The city of Hebron has had Biblical and Historical significance ever since the time of the Patriarch Abraham. It was the first claim ever purchased in the future land of Israel by one of Israel’s ancestors. Abraham bought the field and cave of Machpelah from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place for his wife Sarah. Eventually, all three of Israel’s forefathers and all the foremothers (except for Rachel) were buried in the cave.
When the nation of Israel returned from their exile in Egypt, the city of Hebron, the burial site of Israel’s ancestry, was allotted to Caleb, son of Jephunneh, from the tribe of Judah. He had been one of the spies sent into the Promised Land. Later this same city became the capital of King David’s kingdom for 7 years before David moved it to Jerusalem where all Israel was united under his reign.
For millennia, Hebron has continuously played a role in the history of the Jewish people. From Judah Maccabee to Herod the great, from Abraham the Patriach to the Jews of today, every generation from the nation of Israel has had a connection to the city of Hebron.
The Jewish presence remained unbroken until the Hebron massacre of 1929, when sixty-seven Jews were murdered and some sixty others wounded. This brutal and organized attack, perpetrated by local Arabs, destroyed much of the Jewish community of Hebron. The survivors fled, and all attempts to reestablish a Jewish presence in the city were unsuccessful. In 1967, upon Israel’s liberation of Judea and Samaria, a small group of courageous women and men, returned and made Hebron their home.
Today, inside the modern city of Hebron live 86 Jewish families, or approximately 700 people in all. This small group of Jewish people hold on to a remnant of what used to be an all-Jewish city. Living surrounded by roughly 150,000 Arab inhabitants, the nearest Jewish settlement in the area is called Kirayt Arba, another familiar Biblical town name.
The Jewish people live in these areas despite the danger because of their faith in the promises of God as found in the Bible. These people have the same courage, determination and faith as their forefathers before them, steadfastly working towards the day when they will be able to worship freely and live in peace in the restored city of the Patriarchs.