Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America rejected criticism voiced by a US State Department spokesman of the “Heritage Plan” recently announced by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Under the Heritage Plan, Israel will invest $100 million in rehabilitating historic and religious sites throughout Israel. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s inclusion of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem drew criticism from Palestinians – criticism the Orthodox Union denounced earlier in the week.
Yesterday, a State Department spokesman said the US found the inclusion of these sites in the plan “provocative.”
Today, the Heritage Plan was criticized by UNESCO, whose criticism ignores the Jewish connection to these holy sites.
Orthodox Union leaders rejected this assertion, stating:
“It is not ‘provocative’ to invest in and rehabilitate holy/historic sites – that are open to both Jews and Muslims. Nothing PM Netanyahu has proposed precludes a peace agreement.
It is provocative for the Palestinians to assert that there is no Jewish connection to these sites and for them to use this as yet another false basis for refusal to engage in peace negotiations.”