Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat says that his city, the holiest city on Earth has “much in common” with the holiest city in Judea, Hebron.
Barkat toured the city with Rabbi Hillel Horowitz, who serves as head of the Cemeteries Council in Jerusalem and works closely with the mayor.
Joining the tour was Uri Karzen, director-general of the Jewish Community of Hebron and other local officials.
After afternoon prayers at the Cave of the Patriarchs, Barkat addressed officials and others who participated in the event.
“We have a lot in common,” he said. “Not just the religious/historical aspect, but also similar challenges in housing, economic development, cooperation with our cousins, and security challenges that we must know how to deal with.
“We have a lot in common and I came to strengthen and connect with the residents [of Hebron] from Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.”
Rabbi Horowitz described to Barkat the words of Israel’s first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, after he wrote the introduction to the book, “Sefer Hebron,” in 1970.
The “father of the Jewish State” wrote in an essay that served as the introduction to the book, “We will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish settlement, constantly growing and expanding, very soon… Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem’s sister.”
Hebron and the adjacent community of Kiryat Arba have a combined population of almost 10,000 Israelis, while Hebron’s Palestinian Authority population is about 180,000.
Mayor Barkat requested a framed plaque of Ben-Gurion’s words for his office. He has been mayor of Jerusalem since 2008.Hana Levi Julian