IDF and Border Police forces demolished a home deemed illegal near Kiryat Arba this week in the first such incident since Avigdor Lieberman was appointed defense minister last month.
Many activists and Kiryat Arba residents arrived at the nearby stronghold of Givat Gal at around midnight to try and prevent the demolition. Two local residents were arrested and several were injured in clashes with the security forces. Among the wounded was Kiryat Arba Regional Council Chairman Malachi Levinger.
Former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon had been fiercely criticized by right-wing activists in Judea and Samaria for demolishing structures built by Jews and regarded as illegal. Though it is not yet clear whether the order to demolish the home in Givat Gal came from Lieberman himself, local residents criticized the new minister in an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS).
“We expected the new defense minister to not be so quick to order the demolition of homes,” they told TPS, claiming that Givat Gal was built in accordance with blueprints of the area.
While Lieberman has not commented on the demolition, he had told the IDF General Staff when he was appointed defense minister that “the integrity and unity of the Israeli people is more important than that of the Land of Israel.”
Rabbi Uzi Sherbaf and his family had resided in the building before it was demolished. A nearby synagogue and memorial site for three fallen IDF soldiers was not harmed, but the residents expressed concern that it might soon be demolished as well.
By Michael Bachner/TPS – Tazpit News Agency / Photo: Hillel Maeir/TPS