Education Minister Gideon Saar announced on Wednesday that he plans to expand the pilot program that takes junior and high school students on tours of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
According to Jewish tradition, the Cave of the Patriarchs is the burial place of the biblical ancestors of the Jewish people. The site is also holy to Muslims.
Speaking at the Knesset plenum on Wednesday, Saar said that after a year-long pilot in Jerusalem, these so-called tours of the land of Judaism’s ancestors were ready to be implemented nationwide. The program is part of the ministry’s effort to promote Jewish and Zionist values among students.
The program began in March 2011 and has already taken some 1,000 students on tours. Saar touted the program as an astounding success, saying “already at this time it is safe to say that the initiative is progressing beyond our expectations. Thousands of students are visiting the Cave of the Patriarchs, not just from the religious sector but also from the public sector and that makes this something that I am definitely proud of. “
The education minister stressed that “Jewish settlements existed in Hebron throughout the years, even when the people of Israel were in exile. Jews, we believe, will always reside in Hebron. The Arabs mustn’t get the mistaken notion that Jews can be uprooted from Hebron.”
Meanwhile, Saar also inducted two new neighborhoods in the Har Bracha settlement in Samaria. “I vow to keep building massive numbers of kindergartens in Samaria,” Saar declared at the ceremony. “This settlement keeps us secure, and that includes Petach Tikva, Rosh Ha’ayin and Jerusalem.”