President Isaac Herzog will light the first Hanukkah candle this year on the menorah at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
Herzog, whose Labor party affiliation during his years in the Knesset placed him firmly as a center-left lawmaker, has maintained a neutral but passionately Zionist stance since taking office this summer.
The announcement by the president’s office on Wednesday angered leftist members of the government coalition, however.
“The president needs to be a unifying figure,” Meretz lawmakers Mossi Raz, Gaby Lasky and Michal Rozin said in a joint statement.
“Control of Hebron and the occupied territories in particular is in sharp political dispute,” the contended.
“Out of all the settlements, the settlement in Hebron at the Cave of the Patriarchs is the most outrageous.”
The Cave is the burial site for biblical patriarchs Avraham, Yitzhak and Ya’akov as well as the matriarchs Sarah, Rivkah and Leah. It is also believed that Adam and Chava (Eve) are interred there as well.
The site is sacred to both Jews and Muslims and both recite their prayers in the halls at the Cave, albeit at separate times in separate areas so as to minimize friction between the two.