By: Andrew Friedman
Border Police forces evicted 10 families and demolished their homes in the Mitzpe Avichai community in Kiryat Arba, just outside Hebron, on Tuesday. Residents reported that hundreds of soldiers deployed around Kiryat Arba to secure the demolitions.
The outpost, located on the outskirts of the town, is named for 17-year-old Avichai Levy, a resident of the nearby town of Bet Haggai who was murdered in a terror attack in 2005. The site has been demolished and rebuilt repeatedly. In June, the terrorist who murdered 13-year-old Hallel Ariel in her bed infiltrated the city via the neighborhood.
Right wing politicians, local authorities and neighborhood residents slammed the demolition, saying the move was a slap in the face to Ariel family and would “invite” the next murder of Kiryat Arba residents.
“Someone upstairs is apparently very confused,” said MK Bezalel Smotrich (Jewish Home). “The only answer to terror and murder is building and settlement. This is a mark of shame for a government that calls itself ‘nationalist’. I call on the defense minister to return a sense of balance to the Civil Administration. The absurd situation of demolitions from [former Defense Minister] Bugi [Yaalon]’s tenure cannot be allowed to continue.”
Kiryat Arba/Hebron Mayor Malachi Levinger added, “It is with great pain that we see our security forces removing these families from an area that belongs to Kiryat Arba/Hebron. We repeat our demand to build a new neighborhood here and I expect the defense minister to order a stop to the demolition and to approve construction here immediately.
“Kiryat Arba/Hebron, which has sustained heavy losses during the current wave of terror, stands strong. We demand that all ministers and Knesset members who promised the Ariel family during the seven-day mourning period that they would move to bring a new neighborhood here to fruition stand by their promises.”
Rina and Amichai Ariel, Hallel’s parents, said the demolition was an additional blow, just two months after their daughter was murdered in her sleep. The fact that the outpost was constructed on the spot where the terrorist infiltrated the community served to add insult to injury.
“It’s been two months since the murder. Hallel is gone. The community that stood on this terrible place – the place where the killer infiltrated – is gone.
“Our only purpose is to continue to build. To increase light in the world. Today, Hallel was murdered a second time. At the moment, darkness is covering everything. How much strength do we need to continue? How much faith do we need to deal with the darkness? How much patience?” said Rina Ariel.