For the first time in many years, Jews were able to enter Hebron's Old City without a personal security escort. Palestinian movement in the area was also not limited, prompting local merchants to keep their stores open and welcome Jewish shoppers.
Imprompt soccer game (Photo: Yair Altman)
The highlight of the day occurred when Jewish youngsters touring the city spontaneously joined Palestinian youths playing soccer in the area. Dozens of teenagers, both Jewish and Arab, gathered at the site to cheer on the players, as smiling police officers and IDF soldiers watched on.
As noted, Israeli forces did not escort the visiting Jews personally, instead deploying on roofs and patrolling the area.
"Before peace broke out, we had a completely normal Jewish-Palestinian fabric of life here," said Noam Arnon, spokesman of Hebron's Jewish community. "This precisely is our intention, to regain normalization. There is no reason why Jews cannot conduct themselves normally vis-à-vis their Palestinian neighbors, as was the case for many years."
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