The President of Israel participated in lighting the first candle of Hanukkah in the shadow of strong protests over his visit there: “The Ugliest Face of Israeli Control in the Occupied Territories”
Tonight (Sunday), President Yitzhak Herzog lit the first Hanukkah candle in the Cave of the Patriarchs. In the shadow of protests from left-wing organizations over his visit there, Herzog declared that “recognition of our affinity for Hebron should be above all controversy.” Prior to that, his office distributed a file documenting the visits of prime ministers and previous presidents to Hebron. Ynet broadcasts the president’s statement live.
“My brother and sisters, even today, with all the complexity, and I do not for a moment ignore the complexity – the historical connection of the Jewish people to Hebron, the Cave of the Patriarchs, the heritage of mothers and fathers is not in doubt,” Herzog said. “Recognition of this affinity should be above all controversy.”
“We will not agree on everything, but we will always remember that ‘the sons of one man rested.’ We all have common roots that come out of this cave. “Peace, among the people of all religions and beliefs in this country, and condemn all shades and types of hatred and violence. I wish us all to illuminate our homes with great light and banish the darkness.”
Herzog’s visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs led to protests from leftists, including Knesset members from the Meretz party who were outraged at the decision to light a candle in the territories of Judea and Samaria. Herzog’s visit to the Cave of the Patriarchs was accompanied by a protest demonstration by left-wing organizations entitled “Days of Flattery,” and Vichy Hadas – one of the protest organizers – criticized the IDF for issuing a flattening order that effectively prevents leftists from entering the area.
The Peace Now movement condemned Herzog’s participation in an event in the Cave of the Patriarchs: “The settlement in Hebron is the ugliest face of Israeli control of the territories. “We will not stand in the way of his transparent attempt to flatter the right-wing camp, and we will not allow him to normalize the extremists in the settlers.”
The head of the Kiryat Arba council, Eliyahu Libman, on the other hand, greeted Herzog before lighting the first candle and said: “We are excited to host the president of the city of Hebron. “Fortunately, there is almost an all-Israeli consensus, the fact is that about a million people come here during the year, we will continue to hold the place with strength and heroism, although unfortunately there are few people who do not want it, far left demonstrations do not excite us.
Meretz MK Musi Raz also criticized Herzog’s decision: “The president should be a unifying figure. Control of Hebron in general and the occupied territories in particular is in sharp political controversy. Of all the settlements, the settlement in Hebron around the Cave of the Patriarchs is the most outrageous. His joy. ”
Herzog, it should be noted, is not the first president to visit the Jewish community in Hebron. Former President Reuven Rivlin also visited there and inaugurated a museum. Herzog’s grandmother was seriously injured in the events in Hebron, and when he took office he declared that he would be everyone’s president and would be everywhere. This is how he visited Kafr Qassem, the Galilee landscape, Jerusalem, Taibeh and more. In his inaugural address, Herzog said he would give expression to all sections of the people – right and left, ultra-Orthodox and secular, Arabs and Jews, new and veteran immigrants.