordanians during the occupation of 1948 - 1967. Thus the Israeli civilians were evicted. All properties in question are located in the Israeli controlled H2 section of Hebron, comprising 20% of the city. 
 
Other Jewish owned property during back to the Old Yishuv period prior to the 1929 massacre are located in today's Casbah. This area is off limits to Israeli civilians except on pre-planned, chaperoned tours coordinated by the IDF and sanctioned by the PA. 
 
Any property such as the old Slabodka yeshiva, the Chabad synagogue, and the Eshel Avraham which are now located in the H1 section of Hebron are completely inaccessible. Since the division of the city in 1997, the PA has barred any Israelis from entering except for pre-planned coordinated tours to the Tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz and Elonei Mamre, meters away from the checkpoint.
 
The newly acquired Beit Rachel and Beit Leah are now occupied by residents, but this was accomplished after the vacating of Beit HaMachpela. Today, the Jewish community of Hebron hopes to overcome legal hurdles for the right to buy and rent property in the city of the Patriarchs. The recent ruling that the Jewish community will be independent from the PA Hebron municipality is a small step.
 
NOTES:
 
 
TO VISIT BEIT HASHALOM AND OTHER SITES IN HEBRON:
 
United States contact info:

http://www.hebronfund.org
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/hebronfund

Israeli contact info:
http://en.hebron.org.il/
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hebron.machpela
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/hebronvideo

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