Moshe Levinger (Hebrew : משה לוינגר; 1935 – May 16, 2015) was an Israeli Religious Zionist activist and an Orthodox Rabbi who, since 1967, had been a leading figure in the movement to settle Jews in the territories occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War. He is especially known for leading Jewish settlement in Hebron in 1968, and for being one of the principals of the now defunct settler movement Gush Emunim, founded in 1974, among whose ranks he assumed legendary status. Levinger was reportedly involved in violent acts against Palestinians.
Hebrew is a Northwest Semitic language native to Israel; the modern version of which is spoken by over 9 million people worldwide. Historically, it is regarded as the language of the Israelites and their ancestors, although the language was not referred to by the name Hebrew in the Tanakh. The earliest examples of written Paleo-Hebrew date from the 10th century BCE. Hebrew belongs to the West Semitic branch of the Afroasiatic language family. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language left, and the only truly successful example of a revived dead language.
Religious Zionism is an ideology that combines Zionism and Orthodox Judaism.
Orthodox Judaism is a collective term for the traditionalist branches of contemporary Judaism. Theologically, it is chiefly defined by regarding the Torah, both Written and Oral, as literally revealed by God on Mount Sinai and faithfully transmitted ever since. Orthodox Judaism therefore advocates a strict observance of Jewish Law, or Halakha, which is to be interpreted and determined only according to traditional methods and in adherence to the continuum of received precedent through the ages. It regards the entire halakhic system as ultimately grounded in immutable revelation, essentially beyond external and historical influence. More than any theoretical issue, obeying the dietary, purity, ethical, and other laws of Halakha is the hallmark of Orthodoxy. Other key doctrines include belief in a future resurrection of the dead, divine reward and punishment for the righteous and the sinners, the Election of Israel, and an eventual restoration of the Temple in Jerusalem under the Messiah.
Levinger was born in Jerusalem in 1935, and studied at the Mercaz haRav yeshiva in Jerusalem under the guidance of Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook.In his own words, he learned "that the Land of Israel must be in the hands of the Jewish people - not just by having settlements, but that it's under Jewish sovereignty".
Jerusalem is a city in the Middle East, located on a plateau in the Judaean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea. It is one of the oldest cities in the world, and is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Both Israel and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.
Yeshiva is a Jewish educational institution that focuses on the study of traditional religious texts, primarily the Talmud and the Torah. The studying is usually done through daily shiurim as well as in study pairs called chavrutas. Chavrusa-style learning is one of the unique features of the yeshiva.
Zvi Yehuda Kook was an Orthodox rabbi, a prominent leader of Religious Zionism, and Rosh Yeshiva of the Mercaz HaRav yeshiva. He was the son of Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, the first Ashkenazi chief rabbi of British Mandatory Palestine.
At the time of the 1967 war, Levinger was the rabbi of the Nehalim religious moshav near Petah Tikva. Together with the Movement for Greater Israel, he organized the resettlement by Jews of the Etzion Bloc evacuated in 1948 following the Kfar Etzion massacre.There was disagreement on whether to wait for government approval, with Levinger taking the position that settlement should go ahead regardless. In the event, the government approved a Nahal military outpost at the site and kept secret that it was not military at all. Levinger himself was not one of the settlers.
Nehalim is a religious moshav in central Israel. Located south of Petah Tikva, it falls under the jurisdiction of Hevel Modi'in Regional Council. In 2017 it had a population of 1,615.
Moshav is a type of Israeli town or settlement, in particular a type of cooperative agricultural community of individual farms pioneered by the Labour Zionists during the second wave of aliyah. A resident or a member of a moshav can be called a "moshavnik".
Petah Tikva, also known as Em HaMoshavot, is a city in the Central District of Israel, 10.6 km (6.59 mi) east of Tel Aviv. It was founded in 1878, mainly by Orthodox Jews of the Old Yishuv, and became a permanent settlement in 1883 with the financial help of Baron Edmond de Rothschild.
