Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a cabinet meeting Wednesday by vowing that Jews would “remain forever” in Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs.
Speaking following the death earlier in the day of Genadi Kaufman, 41, who was stabbed outside of the Hebron holy site on December 7 by a Palestinian terrorist, Netanyahu opened the meeting by expressing condolences to the family.
“Genadi was the gardener of the Tomb of the Patriarchs. He was stabbed in a murderous attack a few weeks ago. Sadly, he did not recover,” Netanyahu said, adding: “This morning, too, I say to anyone who wants to uproot us from the Tomb of the Patriarchs: Except for a few years in the last century, we’ve been there almost 4,000 years. We will remain there forever. You cannot defeat us.”
Kaufman succumbed to his injuries at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center.
A spokesman for the hospital announced Kaufman’s death “with great sorrow.”
“Despite the struggle of the hospital doctors for three and a half weeks he didn’t survive the very serious wounds he suffered,” the spokeswoman said.
He was a resident of the settlement of Kiryat Arba, adjacent to Hebron, and a father of two.
He is the 25th fatality in the recent wave of Palestinian terror attacks since October.
Israel Police said the terrorist was shot dead by security forces at the scene.
At the time, police said Kaufman arrived at the hospital’s trauma center with severe injuries and connected to a respirator. The Magen David Adom rescue service said he was in stable condition upon arrival at Shaare Zedek, where he was treated for multiple stab wounds to the chest.
Hebron has been a flashpoint in the recent wave of stabbing, shooting and vehicular attacks that has swept the country since October.
The Tomb of the Patriarchs, shared by Jews and Muslims who both revere it as the final resting place of the biblical patriarch Abraham and his kin, has been a particular source of tension in the city.
AFP contributed to this report.