Hebron is one of the oldest cities in the world that still exists and is a sacred city in the Bible. It is located in the West Bank and has a population of about 20,000 people, 85 percent of whom are Muslims and the rest are mostly Jewish. In the Islamic tradition, Hebron is one of the four most sacred cities, along with Mecca, Medina, and Jerusalem. It is also an important pilgrimage site for Muslims due to its connection to Abraham, the founder of monotheism and forerunner of Mohammed.
In addition, some Muslims believe that Hebron was a stop along Mohammed's miraculous nighttime journey to Jerusalem. In the Old Testament, Hebron is associated with the story of Abraham. It is believed that he resided there after his arrival in the land of Israel. A mile or more northwest of Hebron is the famous MAMRE oak, or the oak of Abraham, near which the Russians have erected a hospice.
During the Muslim period, Hebron was respected by the Crusaders who called it Castellum ad Sanctum Abraham. In 1870, a wealthy Turkish Jew named Haim Yisrael Romano moved to Hebron and bought land on which his family built a large residence and a guest house, which was renamed Beit Romano. After the creation of the State of Israel in 1948 and the invasion of Arab armies, Hebron was captured and occupied by the Jordanian Arab Legion. Following an agreement reached in 1997, part of Hebron came under the administration of the Palestinian Authority (PA), while part of it remained under Israeli control. In April 1979, a group of Jews from Kiryat Arba moved to Beit Hadassah and permanently re-established Hebron's own Jewish community.
The efforts of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee to restore vitality to the Old City were recognized and praised by the Aga Khan Foundation in 1998. Hebron is an important city in both Islamic and Jewish traditions due to its connection to Abraham. It has been respected by many different cultures throughout history and continues to be an important pilgrimage site for Muslims today. The efforts to restore vitality to its Old City have been successful and it remains an important part of both Palestinian and Israeli culture.