History

The Machpela Tomb: Historical Background, Facts and Justice

The Machpela complex was built in a time when neither Christianity nor Islam existed on Earth.

2.4.17, 14:38
by Noam Arnon
 
Only a few of the tourists who come to Israel visit the Tomb of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs. Many of the tourists who plan their visits to Israel base their trips on information they find in books or on the Internet and subsequently don’t visit Hebron. As a result, they are missing out on a wonderful experience. The Machpela tomb is – without a doubt – one of the most important attractions in Israel, if not in the whole world.
 
The Biblical Story
 
In those parts of the World where the Bible is read, one knows that the Tomb of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs and the field around it were purchased by our Father Abraham. This was, in fact, the very first Jewish property in Israel, a property that laid the foundation for around 3,800 years of Jewish presence in Eretz Yisrael. Upon inspection of the tomb, one sees that the story is still alive today, and that the Biblical description of the site is precise. The Bible says that the grave is situated on the edge of a field, and this is so. The field is still partially covered with stones, with some trees and a yard.
 
Also, the Biblical Hebrew words “Al Pnei Mamre”, which in Hebrew means “east of Mamre," fits the eastern slope of what the Arabs today call “Nemra Ridge”. The name has been changed only slightly through the years. You can still sit under
the olive trees, read the Bible and feel as though you have gone back in a wonderful time machine nearly 4,000 years. 
 
 
An Entire Building in Use for 2,000 Years
 
The Machpela building is impressive in all its glory and with its mighty wall that protects the graves of our Mothers and Fathers. Visitors find themselves in front of a powerful wall with two towers. Those who are not familiar with archaeology or history will get the impression that this building is probably a mosque in the Middle East.
 
But upon closer inspection, one will see that it is similar to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, which was built during the Second Temple period, about 2,000 years ago. The magnificent structure above the Tomb of the Matriarchs and Patriarchs is the only visibly active building still standing in its entirety from this period! It can be defined as a miracle: An entire building that has survived everything for 2,000 years.
 
During the Second Temple era in Israel and the Roman era in Europe, thousands of splendid buildings and monuments were erected throughout the Roman Empire. Yet, all of these famous architectural works of art, designed by the World’s foremost architects, have been eroded by the hands of time and none of them remain standing in their entirety today. The decayed buildings that are left in Rome have recently been earmarked to receive 100 million Euros for restoration by the EU. But the only building from this period which is still wholly intact and in active use today is the Machpela Tomb in Hebron.
 
We must remember that Hebron is of no economic or strategic importance. Its only significance is spiritual, religious and historic. It is impossible to explain the existence of the Machpela Tomb without believing in miracles. It is the only place
where one can gain a clear impression of the ancient Jewish building technique.
 
This is the same technique that was used at the Temple Mount. However, soft limestone was used there, along with the fact that the Romans purposely tore down and destroyed this holy site. Hebron rock, on the other hand, is hard and strong. That, combined with the wonderful Jewish building technique used in Judea, made it possible for the Machpela building to stand without the use of iron rods or other structural aids. It has been in continuous use and has stood for 2,000 years!
 
(PHOTO: The indented Herodian masonry of the Tomb of Machpela complex is the same as that of the Western Wall in Jerusalem. Credit: Jewish Community of Hebron.)
 
The Legacy is Jewish
 
The Machpela Tomb is unique. Not only due to its archaeology and history, but also, and not in the least, because it was built by the Jewish people during the time of King Herod. During this time, the Jewish people inhabited their
own land, which, of course, also included the hills of Hebron, Samaria, Jerusalem and Benjamin. These areas are what politicians today call the “West Bank”, despite there being no river close by. The Jordan River is miles away... 
 
The Machpela building was built in a time when neither Christianity nor Islam existed on Earth. Christianity arose around 300 years later, and Islam another 300 years after that. The building carried no significance with the heathen Romans and they therefore didn’t bother to mark the spot in any way that might tie them to it. It is therefore obvious that this place is a Jewish site, a Jewish building, built by the Jewish people in a time when they lived in their own land and wanted to mark the spot where their forefathers were buried. Called in English “Judea” and in Hebrew “Yehuda,” this land is the source and homeland of the Jewish People, and provides us with our name: for Jews, in Hebrew, is “Yehudim.”
 
Several hundred years later, when the Byzantine Empire, and later the Arabs, occupied the area, they took the Machpela Tomb from the Jews and built an altar for their religious services there. On the southern side of the building, one can see that the Arabs some time later erected a mosque, including two towers above the wall in clear, Muslim style. There is no doubt that this was an obvious attempt to Islamify the external, visual portion of the Jewish holy site. One can also see
this inside. The 3 Jewish mothers’ and 3 Jewish fathers’ memorials are encircled by Arabic verses with the clear intention of giving this Jewish place a Muslim identity.
 
