Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) is located 32 kilometers south of Jerusalem and is built on several hills and wadis, most of which run from north to south. It is explained that the Hebrew word Hebron derives from the Hebrew word for friend (who has), a description of Patriarch Abraham. The Arabic Al-Khalil, literally “the friend”, is almost identical in origin and also refers to Abraham (Ibrahim), whom Muslims similarly describe as the friend of God. Hebron is one of the oldest continuously occupied cities in the world and has been an important focus of religious worship for more than two millennia.
Jews continued to live in Hebron after the conquest of the city by the Arabs (in 63), whose generally tolerant rule was well received, especially after the often harsh Byzantine rule. The Arabs converted the Byzantine church of the Tomb of the Patriarchs into a mosque. Despite the events of 1517, its widespread poverty and a devastating plague in 1619, the Jewish community of Hebron grew. During the Turkish period (1517-191), groups of Jews from other parts of the Land of Israel and the diaspora moved to Hebron, joining the existing community, and the city became a renowned rabbinical center.
In 1775, the Jewish community in Hebron was shaken by blood defamation, in which Jews were falsely accused of murdering the son of a local sheik. The community, which was largely supported by donations from abroad, was forced to pay a crushing fine, further worsening its already unstable economic situation. Despite its poverty, the community managed, in 1807, to buy a plot of land of 5 dunams in which today the city's wholesale market is located and, after several years, the sale was recognized by the Waqf of Hebron. In 1811, 800 dunams of land were purchased to expand the cemetery.
In 1817, the Jewish community numbered approximately 500 people and, by 1838, it had grown to 700, despite the pogrom that took place in 1834, during Mohammed Ali's rebellion against the Ottomans (1831-1840). 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. Later, the building housed a synagogue and served as a yeshiva, before it was occupied by the Turks. During the mandatory period, the building served the British administration as a police station, pre-trial detention center and court.
During the First World War, before the British occupation, the Jewish community suffered a lot under the Turkish administration in times of war. Young men were forcibly recruited into the Turkish army, financial assistance abroad was interrupted, and the community was threatened by hunger and disease. However, with the establishment of the British administration in 1918, the community, reduced to 430 people, began to recover. In 1925, Rabbi Mordechai Epstein established a new yeshiva and, by 1929, the population had increased again to 700.
A total of 59 of the 67 victims were buried in a mass grave in the Jewish cemetery (including 23 who had been killed and dismembered in a single house), and the surviving Jews fled to Jerusalem. During the violence, Haj Issa el-Kourdieh, a local Arab who lived in a house in the Jewish Quarter, housed 33 Jews in his basement and protected them from the rebelling mob. However, this effort was short-lived and, in April 1936, out of fear of another massacre, the British authorities evacuated the community. The owners of Arab hotels in Hebron had been through difficult times.
For years they had served the Jordanian aristocracy, who visited it regularly to enjoy the cool, dry air of Hebron. The Six-Day War forced tourists to change their travel plans. As a result, the Arab owners of the Park Hotel were delighted to accept the envelope full of cash that Rabbi Levinger placed at the reception. In exchange, they agreed to rent the hotel to an unlimited number of people for an unspecified period.
That same year, a Palestinian threw a grenade at Jews who were praying in the grave and wounded 47, including an 8-month-old boy. Since then, the city has been the scene of violence on several occasions. In 2001, a sniper shot 10-month-old Shalhevet Pass in his stroller. In 2003, a pregnant Israeli woman and her husband died when a suicide bomber detonated next to them in the market on Shuhada Street.
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. Another 6,650 Jews live in the adjacent community of Kiryat Arba. Local administration and services for the Jewish community in Hebron are provided by the Hebron Municipal Committee, which was established by the Ministries of Defense and Interior, and whose functions are similar to those of ordinary local councils in Israel.
The Ministry of Housing and Construction has created the “Association for the Renewal of the Jewish Community of Hebron”, to carry out projects in the city. The Association is financed both from the state budget and from private contributions. It deals with the general development of, and for, the Jewish community. The climate of Hebron, since biblical times, has encouraged extensive agriculture.
