In a U-turn, the JNF approved a deposit of 108,000 shekels (around $34,000) to Israeli courts in order to ensure a settler who is facing eviction remains a tenant in a house in Hebron.
The JNF originally refused to make the transfer, meaning that the settler foundation that runs the building had to transfer 80,000 shekels of the total sum to the court. But the JNF held a further vote, which overruled the previous decision, after right-wing members of the JNF requested legal opinion on the original vote to ensure its validity.
The vote actually ended in a draw, but one of the votes was declared invalid. As a result, the JNF will transfer the first payment of 36,000 shekels this month, and will pay the rest of the future fees.
A Palestinian family, the Bakris, have been waging a high-profile effort over many years to evict the Jewish residents of the building in question. In 2019, an Israeli court ruled that the settlers were there illegally and ordered them evicted from the building in Hebron’s Tel Rumeidah neighborhood.
Shortly after that, a Jewish resident of an apartment in the building sought an order suspending the eviction on the grounds that a JNF subsidiary, Himanuta, had purchased the apartment. Himanuta claimed that it had purchased the apartment from a legal representative of the Bakri family, but a report prepared by a lawyer, Dina Yahav, and commissioned by JNF raised a number of questions regarding the validity of the purchase.
In July of this year, the court ruled that the tenant, Asher Horowitz, should not be evicted from the building as long as Himanuta’s claims regarding the purchase of the apartment were being clarified. But it conditioned suspending the eviction on a deposit with the court of 180,000 shekels, representing the value of occupancy of the premises for the five years that it was expected that it would take to clarify the matter.