“And after this, Avraham buried Sara his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre–the same is Chevron–in the land of Canaan.” Genesis 23:19 (The Israel Bible™)
To combat the recent United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) resolution declaring Judaism has no connection to the holy sites in Israel and educate the growing wave of Bible deniers, the Jews of Hebron have made a simple video with a powerful message: the story of Abraham’s purchase and his covenant with God stand as solid as the stones surrounding the cave.
Hebron is the city of the patriarchs as written in the Bible. This claim should be obvious, but a global trend is developing in which history is being rewritten, and basic tenets of the Bible are erased. Yishai Fleisher, the international spokesman for the Hebron Jewish community, explained how this happened.
“100 years ago, everyone knew the stories of the Bible,” Fleisher told Breaking Israel News. “There was no way anyone could say these lies back then. Because the Bible has lost its media presence, it is now possible to pull the wool over people’s eyes about these basic truths.”
For those who accept the Bible, the Jewish claim to Hebron is self-evident. For those who reject it, this basic truth is not so clear.
“Outside of the Bible, there is very little clear information about the holy places,” noted Fleisher, “Which allows organizations like UNESCO to create a false narrative. UNESCO is a legitimate arm of the jihad.”
Though Fleisher’s claim against the UN seems harsh, it is difficult to refute. In September, the day after Yom Kippur, UNESCO passed a resolution proposed by Arab states which granted Islam sole religious claim to the Temple Mount, the Western Wall, Rachel’s Tomb, Bethlehem, and Hebron. Raising international fury, the resolution is seen as pure farce in Israel.
Secrets of the Tomb
The Hebron video graphically illustrates Judaism’s Biblical claims to Hebron. Fleisher introduces Noam Arnon, a resident of Kiryat Arba and Hebron for 36 years and a leader of the movement for the renewal of Jewish settlement in Hebron. The two walk down a stone stairway leading to the ancient gate of the city. Arnon explained the stairs were built over 4,500 years ago, 700 years before the patriarch Abraham set foot in Hebron. This gate was the setting for Abraham’s purchase of the Machpela, the cave in which he buried his wife, Sarah.
The impressive structure, built by Herod 2,000 years ago with the same distinctive stones he used to upgrade the Second Temple, marks the entrance to the cave that lies underneath. Arnon describes how 30 years ago he was among a privileged few to descend five stories into the passageway beneath the large shrine. According to Arnon, he and his companions found a cave filled with human bones and artifacts dating back to the First Temple period. He also says that upon exploring deeper, they discovered a second cave with even older artifacts he claims date back to the time of Abraham.
Despite a plethora of archaeological proof and historical accounts, the movement to deny these basics of the Bible is growing stronger. In an obscene twist, Hebron itself is being used to disprove Jewish claims to the Land of Israel.
“It is shocking how many people fully believe that Jews are appropriating the Palestinian culture, stealing the tombs of our own fathers,” Fleisher said. “Anti-Zionist organizations in conjunction with the Jihad have begun to use Hebron as a platform, running tours that teach the ‘Occupation narrative’.”
“With unbelievable audacity, the European funded NGOs (non-governmental organizations) bring naive people into the city that Jews have lived in for 4,000 years and tell them that we are foreign occupiers,” Fleisher said. “It is an incredible testament to how much they can warp the truth and how vigilant we have to be about the truth.”
The video is part of a campaign to combat this wave of misinformation and propaganda. But Fleisher sees a more powerful way of combatting the growing plague of misinformation: visitors coming to Hebron to bear witness for the patriarchs. On the Sabbath when the Torah portion describing Abraham’s purchase in Hebron was read, 25,000 people gathered to proclaim that the covenant God made with Abraham was still strong.
“The small group of Jews who live in Hebron are holding the portal open for the 700,000 visitors who come every year to bear witness to the truth that this is the plot of land that Abraham bought,” Fleisher said.
The UNESCO vote shocked many, and with Hebron on the front-lines, Fleisher knows exactly what is as stake.
“We know what will happen if the Jews lose control of the site,” he explained to Breaking Israel News. “From 1267, when the Mamaluks conquered the region, until 1967 when the Jews returned, we were barred from entering the Machpela, or going up to the Temple Mount.”