Historic Hevron marketplace
Historic Hevron marketplaceDavid Wilder

Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Sunday ordered the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories and the Civil Administration of Judea and Samaria to notify the Hevron municipality of the planning a new Jewish neighborhood in the historic Jewish marketplace.

In accordance with the Minister's directive, the Civil Administration will send a letter on the matter to the Hevron municipality.

The decision is expected to end years of legal and political battles over the fate of the marketplace, which has sat abandoned for decades even after Jews began to return to Hevron following the 1967 Six-Day War.

The new neighborhood will create a territorial continuum from the Cave of the Patriarchs to the Avraham Avinu neighborhood and double the number of Jewish residents in the city.

The market buildings will be demolished as part of the construction and new stores will be built in their place. The rights of Arabs on the ground floor will be preserved as they are today.

The decision was made at the end of a series of discussions held by the Defense Minister with the Public Service Administration, the Civil Administration, and the Shin Bet.

The marketplace was owned by Jews prior to the 1929 Hevron massacre in which the Jewish community was destroyed.