Hebron is one of the oldest cities in the region, with a population of approximately 160,000 Palestinians and 700 Jews. It is the largest Palestinian city and the commercial capital of the West Bank, generating about 30 percent of the West Bank economy. The city is divided between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli control, with 20 percent of the city under direct Israeli control. Palestinians living in or passing through Hebron are subject to checkpoints and a ban on traveling on several major streets, unlike Jewish settlers.
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. 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. It is known for its glass production, driven by Bedouin trading networks that brought minerals from the Dead Sea. The custom, known as the “table of Abraham” (simāt al-khalil), was similar to that established by the Fatimids and found its most famous expression in Hebron.
The Hebrew word Hebron derives from the Hebrew word for friend (who has), a description of Patriarch Abraham. In 1967, Israeli troops entered Hebron and placed a Torah scroll inside the mosque. Both countries appointed military governors in the city, hoping to gain recognition from Hebron officials. In January 1997, after nearly thirty years of controlling the city, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) withdrew from 80 percent of the municipal territory of Hebron.
In late February, an Israeli court ruled that the Israeli military could continue to use a building in Hebron built mostly on private Palestinian land, arguing that the Jewish presence in the West Bank is part of the Israeli military's security doctrine. The Ja'bari tribe, made up of about 35,000 people and headed by Sheikh Farid Khader, is considered one of the most important tribes in Hebron. There is a spring from which water flows out from under a stone and is led by a canal to a place outside the city where they have built a covered tank to collect water. Just an hour's drive from Jerusalem, it's a rewarding place to visit.
Hebron is an ancient city with a complex history and current political situation. It has been divided between Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israeli control since 1997, with Palestinians living in or passing through it subject to checkpoints and restrictions on travel that do not apply to Jewish settlers. The Ministry of Housing and Construction has created an association to carry out projects in Hebron, while an Israeli court recently ruled that Jewish presence in Hebron is part of Israel's security doctrine.