Hebron 1967-1982*

  • 1922 – After the passing of the Rebbe Rashab in 1920, his son the Rebbe Rayatz put much effort into transferring the properties in Hebron into his own name.  His son in law, the Rebbe (R’ Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the Lubavitcher Rebbe), helped in this matter, but only after several payments over the course of several years did the actual transfer succeed.  Even then, the rebbeim had much difficulty obtaining the actual contract in the name of the Rabbe Rayatz.
  • 1968 – The Rebbe was requested by an important Israeli rabbi to renew the Chabad presence in Hebron.  The Rebbe replied that as far as he heard, the government planned on “returning Hebron.”  On another occasion on a Simchat Torah one of the years after the Six day war, an Israeli member of Knesset approached the Rebbe and requested him to send 300 families to live in Hebron.  The Rebbe asked him if the government is prepared to placed written guarantees in his hands that they will not give Hebron to the Arabs, and the Knesset member replied in the negative.  The Rebbe answered that he cannot uproot people from their homes in order to settle them in a place that will be transferred to the auspices of the Arabs.
  • 1968 – After the Six day war in 1967, in which Israel re-conquered Hebron and the old city of Jersualem, the Rebbe sought to re-establish the yeshiva, Torat Emet, in Hebron.  About these efforts, he wrote to Ariel Sharon, “…there were investigations and examinations regarding the possibility of establishing a yeshiva, etc…I received a clear answer that, ‘It would be better to investigate establishing the yeshiva in Jerusalem rather than Hebron.”
  • 1979 – The Rebbe was asked by R’ Baruch Nachshon, noted artist and resident of Kiryat Arbah regarding the establishment of a Chabad yeshiva in Hebron.  The Rebbe replied, “The government is currently weak and its decisions are unclear (and Begin was soon to arrive in NY).  And recently, they chased away the Jews who sought to fix the Avraham Avinu synagogue, and if so this was not the auspicious time for this.”
  • 1980 – Rav Levinger, “father” of the present-day Jewish settlement in Hebron, turned to the administration of Kolel Chabad, in whose name the builiding Beit Schneerson in Hebron was listed.  Beit Schneerson was built in the time of chasidim of the Mitteler Rebbe and in it had lived his daughter, the Rabanit Menucha Rachel.  It had also served as a synagogue and study hall.  The administration of Kolel Chabad told R’ Levinger that he would need permission from the Rebbe to use the building. Eventually, the Rebbe told him that he should act in accordance with the instructions of a “Rav.”  R’ Levinger immediately traveled to R’ Yakov Landau, the Rav of Bnei Brak who gave the necessary approval.  After persuading a local Arab to move elsewhere, R’ Levinger established a school for young Jewish children there.
  • 1981 – Rav Levinger approached the Rebbe in a private audience, showing him the documents that established the ownership of the Rebbe Rayatz of the building Beit Romano, that had previously housed yeshivat Torat Emet.  The Rebbe encouraged R’ Levinger to utilize the building for his own uses, saying, “Take our house [Beit Romano], just as you took Beit Hadassa and the Avraham Avinu synagogue – this is important!”  The Rebbe requested R’ Levinger to keep their discussion confidential.
  • 1981 – Rav Levinger returned to Israel and reported his discussion with the Rebbe to the prime minister at the time, Mr. Menachem Begin as well as to Ariel Sharon, minister of settlements.  Both men were happy with the plan to present the buildings to R’ Levinger. But at the time, there was an Arab school housed in Beit Romano.  The Land administration paid $130,000 for the establishment of a new Arab school and Beit Romano was re-occupied by R’ Levinger and his associates.

* From the book Torat Emet, Ch. 5

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