|Hebron (2003 est. pop. 155,000)is in the West Bank situated at an altitude of 3,000 ft (910 m) in a region where grapes, cereal grains, and vegetables are grown. Tanning, food processing, glassblowing, and the manufacture of sheepskin coats are the major industries. The city is also a road junction.
Hebron has usually had a significant Jewish population, although following Arab riots in 1929 most Jews left and did not return until after the Israeli occupation following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when numerous Jewish settlements were established outside Hebron. One of Judaism's four holy cities, Hebron is also a sacred place for Muslims. The site of ancient Hebron, which antedates the biblical record, has not been precisely determined. The Bible first mentions Hebron in connection with Abraham. The cave of Machpelah (also called the Cave of the Patriarchs; now enclosed by the Mosque of Ibrahim) is the traditional burial place of Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. Midrash tells us that Abraham selected the Cave of Machpeleh to bury Sarah because Adam and Eve are buried there.
King David ruled from Hebron for seven years before moving his capital to Jerusalem, and Absalom began his revolt in Hebron.
Hebron figured in many wars in Palestine. It was taken (2d cent. BC) by Judas Maccabeus (see Maccabees ) and temporarily destroyed by the Romans. In 636 it was conquered by the Arabs and made an important place of pilgrimage, later to be seized (1099) by the Crusaders and renamed St. Abraham, and retaken (1187) by Saladin . It later became (16th cent.) part of the Ottoman Empire.
In the 20th century Hebron was incorporated (1922-48) in the League of Nations Palestine mandate, and in 1948 it was absorbed by Jordan. As one of the major towns in the Israeli-occupied West Bank , the city became a focus of Jewish-Arab tensions. The emergence of the Intifada in the 1980s was accompanied by an escalation of violence, and in 1994 the Mosque of Ibrahim was the site of the murder of Muslim worshipers by an extremist Israeli settler. Under the agreement establishing "Palestinian" self-rule in the West Bank, the Israeli occupation of Hebron was scheduled to end by Mar., 1996. Due to the unrelenting violence and barbarity of the "Palistinians" this didn't occur. After setbacks and delays, most of the town of Hebron was handed over to Palestinian control in Jan., 1997.
Hebron remains a city under siege.
IDF soldiers are everywhere to be seen. Some citizens carry sidearms. There are dozens of security checkpoints.
Hebron is 80% Moslem, 20% Jewish. There are 93 Jewish families in Hebron.
Within Hebron are the graves of Abraham and Sarah, Yitzchok and Rivka & Yaakov and Rachael. A midrash that tells us that Abraham had Sarah buried in the Cave of Machpeleh because he knew that Adam and Eve are buried there.
The building over the Cave of Machpeleh is shared by Moslems and Jews with the Moslems controlling the majority. There are seperate entrances for Jews and Moslems.
Due to security concerns and time constraints I didn't have the opportunity to see much of Hebron. My pictures are limited to only a couple neighborhoods. What I saw reminded me of the pictures I saw of wartime Bosnia.
In spite of the lean living conditions and dangers there are four hundred Jewish families on the list of people who have made application to move to Hebron. Only families are allowed to move there.
Support Hebron in every way you can. Do not allow Hebron to fall to the Moslems. Every inch of ground in Israel is precious Jewish soil.