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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 AbrahamAbraham
[according to the Book of Genesis, Heb.,=father of many nations] or Abram
[Heb.,=exalted father], in the Bible, progenitor of the Hebrews; in the Qur'an, ancestor of the Arabs.
..... Click the link for more information. . The cave of MachpelahMachpelah
, cave, near Hebron; also called the Cave of the Patriarchs. The Book of Genesis relates that it was bought by Abraham from Ephron, son of Zohar the Hittite, for a family burial place.
..... Click the link for more information. (also called the Cave of the Patriarchs; now enclosed by the Mosque of Ibrahim) is the traditional burial place of Abraham and SaraSara
in the Bible, wife of Abraham and mother of Isaac. With Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah, she was one of the four Hebrew matriarchs. Her name was originally Sarai [Heb.,=princess]. She was childless until, by divine favor, she gave birth to Isaac in her old age.
..... Click the link for more information. , IsaacIsaac
[Heb.,=laughter], according to the patriarchal narratives of the Book of Genesis, Isaac was the only son of Abraham and Sara. He married Rebecca, and their sons were Esau and Jacob. Ishmael was his half-brother.
..... Click the link for more information. and RebeccaRebecca
, wife of Isaac and mother of Jacob. One day, as was her custom, she drew water at the city well; while there she showed kindness to Eliezer, Abraham's servant. He had been sent to select a suitable wife for Abraham's son, Isaac, and he chose Rebecca.
..... Click the link for more information. , and JacobJacob
, in the Bible, ancestor of the Hebrews, the younger of Isaac and Rebecca's twin sons; the older was Esau. In exchange for a bowl of lentil soup, Jacob obtained Esau's birthright and, with his mother's help, received the blessing that the dying Isaac had intended for his
..... Click the link for more information. and LeahLeah
, in the Bible, Laban's elder, less beautiful daughter and Jacob's first wife.
..... Click the link for more information. . Hebron was known in the earlier years as Kirjath-arba or Kiriath-arba [Heb.,=city of four]. DavidDavid,
d. c.970 B.C., king of ancient Israel (c.1010–970 B.C.), successor of Saul. The Book of First Samuel introduces him as the youngest of eight sons who is anointed king by Samuel to replace Saul, who had been deemed a failure.
..... Click the link for more information. ruled the Hebrews from Hebron for seven years before moving his capital to Jerusalem, and AbsalomAbsalom
, in the Bible, son of David. He murdered his half-brother Amnon for the rape of their sister Tamar, and fled. No sooner was he reconciled with his father than he incited a rebellion in which he was killed by Joab and his armor-bearers.
..... Click the link for more information. began his revolt in Hebron.
The city figured in many wars in Palestine. It was taken (2d cent. B.C.) by Judas Maccabeus (see MaccabeesMaccabees
, Jewish family of the 2d and 1st cent. B.C. that brought about a restoration of Jewish political and religious life. They are also called Hasmoneans or Asmoneans after their ancestor, Hashmon.
..... Click the link for more information. ) 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 SaladinSaladin
, Arabic Salah ad-Din, 1137?–1193, Muslim warrior and Ayyubid sultan of Egypt, the great opponent of the Crusaders, b. Mesopotamia, of Kurdish descent.
..... Click the link for more information. . 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 BankWest Bank,
territory, formerly part of Palestine, after 1949 administered by Jordan, since 1967 largely occupied by Israel (2005 est. pop. 2,386,000), 2,165 sq mi (5,607 sq km), west of the Jordan River, incorporating the northwest quadrant of the Dead Sea.
..... Click the link for more information. , the city became a focus of Jewish-Arab tensions. The emergence of the IntifadaIntifada
[Arab.,=uprising, shaking off], the Palestinian uprising during the late 1980s and early 90s in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, areas that had been occupied by Israel since 1967. A vehicular accident that killed four Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in Dec.
..... Click the link for more information. 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.
Hebron(hē`brn), in the Bible. 1 A Kohathite descendant of Levi. 2 A name appearing in the genealogical lists of Judah. 3 City, see HebronHebron,
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.
..... Click the link for more information. , city, West Bank. 4 An unlocated boundary town of N ancient Palestine, also called Abdon. The RV form is Ebron.
(also al-Khalil), a city in western Jordan, 30 km south of Jerusalem, on the Beersheba-Jerusalem highway. Population, 43,000 (1967). Hebron is an ancient center of glass production. Its other industries include the processing of vegetables and tanning. It is the center of an agricultural region that has vineyards and olive groves.
Founded circa 1700 B.C, Hebron was known in ancient times as Kirjath-arba (literally, “City of the Four”). For several years it was the residence of King David. Destroyed by the Romans in A.D. 70, Hebron was conquered by the Arabs in the seventh century. In the late 11th century it was seized by the Crusaders, who lost it to Saladin in the late 12th century. From the 16th century to 1918, Hebron was part of the Ottoman Empire. It subsequently came under the British mandate of Palestine, and in 1948 it became part of Jordan. Hebron was occupied by Israel in June 1967.