On February 15, 2010, the Netanyahu government stunned the Islamic neighbors with the announcement of a five year plan that would cost about NIS 500 million to renovate the infrastructure of appointed National Heritage sites that were important to global Jewry and their Hebrew-Jewish-Zionistic legacy. This was outlined at a recent Herzliya Conference, and reported by Haaretz News, when Netanyahu spoke these words: "The guarantee of Israel's continued existence lies not only in weapons systems, or in the strength of our army, or in our economical strength and inventiveness, our exports, or in any of the other crucial factors,” but as he went on to explain depends on the emotional attachment of the children to the Land of Israel that are provided by their parents and the educational system in Israel in the knowledge of their heritage.
He introduced the national proposal to begin the construction of two Israeli Heritage Trails that will traverse the entire length and breadth of Israel. This trail would be in addition and interconnection with the existing Israel Trail, a historical trail interconnecting important archeological sites in Jewish history and the “Israeli Experience” trail that would interlink dozens of Israel’s historical, religious landmarks plus museums and memorial arenas. All in all there were 37 archeological sites as candidates for upgrade to continuous tourist attractions to add to those that are already popular tourist sites; Caesarea National Park and Mount Masada.
Other sites were to be scheduled for important restoration and repair such as; Tel Lachish plus the ancient synagogue near Sde Amudim, the Golani Junction near the Galilee city of Tiberias. There were other sites that would be included on the historical trail that included; Neot Kedumim, Susia, Qumran, Beit Shea’am, Tel Meggido, Tiberias, Tel Arad, Tel Dan, plus the famous archeological restoration at the site of King David’s Palace in the City of David and the newly restored Solomonic Walls in Jerusalem. All in all, over 109 historical projects were on the drawing board for restoration
The historical program for at least 39 separate locations would include a documentation center overseeing the national site’s archives plus a conference center and training facility that would train Israelis on the science and art of document preservation and historical artifact collections at various heritage sites that would include, Independence Hall in Tel Aviv, the historic Jezreel Valley railway, and the famous Dead Sea town of Ein Gedi. Through all of these sites would be the building of a collection of Jewish movie archives in honor of the renowned American-Jewish movie director, Steven Spielberg.
With considerable pressure of the Orthodox Jewish interests in Israel, the State of Israel a few days later went on to include the Cave of the Patriarchs (Cave of Machpelah, reputed to be the traditional burial sites of Abraham and his wife, Sara, plus his son, Isaac and daughter in law, Rebekah and grandson Jacob with his wife Leah. Also with renowned Machpelah site, the Tomb of Rebecca, the favorite wife of the Patriarch Jacob located on the outskirts of Bethlehem and the Tomb of Joseph also received the heritage status by Netanyahu’s government as they were located in currently Palestinian controlled areas of Samaria and Judea.
This decision to bring the official Zionists government’s intent in honor of the Jewish profound attachment to the Land of Israel, even if it is in disputed or actual Arab controlled sites caused the Palestinian Leader, Mahmoud Abbas, recognized as a “moderate” to begin threatening a “Holy War” over the Jewish people appearing to take control over their historical and cultural legacy of sites including the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb. Even though He threatened Israel, as he spoke to the European Union parliamentarian meeting in Brussels with the threat that adding those sites to Israel’s national heritage site was a “dangerous provocation” that would no doubt lead to a “religious war.”
According to Israel Today, Israeli governmental spokesman, Mark Regev, “denying the Jews their religious and historical ties to the land is not a way to make peace.” As quoted in the Jerusalem Post, he continued, "Just as Israel understands the Muslim connection to the Tomb of the Patriarchs, we are entitled to hear from the Palestinian side that they respect our connection to a site that is very important to the Jewish people, "It is disappointing to hear other messages from the Palestinian leadership."
Rather than support the conciliatory need for mutual relationships between the Palestinian and the Jews, the United Nations special coordinator for the Middle East, Robert Serry further fragments their pro-Palestinian bias by expressing the UN’s deep concern for the Jewish state’s audacity in officially recognizing its ties to the two sites so sacred to the Jews.