Hadash slams President Isaac Herzog for his Hanukkah visit to Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs last Sunday, saying he should nothold the largely ceremonial role, which is usually unencumbered by political disputes. “Herzog did not go to light the first night’s candle, he went to set Hebron alight,” Joint List leader, MK Ayman Odeh (Hadash) tweets. “Anyone who celebrates with supporters of the killer Goldstein cannot be president of all Israeli citizens,” he adds.
Israeli anti-occupation demonstrators protesting the president’s visit to the Palestinian city of Hebron, Sunday, November 2021 (Photo: Breaking the Silence)
Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein killed 29 Muslim worshipers at the Ibrahimi Mosque on the Tomb of the Patriarchs in 1994 before being killed himself. Israeli settlers in Hebron and the neighboring settlement of Kiryat Arba continue to revere Goldstein. The city of Hebron, which houses the Ibrahimi Mosque, is home to roughly 160,000 Palestinian Muslims and about 800 racist Israeli settlers who live in compounds heavily guarded by occupation Israeli troops. In early 2019, Israel expelled the only international observers protecting Hebron’s Palestinians from 800 heavily guarded settlers, one of whom committed the 1994 massacre that triggered their deployment.
Herzog said on Sunday that the Jewish connection to Hebron is “unquestionable,” as he lit a menorah for the first night of Hanukkah at a shrine in the occupied West Bank city, while hundreds Israeli peace protesters gathered nearby.
The demonstrators protesting the president’s visit to the Palestinian city had been blocked by troops from entering Hebron itself. The occupation army used an order meant to head off public disturbances, which was applied to the entrance to the Kiryat Arba settlement, the main access route to the holy site. The anti-occupation activists, among them Hadash members, protested with signs in Hebrew, Arabic and English accusing Israel of apartheid and calling to “banish the darkness” and put an end to occupation, in reference to a famous Hanukkah children’s song.
“While the president lights a candle with Baruch Marzel and the Kahanists, security forces are preventing law-abiding citizens from exercising their right to protest,” Peace Now said, referring to a racist former politician now banned from running for the Knesset, who was reportedly present at the shrine on Sunday.
Israeli organizations Peace Now, Breaking the Silence, Crime Minister, Mothers Against Violence, and others said that the visit by the president to Hebron “legitimizes the apartheid regime and non-stop violence by settlers, under which the Palestinian residents of the city live.” They asserted that Herzog was giving a tailwind to “Jewish terror supporters and to the great injustice taking place there on a daily basis,” accusing the president of prostrating himself before the right to curry its favor.
Peace Now added that “it is inconceivable that the president, who should be a unifying figure, is choosing to light a candle at the site that, of all places, has become the bastion of Kahanism and a symbol of oppression and violence.”
In addition, On Sunday morning and evening Israeli occupation forces assaulted and dispersed Palestinian activists taking part in a demonstration outside the Ibrahimi Mosque in protest Herzog. Palestinian officials described Herzog’s planned visit as a provocation and a flagrant violation of the sanctity of the site, and that the Israeli occupation will bear full responsibility for the repercussions of this attack on the site.