BATTLE FOR HEBRON: Israel Pushes Back Against UNESCO With New Home Approval

It didn’t take long for the Israeli government to strengthen the Jewish presence in Hebron in the wake of UNESCO’s ruling that obliterated the Jewish connection to the nation’s second holiest site, the Cave of the Patriarchs. The Civil Administration, which is the Israeli governing body in Judea and Samaria suddenly reversed an older ruling that placed an acquired property, bought by Jews from local Arabs in 2012 in limbo.

In December 2015, the Land Registration Committee (LRC) determined that the Jewish buyers had not come up with all the necessary documents, even going as far to say that some of them were unreliable. The LRC deals with the registration of real estate, which to this day constitutes the legal basis for registration of land that has not yet been registered in Judea and Samaria.

So what happened?

Suddenly the Civil Administration claimed that the documents had always been reliable just copies, which according to the notary law is permissible. Of course, this means the sale of the home could have been approved in 2015 since the documents the committee had then and now are the same.

The real reason for the sudden reversal is the UNESCO decision.  The government has nothing to lose anymore and can simply let the multiple home sales in the ancient part of Hebron just go through. With Machpela House now seemingly approved, expect for more home sales in Hebron to take place.

“The strategy is simple. Just let people buy homes as they do in all parts of Jerusalem,” Rabbi Ben Packer of the Heritage House said. “With the sale of Beit Machpela finally approved, the countless buyers waiting in line to buy property in Hebron will have no reason to hold back.”


[watch] Israel Defends Jewish Connection to Hebron and the Cave of the Patriarchs

With UNESCO set to vote on the status of the Cave of the Patriarchs, Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely defended Jewish rights to our second holiest location to the foreign ministers whose countries sit on the UNESCO committee yesterday.

UNESCO voted on accepting “Palestine” as a member in 2011 and since then used that decision to help erase Jewish history and connection to Israel.



WAR ON THE TRUTH: Why Did Israel Ban UNESCO From Hebron?

Israel’s ambassador to UNESCO, Carmel Shama-Hacohen said the following concerning Israel’s refusal to allow UNESCO to come to Hebron on a fact finding mission:

“As a matter of principle, Israel will not provide legitimization to any Palestinian political move under the guise of culture and heritage.”

UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee is set to meet from July 2-12 in Krakow, Poland, for its annual assembly. Listed on the agenda is Hebron as ‘Hebron/Al-Khalil Old Town, Palestine.’ Given the fact that UNESCO has already denied the connection between the Jewish people and the Temple Mount and Western Wall area, there is little doubt that the international body would not refrain from continuing to rewrite history.

Shama-Hacohen described the Palestinian request as “tainted by politicization, lies and libel against the State of Israel and against the Jewish people’s connection to the site… the Palestinians have opened another front in the religious and cultural war they are trying to impose on us.”

Jewish Connection to Hebron is Ancient

From the time Abraham bought the double cave from the Ephron as a family burial site in Hebron, the city has served as the foundational place for Israel and the Jewish people whether in the Land or exiled. From King David’s time onward, the burial cave became a site of increased pilgramages. By the Second Temple period, King Herod had to build a giant structure above the cave to service the many Jews who came to visit.  This monument/building is the oldest Jewish still standing free structure in the world and can be seen by all who come to Hebron. It was built 650 years before a single Arab stepped foot in Hebron.

Long before the Arabs came to Hebron, the Jewish community thrived and grew and existed in the city well after the Muslim conquest of Israel in the 7th Century.  In fact a groups of Jews who had fled the Spanish Inquisition settled in Hebron and revived the failing community.

There they lived until 1929 when the Arabs went on a rampage massacring the Jews of the city, effectively rendering Hebron Judenrein. Jews tried returning after the massacre but were pushed out completely in 1936 as part of a series of Arab riots across Israel. It was not until 1967 when Israel liberated the city that Jews began to come back to their ancient residences.

Today the city is thriving, with young couples and children spread throughout multiple neighborhoods.

The idea that Hebron is a “Palestinian” city is presposterous, but then again when it comes to Jews UNESCO believes in fake history.

So Why Do the Palestinians Insist on Claiming Hebron?

The Palestinians being an amalgamation of various people who migrated into Israel at different times, have no collective or historical national experience. There only long term chance at winning a war against the rightful indigenous nation is to deny that nation (Israel) a connection to the Land. Hebron is key for this strategy as it is part and parcel of Israel’s claim to the entire Land of Israel.  Afterall, not only Jews agree that Abraham, Sarah, Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob, and Leah are buried there, but Christians and many moderate Muslims do as well.

So the Palestinians must attack the roots of our nation and Hebron is the ultimate place to start. Afterall, if we are denied a connection to our patriarchs and matriarchs, then who are we?

Israel banned UNESCO from Hebron, because the upcoming vote has nothing to do with creating peace or ensuring the Palestinians have individual rights (national rights would be a farce), it has only one aim and that is an assault on a very clear historical truth.

David Ben Gurion said the following about Hebron:

“However, don’t forget: the beginnings of Israel’s greatest king were in Hebron, the city to which came the first Hebrew about eight hundred years before King David, and we will make a great and awful mistake if we fail to settle Hebron, neighbor and predecessor of Jerusalem, with a large Jewish settlement, constantly growing and expanding, very soon. This will also be a blessing to the Arab neighbors. Hebron is worthy to be Jerusalem’s sister.” 

