Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned the Palestinian Authority on Wednesday to abandon its foolish dreams of extracting the Jewish presence from Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs.
Speaking in opening remarks at a meeting of the government cabinet, Netanyahu sent his condolences to the family of an Israeli who succumbed in the morning from wounds suffered Dec 7 in a terror attack in Hebron.
“I ask that you convey my condolences to the family of Genady Kaufman,” Netanyahu began at the start of the meeting. “Genady was the gardener of the Cave of the Patriarchs,” Netanyahu explained. “He was stabbed in a murderous attack a few weeks ago. To our sorrow, he did not win the battle to recover [from his wounds.]”
The Cave of the Patriarchs, a sacred place in Judaism, is located in the ancient Biblical city of Hebron. It is written in the Torah that it was purchased by the patriarch Avraham upon the death of his wife, the Biblical matriarch Sarah, to be used as a burial site. Eventually the Cave became the Tomb for nearly all of the Biblical patriarchs and matriarchs: it is believed to be the burial place of Avraham, Sarah, Yitzchak, Rivkah, Yaakov, Leah and it is also believed to be the ancient grave site of Adam and Eve. Muslims revere the site since Avraham is considered to be a prophet in Islam, as the father of Ishmael.
The site – and the city surrounding it – has become a flashpoint for Arab violence. Hebron was divided into Arab and Jewish areas under the Oslo Accords, with the Arab areas kept under the control of the Palestinian Authority. But the city which was occupied by Jordan from 1948 to 1967, may once again become a battleground as Arab terrorists escalate their attacks against Jews in and around the city – and particularly at the site of the Cave of the Patriarchs, where Muslims continue to insist Jews should not be allowed to pray at all. Moreover, Hebron has in recent years become a stronghold for various terror organizations which have planted planted regional offices in the city.
“Even this morning, I say to each person who tries to uproot us from the Cave of the Patriarchs: We have been there – with the exception of a few years in the previous century – for four millenia.
The terrorist was shot dead on site by security forces.
Doctors battled to save him after his arrival at Shaare Zedek Medical Center. He was placed on a respirator and since that time has been in the intensive care unit. But the fight ended early Wednesday morning (Dec. 30) when Kaufman succumbed to his wounds.
It was another busy night for Israeli security personnel as troops found a weapons cache in the Judean Arab town of Yatta, and “mapped out” the home of a terrorist in Samaria.
Joint operations involving IDF soldiers, Israel Police and Border Guard Police officers led to the capture and arrest of 17 wanted terrorist suspects in Judea and Samaria late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning.
Two of the detainees were members of the Gaza-based Hamas terrorist organization. The others are accused of violent attacks on Israeli civilians and security personnel. All were transferred to the appropriate authorities for interrogation.
A cache of Kalashnikov assault rifles, hunting rifles and rifle sights was found by an IDF combat unit of the 401 Brigade armored division in the town of Yatta, a sprawling Hebron suburb south of the ancient city.