saar - Alon Ron - January 10 2011
Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar Photo by Alon Ron
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Education Minister Gideon Sa'ar is planning a new school program which involves taking Israeli students to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the West Bank city of Hebron.

The site is holy to both Muslims and Jew, whose visits are separated by heavy army surveillance.

Sa'ar held a meeting with school district officials at his Jerusalem office on Tuesday, where they discussed the budget that the program would demand.

The Ministry of Education said Sa'ar "sees much significance in recognizing the historic roots of the State of Israel in the Land of Israel."

Jews call the site the Tomb of the Patriarchs, as the Bible says the patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob were buried there, along with three of their wives.

Muslims call it the al-Ibrahimi mosque, reflecting the fact that Abraham is considered the father of both Judaism and Islam.

According to the mayor of Kiryat Arba, which is located in the West Bank near Hebron, Sa'ar announced the program launch at the meeting.

Mayor Malachi Levinger praised Sa'ar for the "historic" program which would allow "hundreds of thousands of students to be exposed for the first time to the city of the patriarchs and the ancient Jewish heritage hidden there."