Minister Avitan in Beit El:
'This is where the Jewish People was formed'

Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Yaakov Avitan tours Beit El in Binyamin, visits site of Jacob's dream, speaks of place's importance.

Rafael Levy ,

Jacob's Dream site, Beit El
Jacob's Dream site, Beit El
Rafael Levy

Religious Affairs Minister Rabbi Yaakov Avitan today toured the town of Beit El in Binyamin. The Minister visited the site where Jacob dreamed of a ladder reaching Heaven, as told in the Torah. He was joined by Beit El Council Head Shai Alon and local Rabbi Ariel Bareli, and heard about the place from Tanach expert and historian Dr. Hagai Ben-Artzi, who spoke about the importance of preserving the site's heritage.

The Council head Alon spoke about the desire to develop tourism at the important archaeological site that connects us to the past and demonstrates the fulfillment of Jacob's dream.

Rabbi Bareli said that he came from Sderot and there his synagogue was "above-sectarian" where Sephardim and Ashkenazim prayed together and added, "One of my big goals is to bring here the traditional public, the warm people who are not so familiar with these areas. I think in this period there's polarization In the Israeli public, and our mission is to connect them. To connect through archaeology, through Torah, through kindness. And I think this is a banner suitable for both Shas as a party and as something close to one's heart."

Minister Avitan said that yesterday he transferred a budget of about NIS 1.6 million to the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, despite the difficulty while there is no approved state budget. "I acted in honor of the City of the Fathers. The first place I opened my tours was Kiryat Arba-Hebron to pray at the graves there. There's no doubt that they intercede for us and it's a privilege to make the Cave accessible to the people of Israel."

He stressed the importance of the Jacob's Dream site. "Jacob's dream that took place here, is the greatest dream. Not only because of Jacob's ladder. But Jacob our Father, when he came here, there were many stones and every stone said 'upon me shall the righteous one rest his head'. Then Jacob our Father wonders, 'On which shall I lay?' These stones symbolized conflict and division. What happened then? All the stones united, crystallized, joined into one stone.

"Yaakov Avinu's dream is to see a people made up of tribes, the Council head from Morocco, the Rabbi from Eastern Europe, and everyone from a different place, but united and understanding in the end that we're one people and must first and foremost maintain the unity of this people. You aren't just holding land. It's not a matter of land, it's a matter of our scale of values, of our faith, of our Torah. You are the ones who cause unity among the people by dwelling here. You're uniting the people just like in the story of the stones."

At the end, he explained again the importance of the place for the unity and connection of the people. "This is where the Jewish People were formed; from here we connect to our roots, and if we have no roots we will have no tree and no fruit from this place; from Jacob's dream the Jewish People became a reality, a dream come true. I pray that with G-d's help all the Land of Israel will be settled and we'll be blessed from here to spread the light of Torah, of faith, of baseless love in the way of our ancestor Jacob who unified his sons."