The left-wing Haaretz newspaper has called on Israel's President Isaac Herzog not to celebrate the first night of the upcoming Hanukkah holiday by lighting the Hanukkah menorah at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
In an editorial, Haaretz wrote that Hebron symbolizes "the ugliness and cruelty of the occupation, and the settlers' violence and domineering."
"A visit by the First Citizen to a place from which most of the Palestinian residents are forced to flee out of fear of the settlers, to abandon their homes and stores and turn the heart of Palestinian Hebron into a ghost town, grants government legitimacy to the outrageous injustice taking place there every day," the editorial claimed.
It added that the "Israeli apartheid" is blatantly obvious in Hebron, where "the streets are separate, the Palestinians are not allowed to walk there, entry by vehicle is forbidden for Palestinians who still live there, there are checkpoints everywhere you turn, only for Palestinians, obviously. There is violence and contempt, which every Palestinian resident receives daily from the settlers and their children and from the military forces and Border Police, who are on every corner."
Yamina party head MK Nir Orbach responded: "The Cave of the Patriarchs was purchased by our forefather Abraham, for the full price, from Efron the Hittite. That is above any political disagreements. It's the rock of our existence."
At 4:15p.m. on Sunday evening, the first night of Hanukkah, President Herzog will tour the Cave of the Patriarchs and participate in a candle lighting event for the first night of Hanukkah. Hebron Jewish community head Hillel Horowitz and Kiryat Arba council head Eliyahu Liebman will also participate in the tour.
Later that day, at 7:00p.m., resident Herzog will participate in a candle lighting for the first night of Chanukah at Beit Halochem in Tel Aviv, in honor of Recognition Day for Injured Soldiers and Terror Victims. IDF Disabled Veterans Organization chairman Idan Kleiman and injured soldiers will also participate in the event.