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(This article is about the place in the Middle East. For other uses of the name, see Hebron (disambiguation).)

Hebron (Arabic الخليل al-Ḫalīl; Hebrew חֶבְרוֹן, Standard Hebrew Ḥevron, Tiberian Hebrew Ḥeḇrôn: the name in each language is derived from that language's word for "Friend") is a town in the West Bank, in an area known in Israel as Judea. It lies 3,050 feet (930 m) above sea level.

Geographic coordinates : 31°32N 35°06E

Hebron is located 30km south of Jerusalem. Its elevation from sea level is about 1000m. Hebron is famous for its grapes, limestones, pottery workshops and glassblowing factories. The old city of Hebron is characterized by its narrow and winding streets, the flat-roofed stone houses, and the old bazaars. It is the home of Hebron University and Palestine Polytechnic University.



Hebron is one of most ancient cities in the Middle East, and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world and was an ancient Canaanite royal city. According to archeological findings it was probably founded in the 35th century BC. 18th century BC. It is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. In particular, a cave near it, called the Cave of the Patriarchs ( Arabic:المسجد الإبراهيمي, Hebrew: "ma'arat ha-machpela"), is traditionally considered the place where Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Leah are buried. This cave is considered holy by both Jews and Muslims, and is the second holiest site in Judaism and a Muslim mosque. Muslims also believe that Joseph's burial site is situated here. David was anointed King of Israel in Hebron and reigned in the city until the capture of Jerusalem, when the capital was moved to that city. Byzantine emperor Justinian I had built a church over the Cave of the Patriarchs in the sixth century CE which was later destroyed by the Sassanids.

The Islamic rule of Hebron started in 638. It lasted until the Crusaders occupied Hebron in 1099. They called the city Abraham. Then the name changed back to Hebron after their defeat by Saladin in 1187. Mamluks took control of Hebron until 1516, when it fell under the rule of the Ottoman Empire. In 1831, Ibrahim Pasha of Egypt took over Hebron until 1840.

In December 1917 and during World War I, the British occupied Hebron. The city suffered the worst effects of the riots that shook Palestine in 1929, with some 67 Jews massacred and many others wounded. It remained as a part of the British mandate until 1948. In 1949, Jordan took over the control of Hebron and the rest of the West Bank; after the Six Day War, in June 1967, Hebron and the rest of the West Bank fell under Israeli control (See Occupation of the Palestinian territories). Since early 1997 the city has been divided into two sectors: H1 and H2. H1 part of the town has been controlled by the Palestinian Authority, in accordance with Hebron Protocol [1]. After the massacre of Muslims at prayer by Baruch Goldstein in 1994, an international unarmed observer force - the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) was established in order to maintain a buffer between the Palestinian Arab population and Jews residing in the ancient Jewish quarter.

Population at different times

this needs expansion to earlier times.

year      Jews   Christians    Muslims    Total    source
1538      20h       7h            749h     776h    Cohen & Lewis (h = households)
1922      430       73          16,074    16,577   Census
1931      135      112          17,275    17,522   Census
1944        0      150          24,400    24,550   Estimate
1967        0      106          38,203    38,309   Census
1997      530        3         130,000   130,533   Jewish Virtual Library
1997       NA       NA              NA   405,664   Census, Palestinian Central Buraeu of Statistics (PCBS)
2001       NA       NA              NA   454,493   Projected population, PCBS
2002       NA       NA              NA   471,606   Projected population, PCBS
2003       NA       NA              NA   489,005   Projected population, PCBS
2004       NA       NA              NA   506,641   Projected population, PCBS
2005       NA       NA              NA   524,510   Projected population, PCBS
2006       NA       NA              NA   542,593   Projected population, PCBS
2007       NA       NA              NA   560,898   Projected population, PCBS

Jewish settlement after 1967

Following the Six-Day War of 1967, a group of Jews disguised as tourists, led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger , took over the main hotel in Hebron and refused to leave. They later moved to a nearby abandoned army camp and established the community of Kiryat Arba. In 1979, Levinger's wife led 30 Jewish women to take over the Daboya Hospital (Beit Hadassah) in central Hebron. Before long this received Israeli government approval and further Jewish enclaves in the city were established with army assistance. This process of expansion of the Jewish presence is continuing and there are now more than 20 Jewish settlements in and around the city. Jews living in these areas and their supporters claim that they are resettling areas where Jews have lived since time immemorial, but the presence of Jews in these areas is condemned by European governments and Arab regimes as a violation of international law.

In 1997, an association of some pre-1929 Jewish residents of Hebron published a statement dissociating themselves from the present settlers in Hebron, calling them dishonest and an obstacle to peace. [2].

Cultural, historical and sporting landmarks

Adjacent to the municipality building, Hebron archeological museum has a collection of artifacts from the Cannanite to the Islamic periods. The Oak Of Abraham (Ibrahim), also called Oak of Mambre is an ancient oak tree which marks the place where according to tradition Abraham pitched his tent. It is estimated that this oak is approximately 5000 years old. The Russian Orthodox Church owns the site and the nearby monastery.

Sport clubs

  • Hebron Youth Club (Shabab El-Khalil).
  • Hebron Ahli Club (Al-Ahli).
  • Muslim Young Men Club .
  • Tarek Ben Ziyyad Club .

Nongovernmental Organizations

  • The Palestinian Child Arts Center .
  • The Palestinian Center for Childhood and Development .
  • Patient's Friends Society .
  • Agricultural Development Society .
  • Hebron Young Women Center .

See also

External links


Last updated: 08-29-2005 15:34:54