Tensions high in Hebron; Settlers gird for battle
Tensions high ahead of evacuation of disputed Hebron home; settlers hold special meeting, rabbis call on participants to avert evacuation, urge IDF soldiers to refuse orders. Knesset Member Ariel: Jews will be defending their homes
Heading for a clash? Settlers are girding for battle over a disputed Hebron home slated to be evacuated in the next few hours in line with a High Court of Justice ruling. In a special meeting attended by about 1,000 people, Rabbi Dov Lior urged participants to avert the evacuation.
"This home, which was redeemed with blood, belongs to the people of Israel," Lior said. "This is the struggle of all Land of Israel loyalists. We did not rob it from anyone."
Rabbi Lior said he had no doubted that "our entire community will stand up, like a fortified wall, in order to prevent the destruction." The meeting was attended by residents and rabbis who arrived from all parts of Judea and Samaria.
Meanwhile, some rabbis urged IDF soldiers to refuse orders to evacuate the disputed home. Beit El's Rabbi Zalman Melamad addressed the court ruling, saying that "laws based on distortions are not considered laws."
"We are calling out to IDF soldiers, telling them that we very much love the IDF and wish to maintain its strength and unity," he said. "What will ensure this are as many soldiers as possible who will refrain from taking part in expelling Jews from their homes. Had soldiers refused orders in the Gush Katif expulsion, what happened to us in Lebanon would not have happened."
Rabbi Dov Wolpe also expressed his objection to the evacuation, offering financial incentives to those who refuse to participate in such operation.
"The State of Israel's greatest enemy is the Israeli government," he said. "Refusing orders is a must, and soldiers who sit in jail for insubordination will receive a financial reward."
The rabbi also brought dozens of helmets with him in order to hand them out to youths who resist the evacuation.
The Hebron Jewish community's spokesman, Noam Arnon, also slammed the planned evacuation.
"Had we not been dealing with Jews and a house in Hebron, this would not be happening," he said. "This struggle is for justice and for our basic rights. One does not remain silent in the face of such injustice. We shall defend against this injustice with our bodies."
Knesset Member Uri Ariel, who also attended the meeting, said "Jews will be defending their homes. There is no need to hit anyone, but if someone hits us, we shall defend ourselves." Meanwhile, former Knesset Member Ayoob Kara said Kadima Chairman Tzipi Livni was at fault for the ordeal, declaring that she is "good for Hamas."