Israel’s Defense Minister Naftali Bennett gave final orders on Sunday for the installation of an elevator at Me’aras Hamachpelah to make it accessible to people with disabilities, overriding long term obstruction by the Chevron municipality.
In order to enable the improvement, the Defense Ministry placed the project under the auspices of the Civil Administration, effectively transferring municipal authority from Palestinian Authority in the city, according to The Jerusalem Post. Operation of Me’aras Hamachpelah itself is under the authority of the IDF.
Given the Palestinians’ refusal to cooperate, Bennett said:
“The time has come to move forward. We have green-lighted the elevator project to end the many years of discrimination at the site. Every person, irrespective of whether or not they are disabled, should have the opportunity to visit [this] important Jewish heritage site,” Bennett said.
“This is what it means to develop the settlements, with deeds and not words. I thank the prime minister and the foreign minister for their help in this matter,” he added.
The elevator plan was approved by the Prime Minister’s Office, the Foreign Ministry and the Justice Ministry.
Jews and Arabs alike will be allowed use of the elevator.