השיוב היהודי בחברון- הסיפור של בית הדסה
מצורפת תמונה היסטורית של גרשון אלינסון ובה רואים את הגברים מביאים ציוד ואוכל לנשים בתוך בית הדסה
נא לתת קרדיט לגרשון אלינסון
היישוב היהודי בחברון - כך הכל החל
הן התגנבו עם ילדיהן בחשכת ליל לבית הדסה הנטוש, וממאחז הנשים שכותר בידי הצבא החלה ההתיישבות בחברון. איך לא עשו מזה סרט...
Yesterday , the day after Jerusalem Day, we celebrated Hevron Day, the day that Hevron was liberated in 1967. As we know, the government at the time did not expect this victory and did not exactly know what to do with this gift of Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and the Golan Heights that G-d had all of a sudden returned to Jewish hands.
It was individuals who understood that they needed to stop their daily routine and act to renew Jewish settlement in Israel's G-d given Biblical Heartland. We must make sure the stories of that time are heard and written down in history.
As we wrote in a separate mail, Elyakim Haetzni will please G-d lecture this Friday at Oz veGaon about Rabbi Levinger zts"l.
In addition, here below is an Arutz 7 interview with Yehudit Katsover about life in Bet Hadassa- Yehudit was one of the 13 women who entered Bet Hadassa in Hevron in 1979, under the leadership of Rabbanit Miriam Levinger . These women and their children stayed for a full year in the Bet Hadassa building under very difficult conditions and ultimately succeeded in reopening Hevron to Jewish life. These unbelievable stories of dedication and love of the Land and the People of Israel must be spread far and wide.
Attached is a historical picture taken by Gershon Ellinson in which we see the men bringing parcles to the women who were inside Bet Hadassa
Please give credit to Gershon Ellinson if used
The renewed Jewish Community in Hebron: the story of Bet Hadassa
The women came in with their children in the dark of night into the abandoned building of Beit Hadassah, and it was from this women's outpost surrounded by the army, that the Hevron community was begun. Why was there no film made about this…
By Shimon Cohen
For the full recorded interview with Yehudit, in Hebrew , on the Arutz 7 Hebrew website please click on: http://www.inn.co.il/News/News.aspx/298685
Interviewer Shimon Cohen wrote a summary of the interview which was translated as a public service by Women in Green:
Monday, the 29th of Iyar, one day after Jerusalem Day, is Hevron Day
In honor of the event that was celebrated in the City of the Fathers and with the passing last Shabbat of the father of the renewed settlement in the city, Rabbi Moshe Levinger, we spoke in the Arutz 7 news show about the first days of the settlement in Hevron, the days when 13 women, under the leadership of Rabbanit Levinger, took up residence in Beit Hadassah without political or military permits, and it was in those very days that the wheels of the settlement enterprise began to turn.
To discuss those days and the personality of Rabbi Levinger as the one who led the drive for settlement, we invited to the Arutz 7 studio, Yehudit Katsover, one of the heads of Women in Green, who was among the group of women back then who came into Beit Hadassah in that nocturnal operation.
"This was an open miracle and the further away we go in time, the more clearly we see the miracle", Katsover begins, relating to the process of settlement that began with just a few people and today numbers hundreds of thousands of Israelis throughout the entire territory. "Then, we were not aware that it was a miracle. Today we know that it is a divine statement: I gave you the Land.
"Rabbi Levinger took the miracle by the horns together with Elyakim Haetzni, Hanan Porat and Rabbi Waldman", she says and relates that in Rabbi Levinger's funeral yesterday she told Rabbi Felix that the late rabbi could rest in peace and happiness because his life's work was tremendously successful. In response, Rabbi Felix reminded her that there is still much work to do…
Katsover agrees and comments that "if Obama still pushes for two states it is a sign that there is not yet a resolution and we must push for an unambiguous resolution which is the application of Israeli Sovereignty over Judea and Samaria".
And regarding those days, the days of the renewed Jewish settlement in Hevron, she said: "The subject of a building freeze is not new. Even in 1979 they did not allow the development of the town (Kiryat Arba) despite the fact that it had become full of residents and there were no more buildings. The government did not give its permission to build. So a meeting was held in Rav Levinger's house, and among the participants was the artist Baruch Nachshon, who said that if they do not give permission to build in the town, let's go back to the place where it is the most natural to be in, where the Jewish community was murdered, let's go back deep into the interior of Hevron".
Baruch Nachshon's initial statement turned into a practical idea as Rabbi Levinger enlisted women to settle in Beit Hadassah. "The idea was specifically for women to do it, because we knew that the prime minister, Menachem Begin, was a gentleman and they said that as a gentleman he would not do anything to the women, and this proved to be true". And the precise timing was also not chosen at random. "Particularly on Thursday, since we thought that if we stayed until Shabbat it would demonstrate a kind of ownership…", says Katsover.
