'By building Hebron, Jerusalem itself will be built'

Knesset Speaker Rivlin celebrates 1st night of Hanukka at Cave of Patriarchs, reiterates Israel's claim to the city, J'lem

December 1, 2010 21:11
2 minute read.
Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin lighting candles.

Rivlin in Hebron lighting candles 311. (photo credit: REBECCA ANNA STOIL)

Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin (Likud) ushered in Hanukka Wednesday by reiterating that he makes no distinction between Hebron and Jerusalem regarding Israel’s claim to either city.

“By building Hebron, Jerusalem itself will be built,” Rivlin declared while participating in a candlelighting ceremony at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, together with soldiers, local Jewish leaders and yeshiva students.

Hanukka goes political with lighting in Hebron
Rivlin to light first Hanukka candle in Hebron

“We are not trespassers, we are not looters, and Hebron is not a coin that can be traded in the marketplace,” he said.

“Hebron was the birthplace of the Kingdom of Israel and on Hanukka, independence was returned to Israel,” continued Rivlin.

“Hebron was the basis of our right to the Land of Israel, as a moral right that has no superior, and the right of ownership that cannot be questioned; it was our right then and it is our right today.”

Rivlin took a jab both at international criticism that Israel has no claim to the West Bank, as well as at Israeli leaders who are ready to relinquish control of any part of Israel.

“When the story of Hanukka takes place, the leader of Israel, Shimon ben Matisyahu stood with bravery, determination and faith against a foreign commissioner and a disconnected rule, and replied without any hesitation that ‘We did not take a foreign land, nor the property of strangers to us, but rather the Land of our forefathers which had been conquered in the past by enemies,’” Rivlin told the audience. “Will we be able to stand by that today as well?” he asked.

Rivlin argued that if Israel rescinded its claims to any part of Israel, it would eventually lead to delegitimization of the state’s entire existence.

“Today it is clearer than ever that if we ignore our 3,800-year-old right, we will find it difficult to defend our renewed independence that is only 62 years old,” he warned. “If, God forbid, we are seduced into thinking that we did take a foreign land, or the property of strangers in Ariel, in Ma’aleh Adumim, in Gush Etzion and in our capital Jerusalem, it is doubtful that we will be able to continue to maintain our state.”

Earlier in the afternoon, Rivlin delivered a similar message, together with the leaders of the Knesset’s Land of Israel Lobby, MK Arye Eldad (National Union) and coalition chairman MK Ze’ev Elkin (Likud), as well as Danny Dayan, chairman of the Council of Jewish Communities in Judea, Samaria and the Gaza Strip.

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