Hebron in Wikipedia

Hebron (Arabic: الخليل (help·info) al-Ḫalīl; Hebrew: חֶבְרוֹן (help·info), Standard Hebrew: Ḥevron, Tiberian: Ḥeḇrôn), is located in the southern West Bank, 30 km (19 mi) south of Jerusalem. Nestled in the Judean Mountains, it lies 930 meters (3,050 ft) above sea level. It is the largest city in the West Bank and home to around 165,000 Palestinians,[1] and over 500 Jewish settlers concentrated in and around the old quarter.[2][3][4][5][6] 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.[7] The city is also venerated by Muslims for its association with Abraham[8] and was traditonally viewed as one of the "four holy cities of Islam."[9][10][11][12] Hebron is a busy hub of West Bank trade, responsible for roughly a third of the area's gross domestic product, largely due to the sale of marble from quarries.[13] It is locally well-known for its grapes, figs, limestone, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories, and is the location of the major dairy product manufacturer, al- Junaidi. The old city of Hebron is characterized by narrow, winding streets, flat-roofed stone houses, and old bazaars. The city is home to Hebron University and the Palestine Polytechnic University.[14][15][16][17][18] Etymology The name "Hebron" traces back to two Semitic roots, which coalesce in the form ḥbr, having reflexes in Hebrew, Amorite and Arabic, and denoting a range of meanings from "colleague", "unite", "friend" or "to be noisy". In the proper name Hebron, the sense may be alliance.[19] In Arabic, Ibrahim al-Khalil (إبراهيم الخليل) means "Abraham the friend", according to Islamic teaching signifying that, God chose Abraham as his friend.[20] [edit]History Antiquity and Israelite period -- Hebron was originally a Canaanite royal city[21] before it became one of the principal centers of the Tribe of Judah and one of the six traditional cities of refuge.[22] The earliest references to Hebron are found in the Hebrew Bible, where the city is shown to change from being under Hittite control during the time of Abraham (Gen. 23) to falling under Canaanite ownership five hundred years later, during the time of the Israelite conquest of Canaan (Joshua 10:5,6). Archaeological excavations reveal traces of strong fortifications dated to the Early Bronze Age. The city was destroyed in a conflagration, and resettled in the late Middle Bronze Age.[23] It is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible as being the site of Abraham's purchase of the Cave of the Patriarchs from the Hittites.[24] In settling here, Abraham made his first covenant, an alliance with two local Amorite clans who became his ba’alei brit or masters of the covenant.[25] The Abrahamic traditions associated with Hebron are nomadic, and may also reflect a Kenite element, since the nomadic Kenites are said to have long occupied the city,[26] and Heber is the name for a Kenite clan.[27] Hebron is also mentioned there as being formerly called Kirjath-arba, or "city of four", possibly referring to the four pairs or couples who were buried there (see above) or four hamlets, or four hills,[28] before being conquered by Caleb and the Israelites[29] Later, the town itself, with some contiguous pasture land, was granted to the Levites of the clan of Kohath, while the fields of the city, as well as its surrounding villages were assigned to Caleb.[30][31] King David reigned from Hebron for over seven years. Initially as a vassal of the Philistines and anointed by the men of Judah, while he gradually extended his authority over a wider area, until he was able to incorporate the remnants of Saul’s kingdom with the capture of Jerusalem, where he was subsequently anointed king of the Kingdom of Israel.[32] Hebron continued to constitute an important local economic centre, given its strategic position along trading routes, but, as is shown by the discovery of seals with the inscription lmlk Hebron (to the king. Hebron), it remained administratively and politically dependent on Jerusalem.[33] Second Temple period -- After the destruction of the First Temple, most of the Jewish inhabitants of Hebron were exiled, and according to the conventional view,[34] their place was taken by Edomites in about 587 BCE. Some Jews appear to have lived there after the return from the Babylonian exile, however.[35] This Idumean town was in turn destroyed by Judah Maccabee in 167 BCE.[36] Herod the Great built the wall which still surrounds the Cave of the Patriarchs. During the first war against the Romans, Hebron was conquered by Simon Bar Giora, a Sicarii leader, and burnt down by Vespasian's officer Cerealis.