The operation was undertaken on a Thursday night. A truck left from Kiryat Arba with 13 women and 45 children with Zambish and Dompa as operations officers. "We arrived in Old Hevron, behind Beit Hadassah and placed a ladder from the back of the truck to the fence of Beit Hadassah. We did not enter from the front since sometimes the IDF guarded the entrance after the previous attempt to enter Beit Hadassah".
Despite the fact that, as mentioned, there were many children among those who entered and climbed the ladder that was stood on the back of the truck, perfect silence was maintained and the soldiers did not awaken. Katsover herself cannot understand how such silence could have been maintained since there were children of ages ranging from 0 to 16, but this is exactly what happened. This is one of the miracles that is impossible to explain. Only in the morning did the soldiers discover us".
The women and children entered the abandoned and neglected building. "We felt our way in the darkness, raising more dust with every step. This building had been a hospital for years, afterwards a school, and after that it had been abandoned. Gradually, we began to orient ourselves in the building. In the morning the soldiers did not understand how we had managed to get in".
Immediately following the discovery of the new settlers, the regional commander, Fuad Ben-Eliezer was asked to come to the place, and "did not know what to do", says Katsover, and immediately adds: "He was totally okay. He understood that there was something problematic here. What do you do with women and children?".
And meanwhile, we got organized. We begin to clean. There are no bathrooms and there is no electricity. The decision the army took was to close the place. No one gets in and no one goes out. A list was prepared of the people who were inside and from then on, anyone who went out did not get back in and no one new joined the group. Nevertheless, says Katsover, despite the closure we were able to bring in another child who was very thin through the slits in the windows, and through the slits we got water and sandwiches".
The hours passed and Shabbat was approaching, and all of Kiryat Arba was involved in the mission of preparing for Shabbat. "The entire town of Kiryat Arba volunteers and sends food. The atmosphere was uplifting. We were without our husbands, but there was a feeling of a performing a historical deed, an act of "the sons will return to their borders" after the pogrom and the murder that had been carried out by the Arabs in 1929 upon us Jews here, the void was being filled".
Shabbat Eve arrived, and with it a scene that Katsover becomes emotional over even now, and apparently, not only she. "All of the residents of Kiryat Arba, all of the young men of the Nir Yeshiva and all of the worshipers from the Cave of the Patriarchs came to sing the songs of Kiddush outside the building. It was a touching scene with immense spiritual power. It was this way for every Shabbat in the coming months. We were inside and people came to sing near the windows".
And meanwhile, outside of Hevron, the political and hasbara pressure was continuing, led by Rabbi Levinger, who used his connections with members of Knesset from the National Religious Party and Likud, with Rabbi Drukman and other public figures, in order to prevent the place from being evacuated.
In the days afterwards, the place became a sort of tourist site. Visitors who came for Memorial Days and Israel Independence Day did not skip a visit at the windows of Beit Hadassah, and life at the place continues with considerable hardship. "We received water in jerrycans. Rabbanit Miriam Levinger is responsible and leads the contact with Rabbi Levinger. Whoever goes out does not return. Later, a small window opened. Every Shabbat, one man was permitted to enter to do Kiddush and share the Shabbat meal. Still later, Fuad allowed people to leave for matriculation tests".
"There was strong hasbara and political pressure. We made it clear that it could not be, that after the pogrom in Hevron, we would not return there. This is ethical and just and Begin wavered over this matter. Meanwhile, we formed a school for the children at the place", she says and when she is asked if none of the children wanted to leave the building and the yard for a while to go to someone on the outside, Katsover answers that the children were also filled with a sense of mission. "They all wanted to come. They did not want to leave. They all understood that there was a huge opportunity here to do something great in the history of the People of Israel".
"From the balcony we saw the news on television through the window of the Arab neighbors, who became less and less friendly. There were illnesses. Many women became jaundiced. There were rats bigger than cats…they slept on mattresses on the floor", Katsover continues.
"Later there was a seminal event. Shoshana Peretz, one of the residents, was in the ninth month of her pregnancy and she had to give birth. She was concerned that she would not be allowed to come back in if she left. We sent a note "send two childbirth ("leida") packages". The people on the outside did not understand the note and they sent us two packages of ice cream ("glida")…". Later, Peretz received permission to leave, give birth and return.
At a certain point we began to cook inside in order not to burden the people outside, so that they would not have to bring food again and again. There was good food and high spirits". But the idyll was interrupted about a year after entering the building with the murder of the six young men who came to the place to demonstrate support of the residents next to the building. Three of the young men were visitors and three were students of the Nir Yeshiva. Besides them, about ten additional young men were injured by terrorists from a nearby roof.
"The defense minister was Ezer Weizman. He came to the place. There was no choice, and then we received permission to stay. It was really "In your blood, live" (Ezekiel 16:6)… And since then the continuously developing Jewish community in Hevron has become an accomplished fact that becomes increasingly established and includes within it many families and many visitors from throughout the entire Land as well as from abroad.
[This is a short summary of the entire interview. For those who understand Hebrew we strongly suggest to listen to the entire interview detailing many more fascinating stories:
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