W. Bank, Golan heritage sites slated for gov't funding

Palestinians, int'l community had criticized plan several months ago due to its inclusion of sites in the West Bank.

Heritage Plan (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Heritage Plan
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Ministers are likely to approve NIS 91 million Tuesday to renovate 16 archeological and heritage sites including one in the West Bank and another in the Golan Heights.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was expected to present the plan to renovate the 16 sites, which are important for Jewish culture and history, to the ministerial committee for the National Heritage Plan. The committee was scheduled to convene in Jerusalem early Tuesday afternoon.
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Palestinians and the international community criticized the plan when it was first unveiled, for including West Bank biblical and historical Jewish sites such as the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron among its list of 150 heritage places.
The list of 16, which is slated to be voted on Tuesday, includes the Herodian National Park located in the Gush Etzion region of the West Bank. King Herod was buried at the archeological site, which also contains the ruins of one of his castles.  Some NIS 16 million has been set aside for renovation work there.
Another NIS 14.2 million will be spent on a site in the Golan Heights known as Umm el Kanatir or Rechavam’s Arches, which boasts the ruins of a sixth century synagogue.
Other sites on the list of 16 located through out Israel include: Independence House in Tel Aviv, Tel Arad, Tel Lacish and the Ghetto Fighters’ House Museum.
Netanyahu said on Monday night that this program allows parents to connect their children with the nation’s Jewish and Zionist heritage.
“We need to strengthen our connection to the nation and to the state. It is what defines who we are,” said Netanyahu. Some of the sites, he said, are also global cultural assets.
This project is a national priority of the highest order, he added.