Hebron is a city located in the southern region of Judea, in the West Bank, 30 km south of Jerusalem. It is home to some 120,000 Palestinians and 600 to 800 Israeli settlers, with another 7,000 Israelis living in the suburb of Qiryat Arba (or Kiryat Arba). Hebron is renowned for its grape workshops, limestone, ceramics and blown glass factories. The old city of Hebron is characterized by its narrow and winding streets, stone houses with flat roofs and ancient bazaars.
It is also home to the University of Hebron and the Polytechnic University of Palestine. Today, with a population of around 250,000 people, Hebron is the largest Palestinian city and the commercial capital of the West Bank. It generates about 30 percent of the West Bank economy. Just an hour's drive from Jerusalem, it's a rewarding place to visit. Hebron has a long and rich history. It was an ancient royal Canaanite city, which according to archaeological findings was probably founded in 3,500 BC.
The Hebrew word Hebron derives from the Hebrew word for friend (who has), a description of Patriarch Abraham. After the destruction of the First Temple, most of the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron were exiled and the Edomites took their place around 587 BC. In later centuries, Hebron was administered under the rule of successive Muslim dynasties which, with the exception of a period of cross control in the 12th century., managed the city in turn from its conquest in 635 AD until the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire after the First World War. In 1870, a wealthy Turkish Jew, Haim Yisrael Romano, moved to Hebron and bought land on which his family built a large residence and guest house, which was renamed Beit Romano. In 1968, a group of Jews led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger rented the main hotel in Hebron and then refused to leave. After more than a year and a half of turmoil and a bloody Arab attack on the settlers of Hebron, the government agreed to allow Levinger's group to establish a city on the outskirts of the city.
This community was called Kiryat Arba and today it is home to approximately 6,650 Jews. The building called the Tomb of the Patriarchs because it houses Sarah, Isaac and Jacob as well as Abraham is divided to serve both Jewish and Muslim faithful. After an initial period of deliberation, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol's worker-led government decided to temporarily move Jews from Hebron to a nearby IDF compound while building Kiryat Arba. The two most public examples of descendants' opinions are the 1997 statement made by an association composed of some descendants who dissociate themselves from then current Jewish settlers in Hebron and describe them as obstacles to peace. Today, Hebron has a population of approximately 160,000 Palestinians, mostly Sunni Muslims. The Jewish community is comprised of approximately 700 people including approximately 150 yeshiva students. In addition, Old City of Hebron has been considered one of the best-preserved medieval cities in the world with a number of surviving structures from Mamluk and Ottoman periods.