A decision to include two West Bank shrines in a list of Jewish heritage sites slated for preservation has been praised by religious and right-wing Jews and scorned by Palestinians and their supporters.
Speaking at a February 21 cabinet meeting, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he would add Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs to the list of dozens of heritage sites he recently unveiled. Netanyahu has pledged more than $100 million to revitalize Jewish heritage sites and build a historical trail linking them.
Israeli media said Netanyahu took the step after religious members of his government blasted the sites’ exclusion from the list.
[Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas warned February 23 during a visit in Belgium that the region could plummet into “a religious war” even as some Palestinians protested the decision in Hebron.]