Also known as the Tomb of the Patriarchs, there isn’t a day where buses from all over Israel aren’t bringing thousands of pilgrims to Hebron to pray at the site of our patriarchs and matriarchs and connect to thousands of years of biblical ancestry.
Despite there being only a very small number of Jews living in Hebron and in the surrounding Jewish community of Kiryat Arba, the Jewish connection to Hebron is eternal and thriving!
From being one of the holiest cities in Israel to the burial place of our Biblical ancestors, here are five fascinating facts about Hebron!
In the Old Testament, he is mentioned 62 times. According to the Old Testament, Abraham, the founder of the Jewish people, paid 400 shekels of fine silver for the Cave of the Patriarchs, also called the Cave of Machpelah. Hebron is one of the oldest cities in the world, it was here that King David began to reign.
2. The Cave of the Patriarchs, (the Cave of Machpelah) is the oldest building in the world that has been functioning for more than 2000 years.
Here the forefathers and foremothers of the Jewish people were buried – Abraham and Sarah, Yitzhak and Rivka, Yaakov and Leah.
Muslims added minarets to the Jewish construction of The Cave of the Patriarchs to give the building a Muslim look. For 700 years of Muslim rule (the Mamluk, Turkish, and Jordanian), Jews were forbidden to enter The Cave of the Patriarchs.
3. It is considered that Adam and Eve were buried there first.
The cave held significance even before Abraham purchased it. After Adam was banished from the Garden of Eden, G‑d Himself prepared a place near the entrance to the Garden, hewed out of rock, where he would bury Adam, the patriarchs and the matriarchs. The cave belonged to Ephron, but only Abraham was spiritually sensitive enough to know of its significance.
4. Jews have lived in Hebron for thousands of years.
In addition to the references in the Old Testament and archaeological finds, there are also written evidence found in both Jewish and non-Jewish historical documents, as well as in travelers’ records, starting from the 1st c. AD
5. Today, Jewish citizens of Israel are only allowed in 20% of the city of Hebron.
In 1997, Israel gave up control over most of the Hebron, ceding it to the local authorities as part of the so-called peace process. It retained control of the remaining 20% where the small Jewish population resides, an area known as H2.
Over the years, a number of families have moved into the city and the thriving community of Kiryat Arba. Recently a significant addition was made to the site of the Cave of the Patriarchs, an elevator made it accessible to the elderly, disabled, pregnant and all those who were previously unable to visit and pray because of the number of steep stairs they needed to climb to reach the Tombs.
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