A mob of Palestinian Arabs threatened the small Jewish community living in the Judean town of Hebron on Monday in response to the Israeli government’s decision a day earlier to recognize the local Cave of the Patriarchs as a national heritage site.
During the disruption, the Arabs hurled stones, burning tires and firebombs at Jewish civilians and Israeli soldiers. One soldier was lightly wounded.
The Cave of the Patriarchs, or Cave of Machpelah in Hebrew, is the traditional burial place of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah, and Jacob and Leah. The Arabs, who claim descent from Abraham, also revere the site and have an area of the cave set apart as a mosque.
The burial place of Jacob’s other wife, Rachel, on the outskirts of Bethlehem also received heritage status in the government decision.
The two sites were not originally on the list of newly-recognized heritage sites due to their location in Palestinian-controlled areas, but were added following heavy pressure from right-wing factions in the government.
The Jews of Hebron praised the decision, and urged the government to continue to standing up to Arab and international efforts to sever the Jews’ historical ties to the land.