Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced on Sunday that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel's Tomb in Bethlehem would both be added to the list of national heritage sites that the government plans to promote.

Speaking at a special cabinet meeting in the northern town of Tel Hai, Netanyahu said that rightist religious party Shas persuaded him add the two sites to the list.

"Our existence depends not only on the IDF or our economic resilience - it is anchored in...the national sentiment that we will bestow upon the coming generations and in our ability to justify our connection to the land," said the premier.

The Yesha regional council praised Netanyahu's decision and said that "the plan strengthens the connection with land of our forefathers."

The plan has a government budget of over NIS 500,000 to renovate and restore the national heritage sites.

Last month, Netanyahu dedicated part of his speech at the Herzliya conference to the national heritage sites, and said, "the country's strength does not depend entirely on it's military strength, weapons, economic power or ingenuity, but on the knowledge and national sentiments which parent pass down to their children, and as a state, on the education system."