Supreme Court approves renovation to make Cave of Patriarchs accessible

Supreme Court rejects petition against construction to make Hebron holy site accessible to disabled people.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Cave of the Patriarchs
Cave of the Patriarchs
צילום: דניאל עמירם

Supreme Court Justice Alex Stein today (Tuesday) rejected a request by the Hebron Municipality, the Hebron Waqf and the Hebron Old City Rehabilitation Committee to prevent the beginning of renovation work to make the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron accessible to disabled people.

The request was submitted after Jerusalem District Court Judge Ram Winograd rejected the petitions filed against the renovation about a month and a half ago and ruled that the state could carry out the work in accordance with the format approved by the Civil Administration.

The petitioners claimed that the work will lead to irreversible damage to the historic site through excavation which would be necessary to construct an elevator.

The Civil Administration, on the other hand, argued that the works do not create irreversible facts at the site, because the elevator structure to be built can be dismantled.

In his decision, Judge Stein noted that "the preliminary ruling is detailed and reasoned, and a significant part of it is rooted in findings of fact - in which the appellate court rarely intervenes. Moreover: the applicants' claims have been discussed and rejected for the most part by the competent professional bodies; And the court does not act as a supreme planning institution, and in any case does not step into the shoes of the planning institutions that made their decisions on the basis of material considerations in the light of their "authority"."

In addition, the judge noted, "I am not convinced that the balance of convenience is in favor of granting the temporary relief sought. The main contention of the applicants in this context is that the construction of the elevator structure involves severe and irreversible damage to the site. I cannot accept this claim. The court ruled as a matter of fact, following the rulings of the professional committees, that the planned elevator structure would be a detachable structure, which when necessary could be dismantled relatively easily without damaging the site."

B'Tzalmo chairman Shai Glick responded to the verdict: "The ball is now in the hands of the Minister of Defense. There is no reason in the world not to go up tomorrow with a tractor and just make the place accessible by deeds, not by words. I call on Minister Ganz - make history and make the place accessible."