(JNS.org) Israeli ministers and Knesset members from both the Likud and Jewish Home political parties expressed support for about 20 Jewish families who entered the contentious “Machpelah House” property in Hebron Tuesday.
The group’s decision to move into the property was initiated in response to the United Nations cultural body UNESCO’s recent designation of the Cave of the Patriarchs—one of Judaism’s holiest sites—as an endangered Palestinian heritage site.
The officials who backed the move by the families, and also called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman to allow the families to remain in the property, included Environmental Protection Minister Ze'ev Elkin (Likud), Tourism Minister Yariv Levin (Likud), Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel (Jewish Home) and Member of Knesset Miki Zohar (Likud).
“This is an important and joyous development….The entry into the home is another step in strengthening the natural connection of the Jewish people to its land,” Ariel said.
Jews purchased the Machpelah House, as well as the Rachel and Leah House, in Hebron several years ago. Earlier this month, Israeli security forces prevented the Jews from entering the Machpelah House, but after Israel’s Civil Administration this week ruled that the families possessed the required permits, the Jewish families entered the building and barricaded themselves inside.