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Construction Begins on Elevator for Tomb of the Patriarchs

Tomb of the Patriarchs; photo by Ooman for Wikipedia

The first-ever elevator to the King Herod-era structure that houses the ancient Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron, close to Jerusalem, is expected to be completed within six months, according to Israel Defense Forces (IDF), The Jerusalem Post reports. After a long delay, construction to make the biblical site wheelchair-accessible for the first time began in early August. The project has been controversial both from an archaeological perspective and because of its intersection with the dynamics of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the source reports. The elevator is planned to be built outside the structure, which some say would harm the visual historic aesthetics of the site. The Israeli right has long pushed for an elevator so that disabled worshippers can visit the tombs. The Defense Ministry has said construction of the elevator should be carried out by its Engineering and Construction Division under the supervision of the Civil Administration’s chief of archaeology. The project will also include a small access road from the nearby parking lot, as well as a small wheelchair-accessible footbridge that will be open to worshippers of all denominations.

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