Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
The new government must apply sovereignty to Judea and Samaria, Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan pledged on Monday as he spoke to the thousand of visitors who flocked to the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
“We are praying that we will create a new government, a government that will declare sovereignty on Judea and Samaria,” said Ben-Dahan, who served in the last government under the now defunct Bayit Yehudi Party.
“A government that with God’s help will show the world that there is no difference between Hebron and Beersheba. Hebron is what connects Jerusalem to Beersheba. Here in Hebron the nation of Israel connects to its roots,” Ben-Dahan said.
“With God’s help we will declare that Judea and Samaria is an inseparable part of Israel,” he added.
Ben-Dahan added a prayer that the Jewish Temple, which was destroyed by the Romans in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago, would be speedily rebuilt.
Hebron’s Jewish community, which numbers less than 1,000 people, estimated that some 35,000 people visited the Jewish areas of the city, including the Tomb of the Patriarchs.
The annual Passover festivities in the city take place as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is in the middle of forming a right-wing coalition, which many hope will annex the West Bank settlements, including Hebron’s Jewish community, into sovereign Israel.
Union of Right-Wing Party MK Bezalel Smotrich, who has his eyes set on the Justice Ministry in the next government, called to triple the number of Jews in Hebron from some 100 families to 300 families.
To do so, he said, about 100 new housing units must be built in the city’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood when the next government comes into power.
“That would just be the start,” he said.
“Hebron is a large city. There is a lot of space here for many Jews to redeem this city, which will allow us to draw strength from the strong connection to the city of our forefathers,” Smotrich said.
The city of Hebron, which is home to 220,000 Palestinians, was divided in 1997. Eighty percent of the city was placed under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority, with Israel retaining IDF control of 20% of the city, where the small Jewish community lives.
Hebron Jews hope that in the future, the city will return to full Israeli control and that sovereignty will be applied there.
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