Levinger first came to Hebron in 1968 after the West Bank was occupied by Israel in the Six-Day War. He rented rooms in Al-Naher Al-Khaled Hotel (which belonged to the family of former Mayor of Hebron, Fahed Al-Qwasmeh) at Ein-Sarah, on the main street of Hebron, in order to hold a Passover Seder, and then refused to leave. In a deal with the Israeli government, he moved with his family and followers to a former army base on a hill just northeast of Hebron, where, with the state's cooperation, they established the settlement of Kiryat Arba.
Hebron is a Palestinian city located in the southern West Bank, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judaean Mountains, it lies 930 meters (3,050 ft) above sea level. The largest city in the West Bank, and the second largest in the Palestinian territories after Gaza, it has a population of 215,452 Palestinians (2016), and between 500 and 850 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all venerate the city of Hebron for its association with Abraham – it includes the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs, within the Cave of the Patriarchs. Judaism ranks Hebron as the second-holiest city after Jerusalem, while some Muslims regard it as one of the four holy cities.
The West Bank is a landlocked territory near the Mediterranean coast of Western Asia, bordered by Jordan to the east and by the Green Line separating it and Israel on the south, west and north. The West Bank also contains a significant section of the western Dead Sea shore. The West Bank was the name given to the territory that was captured by Jordan in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, and subsequently annexed in 1950 until 1967 when it was occupied by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War.
The Six-Day War, also known as the June War, 1967 Arab–Israeli War, or Third Arab–Israeli War, was fought between 5 and 10 June 1967 by Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.
In April 1979, Levinger's wife, Miriam, and Sarah Nachshon led a march to the center of Al-Shuhada Street in Hebron, and occupied the Al-Dabboia building, which had been a police station used during the Ottoman era.
Al-Shuhada Street or Shuhada Street, also spelled a-Shuhada Street or ash-Shuhada Street, is a street in Hebron.
The Ottoman Empire, historically known in Western Europe as the Turkish Empire or simply Turkey, was a state that controlled much of Southeast Europe, Western Asia and North Africa between the 14th and early 20th centuries. It was founded at the end of the 13th century in northwestern Anatolia in the town of Söğüt by the Oghuz Turkish tribal leader Osman I. After 1354, the Ottomans crossed into Europe, and with the conquest of the Balkans, the Ottoman beylik was transformed into a transcontinental empire. The Ottomans ended the Byzantine Empire with the 1453 conquest of Constantinople by Mehmed the Conqueror.
In 1987, Hadashot asked a panel of twenty-two leading Israelis, from all parts of the political spectrum, to name the "person of the generation, the man or woman who has had the greatest effect on Israeli society in the last twenty years". First place in this poll was shared by Menachem Begin and Levinger..
Hadashot was a Hebrew-language daily newspaper published in Israel between 1984 and 1993.
Menachem Begin was an Israeli politician, founder of Likud and the sixth Prime Minister of Israel. Before the creation of the state of Israel, he was the leader of the Zionist militant group Irgun, the Revisionist breakaway from the larger Jewish paramilitary organization Haganah. He proclaimed a revolt, on 1 February 1944, against the British mandatory government, which was opposed by the Jewish Agency. As head of the Irgun, he targeted the British in Palestine. Later, the Irgun fought the Arabs during the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine.
In 1992, Levinger created a political party called "Torah VeEretz Yisrael" (Torah and Land of Israel) for the Knesset elections that year, but did not receive enough votes to pass the electoral threshold. Levinger has a wife, 11 children, and 50 grandchildren, most of whom live in the West Bank.[ citation needed ] His wife Miriam and several of his children are also known as activists.
Levinger has been arrested and charged at least 10 times, starting in 1975, in relation to incidents in Hebron or Kiryat Arba.
In 1984, Rabbi Levinger was arrested on suspicion of involvement with the Gush Emunim Underground.In July 1985, Levinger was fined approximately $15,000 and given a three-month suspended sentence for trespassing in the house of a Hebron woman and attacking her six-year-old son. Levinger told the Jerusalem Magistrate Court that the boy had thrown a stone at his son.
