Hebron Liberation Day celebrated with festivities, conference

Yom Hevron (Hebron Day) was back after last year's COVID-19 lockdown

13.5.21, 10:31
The day of Hebron's liberation was celebrated in the City of the Forefathers with festivities and a special conference.
Yom Hevron or Hebron Day takes place on the 29th of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar and marks the day in which the city was liberated from the Jordanians who occupied it for 19 years and barred entry to Jews. It follows Jerusalem Day in which the Israel Defense Forces liberated the Old City of Jerusalem and reunified the city during the Six Day War of 1967.
Last year celebrations were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, with the success of the vaccine and the dramatic drop in coronavirus infections, celebrations resumed on a smaller scale with a parade for children and singing and dancing in front of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.

At the historic site, special prayers were held for the safety of those affected by the rioting, rocket attacks and shootings throughout the country. A special prayer was recited for the IDF forces engaged in Gaza as part of Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Events were organized by the Jewish community of Hebron and the municipality of Kiryat Arba.
A day before, on Jerusalem Day hundreds took part in a bicycle event that started in Kiryat Arba and ended in Jerusalem and special mini-marathon is planned for Thursday in Hebron.

Eliyahu Libman, head of the Kiryat Arba local council called it a complicated week with the the difficultly of the attacks mixed with the celebrations. He said both Jerusalem Day and Hebron Day are of great importance in the history of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora.

"It is a great privilege for us to develop Kiryat Arba and Hebron and preserve this place where our forefathers and mothers are buried. We will continue to grow and develop," he stated.
Rabbi Shlomo Goren, chief rabbi of the IDF virtually single-handedly liberated the city on June 8, 1967. Due to a miscommunication, he assumed he would meet up with the rest of the Israel army in Hebron and along with a driver, took a jeep to the city, then under Jordanian control. Yet he arrived before the army and as he drove through the historic streets, saw white flags of surrender flying from the windows of the homes.
Rabbi Goren was able to enter the Tomb of the Patriarchs and became the first non-Muslim to freely enter and pray at the site in 700 years.

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A conference was held at the Touching Eternity visitor's center and museum at Beit Hadassah for Hebron Day. Dr. Noam Arnon who recently earned his doctorate for his comprehensive research on the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs was honored and spoke about the archaeological artifacts found inside the cave. He discussed his research which helped authenticate the Jewish origin of the structure which was built by King Herod the Great as a memorial to the founders of Biblical monotheism.

Other speakers included Dr. Gershon Bar-Cochva who spoke about the Land of Israel during the Nazi era. Among the historical documents he displayed was a telegram from leading Nazi party member Heinrich Himmler, a main architect of the Holocaust, to Haj Amin El Husseini, a leader of an Arab faction in the Land of Israel. In the letter, Himmler stated that he sought the annihilation of the Jewish people and was supportive of Husseini's actions against Jews in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine.

Ariye Klein spoke about events leading to the Six Day War. He mentioned that the Jabari clan of the Hebron hills region at the time advocated approaching Israel peacefully. Veteran Hebron pioneer Shmuel Mushnick spoke about the early days of the new settlers and his successful career as an artist. Rabbi Hillel Horowitz who serves as mayor and head of the Jewish community of Hebron city council also spoke. The event was moderated by Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron.
A version of this article appeared in the Jewish Press.
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