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Why Israeli President’s visit to Hebron provokes outrage

Israeli President Isaac Herzog’s unprecedented visit to the Patriarchs’ vault in the West Bank on the occasion of the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah – a first in more than half a century – has aroused the ire of the Israeli left, Palestinians and several Muslim countries.

This Sunday, November 28 began the Jewish religious celebrations of Hanukkah. But this year, the party took a political turn and sparked controversy. Indeed, the President of the State of Israel, Labor Isaac Herzog, traveled to Hebron – a Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank and Judaism’s second holy city – to light the first Hanukkah candle in the Tomb of the Patriarchs. The place is known to Muslims as the “Abrahamic Shrine” or the “Ibrahimi Mosque”.

However, in Hebron, the political situation is already highly tense since the installation in the heart of the old city of a minority of religious nationalist settlers protected by the Israeli army. In addition, the memory of the massacre of the Tomb of the Patriarchs, committed by an ultra-Orthodox settler in February 1994, is still vivid, explain some Israeli journalists, such as Hagar Shezaf in Ha’Aretz :

Several left-wing Israeli organizations, including Shalom Akhshav (“Peace Now”) and Shovrim Shtika (“Breaking the Silence”), traveled to Hebron to denounce the first official visit ever made by a president in fifty-four years. ‘occupation.”

For these activists, “The arrival of the first citizen of Israel in one of the settlements in the heart of Hebron amounts to legitimizing the apartheid regime and the incessant violence of the settlers that the Palestinian inhabitants of the city suffer daily”.

“In his father’s footsteps”

Not everyone shares the opposition of left-wing activists and Israeli human rights NGOs to this historic official visit.

Thus, in addition to the thousand-year-old links between the Jewish people and the vault of the Patriarchs (“The oldest Jewish site in the land of Israel”), the American rabbi David Eliezrie recalls in the Jerusalem Post that President Herzog is just signing up “In his father’s footsteps”, Haim Herzog, Israeli Labor President from 1983 to 1993. “In 1976, while he was Israel’s ambassador to the UN, the latter had a copy of the Bible verses distributed to his colleagues at the UN, detailing the terms of the contract by which Abraham bought the land on which was to be built. the vault of the Patriarchs. ”

But, for David Eliezrie, another reason, personal this one,


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