Spanish FM Enrages Hevron Jews

Jewish officials said the visit was not coordinated with Israel's Foreign Ministry. Spain underwriting 'terror neighborhood.'

INN Staff, | updated: 13:04

Hevron: Cave of Patriarchs
Hevron: Cave of Patriarchs
Israel news photo: Flash 90

Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Trinidad Jiménez, visited Hevron Tuesday morning, in order to view a construction project in an Arab neighborhood that her country is partially underwriting. 

The area lies between Kiryat Arba and Ma'arat Ha'Machpela (the Tomb of the Patriarchs) and is to house the families of terrorists.
Jiménez did not coordinate her visit to the so-called “Eastern Casbah” neighborhood with Israeli officials, a detail that raised the ire of the Jewish community. Jewish officials said the visit was not coordinated with Israel's Foreign Ministry.
When Kiryat Arba - Hevron officials got wind of the impending visit, however, they promptly fired off a protest letter to Jiménez, in which they said the construction was neither "humanitarian nor cultural," but rather aimed at creating “a hostile demographic buffer, with a potential for terrorism, which could erupt at any moment, at the heart of the tiny Jewish area, near the holy site - the Tomb of the Patriarchs." 
Recalling Spain's expulsion of it's Jewish population 519 years ago, the letter chided Jiménez, saying “Spain is remembered in Jewish history as a country that brought about a great national disaster, betrayed its Jewish citizens and expelled them. A small number of those expelled reached Hevron, where they found refuge and built a Jewish community." 
“Does the government of Spain intend to bring about yet another expulsion of Hevron's Jews – the City of the Patriarchs of the Jewish People?” the letter read.
Hevron spokesman David Wilder told Israel National News that community leaders, including Noam Arnon, held a brief meeting  with Jiménez in Beit Hadassah. 
“She said she was familiar with Jewish history and said she was only visiting to try to help so all can live here peacefully,” Wilder said.
“We are, of course, upset that she met with us for five minutes, and didn't visit the museum," Wilder said, adding that the Jews of Hevron would “appreciate a public declaration of support for the Jewish community.” 
Wilder added, though, that “Jiménez did say specifically that the Spanish government does not support expelling Jews from their homes in Hevron.” Wilder added that “It's very unfortunate that Spain sees fit to participate in such activities and, and the same time – essentially, to ignore us.”