The IDF issued an order on Thursday giving Hebron’s Jewish community official municipal standing.
“By force of the order, an administration will be established to represent the residents of the Jewish neighborhood in Hebron and to provide them with municipal services in a variety of fields,” the IDF said.
Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan said the move will give the new municipal administration the ability to provide local services to the approximately 1,000 Jews who live in Hebron, which has 220,000 Palestinian residents.
Located south of Jerusalem in the Judean hills, Hebron is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world and is home to the Cave of the Patriarchs, one of Judaism’s holiest sites, where several biblical patriarchs and matriarchs are entombed.
As part of the 1997 Wye Agreement, Hebron was split up between Israeli and Palestinian jurisdictions. Under the agreement, 80 percent of the city was placed under Palestinian Authority control, with 20 percent under IDF control.
“It is very important to strengthen Hebron’s Jewish community, which for many years has fallen between the cracks when it comes to receiving municipal services,” Israel Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said.