JERUSALEM (JTA) — Israel’s Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar announced a plan to bring Israeli students to visit the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron.
The plan, which was announced Tuesday, reportedly isn’t going over well with many school administrators or students.
The site, located in the West Bank, is said to be where Judaism’s forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and foremothers Sarah, Rivka and Leah are buried. It is also holy to Muslims, who call it the al-Ibrahimi mosque.
A pilot of the program is set to begin next year. The program is similar to one instituted in recent years to bring schoolchildren from throughout the country to Jerusalem.
Sa’ar said Tuesday during a visit to Hebron that former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who he served as Cabinet secretary, wanted the state to ensure that every Jewish student visited the area and the shrine.
In interviews in the Jewish media, opponents said visiting the tomb would turn an educational trip into a political one. Others said the trip would be acceptable as long as the students also studied the plight of the Palestinians living in Hebron.