Palestinians, Left-wing Groups Protest Israeli President Herzog’s Hanukkah Visit to Hebron
Palestinians and Israeli soldiers clashed in areas throughout Hebron and left-wing Israeli organizations protested at the entrance to the West Bank city as Israeli President Isaac Herzog visited the flashpoint Cave of the Patriarchs and lit Hanukkah candles there on Sunday night, the first night of the holiday. Hamas had called for Palestinian violence ahead of the visit to the site that is holy to both Jews and Muslims, and which is home to both a mosque and Jewish prayer areas. Herzog highlighted the Jewish connection to the site and the city. “The historic connection of Jews to Hebron, to the tomb of the patriarch, to the heritage of the patriarchs and matriarchs is unquestionable. Recognition of this connection must be beyond all controversy,” he said. “We must remember that we are not the only ones whose roots branch out from this tomb. Today, of all days; here, of all places, in this site sacred to all Children of Abraham—we must continue to dream about peace between all religions and faiths in his land, and to denounce all forms of hatred and violence,” he also said. Demonstrators were prohibited by Israeli troops from entering the city itself. Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh in an official statement accused Herzog of “an attempt to distort the truth about the Arab and Islamic city, to Judaize it and control it while subjecting its original inhabitants to racist rule.” The southern West Bank city of Hebron has a population of over 200,000 Palestinians, alongside which live some 1,000 Jewish settlers. The Cave of the Patriarchs is said to have been purchased by Abraham as a family burial plot.