Farmers in the Hebron region often grow fruits such as grapes and plums. In addition to agriculture, the local economy depends on crafts, small and medium scale industry and construction. Hebron is also one of the most important markets in the Palestinian Authority. In January 1997, after nearly thirty years of control of the city, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from 80 percent of the municipal territory of Hebron.
This redeployment, initially agreed in the Interim Agreement (Oslo II) of September 1995, was postponed for several months until a new agreement was reached, the “Protocol Relating to Redeployment in Hebron”. In the Hebron Protocol, a distinction is made between the “H1” and “H2" zones of Hebron. The state of most of the city, “H1”, is similar to that of “Zone A”. The Palestinian Police Forces (PPF) exercise total control over “H1”, which the IDF cannot enter unless they are escorted by Palestinian security forces.
The IDF maintains indirect control over this part of the city by occasionally setting up checkpoints at entrances or closing these access points. In the remaining part of the city, “H2”, Israel maintains a military presence and controls various aspects of the daily life of Palestinians. Palestinian civil institutions operate under certain restrictions imposed by the Israeli military administration. When it comes to the PPF, they are only present when they participate in joint IDF-led patrols.
Shuhada Street (“street of the martyrs” in Arabic) is a small road in the Old City that passes through the “H2” road that connects the western and eastern parts of the city. It was once the site of a bustling Palestinian market before the city was divided. Traffic on this street is strictly controlled by the IDF to protect the 85 Jewish families in the neighborhood. A number of restrictions are imposed on Palestinian motorists who want to use it.
There used to be a bus station located along Shuhada Street, but it was closed in 1986 and later converted into an Israeli military complex. Palestinians who are not residents of the H-2 cannot enter Shuhada Street. Qasba itself is no longer among the city's most densely populated areas. Since the first half of the 20th century, its population declined from 8,000 to a few hundred.
To reverse this evolution, local Palestinian authorities, since 1997, have made a continuous effort to renovate, rehabilitate and develop the Old City. This led to an increase in the number of families moving to the Qasba. Similarly, efforts are being made to highlight their cultural heritage. During the 1967 war, the same day that Israeli troops entered Hebron, the IDF chaplain placed a Torah scroll inside the mosque.
This initiative made it possible for Jews to hold prayers and religious services in various parts of the sanctuary, sometimes at the same time and in the same place as Muslims. This caused widespread outrage, as Muslims argued that the installation of a synagogue inside the sanctuary called into question the Muslim character of the place. Download our mobile app to access the Jewish Virtual Library from anywhere. After an initial period of deliberation, Prime Minister Levi Eshkol's worker-led government decided to temporarily move the group to a nearby IDF compound, while building a new community, called Kiryat Arba, next to Hebron.
The Jews returned to Hebron only after the six-day war (196), after the city returned to Israeli control. Beit Hadassah is a famous monument in Hebron, since it was here that the re-establishment of the Jewish presence began in May 1979. After overwhelming the entire opposition, Kamil appointed Salama Amr, brother and strong rival of Abd al Rachman, as a Nazir of the Hebron region. The destruction of Judea led the Southern Idumites to occupy the region of Hebron, after the Nabateans expelled them from their country in Transjordan. The area around Hebron was captured in 110 BC.
C. by the Hashmonean king John Hyrcanus (who reigned between 134 and 104 BC. C.), as part of his campaign against the Idumaeans. On Sunday, Marheshvan, 9th (October 17th), I left Jerusalem and went to Hebron to kiss the graves of my ancestors in the cave.
According to an Assyrian clay tablet, Sennacherib conquered 46 cities in Judea, including Hebron, as found in the 1999 excavations in the form of an ash layer. A group of 10 women and 40 children entered the first floor of the building, inside the Arab city of Hebron. Hebron revived later, in the 7th century BC. C., but was attacked again by Babylonian forces in 589 BC.
(Neo-Babylonian Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed the Kingdom of Judah completely in 586-9 BC. C.). The PEF report on the location of Tel Hebron, the ruins of the biblical city, includes the following (p. In one of these villages there is a spring, from which water flows out from under a stone, but not in abundance; and it is led by a canal, dug in the ground, to a place outside the city (of Hebron), where they have built a covered tank to collect water.
Most of the excavation places were covered by the Arab landowner, so the ruins could not be seen on the hillside. . .