President Rivlin: Jews and Arabs Will Continue to Live in Hebron Under Any Peace Deal

'Hebron is not an obstacle to peace,' president tells local settlers, 'It is a test of our ability to live side by side'

File photo President Rivlin speaking at the President residence, February, 2017.
Mark Neyman/GPO

"Jews and Arabs will continue to live here together," President Reuven Rivlin exclaimed when he addressed hundreds of residents of the Kiryat Arba settlement near Hebron on Thursday evening, marking the 50th anniversary of the waht he called the "liberation of the City of the Patriarchs."

"After 50 years, the state must act to advance the lives of residents throughout the region," the president said. "I dont know if there will ever be a diplomatic agreement, but it is clear that in any agreement Jews and Arabs will continue to live here together." 

"David Ben-Gurion has already said that we will commit a terrible mistake if we do not settle Hebron as a growing Jewish settlement in the shortest possible time," Rivlin said. "Hebron deserves to be the sister of Jerusalem." he continued, "I am here 50 years now, and will be for another 50 years and for hundreds more," referring to the settlement of the city.

"It is important to remind everyone that the settlement in Hebron was established many years before the State of Israel. Kiryat Arba was founded by Yigal Alon, a member of the Labor movement. The first donor to the seminary was Ben-Gurion and Ha'aretz newspaper was among defenders of the settlement," Rivlin said, reflecting on the early days of the modern settlement's existence.

"Hebron is not and was never an obstacle to peace. It is a test of our ability to live side by side. The Hadassah clinic was used by all Jews and Arabs. Can we not rebuild it for the benefit of all the residents of Hebron?"