IDF: Go and have fun, we're protecting you

Tens of thousands flood Hevron over the Chol Hamoed holiday under the watchful IDF soldiers.

Tzvi Lev ,

IDF soldiers in Hevron
IDF soldiers in Hevron
IDF Spokespersons Unit

More than 30,000 people have arrived in the Jewish community of Hevron over the past three days, taking advantage of the expanded access granted to Jews at the Cave of the Patriarchs. In order to celebrate the Sukkot holiday, the Cave of the Patriarchs was opened up to Jews only and Israelis were allowed to visit the normally off-limits Tomb of the Biblical figure Yitzchak (Isaac).

1,500 people also visited the grave of Othniel Ben Kenaz in Hevron's Arab neighborhood. Othniel Ben Kenaz was the first of the Biblical Judges who took command of the Jewish people after the death of Yehoshua Bin Nun (Joshua).

The tomb is located in the PA-controlled section of Hevron (which encompasses the vast majority of the holy city), and thus is rarely accessible to Jews - despite being located just a few hundred meters west of the Jewish community.

The Carmel Pool in the village of Khirbet al-Carmel was also opened for several hours for the arrival of Jews.

All of the attractions were secured by the Judea Regional Brigade, including Givati's Tzabar battalion, the Combat Engineer's 603 'Lahav' battalion, and the HaBokim unit. The units were also reinforced by other forces sent in for the holiday, such as the Border Police.

The constant protection of the security forces enabled visitors to travel freely throughout the area with a strong sense of security. Despite the large number of visitors in the often-hostile area, there were no reported incidents and thousands of visitors returned home safely.

"We prepared in advance for the Sukkot holiday," explains Major Guy Basson, who serves as the Judea Regional Brigade's operations officer. "We will continue to do everything in order to preserve the security of our residents and the many visitors who come to the area in honor of the holiday."