Knesset Committee Visits Hebron to Improve Tourism

An Israeli first: top committee visits City of Abraham to study handicapped access.

13.2.22, 14:32
Members of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, headed by MK Ram Ben-Barak (Yesh Atid) toured the Cave of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. It was the first time in Israeli history the committee held such a trip.
"The visit today did not deal with politics, nor with the question of settlements," MK Ben-Barak stated, "it was about upholding court rulings [regarding handicapped access].”

The Cave of the Patriarchs is important and there is a great demand to visit the site, he stated. “The committee will continue to discuss and monitor the issue in order to ensure that the site is accessible and the tourist infrastructure matches its importance," MK Ben-Barak commented.
The committee members discussed ways to preserve the ancient artifacts and historic aesthetic of the old city while still creating disabled access. The ongoing elevator and wheelchair ramp construction began in August 2021 and is meant to service people of all faiths visiting the site.
"I am happy and excited to host the committee," said MK Orit Strook (Religious Zionist Party), a resident of Hebron who initiated the tour.
MK Yom Tov Kalfon (Yamina) told reporters, "we came to monitor the progress of the Cave of Machpela's handicapped accessibility project. We also received an overview of the archaeological discoveries found in the excavations, and of the plan to strengthen the safety of the Tomb structure. It is very important to me that the committee visits here, because this is where it all began, with the great people of the nation of the Jewish people. We must strengthen Hebron and connect the people of Israel to its roots."
Eliyahu Libman, head of the Kiryat Arba-Hebron Council, commented "the Cave of the Patriarchs and Hebron in general are the place where the people of Israel grew up, our parents lived here. Hundreds of thousands from Israel and around the world, Jews and non-Jews alike visit."
Shai Glick, head of the Bzalmo organization which championed the wheelchair ramp and elevator access to the holy site said, "I welcome this important tour. Human rights do not stop at the Green Line. Every person everywhere has the right to freedom of religion and worship and freedom of movement. We will continue to lead the struggle to make the Cave of the Patriarchs accessible and as well as all the religious sites in the country."
The committee also visited the Beit Hadassah visitors center and museum which explains the history of the Jewish community in Hebron.
Joining the committee was Hananya Hizmi, Head Staff Officer of Archaeology Department of the Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, Lt. Col. Salim Saad, Head of the Coordination and Liaison Directorate in Hebron, Hillel Horowitz, Director of the Jewish Community in Hebron, and Danny Shachar, Director General of the Ministry of Tourism.
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