First phase of NIS 35m. road in Hebron completed

Katz: No one can freeze our connection to the West Bank.

By
April 6, 2011 04:57
2 minute read.
Arial view of Highway 443

arial of highway 443_311. (photo credit: Matt Zalen)

 
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No force in the world can “freeze” the connection Jews have to their historical roots in the West Bank, Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz said Tuesday.

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 Patriarchs.

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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 process.

Palestinians have insisted that they will not talk with Israel unless it halts Jewish construction in the West Bank and east Jerusalem.

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.

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“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 said.

He added that his ministry planned to provide extra buses during Pessah to take worshippers straight to Hebron from Jerusalem.

“From here, 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 said.

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.

“We will build according to historical and Jewish criteria,” he said.

As a 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.

“We have 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.’”

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