Twenty Jewish families claimed legal possession of two properties in the city of Chevron on Thursday.
Their entrance into Beit Rachel and Beit Leah, as the houses are called, touched off Arab rioting down the road near Maaras Hamachpelah. The IDF used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the rioters.
“We are meriting to redeem two additional buildings in Chevron, the city of the fathers, Beit Rachel and Beit Leah, and in doing so join a long line of redeemers of the land of Israel who paid in full buying houses and land, starting from our forefather Avraham,” the residents said in a statement.
The new occupants received official backing from Immigrant Absorption and Yerushalayim Affairs Minister Ze’ev Elkin (Likud): “I congratulate the Chevron residents for their firm actions for the expansion of the Jewish presence in the city of the fathers.”
“The homes the residents have entered were bought in full in accordance with the law. I call on the Defense Minister to help the residents as much as he can, and not to submit faced with the pressure of Palestinian rioters. The correct answer to murderous Palestinian terror throughout … history is an expansion of settlement,” according to Arutz Sheva.
IDF troops cordoned off access to the houses to prevent further violence.
Shlomo Levinger, a spokesman for the families, also stated that they have all the necessary permits to move in.
Kiryat Arba’s mayor submitted documents to military officials confirming the purchase, and the Civil Administration was reportedly working to verify the documents’ authenticity.
The politically charged nature of the event was reflected in the coverage by various news organizations. From right to left: Arutz Sheva described it as “taking residency,” The Jerusalem Post said they “moved into” the houses; and Ynet reported they “broke in.”
A video showed the Jewish group using crowbars to gain entrance to the buildings, which was used to support the terminology of break-in. However, security forces were plainly on the scene and did not attempt to hinder their entrance into the houses.