Speaking at a ceremony on Monday evening in Hebron commemorating the Arab pogroms of 1929, Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) attacked Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's plans to freeze construction in the settlements.
"He who thinks that drying up Ariel and Ma'ale Adumim will build Tel Aviv and its surrounding areas, or will foster recognition of our territorial rights is gravely mistaken," he said. According to Rivlin, "he who thinks that in this way we will save ourselves from the pending holocaust is holding out a false hope."
Rivlin's associates said, however, that he was convinced that Netanyahu was making a considerable effort to maneuver between his core beliefs and pressure from the US.
Ceremony organizer Diaspora Affairs Minister Yuli Edelstein promoted the renewal of Jewish settlement in Hebron.
"We have the power, the means and the ability to build and renew the settlement in the city of the patriarchs," he declared. "But we can do this only by knowing our roots here in Hebron," he added.
"Jerusalem will not be built on the ruins of Hebron," asserted the minister.