arial of highway 443_311.
(photo credit: Matt Zalen)
No force in the world can “freeze” the connection Jews have to their historical
roots in the West Bank, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said
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Katz spoke at a special ceremony to mark the completion of the
first phase of a NIS 35 million road from Kiryat Arba to the Cave of the
The section of the road going through Kiryat Arba, which will
cost NIS 25m., will be completed in the next half-year. Negotiations are still
under way with the Hebron municipality regarding a portion of the project that
runs through Hebron to the edge of the cave, for a cost of NIS 10m., according
to his spokesman.
Katz spoke of the eternal Jewish presence in the West
Bank, just hours before President Shimon Peres and US President Barack Obama
were set to meet in Washington to discuss the stalled peace
Palestinians have insisted that they will not talk with Israel
unless it halts Jewish construction in the West Bank and east
Katz is one of a number of Likud ministers who have called on
the government to build in Judea and Samaria.
On Tuesday, he visited
Kiryat Arba and the Cave of the Patriarchs, traveling down the partially repaved
road that was lined with flags in his honor.
“This road symbolizes the
connection between the history and tradition of the Jewish people, and its
future,” he said.
Repaving the road so that hundreds of thousands of
visitors, particularly Jewish worshippers, could come and pray at the holy site
was one of the best ways he knew to ensure a Jewish future in Hebron, he
He added that his ministry planned to provide extra buses during
Pessah to take worshippers straight to Hebron from Jerusalem.
we are notifying the world that there is no force in the world that can freeze
the connection between the Jewish nation and its forefathers,” Katz
According to the transportation minister, rebuilding the road is
Israel’s best response to the continued threats of extinction from Iran’s
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said just the other day that it would
disappear from the region’s map.
Last year, Katz said, when he’d traveled
down the potholed road and decided that it needed to be rebuilt and expanded, he
had been asked for the criteria on which he was basing his decision.
will build according to historical and Jewish criteria,” he said.
minister, he has worked to link the Negev and the Galilee to the Center of the
country. He added that this week, a ministerial committee had approved the
reconstruction of Route 1 between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
But Hebron is
the city that most symbolizes the ancient and continuous connection that Jews
have to their land, one that is over 3,000 years old, he said.
returned to the land of our forefathers and to the settlement of our land, which
never stopped,” he declared. “We have returned to Hebron and the Cave of the
Patriarchs. And as everyone says, ‘Hebron, forever and a day.’”