As has been recently reported by the Israeli press, the Netanyahu administration, announced intentions to 'refurbish Israeli heritage sites.' As reported by Arutz 7-IsraelNationalNews, at the Hertzelia Conference a few weeks ago, the Prime Minister, referring to today's education, "bemoaned the surroundings of cultural shallowness, of diluted knowledge and spirituality," which he said "dilutes and weakens the national strength."
Am Yisrael's eternity is more important than lunch with George, Hillary, Joe or Barack,
The antidote, he said, is reminding students of their "Zionist heritage," encouraging them to find themselves in the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. His plan aims to allow them to do so by walking the length and breadth of Israel ."
Netanyahu seemed to be following in the footsteps of one of his predecessors in office, Ariel Sharon. Fifteen years ago, standing outside Ma'arat HaMachpela, the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron, Sharon declared, "What nation in the world has such a monument, where all the leaders of the people are buried, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Lea?! All foreign diplomats should be brought here, all visiting tourists should be brought here, all Israeli school children should be brought here! This is our roots!"
This being the case, it would be expected that such a significant program would include first-hand experiences at such sites as Ma'arat HaMachpela and Tel Hebron, today referred to as "Tel Rumeida." These sites express, as no words or expressions ever can, the quintessential heritage, not only of the Jewish people, but of all mankind.
However, it seems that present-day political considerations are more important than the age-old legacy of Am Yisrael. Today's media reports the bewildering fact that Netanyahu's list of sites to be included in the National Heritage project does not include Ma'arat HaMachpela or Tel Hebron.
Is this fact truly perplexing? Perhaps not. It should be recalled that in January, 1997 this same Binyamin Netanyahu literally chopped up Hebron into two unequal sections, abandoning over 80% of the city to Arafat and his terrorist cronies, leaving the Jews in something of an Israeli-imposed ghetto. The land transferred to Arafat included the hills surrounding the Jewish community; these hills, Abu-Sneneh and Harat-a-Shech, became the source of two and half years of shooting attacks, constant terror on the street, in cars and in people's homes, the results of which were lethal and catastrophic.
It would be expected that the new-old Prime Minister might wish to atone for his previous sins, and place Hebron, Ma'arat HaMachpela and Tel Hebron in the forefront of a national heritage program, thereby, if not compensating for his previous errors, at least indirectly declaring, in other words, "Hebron, from Now and Forever – Hevron, Meaz u'letamid."
But, it seems, Netanyahu has yet to internalize the mistakes of over a decade ago.
Yet, Hebron today has tremendous support, in Israel and internationally. Knesset members of all factions visit, tour and meet with Hebron leaders. Last year some half a million people visited the "Jewish side" of Ma'arat HaMachpela, people of all religions and nationalities. Today MKs from the Likud and Kadima will later visit, Hebron, showing their continued support for its Jewish community.
We hope that Netanyahu will, finally, realize that Am Yisrael's eternity is more important than lunch with George, Hillary, Joe or Barack, and publicly place Hebron, together with Jerusalem, at the peak of Israeli's heritage.
This morning four MKs visited Hebron: Shlomo Molla (Kadima), Zeev Elkin, Ofir Akonis, and Tzion Pinyan, all belonging to the Likud. MK Molla toured Hebron's sites with Noam Arnon and Orit Struck, and then joined the others for a visit to Ma'arat HaMachpela. All agreed that Ma'arat HaMachpela must be included in Prime Minister Netanyahu's program- The Heritage Trail:
"Hebron and especially Ma'arat HaMachpela must be part of the heritage of the Jewish nation, therefore this is not a question of politics it’s a question of our Jewish right, without hesitation or stutter. Even in a time of peace we must ensure our access to our holy sites.Putting together a list of national heritage sites without including Ma'arat HaMachpela is like dealing with trivia rather than with substance."
MKs Elkin, Akonis and Pinyan:
We are all united in our opinion that Ma'arat HaMachpela must be included in the list of national heritage sites. We are dealing with a Jewish site that has been a part of Jewish heritage for generations and centuries, during the most difficult times, held on to by the tips of our fingernails.
MK Akonis related that he spoke with the Prime Minister's office earlier in the day expressing consternation at the fact that the Ma'ara was not included in the new list of national heritage sites. He said that he hoped to receive an answer from them later in the afternoon
MK Elkin added:
This is not my first visit and G-d willing not my last. This is one of the cornerstones of our right to Eretz Yisrael. Unfortunately, everyone who visits here can see all the restrictions on the Jewish Community.