US actor Gere compares West Bank town to 'Old South'

JERUSALEM — Actor Richard Gere has compared life for Palestinians in the West Bank city of Hebron to segregation in the United States.

The "Pretty Woman" star toured Hebron this week with Breaking the Silence, a group of Israeli ex-soldiers who criticize Israeli policies in the West Bank.

During the visit, Gere said "it's exactly what the Old South was in America," according to a clip aired Wednesday by Israel's Channel 2 TV.

About 850 Israeli settlers in Hebron live in heavily-guarded enclaves, surrounded by tens of thousands of Palestinians.

Much of the animosity in the biblical city is over a holy site known to Jews as the Tomb of the Patriarchs and to Muslims as the Ibrahimi Mosque. The city has been a flashpoint in the recent wave of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

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