Gov’t Approves Legalization of Chavat Gilad

YERUSHALAYIM -
Havat Gilad, Chavat Gilad
A general view of Chavat Gilad, in the Shomron. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

Weeks after the murder of Rabbi Raziel Shevach, Hy”d, the government on Sunday approved legalizing Chavat Gilad, the unauthorized outpost where Rabbi Shevach lived. The approval Sunday was just the first step in what could be a long process of approval by committees and courts, which, if successfully negotiated, would see the community hooked up to water and electricity, and receiving official standing as a town in Israel.

Chavat Gilad was established in 2000, in memory of – and named for – Gilad Zar, Hy”d, the son of Moshe Zar, one of the Shomron’s first Jewish residents after the 1967 Six Day War. The outpost was set up where Gilad Zar was murdered by an Arab terrorist. Unlike other outposts, the land on which Chavat Gilad is located is not in dispute – it belongs to Moshe Zar, who purchased it from its previous Arab owners – but it has not been authorized by the government. As a result, the Civil Administration occasionally demolishes buildings on the site, which are promptly rebuilt by residents and activists.

Since there are no legal issues outstanding to prevent legalization of the site other than a government decision, it is expected that final approval for the community’s legalization will be relatively smooth. Various planning committees would have to retroactively approve plans for construction, borders, and other matters to authorize the buildings that are there now, and issue new building permits for further construction.

Commenting on the approval, Education Minister Naftali Bennett said that “the legalization and construction of Chavat Gilad is the painful price the Palestinians must pay for allowing one of theirs to murder us, and will prevent the next murder of an Israeli.”

Rabbi Shevach, Hy”d, was killed by a military-grade machine gun, valued on the open market at some NIS 50,000 – evidence that the terror gang that killed him on January 9th was well-funded and probably consisting of professional shooters. Shell jackets from the shooting were found strewn on Road 60 in the area of the murder, indicating that sharpshooters who were well-practiced were behind the shooting, according to Channel One. About a week later, Israeli security officials raided buildings in Jenin where they believed the murderer of Rabbi Shevach was holed up. However, the army later revised its estimate, and said that the main suspect, Ahmed Jarar, was still at large.