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Herzog, Hebron and Chesed

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This Sunday night the world watched as Israel’s 11th President, Isaac Herzog, lit the first candle of Chanukah at an official ceremony at the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.

No other sitting president has been hosted inside the Tomb of the Patriarchs – also the home of the Ibrahimi Mosque – since 1967. No other president, regardless of political affiliation, has publicly aligned themselves with what is widely accepted as the most ‘hardline’ of settlements.

Barely 28km from Jerusalem, Hebron is home to 200,000 Palestinians. It is the second largest city in the West Bank, and the only Palestinian town with a Jewish settlement wrapped up in its heart.

The Old City of Hebron has 34,000 Palestinian residents and a Jewish settlement of roughly 800 people. In 1997, with the 1994 Baruch Goldstein massacre still fresh in people’s minds, Israel retained responsibility for security of this area as part of the Hebron Agreement.

With an openly-declared policy of segregation and separation, the IDF has closed off wide swathes of the city to Palestinian foot traffic, shuttered hundreds of businesses, and intensified the patrolling and control of the city to a point where life for Palestinians has become almost unbearable. Only the most steadfast (or poorest) Palestinians remain in the Old City under this regime.

In my role as Director of Programming and........

© The Times of Israel (Blogs)

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