Settling Hebron: The Rebbe and Rafi Eitan

This past shabbos, Rafi Eitan passed away at age 92. Rafi was a legendary Mossad Spy who led the capture of Adolf Eichmann, was advisor to Prime Minister Menachem Begin, and served as a member on the Israeli Knesset. He visited New York and had an audience with the Rebbe in 1977.

Rafi came to meet the Rebbe with an unusual request. At that time, Jews were settling in Hebron, and the Israelis discovered that the Rebbe possessed the deed to a certain house in Hebron, known as “Beis Schneersohn” (Schneersohn house). Rafi Eitan, representative of Prime Minister Begin. came to the Rebbe with the request that the Rebbe give them the deed and allow Jews to live in that house.

The house had originally belonged to Rebbetzin Menuchah Rochel Slonim, daughter of the second Lubavitcher Rebbe, who moved from Russia to Hebron in 1845. That house was passed through the family as an inheritance, until it came to the Rebbe’s hands.

Sure enough the Rebbe granted Rafi’s request, and shortly after, the house was redeemed and settled, expanding the Jewish presence in Hebron.

Rafi was interviewed in 2012 by Rabbi Zusha Wolf, My Encounter’s lead interviewer in Israel.

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