IDF Security for 50,000 Jews to Visit Hevron
The IDF has deployed throughout the holy city of Hevron to protect nearly 50,000 Jews expected to visit during Sukkot and to keep life routine for Arabs.
The Cave of the Patriarchs (Ma'arah HaMachpelah) is the main attraction for Jews wanting to pray at the site, the burial place of ancestors Avraham, Sarah, Yitzchak, Rivkah, Yaakov and Leah.
The Jewish worshipers also tour the Hevron area, including the Kasbah and the tomb of Otniel Ben Kenaz.
The number of Jews expected to visit during the seven-day Sukkot holiday and the concluding festival day of Shmini Atzeret-Simchat Torah is larger than in previous years.
Judea Brigade Operations Officer, Maj. Nir Yogev assured that "the everyday lives of the Palestinians in the area will not be affected by the large number or worshipers. This is a normal part of the status quo existing between the two religions in the area."
The Cave of Patriarchs is divided into two separate prayer sites – Jewish and Muslim. Each religion is granted ten days of exclusive worship at the Cave during which only Muslims or only Jews may come to worship.
"Our main goal is to prevent any conflict with the Palestinian population, especially taking into consideration the large numbers" said Maj. Yogev. He added, "No escalation has been reported recently."
Hundreds of IDF soldiers, medical personnel, military police, and Israel police will reinforce the roads with local checkpoints and additional roads to prevent rock, firebomb and shooting attacks.