Ancient City of Judah
Judah was one of two Jewish states in the Middle East. The other was Israel. It now lies in what is called, "The West Bank' and is only 18 miles south of Jerusalem, which was its capitol.
Abraham bought a plot of land,containing the Cave of Machpelah, in Hebron from some Hittite people that he used to bury his wife, Sarah. Today a mosque stands there.
Joshua, Israel's first general appointed by Moses, assigned Hebron to Caleb, and it became a city for Levites as well as a city of refuge.
King David reigned there for 7 1/2 years before making Jerusalem his capitol.
A Jewish community has been in Hebron through the Byzantine Period and under Arab rule. The present day city lies a little east of the historical location and is one of the four sacred towns. The others are Jerusalem, Tiberias and Safed. Jews have lived there for centuries. By 1890 1,500 Jews lived there and had yeshivot and religious schools. The great Lithuanian yeshivah of Slobodka was transferred there in 1925.
By 1929, the Arabs massacred most of the 700 Jews of Hebron . The survivors got away, so that 30 families returned in 1931. The Arabs rioted in 1936, and Hebron was empty of Jews.
The population in 1967 was 38,310. After the Six-Day War of 1967, a number of Jews again settled in Hebron, creating the Kiryat Arba quarter east of the city. Originally, the Bible referred to Hebron as Kiriath-Arba. The Jewish population grew to 3,700 by 1988.
Today, December 25, 2008, some 800 Jews remain in Hebron in several neighborhoods. Religious Jews, feeling the need for Hebron which is deep in our history, dare to live there. Hebron now lies in the so called "West Bank", where the Palestinian Arab Abbas is President. He just made his first visit there since 2005 when he took office and told the Jews to get out. He said that Hebron is their city and if Israel wants peace, they have to leave. 170,000 Palestinians are now living there.
Israel's population is 20% Arab with Arabs serving in the Knesset. It is a Democracy. We see that Abbas has no toleration for others different from himself. Where Israel is a virtual melting pot, Palestine will be exclusively for Arabs.
Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia: Hebron
Yahoo News by Mark Lavie, Associated Press Writer: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081225/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians_47print