Daily Israel Report

Gov’t ‘Rains Out’ Jews from Patriarchs’ Cave

Heavy rains forced Jews out of the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hevron on the Sabbath because of lack of government funds for maintenance.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 2/20/2012, 2:17 PM

Patriarchs' Cave day after flood
Patriarchs' Cave day after flood
Hevron Jewish community

Heavy rains forced Jews out of the Patriarchs’ Cave in Hevron on the Sabbath because of lack of government funds for maintenance, according to the Hevron Jewish community.

Israel was happy to receive the much needed rain and snow which helped replenish the Kinneret and underground water sources, but the flooding of the holy site in Hevron came days after the government refused to add the Patriarchs’ Cave to the list of places designated for special additional funding.

Two years, ago the government added the holy sites to Israel's list of "heritage sites."

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the time, “Rachel's Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the over 3,500-year old resting places of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish People - Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel - certainly deserve preservation and rehabilitation.”

However, no work has been carried out by authorities to prevent flooding that forced Jews out of the prayer this past Friday night the third time this month.

An electrical closet is located at the end of the flooded hall, endangering the entire structure as well as the people inside.

Hevron community spokesman Noam Arnon said that local leaders have unsuccessfully tried for several years to convince authorities to leakproof the makeshift flimsy roof, part of which previously has caved in.

In addition, Jewish worshippers suffer from the noise of the Muslim muezzin’s call for prayers in the building, which is used both by Jews and Muslims.

"The Patriarchs’ Cave is the second most important Jewish site, after the Temple Mount, where our forefathers and mothers are buried," Arnon reminded.

“If this is the way the government deals with a heritage site such as the cave, it is no wonder that the nations of the world treats us with disrespect,” he added.