cave of the patriarchs 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Peace Now on Thursday complained to the Defense Ministry about public comments
an IDF commander made in support of Israeli sovereignty over the Cave of the
Patriarchs in Hebron.
It also took issue with the IDF’s decision to hold
a ceremony Wednesday at the Cave of the Patriarchs for the incoming commander of
the IDF Judea Brigade, Avi Balut, and the outgoing commander, Shai Hazut. It
noted that in the past the ceremony had been held in the nearby brigade
“I appeal to you after, to my great sorrow, a senior IDF commander
decided to advance a controversial political agenda and to transform the ritual
exchange of division commanders into a divisive political event,” said Peace Now
executive director Yariv Oppenheimer in a letter he addressed to Defense
Minister Ehud Barak.
The decision to hold the ceremony in front of the
cave was made worse by Hazut’s statement at the event, Oppenheimer said.
According to Oppenheimer, Hazut said that the cave validates the Jewish nation
legally and morally and strengthens its hold on the Land of Israel.
is not a religious or political statement, but rather a purely Zionist and
Israeli matter,” Hazut said.
Oppenheimer said that no military commander
has the right to determine if Israeli sovereignty over the Cave of the
Patriarchs was in the interest of either Zionism or the state.
Jewish community spokesman David Wilder, who attended the ceremony, said that
its location at the cave sent an important and necessary message about the
site’s value to the Jewish people.
The IDF, he said, often holds
ceremonies in places that it deems to have significant Jewish value, like the
Western Wall in Jerusalem.
“There is no place more natural than to have a
ceremony like that,” Wilder said. “It was very poignant.”
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