rendering of accessibility project at Cave of the Patriarchs
rendering of accessibility project at Cave of the Patriarchs spokesperson

The Defense Ministry, led by Minister Benny Gantz, has ordered that the work to make the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron accessible to the disabled which was supposed to begin this Sunday not be carried out, Arutz Sheva has learned.

Despite the approvals the project has received from the Civil Administration, the government, and the Supreme Court, and despite the many agreements reached between all parties for the start of the work on Sunday, July 25, the Defense Ministry has decided to postpone the project again.

The military source who provided the details added that it was not yet clear whether the work would be postponed for only a week or for a longer period. The same source emphasized that this was a directive that came directly from the Defense Minister's office.

This is not the first time that the Defense Minister's office has issued a directive to delay the accessibility work. During the month of May, it that Defense Minister Gantz had ordered a freeze on the accessibility of the Cave of the Patriarchs due to the security situation.

Gantz finally granted final approval to the project after 20 years of delays in June. Shortly afterwards the contractor was informed that he had to start the accessibility work within 14 days , but now there has been another delay.

Shai Glick, the CEO of the B'tzalmo organization which has pushed to make the holy site accessible to all Israelis, "It is unfortunate that at the last minute Benny Gantz is literally putting sticks in front of the feet of worshipers. It is impossible to delay even one day such a humanitarian thing that severely harms the Jewish and Muslim worshipers alike. This is not a political issue, but a purely humanitarian one. I call on the Minister of Defense to come to his senses and order the contractor to start construction work on the site as early as next Sunday."