Israel President Isaac Herzog hails from the left-wing Labor Party, but he’s certainly no darling of the liberal camp this holiday season as he heads to Hebron to kick off Hanukkah with the hated “Jewish settlers.”
Hanukkah begins on Sunday evening with the lighting of the first of eight candles marking the miraculous rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees. Herzog has decided that as president he will light that candle at Judaism’s second holiest site, the Cave of the Patriarchs.
That decision doesn’t sit well with everyone.
“The president needs to be a unifying figure. Control of Hebron, and the occupied territories in particular is in sharp political dispute. Out of all the settlements, the settlement in Hebron at the Cave of the Patriarchs is the most outrageous,” insisted three Members of Knesset from the left-wing party Meretz in an open statement to Herzog.
They didn’t go into detail as to why they see it as “outrageous” that Israel would facilitate Jewish worship at the place where Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are buried.
A joint statement released by several left-wing NGOs including Peace Now and Breaking the Silence accused Herzog of “legitimizing apartheid” by visiting the sacred site and celebrating with fellow Jews there.
The Hamas terrorist organization has also piled on the Israeli president, calling his visit to Hebron a “provocation” and a “violation” of the holy site’s sanctity. Islam also reveres the Cave of the Patriarchs as the burial place of Abraham and other “Muslim” prophets, and views Jewish worship there as a defilement.
Hamas called on local Palestinians to violently confront the Israelis during Herzog’s visit.