Despite the last minute cancellation of the main event due to rain, about 25,000 people arrived in Hebron during the two days of chol hamoed Passover this year. The normal outdoor concert was to feature top-name acts in the Jewish and Israeli music scene.
Tours of the city took place including the 4D movie "Touching Eternity," at the Hebron Visitors Center.
Of special interest was the visit to the Tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz, the first judge of Israel. This historic burial chamber is located in the PA controlled side of the city and access is permitted usually only once or twice a year, on Passover.
Israel Defense Force region commander Eitan Dana spoke to Israel National News about the holiday stating "there is no better time to take the family and act on the words of the popular song 'get up and walk the Land of Israel with a backpack and stick.’ For me personally, it is exciting to see the hundreds of visitors, civilians alongside Jewish tourists from the diaspora, Israelis from all sectors, enter the secured premises of the tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz who, according to tradition, is the relative of Caleb Ben Yefuneh, one of the 12 spies sent to scout the Land of Israel after the exodus from Egypt. We feel pride and a sense of mission to be securing the tomb."
The most popular site in Hebron of course was the Tomb of Machpela, the 2,000-year-old complex that houses the underground Caves where the Biblical Matriarchs and Patriarchs are buried. On Thursday, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, Chief Rabbi of Tzfat, led services in the Cave of Machpela, including a musical hallel prayer. Musicians brought in their instruments as worshipers crowded around to sing and dance.
The Hall of Isaac & Rebecca, the largest in the complex was open for Jewish visitors during the two days, attracting masses. Due to the rotation agreement with the Muslim Waqf, the Machepla Cave is divided into Jewish and Muslim sections. The Hall of Isaac & Rebecca is open ten days a year for exclusive access for each religion,cooresponding to various holidays.
Also open for tours was the Casbah,today a bustling Arab marketplace parallel to King David Street / Shuhada Street. Before the 1929 massacre, the area was part of the Jewish neighborhood and old Jewish houses with holes in the doorposts for a mezuzah are still visible. The tour-guides pointed out such former Jewish landmarks a Kabbalists' Corner.
The next big event for the Jewish Community of Hebron is the 50th anniversary celebration for the liberation of the city which will take place on May 25, 2017.
A ceremony featuring cabinet ministers, Members of Knesset, and public figures. The guests of honor will be the founding members of the community.
* Special "Hallel" Prayer at the Cave of the Patriarchs (photo gallery)
For information on transportation and more:
United States contact info:
1760 Ocean Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11230
Israeli contact info:
* 2016 Passover Music Festival to Mark 50th Anniversary of Hebron Liberation
* 30,000 Attend Hebron Passover Festival, 2016
* VIDEO: Thousands Celebrate Passover in Hebron
Passover in Hebron 2017 | 22 Images