Funding issues for West Bank sites anger MKs

Right-wing MKs upset by lack of funds for Jewish heritage sites in Hebron, Bethlehem; Meretz chair attacks move to fund Tel Shiloh.

February 14, 2012 10:22
1 minute read.
view of Hebron

view of Hebron_311. (photo credit: David Wilder, the Jewish Community of Hebron)

Funding issues for West Bank Jewish heritage sites angered parliamentarians on the Right and the Left on Tuesday morning.

Right-wing parliamentarians were upset by the absence of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem on the list of National Heritage sites slated to be approved for renovation funding at a ministerial committee meeting on Tuesday.

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MK Aryeh Eldad (National Union) and MK Ze'ev Elkin (Likud) who head the Land for Israel lobby group in the Knesset, called on the ministers to put the two West Bank sites on the list of sites eligible for funding this morning.

Eldad said that their absence on the critical funding list was tantamount to their removal from the National Heritage program.

He added that it was one yet one more action by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's government against the settlement enterprise in Judea and Samaria.

"Those who forget their past won't have a future," he warned.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office said that both sites remain on the list, but did not meet the criteria for critical funding. While the Cave of the Patriarchs needs handicap access and roof repairs, the Civil Administration is weighing these repairs, the sources said.

Rachel's Tomb has recently undergone a renovation, sources in the PMO said.

They added that both sites remain on the National Heritage list.

Hebron spokesman David Wilder said he had investigated the matter and was assured that the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel's Tomb were on the list and would be eligible for funding in the future.

The committee is likely to approve a renovation project for the West Bank Jewish heritage site of Tel Shiloh.

On the Left, Meretz Party chair Zehava Gal-On attacked the move to fund Tel Shiloh.

Netanyahu's "extreme right wing government is isolating Israel from the international community," she said.

But MK Michael Ben Ari (National Union) said, "who needs Zahav Gal-On when you have Bibi. He talks tough, but his actions are weak."

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