In 1988, Levinger was indicted on two separate criminal charges involving events in Hebron. On September 30, 1988, Levinger, who had been hit a week before by a rock, was attacked by stoners who smashed his windshield, injuring his son. He reached an Israeli checkpoint. Levinger pulled out his pistol, turned round, and went back down the streets shooting at shop windows, killing Palestinian store owner Hassan Abdul Azis Salah.A customer was also wounded. Levinger claimed he had been surrounded by Palestinians who threatened his life, and only to have shot into the air to defend himself against stone throwers. In a press conference following the shooting, Levinger said, "Regarding the actual deed, I will respond when the time comes. I have already said that as far as the substance of the case goes, the State Attorney's Office knows that I am innocent, and that I did not have the privilege of killing that Arab. Not that I may not have wanted to kill him or that he did not deserve to die, but I did not have the privilege of killing that Arab." He was charged with "manslaughter, causing bodily harm in aggravated circumstances, and intentionally damaging property". During one court appearance, Levinger approached the court waving his gun over his head and saying he had been "privileged" to have shot an Arab. After he was sentenced, he was carried off to jail on the shoulders of a cheering throng. His trial began in August 1989, despite protests by 13 right-wing Knesset members and hundreds of supporters. Levinger pleaded not guilty to the charges, but accepted a plea-bargain to the lesser charge of negligent homicide. He was sentenced to 5 months imprisonment and 7 months suspended, of which he served 92 days. During his imprisonment, he was given leave to attend a public event in Hebron. On his release in August 1990, he told Israel Radio, "If I'm in a situation of danger again, I'll again open fire. I hope that next time, I will be more careful, and I won't miss the target."
In another case, which related to an event five months before the first, he was alleged to have assaulted a Palestinian woman and her two children after other Arab children had "made fun of" his daughter. At his trial in May 1989, the magistrate dismissed the evidence of the Arab witnesses on the grounds that they were interested parties and wanted to see Levinger in prison for ideological reasons, and also dismissed the evidence of two IDF soldiers who testified to the assault.Six weeks after Levinger's release from prison on his separate negligent homicide conviction (see above), the Jerusalem District Court overturned his acquittal on the earlier assault charges. He was sentenced to 4 months imprisonment, plus an additional 10 days for an outburst in court. He served about two months. On his release in March 1991, he said "Over the years, I've carried out dozens of actions, and all of them were against the law. It was worthwhile to violate the law, as all these actions advanced the whole Land of Israel."
In July 1995, Levinger was sentenced to seven months imprisonment for a violent altercation in the Tomb of the Patriarchs in September 1991. The court found that Levinger had pulled down the partition separating Jewish and Muslim worshippers and assaulted an IDF officer.He served four months in prison in 1996.
In December 1995, Levinger was sentenced to six months in prison and six months suspended for an incident in June 1991. He was found guilty of rioting in the Hebron market, of overturning stalls, forcing other merchants to close their shops, and of firing his pistol. His defense was that he was attacked by Palestinians throwing rocks.
In December 1997, Levinger was sentenced to six months jail and fined $2,300 for disturbing Muslim prayers at Hebron's Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994, and of blocking an army commander from entering Kiryat Arba.
Since 2000, Levinger's health had been declining, and he was no longer a visible figure in the settlement movement. In 2007, Levinger fell victim to a major stroke as well as a broken hip. He died on 16 May 2015 at the Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem.Levinger was survived by his wife Miriam, 11 children, and numerous grandchildren. On Sunday, May 17, 2015, he was buried in the Ancient Cemetery in Hebron.
In a condolence letter sent to the family, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Rabbi Levinger as “an outstanding example of a generation that sought to realize the Zionist dream, in deed and in spirit, after the Six-Day War.”
Israeli settlements are civilian communities inhabited by Israeli citizens, almost exclusively of Jewish ethnicity, built predominantly on lands within the Palestinian territories, which Israel has militarily occupied since the 1967 Six-Day War, and partly on lands considered Syrian territory also militarily occupied by Israel since the 1967 war. Such settlements within Palestinian territories currently exist in Area C of the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and within Syrian territory in the Golan Heights.
Baruch Kopel Goldstein was an American-Israeli physician, religious extremist, and mass murderer who perpetrated the 1994 Cave of the Patriarchs massacre in Hebron, killing 29 Palestinian Muslim worshippers and wounding another 125. He was beaten to death by survivors of the massacre.