[37] After the defeat of Simon bar Kokhba in 135 CE, innumerable Jewish captives were sold into slavery at Hebron's Terebinth slave-market.[38][39] Eventually it became part of the Byzantine Empire. Byzantine emperor Justinian I erected a Christian church over the Cave of Machpelah in the 6th century CE which was later destroyed by the Sassanid general Shahrbaraz in 614 when Khosrau II's armies besieged and took Jerusalem.[40] Islamic era -- Hebron was one of the last cities of Palestine to fall to the Islamic invasion in the 7th century.[41] The Rashidun Caliphate established rule over Hebron without resistance in 638, and converted the Byzantine church at the site of Abraham's tomb into a mosque. Trade greatly expanded, in particular with Bedouins in the Negev and the population to the east of the Dead Sea. The Jerusalem geographer al-Muqaddasi, writing in 985 described the town as: Habra (Hebron) is the village of Abraham al-Khalil (the Friend of God)...Within it is a strong fortress...being of enormous squared stones. In the middle of this stands a dome of stone, built in Islamic times, over the sepulchre of Abraham. The tomb of Isaac lies forward, in the main building of the mosque, the tomb of Jacob to the rear; facing each prophet lies his wife. The enclosure has been converted into a mosque, and built around it are rest houses for the pilgrims, so that they adjoin the main edifice on all sides. A small water conduit has been conducted to them. All the countryside around this town for about half a stage has villages in every direction, with vineyards and grounds producing grapes and apples called Jabal Nahra...being fruit of unsurpassed excellence...Much of this fruit is dried, and sent to Egypt. In Hebron is a public guest house continuously open, with a cook, a baker and servants in regular attendance. These offer a dish of lentils and olive oil to every poor person who arrives, and it is set before the rich, too, should they wish to partake. Most men express the opinion this is a continuation of the guest house of Abraham, however, it is, in fact from the bequest of [the sahaba (companion) of the prophet Muhammad] Tamim-al Dari and others.... The Amir of Khurasan...has assigned to this charity one thousand dirhams yearly, ...al-Shar al-Adil bestowed on it a substantial bequest. At present time I do not know in all the realm of al-Islam any house of hospitality and charity more excellent than this one.[42] Tamim al-Dari, before converting to Islam, lived in southern Palestine. The prophet Muhammad arranged for Hebron, Beit Einun and surrounding villages to be a part of al-Dari's domain; this was implemented during Umar's reign as caliph. According to the arrangement, al-Dari and his descendants were only permitted to tax the residents for their land and the waqf of the Ibrahimi Mosque was entrusted to them.[43] The custom, known as the 'table of Abraham' (simāt al-khalil), was similar to the one established by the Fatimids, and in Hebron's version, it found its most famous expression. The Persian traveller Nasir-i-Khusraw who visited Hebron in 1047 records in his Safarnama that "... this Sanctuary has belonging to it very many villages that provide revenues for pious purposes. At one of these villages is a spring, where water flows out from under a stone, but in no great abundance; and it is conducted by a channel, cut in the ground, to a place outside the town (of Hebron), where they have constructed a covered tank for collecting the water...The Sanctuary (Mashad), stands on the southern border of the town....it is enclosed by four walls. The Mihrab (or niche) and the Maksurah (or enclosed space for Friday-prayers) stand in the width of the building (at the south end). In the Maksurah are many fine Mihrabs.[44] He further recorded that "They grow at Hebron for the most part barley, wheat being rare, but olives are in abundance. The [visitors] are given bread and olives. There are very many mills here, worked by oxen and mules, that all day long grind the flour, and further, there are slave-girls who, during the whole day are baking bread. The loaves are [about three pounds] and to every persons who arrives they give daily a loaf of bread, and a dish of lentils cooked in olive- oil, also some raisins....there are some days when as many as five hundred pilgrims arrive, to each of whom this hospitality is offered."[45][46]...

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