Just two weeks I went with my son and his class to the Cave of the Patriarchs.  On the side of the Herodian structure was a place that marked the furthest Jews were allowed to go when the site was run by Arabs. There, as if marking the place where Jewish tears yearned for centuries to have full regained access to our second holiest site is a hole, which was blocked up until after the city was liberated 50 years ago.  This hole leads into the cavern containing the tombs of our patriarchs and matriarchs.

Our connection to Hebron is beyond historical or political or even religious.  We are bound to Hebron by way of eternal deed.  No UNESCO vote can change that. In fact our deed will long outlast UNESCO or any other international body that warps history and seeks to sever the connection between the Jewish people and their Land.


Here’s how we’re getting it wrong on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, targeting the Jewish population in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, has given a new impetus to a discussion on violent conquest, occupation and colonization, which most of the international community rightly understands as immoral and illegal.

However, when taking into account 3,000 years of history and context, Palestinian Arabs, not indigenous Israeli Jews, become the offending party.

If one people violently conquered the territory of an indigenous people, forced them to declare allegiance to the conquering nation and creed at the point of a sword, foisted a culture, religion and language on the conquered people and treated those who refused as second-class citizens with far fewer rights, there would rightly be outcry, derision and, above all, condemnation.

If such actions are wrong and unconscionable in principle, it should not matter when they took place — whether it was a few decades or a number of centuries ago.

Nevertheless, this principle is not accepted by the United Nations. In fact, it is turned on its head.

Around 1,300 years ago, descendants and followers of the Prophet Mohammad from Arabia poured out of the Peninsular in an orgy of conquest, expansionism and colonization. They first annihilated ancient Jewish tribes in places like Yathrib (known today as Medina) and Khaybar before sweeping north, east and west, conquering what is today known as the Middle East, North Africa and even southern Europe.

Wherever Arab and Islamic rulers conquered, they imposed their culture, language and — most significantly — their religion.

At first, Arab settlers and conquerors did not want to intermingle with their indigenous vassals. They often lived in segregated quarters or created garrison towns from which they imposed their authority on native populations.

Over time, non-Arab converts to Islam were assimilated into Arab-Muslim society through tribal “clientage,” which Abd Al-Aziz Duri describes in The Historical Formation of the Arab Nation, as “help[ing] to promote both the spread of Arabic and the expansion of Arabisation,” while slavery became rampant and unfettered.

Slowly, but surely, the “Arab world” that we know today was artificially and aggressively imposed.

Ancient communities were destroyed, cultures suppressed and peoples were expelled. Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians were given the status of al-Dhimma, a people who were heavily oppressed and taxed under law, with few civil rights and constantly under threat of expulsion or annihilation in many parts of the region.

Even today, Arab elites refer to their origins in the Arabian Peninsular, and many villages and tribes across the Middle East keep lineage records to stress their origins far from where their families may have resided for generations.

In the Land of Israel, which was renamed Syria Palaestina after the Roman suppression and expulsion of the indigenous Jewish inhabitants in 135 CE, some Jewish communities remained on their lands and in their cities for hundreds of years. Even Arab writer Muqaddasi complained in 985 CE that “the Jews constitute the majority of Jerusalem’s population.”

The Jews, the last people to hold sovereignty and independence in the land, were subsequently harassed and unequally treated by a series of Roman, Byzantine and Muslim conquerors, whether Fatimid, Ayyubid, Mamluk or Ottoman.

Still, the Jewish presence never disappeared.

Jewish holy sites, like the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb, were built over with mosques, and with the imposition of a new Islamic religious and cultural imperialism, Jews were given limited or no rights of worship.

When many Jews started returning to their ancestral land in the late 19thand early 20th centuries after an extremely difficult dispersion, they never sought to disrupt or disturb those whose ancestors had conquered and occupied the territory while they were in their long exile.

Unfortunately, today, in most people’s view of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians — a self-identity barely two generations old — the colonized have become the colonizers and the role of the native Jewish population turned upside down.

According to the United Nations, indigenous people are identified as having a history of pre-settler or colonial societies; a distinct language, culture and political system; and a place where the foundations of their civilizations were created.

In this conflict, only one people — the Jews — meet the criteria of indigeneity, while it is abundantly clear from a cursory understanding of history that the Arab Palestinians do not, as their origins, language, culture and religion came from elsewhere.

One of the most remarkable but overlooked elements of Israel’s history is that the majority of its Jews, almost a million of whom were ethnically cleansed from the Middle East and North Africa in the 20th century, threw off the language and elements of the culture that had been imposed on them throughout the Arab world to reclaim their ancient linguistic and cultural heritage in their ancestral homeland.

This is the long misunderstood historical context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It is absolutely a conflict between an oppressed people fighting every day for the freedom to live in their ancestral and indigenous homeland against settlers and occupiers.

If the lens of history is widened, it becomes clear that the current paradigm of the Jewish people as settlers and colonizers and the Palestinians as native to the territory is the opposite of the truth.

The opposition to violent conquest, occupation and colonization is either a matter of principle, which should render it timeless, or there is a statute of limitations against these immoral and illegal acts, which should provide succor to those who continue to rule the lands belonging to other peoples.

Originally Published in The Hill.