This is why many tourists are fooled and truly believe they have come to an Arab shrine, mosque or an Arab site. The Machpela Tomb is a microcosm of the entire Land of Israel. This Land has been the Fatherland of the Jews for nearly 4,000 years. A Jewish monarchy was established here more than 3,000 years ago, and the magnificent era during the Second Temple lasted until around 2,000 years ago.
 
More than 600 years later, when the Arabs occupied Israel in 638 C.E., they tried to take over Jewish holy sites and remake them into Muslim ones. The Mamelukes went one step further and forbad the Jews access to the Machpela Tomb starting in the 1200’s. This prohibition lasted about 700 years. The Jews were left humbled and humiliated on the seventh step of the Eastern stairway, leading to their holy place. Here they prayed and wept and longed for their ancestors. Not until the liberation of Hebron in 1967 was the site opened to all religions, yet still with numerous restrictions imposed due to strong Arab pressure.
 
The reason for this is clear: The Arabs have no roots or ties to the Land of Israel. Their holy sites and roots are to be found on the Arabian Peninsula. From there, they came and occupied Israel, the Middle East, North Africa and Spain
in the seventh century. To justify their occupation, they confiscated the local peoples’ holy sites and converted them into Muslim shrines. They fabricated so-called “Arab (or Moslem) roots”. 
 
(IMAGE: Screenshot from an Arabic language video containing historical revisionism about Hebron.)
 
The Arabs know that the future of the Middle East belongs to those who have a past in the region. The Machpela Tomb is an important symbol and evidence for the fact that the past is Jewish. This is why it is important for the Arabs to falsify history and steal the Jews’ identity – which has never belonged to the Arabs.

Historical facts prove that the Jews are an ancient people who have lived in Israel for around 3,800 years. Arabs, the occupiers, have no historical rights or historical connection to this small Land. They have their own land, Arabia, where
they have their own holy sites. In addition to these historical facts and according to the customs of ancient peoples, it is important to remember that Abraham gave the Land of Israel to Yitzhak, not to Ishmael. Ishmael’s descendants have the enormous land of Arabia.
 
Those who believe that Ishmael also has a claim to the inheritance of Abraham should read the Bible – which states that Abraham himself gave Israel to Yitzhak, who gave it to Yaakov who was given the name “Israel” by G-d, who later passed it on to his sons, the Children of Israel. The Machpela Tomb is an excellent example of Middle Eastern reality. Journalists, tourists and politicians are led astray by the façades and they base their opinion on Arab propaganda.

They see some minarets and Muslim ornaments and believe they have arrived at a Muslim site that the “Israel has occupied”, and which “some Jews are trying to take over”. It is necessary to make an in-depth examination to bring
forth the truth and to be able to come to the correct conclusion.
 
The same is to be said for the Temple Mount: Thousands of years after the Temple Mount had become a holy Jewish site, where two Temples had stood for more than a thousand years, the last one destroyed by the Romans, the Arabs came and, around 700 C.E., turned it into a “Haram”, built mosques on it and forced Islamic terror upon the site where, today, it is forbidden for Jews, even quietly, to recite Psalms. 

Visiting the impressive building above the cave of Machpela is a special experience, recommended to everyone who desires to know the truth about the history and reality of the Land of Israel.

Noam Arnon is the spokesperson for the Jewish Community of Hebron and has lived in the city since 1986. A graduate of Yeshivat Nir in Kiryat Arba, Hebron,he is a veteran of the Yom Kippur War of 1973 having served in the tank corp. Mr. Arnon holds a bachelors degree and a masters in geography and in Jewish history from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. In 1978, he founded Midreshet Hebron college in Kiryat Arba. He was among the group who excavated the inside of the Tomb of Machpela in 1981 and helped excavate the Avraham Avinu synagogue with Professor Ben-Tzion Tavgar. In 2009 he received the Moskowitz Prize for Zionism. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree on the history of the Tomb of Machpela. This article was originally published in the book Hebron: Rebirth from Ruins by Dr. Michal Rachel Suissa.
 
VISIT THE TOMB OF MACHPELA TODAY!
 
United States contact info:

http://www.hebronfund.org/
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
718-677-6886
info@hebronfund.org

In Israel contact the offices of the Jewish Community of Hebron at:
http://en.hebron.org.il/
02-996-5333
office@hebron.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/hebronofficial
 
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