Gush Emunim was an Israeli Orthodox Jewish right-wing activist movement committed to establishing Jewish settlements in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, and the Golan Heights. While not formally established as an organization until 1974 in the wake of the Yom Kippur War, Gush Emunim sprang out of the conquests of the Six-Day War in 1967, encouraging Jewish settlement of the land based on the belief that, according to the Torah, God gave it to the Jewish people. While Gush Emunim no longer exists officially, vestiges of its influence remain in Israeli society.
Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba, lit. "Town of the Four," is an urban Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank. Founded in 1968, in 2017 it had a population of 7,339.
Gush Etzion is a cluster of Jewish settlements located in the Judaean Mountains, directly south of Jerusalem and Bethlehem in the West Bank. The core group includes four Jewish agricultural villages that were founded in 1940–1947 on property purchased in the 1920s and 1930s, and destroyed by the Arab Legion before the outbreak of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, in the Kfar Etzion massacre. The area was left outside of Israel with the 1949 armistice lines. These settlements were rebuilt after the 1967 Six-Day War, along with new communities that have expanded the area of the Etzion Bloc. As of 2011, Gush Etzion consisted of 22 settlements with a population of 70,000.
The Cave of the Patriarchs massacre, also known as the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre or Hebron massacre, was a shooting massacre carried out by American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein. Goldstein was a member of the far-right Israeli Kach movement. On February 25, 1994, during the overlapping religious holidays of both Jewish Purim and Muslim Ramadan, Goldstein opened fire on a large number of Palestinian Muslims who had gathered to pray inside the Ibrahimi Mosque at the Cave of the Patriarchs compound in Hebron, West Bank. The attack left 29 people dead, several as young as twelve, and 125 wounded. Goldstein was overpowered, disarmed and then beaten to death by survivors.
The Allon Plan was a plan to partition the West Bank between Israel and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, create a Druze state in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, and return most of the Sinai Peninsula to Arab control. The plan was drafted by Israeli Minister Yigal Allon shortly after the Six-Day War in June 1967.
The Jewish Underground, or in abbreviated form, simply makhteret, was a radical right-wing organization considered terrorist by Israel, formed by prominent members of the Israeli political movement Gush Emunim that existed from 1979 to 1984. Two issues catalyzed the establishment of the underground: One was the signing of the Camp David Accords, which led to the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979, and which the movement, opposed to the peace process, wished to block, viewing it as the first step in the establishment of a Palestinian state in what Jewish settlers call "Judea and Samaria". A second element was the settlement project, which, in bringing two distinct ethnic communities into closer proximity, led to an uptick in hostilities that brought about a growing emphasis on the existential threat in both communities. The Jewish underground developed two operational objectives: One consisted of a plot to blow up the Dome of the Rock, while the other branch concentrated on both avenging acts of Palestinian violence against settlers and of establishing a punitive deterrence. Some understood the terrorist acts as a means of inducing Palestinians to flee their homeland, and parallels are made with it to the Terror Against Terror movement, which had a similar aim. Robert Friedman stated that the Makhteret was "the most violent anti-Arab terrorist organization since the birth of Israel".
Rabbi Dov Lior is an Israeli Orthodox rabbi, who served as the Chief Rabbi of Hebron and Kiryat Arba in the southern West Bank until late 2014. He is also the rosh yeshiva of the Kiryat Arba Hesder Yeshiva, and also heads the "Council of Rabbis of Judea and Samaria".
Beit HaShalom, or the Rajabi House, also known as Beit HaMeriva, is a four-story apartment building located in the H-2 Area of Hebron.
Beit Hagai, also Hagai, is an Israeli settlement organized as a community settlement located in the southern Hebron hills in the West Bank. The settlement population was 460 in 2004, according to a classified government document published by the Haaretz newspaper, and lies within the municipal jurisdiction of the Har Hebron Regional Council. The religious Jewish community's name, Haggai, is an acronym of the given names Hanan Krauthammer, Gershon Klein, and Yaakov Zimmerman, three Nir Yeshiva students murdered in the 1980 Hebron terrorist attack. The community rabbi for Beit Hagai is Rabbi Moshe Eliezer Rabinovich (HaLevy). In 2017 it had a population of 596. The international community considers Israeli settlements in the West Bank illegal under international law, but the Israeli government disputes this.
