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Hebron

HEBRON

West Bank city, south of Jerusalem.

Hebron (in Arabic, al-Khalil; in Hebrew, Hevron ) is an ancient city, holy to both Judaism and Islam, because it is the site of the Machpelah burial cave of the Biblical and Qurʾanic figures Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and their respective wives Sarah, Rebekah, and Leah. Later, in the tenth century b.c.e., David was proclaimed king in Hebron when Saul died, and it became his first capital. Above the Machpelah cave is a mosque complex known as the al-Haram al-Ibrahimi.

Although predominantly a town inhabited by Palestinian Arab Muslims, a small Jewish community lived in Hebron throughout the centuries. During British rule, the Jews left after the Arab-Jewish disturbances of August 1929 when sixty-four Jews were massacred. Hebron was annexed by Jordan in 1950 in the aftermath of the Arab-Israel War of 1948, and it was occupied by Israel during the ArabIsrael War of 1967. As a result, Jews were allowed to pray in the al-Haram, something formerly forbidden to them. A civilian Jewish settlement called Kiryat Arba was established nearby in 1968, and militant nationalist settlers also began moving into the heart of Hebron itself. Formation of the Gush Emunim movement furthered this development. Long a flashpoint for Israeli-Palestinian violence, Hebron's worst violence in decades occurred in February 1994 when Baruch Goldstein, a U.S.-born Jewish settler, entered the al-Haram al-Ibrahimi mosque and massacred twenty-nine Palestinian wor-shippers before he himself was killed.

Because of the presence of approximately 400 Jewish settlers in Hebron, it was the only major West Bank town (besides Jerusalem) from which Israeli forces did not withdraw in 1994 as a result of the Oslo Accord. The troops later withdrew from 80 percent of Hebron in January 1997 in accordance with the Protocol Concerning the Redeployment in Hebron, leaving the 120,000 Palestinian residents under Palestinian rule. Yet, Israel retained control of the remaining 20 percent of the city, which included the downtown Palestinian market and the alHaram al-Ibrahimi, to protect the remaining Jewish settlers.

See also arabisrael war (1948); arabisrael war (1967); gush emunim; kiryat arba; oslo accord (1993).

benjamin joseph
updated by michael r. fischbach

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Hebron (city, West Bank)

Hebron, Arab. Al-Khalil, city (2003 est. pop. 155,000), the West Bank. Hebron is 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 shoes and 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 Sara, Isaac and Rebecca, and Jacob and Leah. Hebron was known in the earlier years as Kirjath-arba or Kiriath-arba [Heb.,=city of four]. David ruled the Hebrews from Hebron for seven years before moving his capital to Jerusalem, and Absalom began his revolt in Hebron.

The city 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 cent., 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. After setbacks and delays, most of the town of Hebron was handed over to Palestinian control in Jan., 1997.

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Hebron

Hebron (El Khalil) City in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. An ancient city, it came under Arab control in the 7th century ad, and was occupied by the Crusaders (12th–13th centuries) before reverting to Arab rule. It later became part of the Ottoman Empire. In 1948, Jordan annexed Hebron but Israel occupied it during the Six-Day War (1967). It witnessed much Israeli-Arab tension, especially during the Intifada. The Israeli-Palestinian Accord granted Palestinian self-rule to 85% of Hebron. It is sacred to both Jews and Muslims. The Tomb of the Patriarchs (the Cave of Machpelah) is the traditional burial place of Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah. Industries: tanning, glass making. Pop. (1997) 119,200.

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Hebron

Hebron a Palestinian city on the West Bank of the Jordan. It is one of the most ancient cities in the Middle East, probably founded in the 18th century bc, and as the home of Abraham it is a holy city of both Judaism and Islam.

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Hebron

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