(JTA) – Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said Thursday that any peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians must feature a Jewish presence in Hebron.
Rivlin, a dovish member of Likud, made his remarks at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Six Day War.
“Hebron is not an obstacle to peace. Hebron is a test of our abilities to live together, side by side,” Rivlin said as he stood on a large outdoor stage in a concrete arena on the outskirts of the nearby settlement Kiryat Arba.
“I do not know if there will ever be a political agreement and, if there will be, what its nature will be. But it is clear that, in any agreements, Jews and Arabs will continue to live here,” he said.
The biblical city had a continuous Jewish presence until 1929 when the Arab massacre of 67 Hebron Jews destroyed the community. Jews were not allowed to settle in the city when it was under Jordanian control from 1948 until 1967.
After the Six Day War, the Kiryat Arba settlement was founded in 1968 with residents moving in three years later in 1971. Jews resettled Hebron in 1979.