The Israeli–Palestinian conflict in Hebron refers to an ongoing conflict between Palestinians and Jewish settlers in the West Bank city of Hebron in the context of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. Hebron has a Palestinian majority, consisting of an estimated 208,750 citizens (2015) and a small Jewish minority, variously numbered between 500 and 800. The H1 sector of Hebron, home to around 170,000 Palestinians, is governed by the Palestinian Authority. H2, which was inhabited by around 30,000 Palestinians is under Israeli military control with an entire brigade in place to protect some 800 Jewish residents living in the old Jewish quarter. As of 2015, Israel has declared that special areas of Hebron's old Quarter constitute a closed military zone. Palestinians shops have been forced to close; despite protests Palestinian women are reportedly frisked by men, and residents, who are subjected every day to repeated body searches, must register to obtain special permits to navigate through the 18 military checkpoints Israel has set up in the city center.
Hanan Porat born 12 December 1943 - 4 October 2011) was an Israeli Orthodox rabbi, educator, and politician who served as a member of the Knesset for Tehiya, the National Religious Party, Tkuma, and the National Union between 1981 and 1984, and between 1988 and 1999.
Eliezer Waldman is an Israeli Orthodox rabbi and former politician, who served as a member of the Knesset for Tehiya between 1984 and 1990. Rabbi Waldman is the co-founder and President of Yeshivat Nir Kiryat Arba.
The August 2010 West Bank shooting attack was an attack near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the occupied West bank, carried out by Hamas militants. Four Israeli settlers were killed after gunmen attacked their vehicle. The four victims, including a pregnant woman, were civilians from the West Bank settlements of Beit Hagai and Efrat. It was the deadliest Palestinian attack on Israelis in over two years.
The 2002 Hebron ambush took place in the Wadi an-Nasara neighborhood in Hebron in the West Bank on 15 November 2002. Israeli forces were subjected to a double attack by militants from the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. The battle was referred to in Israel as "The attack in the worshipers route",Hebrew: הפיגוע בציר המתפללים. The place where the attack took place became known as the "Alley of Death" both in Hebrew and Arabic. The ambush was initially dubbed as the "Sabbath massacre" by official Israeli spokespersons.
The deaths of Asher and Yonatan Palmer occurred on 23 September 2011, when a Palestinian stone throwing attack caused Asher, aged 24, to lose control of a vehicle he was driving near the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba in the West Bank, killing him and his infant son. Initially thought to be an accident, it was later deemed a terrorist attack by the Israel Police.
Kahanism is an extremist Jewish ideology based on the views of Rabbi Meir Kahane, founder of the Jewish Defense League and the Kach party in Israel. Kahane maintained the view that the majority of Arabs living in Israel are enemies of Jews and Israel itself, and believed that a Jewish theocratic state, where non-Jews have no voting rights, should be created. The Kach party has been banned by the Israeli government and the U.S. State Department has labeled it a Foreign Terrorist Organization.
Worshippers Way or Prayers Road in Hebron, West Bank is a road linking the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba with the Cave of the Patriarchs and with the Jewish settlements in Hebron. The road is used by Israelis and tourists who visit the Cave and the Old City of Hebron. Palestinians are denied vehicular use of the road. The road was expanded after an ambush near Kiryat Arba that took place in November 2002. The expansion required that adjacent Palestinian land be expropriated, which resulted in a legal battle. A number of buildings of architectural and historical value, dating back to the Mamluk-Ottoman period, were also expropriated and destroyed.
On 30 June 2016, a 17-year-old Palestinian male broke into a home in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba and stabbed to death Hallel Yaffa Ariel, a thirteen year old dual Israeli and American citizen, in her bedroom. The assailant was then fatally shot by security guards. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blamed "incitement-driven terrorists" while the U.S. State Department condemned the "outrageous terrorist attack".