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      Thousands Celebrated 'Heritage' Status at Patriarchs' Cave

      Knesset Members received certificates of gratitude for effort to include Cave of Patriarchs in list of national heritage sites.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 4/1/2010, 8:56 PM / Last Update: 4/1/2010, 9:58 PM

      Flash 90

      Thousands of people took part in a festive ceremony at the Cave of Patriarchs (Cave of Machpelah) in Hevron Thursday, to mark the inclusion of the cave in the government's list of national heritage sites. The Jewish community in the ancient city awarded certificates of gratitude to Knesset members who worked to include the ancient cave in the list, in spite of the political opposition to the move.

      MK Prof. Aryeh Eldad (National Union) said at the ceremony that “when the Cave of Machpelah was not added to the list of heritage sites, the pressure on Jerusalem formed.”

      "Five years ago, not many people understood that Gush Katif is the security belt of Ashkelon and Be'er Sheva,” he said, referring to the Expulsion from Gaza and the subsequent Arab rocket and mortar onslaught on southern Israel. “Hevron is the security belt of Jerusalem,” he added.

      “Jerusalem is not like Tel Aviv and Hevron is not like Tel Aviv,” MK Tzipi Hotovely (Likud) said. “Tel Aviv is 101 years old, Jerusalem is 3,000 years old and Hevron is 4,000 years old. We are tied through our souls to this place and no foreign leader will tell us what to do in places that belong to our forefathers. We will safeguard the Land of Israel and stand behind the Prime Minister so that he can stand firm in the face of pressures from world leaders.” 

      Additional speakers included MK Otniel Schneller (Kadima), Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel (Likud) and Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud), who said: “We are friends of America and walk hand in hand with America but nothing will move us from Hevron – not even Hussein Obama.”