Sunday, February 21, 2010

Patriarchs' Cave in heritage plan

21/02/2010 15:15

The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem will be included on the list of heritage sites marked for state renovation and preservation, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu declared at Sunday's cabinet meeting.The announcement came following pressure from Shas ministers as well as from Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau and right-wing groups.

Earlier on Sunday, the Knesset Lobby for Greater Israel planned to visit the cave to protest the site’s previous exclusion from the heritage plan, which marks 100 historic, religious and cultural sites for preservation and renovation.

The parliamentarians timed their visit to coincide with the weekly cabinet meeting, where Netanyahu unveiled the NIS 399 million plan, which also includes two hiking trails from the North to the South.

Settlers have protested his exclusion of many West Bank biblical sites, such as Rachel’s Tomb, Shiloh and Beit El, along with the Cave of the Patriarchs.

The West Bank sites of Herodion, Sussiya and Qumran are in the list. The Prime Minister’s Office has refused to comment on the details of the list, but said that it was not finalized and that additions could be made with the help of a special committee that would be created.

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