Netanyahu Visits City of Hebron – A Major Place of Controversy

  • In the 1929 massacre 67 Jews were killed by Arab rioters and there were many incidents of rape, mutilation and torture.
  • In 1994, Israel physician Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslims praying at the Cave of the Patriachs killing 29 people.
  • After the June 1967 six day war Hebron came under Israel control.

Hebron is the city where the Cave of the Patriarchs is located and is a holy place for both Jews and Muslims. It is one of the most controversial areas in Israel with more national conflicts than other place. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made a special visit to the city of Hebron on Wednesday in commemoration and memorial service of the 1929 riots in the city also called the Hebron massacre.

Arab demonstrations burning a picture of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Sephardic and Ashkenazic Jews were living in Hebron for 800 years.  In the massacre 67 Jews were killed by Arab rioters and there were many incidents of rape, mutilation and torture. The Jews were forced to evacuate the town.  In 1931, 160 Jews attempted to return to Hebron and were met by opposition from Arab residents. The British government decided that it was impossible to defend these Jews and forced them to leave the town.

To mark the occasion, Netanyahu said, “We are not here to disinherit anyone, but no one will disinherit us.” The Knesset speaker cultural minister Miri Rigiv called for Netanyahu to annex the city of Hebron. “It is time that we uphold our pledge we have with the patriarchs and be sovereigns over the West Bank and Hebron. Tel Aviv and Hebron are no different.” The President of Israel Reuven Rivlin said at another non- political memorial service in Hebron, “Hebron is not a barrier for peace. It is all up to us and our will. Hope is where we stand. Jews have returned to the home of their fathers. Israel must work to improve the quality of life for all of its inhabitants.”

On the other side of Hebron there were Arab demonstrations and the burning of a picture of Netanyahu. President Trump has promised to reveal after the elections the Peace Plan of the Century which will include the city of Hebron and all of the West Bank. Chevron is more difficult than most places because of its ancient religious connection to Islam and Israel.

In 1950 the town of Hebron was under Jordanian rule. After the June 1967 six day war Hebron came under Israel control. Like Jerusalem, more than any other place Hebron is part of the glory of Israel.  The former Israel Prime Minister Ben Gurion in 1967 stated, in the cause of peace Israel should not take any parts of the conquered territories except for the city of Hebron, which is more Jewish than even Jerusalem.

The Cave of the Patriarchs or Tomb of the Patriarchs, known to Jews as the Cave of Machpelah and to Muslims as the Sanctuary of Abraham is a series of caves located in the heart of the old city of Hebron in the southern West Bank. According to the Abrahamic religions, the cave and adjoining field were purchased by Abraham as a burial plot. (Tomb of Isaac, c. 1911)

After the Oslo accords in 1993-1995 Hebron became divided in two parts H1 and H2.  The H1 section inhabited by about 120,000 Palestinians came under the control of the Palestinian authority. The H2 quarter with 600 Jewish residents and 37,000 Palestinians remained under Israel control. Adjacent to Hebron was built in 1968 a Jewish community called Kiryat Arba.  It is called Kiryat Arba which means the “community of four” in recognition of the four couples which are buried in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron. In 2018 there were 7,323 Jews living in Kiryat Arba, a few minutes from Hebron.

In the city of Hebron there has been an ongoing conflict between Arabs, Jews and the Israeli military. It has been the scene of many terrorist Arab activities as well as Jewish violence. In 1994, Israel physician Baruch Goldstein opened fire on Muslims praying at the Cave of the Patriachs killing 29 people. The Cave of the Patriarchs has been a place of prayer for Muslims from before 1967 when it was conquered by Israel. After it was conquered by Israel in 1967, the Israel military opened up the Cave of the Patriarchs for Jews to come and pray there.

In the Cave of the Patriarchs is buried four couples who are Adam and Eve, Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, Jacob and Leah. All of mankind have a connection to Adam and Eve because they are the first Biblical parents of all of humanity. Abraham is the father of the nation of Ishmael and the children of Ishmael the Arabs feel a close connection to Abraham.  The Cave is separated into two parts.  The Arabs pray in the section where is buried Isaac and Rebecca and below deeper in the earth Adam and Eve. The massacre by Baruch Goldstein took place in the Hall of Isaac. The other section of the Cave is used for Jewish prayer.  Soldiers supervise over the order of the place. Around the Cave are Arab stores and a Jewish community center.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites. www.progressivejewishspirituality.net
http://www.worldunitypeace.org

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