Hebron, also known as Al-Khalil in Arabic, is an ancient city located 32 kilometers south of Jerusalem. It 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. Hebron is a city 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.
Another 7,000 Israelis live in the suburb of Qiryat Arba (or Kiryat Arba), on the outskirts of Hebron. The name Hebron can derive from the Hebrew word to have, which means friend, or from the Arabic word to have, which means barn. 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”, has an almost identical derivation and also refers to Abraham (Ibrahim), whom Muslims similarly describe as the friend of God. Hebron is famous 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 home to the University of Hebron and the Polytechnic University of Palestine. Hebron plays a central role in many biblical stories. It was the prominent city in the Judean highlands, with large fortifications in the Early Bronze Age, the Middle Bronze Age and the Iron Age. During the Second Temple period, Hebron was occupied by the Idumites. Recent archaeological excavations have discovered large mikvaot (ritual baths), indicating that the inhabitants embraced Judaism. Towards the end of the period of cross rule, in 1166 Maimonides was able to visit Hebron and wrote: “The administration and local services for the Jewish community in Hebron are provided by the Hebron Municipal Committee, created by the Ministries of Defense and Interior, and whose functions are similar to those of the ordinary local councils of Israel.” On August 20, 1929, after Arab attacks in Jerusalem, leaders of Haganah proposed to defend Jews from Yishuv in Hebron or help them evacuate. During the first war against Romans, Hebron was conquered by Simon Bar Giora, leader of Sicarii.
It is indicated as a red dot on path of central ridge that goes from Jerusalem in north through Bethlehem to Beersheba in south. The seal probably belonged to one of Hebron's officers, perhaps person responsible for fortification works. After more than a year and a half of turmoil and a bloody Arab attack on settlers of Hebron, government agreed to allow Levinger's group to establish a city on outskirts. The Ministry of Housing and Construction has created “Association for Renewal of Jewish Community of Hebron” to carry out projects in city. During Byzantine period, Hebron was small town but considered sacred place because of its historic burial site. Jews continued to live in Hebron after conquest by Arabs (in 63), whose generally tolerant rule was well received after Byzantine rule often harsh. The University of Hebron (197) offers courses in religion and arts and sciences with teaching provided in Arabic and English.
According to Assyrian clay tablet Sennacherib conquered 46 cities in Judea including Hebron as found in 1999 excavations in form of ash layer. During 1967 war same day Israeli troops entered Hebron IDF chaplain placed Torah scroll inside mosque. Hebron is one of holiest ancient cities in Holy Land and place where nation's roots and origins lie. When Judea was re-established in Persian period Hebron and its surroundings had already been assimilated to Idumea which continued to dominate this region also during Hellenistic period.