Jews are permitted to dwell in Hebron – at least for the time being – but only so long as they remain confined to the ghettos they have been assigned.
Hebron - burial place of Israel's patriarchs, David's seat of power for the first seven years of his reign, and Judaism's second holiest city – has exploded onto the world scene over the past few days because the Sharon-Olmert government has suddenly decided to forcibly uproot a very small handful of Jewish families who took up residence in an abandoned, Jewish-owned building more than four years ago.
The building in question was most recently a small Arab vegetable market, but it only became such after local “Palestinians” massacred the original Jewish owners in 1929 and occupied the premises.
But despite their legal right to the property, the Jews of Hebron did not move back into the building until after the Arab usurpers quit the site in search of a more profitable location for their businesses in 1995.
So if ownership of the property is not in dispute (and Israel's High Court has confirmed that it is indeed Jewish owned), and the Arab squatters had long ago decided they didn't want the place anyway, what is the big deal?
The current ruckus over whether or not the 1,000 largely-leaderless and frustrated Jewish youth trying to defend the place are going too far is really irrelevant. The real question is why was the eviction notice issued in the first place, provoking such a response from those fiercely devoted to God's commandments and promises regarding the land?
As this all unfolds, it is becoming increasingly clear that this whole drama is the result of Hebron's Jews daring to expand beyond the confines of the small ghetto-like neighborhoods their government and the international community have tolerated them in for the past 39 years.
Israel as a nation broke free of its “Auschwitz borders” in 1967, and the world has been trying to force the Jewish state back into its narrow ghetto-ish 1949 armistice boundaries ever since.
Hebron needs to serve as a rallying call now, or the international community may just be successful in that effort. If the Jewish people and their supporters allow the Hebron community to be sacrificed to the gods of international opinion and the demands of Israel’s Islamic foes, they will lose far more than what most now blow off as a small pocket of “radicals.”
As goes the battle for Hebron, so will go the battle for all Judea and Samaria, and that includes Jerusalem, the heart of the Jewish people. And if the battle for Judea and Samaria is lost, only God knows what it will take to bring Israel back from the brink of destruction this time.