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Wild West: West Bank versionEven veteran West Bank settlers have not seen incidents of this sort. Arson, violence and poison between settlements fighting over land. This is the story of the Ma’ale Rehavam outpost.
32 homes are scattered upon the hills and between them lie vehicles that will never leave the outpost. At first glance, it seems picturesque. However, upon taking a second look and listening, one suddenly understands that the place has been completely abandoned. Board Chairman Drori Bar Levav is the only person who remains there.
The Ma’ale Rehavam outpost is located on the desert edge southeast of Jerusalem and Bethlehem and was established by Bar Levav and a few religious and secular friends in 2001. It was illegally built, but the Israeli Housing Ministry and the Regional Council aided by transferring funds. The outpost is named after Minister Rehavam Ze’evi, who was murdered that year and was a supporter of settlement building.
“I’ve lived in the Territories for half a century,” stated Tcherny, who was brought in by the Gush Etzion Regional Council in order to try to bring a proper manager to the outpost. “I know this Wild West very well, but I’ve never seen anything like this. It came to violence – neighbors cut each other’s water lines just before Shabbat. I’m not even talking about building without permits.”
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The outpost was divided between two groups: One that was for regulation and Bar Levav’s group, who did not want to be taken advantage of. A 300,000 NIS debt was owed to Kfar Eldad, who provided the outpost with electricity and water, but Bar Levav claims that this was an accounting conspiracy by the regional council. In 2015, the outpost’s gas and water were cut off, which is when the outpost’s residents began leaving. The IDF even took out its soldiers from the area because of the conditions.
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