(JNS.org) Rabbi Moshe Levinger, considered the “father” of the Jewish settlement movement in Judea and Samaria and frequently called “the sheriff of Hebron,” died at 80 on Saturday at Shaare Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, where he was hospitalized for the past few months.
Levinger was one of the founders of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip, as it was known prior to Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza.
“His leaving on the eve of Jerusalem Day and Hebron Day symbolizes his spirit and the great love he had for the entire Land of Israel,” said Malachi Levinger, the rabbi’s son, Israel Hayom reported.
Levinger was born in Jerusalem in 1935. In 1968, seeking to revive the historic Jewish presence in Hebron, he led a group of Jews that included Hanan Porat and Eliyakim Ha’atzani to the city on Passover eve and held a seder in the Park Hotel. That Hebron seder became a symbol of the settlement movement when the group announced it was staying in the city.
“Rabbi Levinger’s name will be forever linked with the movement for renewed Jewish settlement in Hebron and other areas of the country where our patriarchs walked thousands of years ago. He was an outstanding example of a generation that sought to realize the Zionist dream, in deed and in spirit, after the Six-Day War,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrote in a condolence letter to Levinger’s family.