Daily Israel Report

Jewish-Arab Cooperation in Hevron Cleanup

In City of Patriarchs, descendants of Yitzhak (Isaac) and Ishmael help each other spruce up Biblical-era remains.
By Gil Ronen
First Publish: 4/11/2010, 9:48 PM / Last Update: 4/11/2010, 9:59 PM

A cleanup project in the City of Patriarchs has the descendants of Abraham's two sons, Yitzchak (Isaac) and Ishmael, i.e. Jews and Arabs, cooperating for a change.

The unlikely scene is unfolding at Tel Hevron, one of the most important Biblical archeological sites. Near the striking ancient olive trees which mark the spot, archeological excavations in the area revealed huge walls from the era of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs, some 4,000 years ago. Also discovered was a rare tablet from the Canaanite era, seals that bear the words "To the King of Hevron" in ancient Hebrew, and a house from the First Temple period.  King David's monarchy was based in Hevron for seven years until he was able to conquer Jerusalem from the Jebusites.

An IDF initiative
Despite its importance, the site has been neglected by the authorities and some of the archaeological excavations have been covered by refuse disposed of by Arabs who live nearby. Recently, local Jews and Arabs have begun cooperating in cleaning up the site, which they hope will become a major tourist attraction.

Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Jewish community in Hevron, told Arutz Sheva's Hebrew service that after the government declared the nearby Cave of Patriarchs a national heritage site, one of the IDF officers in Hevron began pushing the clean-up initiative.

"We accept every positive sign gladly and hope that the joint project will lead to cooperation in matters such as tourism and the economy, for everyone's benefit.”


Cleaning up for the tourists. photo: Hevron Jewish community.