25,000 Jews visit Hebron in show of support for residents
By JONAH MANDEL
An estimated 25,000 Jews spent the weekend in Hebron, in a show of support to the city in which the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located, including MKs Zeev Elkin, Tzipi Hotovely and Uri Ariel, as well as Safed’s Chief Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu and Rabbi Haim Druckman. The guests were also allowed access to the city’s old quarter, the Kasba, for the first time in twelve years. The Council of the Jewish community in Hebron thanked the visitors and the security forces, as well as the residents of Hebron and Kiryat Arba who hosted the guests, and expressed their anticipation of a time where twenty five thousand Jews not only visit the city, but also live in it permanently. Ahead of the weekend, fourteen ministers, five deputy ministers, nineteen members of the Knesset from the opposition and coalition and Knesset Speaker Reuven Rivlin all issued letters of support to the Jewish communities of Hebron and Kiryat Arba. The story of Abraham buying the Tomb of the Patriarchs is told in this week's Torah portion, and for the past years this date has become the Shabbat thousands spend in and nearby Hebron, in a show of support of Jewish presence in the city.The letters of the senior figures, including Vice Premier Silvan Shalom, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz, Education Minister Gideon Saar, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Kadima Mks Tzahi Hanegbi, Ronit Tirosh and Yoel Hasson, are especially meaningful on the backdrop of the attempts to rekindle peace talks with the Palestinians.
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