Netanyhau. Fell into line?
Photo: Avihu Shapira
MKs at Tel Hai on Sunday.
Photo: Avihu Shapira
The government's decision to include the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb within the list of national heritage sites has caused uproar in political circles.
Meretz Chairman Chaim Oron slammed the decision Sunday, saying "This is another attempt to blur the borders between the State of Israel and the occupied territories. All it needs is a bit of pressure from the right, and (Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu falls into line. This decision puts Netanyahu's Bar-Ilan declaration of two states for two peoples in an absurd light."
The right, of course, moved quickly to welcome the addition of new sites to the heritage site plan, though MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) criticized the government.
"It's a pity that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb need to lobby in order to get onto the list of heritage sites that require government support," he said. "Rachel's Tomb and the Cave of the Patriarchs form the base for all the other sites."
The government approved the plan to add to the list of heritage sites at a cost of NIS 400 million ($106 million). At the last minute, after pressure from various ministers, Netanyahu instructed that these two additional sites, both in the West Bank city of Hebron, be included as well. The plan was unanimously approved.
The Land of Israel lobby heard about the decision just as they were visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs.
"This is another sign of the intractable link between the Jewish people and this area," said MK Uri Yehuda Ariel (National Union). "A day will come when other areas, such as Sebastia and Kfar Etzion, which are the first Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, will also become national heritage sites."
Yesha Council Chairman Danny Dayan said, "A morning of struggle ended in success. This is a significant and historic achievement for the Jewish nation. I am filled with hope that the construction freeze, which prevents building from Afula to Arad, will soon come to an end."