Hebron, City of the Patriarchs
The Jewish Community of Hebron
Year 46 of the Liberation of Hebron
29 Iyar 5773
Hebron is Jerusalem’s Sister
by - David Ben-Gurion
18 Shvat 5730
25 Jan. 1970
Three cities hold a great and unique place in the ancient history of our people: Shechem, Hebron and Jerusalem. In the Book of Genesis (Bereshit) we are told that Terach took his son Abram, his nephew Lot and his daughter-in-law Sarai, Abram’s wife and left Ur Kasdim bound for Canan. On route they reached Haran and dwelt there. Terach died in Haran.
Then the Almighty said to Abram: “Go forth from your land, from your birth place and from your father’s house to the land that I shall show you…and Abram went forth as he had been told by the Eternal…and he took with him Sarai his wife, Lot his nephew, all their possessions and the souls that they had acquired in Haran…and they came to the Land of Canan. And Abram passed through the land until the place Shechem…and the Eternal appeared to Abram and said, “Unto your children shall I give this land.” There Abram built there an altar unto the Eternal who had appeared to him-and Abram continued his journey shouthward … and Abram made his camp and came and settled in the Plains of Mamre that are in Hebron and he built an alter to the Almighty.” (Genesis 12-B).
Hebrew history begins in Hebron. In Hebron…there arose the first Hebrew armed force, which battled with four great kings:…because they had captured Abram’s nephew Lot and his property. When Abram heard this in Hebron, he immediately mobilized 318 of his followers and pursued the four kings up to Dan in the north, where he attacked at night and destroyed them, and rescued all the property and his nephew Lot, the women and the rest of the captives. This was the first war in Jewish history, which ended not merely with victory, but also with a demonstration of Abram’s breadth of spirit…
29 Iyyar 5773
Erev Rosh Chodesh Sivan
Yom Kippur Katan
Day 44 of the Omer
“The city is most notable for containing the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs and is therefore considered the second-holiest city in Judaism after Jerusalem.”
It was returned to Jewish hands the day after Jerusalem was liberated in 1967, until Bibi Netanyahu signed most of it away to the Arabs in 1997.
Go visit your grandparents!
The city of Hevron, approximately 20 miles south of Jerusalem in the Judean Hills, has been linked to the Jewish people from time immemorial. It is, after Jerusalem, the most sacred city for the Jewish people. Today, about 1,000 Jews live in four small neighborhoods of the city: Avraham Avinu, Beit Hadassah, Tel Romano, and a region above Tel Rumeida where mobile homes are located. The population comprises some 100 families as well as 250 students studying at the Yeshivat Shavei Hevron in Tel Romano.
Within Hevron, near the Jewish neighborhoods, is the Cave of Machpelah, the Tomb of the Patriarchs. An exceedingly ancient site of enormous religious significance to Jews, it too is under Israeli control today. Immediately to the east of Hebron is the modern Jewish municipality of Kiryat Arba; founded in 1971, it now boasts 6,5000 residents and provides services-schools, stores, clinics-upon which the Jewish residents of Hevron rely.
Hevron-sometimes referred to as Mamre, and sometimes as Kiryat Arba-is mentioned 78 times in the Bible. The Jewish connection to this ancient city begins with Abraham: After entering Canaan some 3,700 years ago, he came to live in Hebron, which is where he learned of G-d’s promise of the land to his seed. When his wife Sarah died, he purchased a family burial cave and surrounding field in Hebron from Ephron the Hittite for 400 measures of silver. That burial cave is the Cave of Machpelah, where all of the matriarchs, save Rachel, and all of the patriarchs are buried.