Transport Minister Promises to Invest Millions in Jewish Hebron

Likud minister Katz says Israel 'supports settlements' won't be cowed by 'diplomatic compulsions'.

Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) on Tuesday visited the West Bank city of Hebron, where he promised settlers he would invest millions of shekels to improve the road connecting Kiryat Arba to the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

"I came here to strengthen Hebron and our ties to the forefathers of our nation", Katz said, adding that the government "supports settlement and our bonds will not be severed by diplomatic compulsions."

Katz was joined by Religious Affairs Minister Yaakov Margi (Shas), with whom he toured Hebron and nearby Kiryat Arba. The two were reportedly struck by the difficulties faced by the residents of the city's Jewish enclave, especially in regard to their access to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a Jewish holy site.

During their visit to the holy site, the two ministers vowed to bring funding for the construction of a new roof for the building, as well as an expansion of the prayer hall.

Hebron is one of the more hotly contested areas of the West Bank, and is home to a Jewish community of around 500 who are surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.