In April 1968, Elyakim Haetzni and a hundred friends rented an Arab hotel in Hebron and held a Passover Seder. This was the first Seder in Hebron in 40 years. The 1929 massacre ended centuries of continuous Jewish settlement in the ancient city, but Hebron was now under Israeli control as a result of the Six Day War. The group stayed in Hebron after Passover, and eventually established a Jewish neighborhood, which they called Kiryat Arba. This was the early days of the Israeli settlement movement.
Now 91 years old, he sits down with The Jerusalem Report to share his observations of the period since then. “I think in a 50-year range,” he explains, noting that he has been living in Hebron for nearly that long. Having forged friendships and business contacts with the local Arab community, Haetzni has a unique perspective on developments in both Palestinian and Israeli societies.