While Defense Minister Ehud Barak has yet to respond to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's request to extend the deadline for the evacuation of the Machpelah house in Hebron, the settlers themselves said Monday night that they plan on holding the Passover Seder there.
Earlier, the Civil Administration ordered the settlers who moved into the Machpelah house in Hebron to leave the premises by 3 pm on Tuesday, but Netanyahu asked that they be given more time to prove they had purchased the house legally.
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"We are not making any preparations to evacuate and have no intention of leaving," said Shlomo Levinger, one of the leaders of the group of settlers occupying the Machpelah house. "We plan to hold the Passover Seder here."
The affair began last week after dozens of settlers moved into the house adjacent to the tomb of the Patriarchs which they claim to have purchased. The house has been declared a closed military zone.
Settlers preparing for a lengthy stay in the house
Forty-four years ago Shlomo's father, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, moved in to another house in the West Bank. "In my case, the apple did not fall far from the tree," Shlomo told Ynet. "I will continue to live here, just as my father did."
Settlers in Hebron house
The eviction order issued by the Civil Administration cites that the settlers' stay violates public order. The settlers denied the claim and said that the Civil Administration has not even examined the legality of the sale of the building.
Ynet has learned that the settlers are preparing for a lengthy stay in the house. Baby cribs and mattresses have been placed in the house, indicating that the settlers are expecting to remain in the house for a while. Torah books and children's toys have also been brought to the house.
Addressing the eviction order, Levinger said, "Last time, when we were evicted from the HaShalom house, it turned out that all our claims were justified, and I believe that in this case as well it will be proven that the documents we submitted will show that the house was purchased legally."
One of the female settlers said, "We are not even considering leaving the premises. It's inconceivable that a Jew cannot purchase a house in the Land of Israel, and it is even more baffling that the defense minister is acting contrary to the government's position. We'll probably be here long after he leaves his post."
Addressing the possibility of a forceful evacuation, the settler said "we are certain no one will come to evict us, but it's funny that the words violence or disturbance are even mentioned in our context, because since we arrived here it has been calm. We just want to settle here. Jews have the right to settle anywhere on the Land of Israel."
The settlers are pressuring the rightist parties to force Netanyahu to annul the planned evacuation.
Likud Minister Yisrael Katz, who visited the Machpelah house on Monday, said "every Jew has a right to settle anywhere in the Land of Israel – certainly in Hebron – particularly when he purchased his home legally."
Meanwhile, security forces razed a number of structures at the Ramat Migron outpost in the West Bank on Monday. Four settlers were arrested during clashes with police.
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