Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Back to Opinion

A Hebron Land Grab, Just in Time for Passover

Getty Images

For the settlement movement, there is poignancy in the fact that the Hebron Jewish community has branched out into a previously Palestinian neighborhood just before Passover. It was Passover 1968 when settlers first got their foothold in Hebron, after renting out a hotel and refusing to leave.

For critics of the settlement movement, the echo of 1968 is also relevant. When the Israeli government decided yesterday that settlers could move into a building surrounded by Palestinians, it was a reminder of just how much Hebron settlers have increased their holdings over the years.

In ’68 they left the hotel in exchange for the promise of a settlement next to Hebron. Today, they have this adjacent settlement as well as four (or, as of yesterday, five) enclaves in Hebron itself.

Settlers have done their utmost to present the wrangling over the building they are currently moving into as a legal issue, not a political one. They managed to prove the previously disputed Jewish ownership of the four-story building now being populated. Therefore, they argued, they should have the right to live there.

But that isn’t the way that settlement works in the West Bank. The right to settle in the West Bank, even if land or property is owned, is still down to the Israeli government. In other words, even if Israelis have indisputable title deeds to a building, the government still has the absolute right to prevent the owners from entering.

When the government told settlers in Hebron that they can expand, it wasn’t simply applying the law, but rather making a contentious political decision. It is a decision that will impact the day-to-day lives of many Palestinians, who will be subject to extra security measures due to the arrival of Israelis in a new neighborhood. And it will also impact the lives of many Israelis.

Currently, some 650 Israelis serving in the army and border police are tasked with protecting the Hebron Jewish community, which consists of less than 100 families. The number of Israelis who will spend long days and nights engaged in this thankless task will rise significantly as a result of this latest government decision.



Thanks for reading this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war and rising antisemitism.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Support our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.