New Historical Mysteries Uncovered in Hebron

The location of the original "gates of Machpela" may have been uncovered.

25.10.18, 21:13
Thousands of guests are expected this Shabbat for Parshat Chayei Sarah in Hebron and this year they will be able to experience new archaeological discoveries.
In addition to the newly inaugurated Tel Hevron archaeological garden which in under the auspicies of the Israeli Parks and Nature Authority, researchers have uncovered other mysteries. 
Sha'arei Me'arat HaMachpela, the gates of the Cave of the Patriarchs have up until now been assumed to be located deep inside an adjacent building connected to the massive 2,000-year-old Herodian complex. But recently Dr. Gershon Bar Kokhba, a resident of Hebron and author of a book on the subject, discovered an existing entrance at the entry level to the Tomb of the Patriarchs which are most likely the original gates. 
Another discovery in the Cave of the Patriarchs are inscriptions in both Hebrew and Greek from the Byzantine period (the Mishnaic and Talmudic periods), which attest to the Jewish presence in the cave during this era. The details and analysis of these inscriptions are part of a comprehensive study of the Cave of Machpela that was recently carried out by Noam Arnon for the Department of Land of Israel Studies at Bar-Ilan University.
Meanwhile in the ancient Jewish cemetery of Hebron, located elsewhere in the old city of Hebron, the discovery was made of the inscription on a tombstone. The name Sarah was engraved in the upper part of the cemetery, next to the gravestone of the 16th century kabbalist Rabbi Avraham Azulai.
As is well known, no names were inscribed on the gravestones in the ancient cemetery in Hebron, a unique tradition that dated back to past generations. Maps and charts identified each grave, or the Jewish inhabitants who lived in the city for generations simply relied on their memories in the close-knit community.
These new discoveries are just part of the history that will greet the tens of thousands of guests who are expected to arrive in the city over the weekend. And of course, the modern community is ready to great them with a massive hospitality tent, including food, drink and other accommodations to make this a Shabbat to remember. 
Special tours that take place during the weekend are the Hall of Isaac and Rebecca, a section of the Machpela complex that includes the actual entrance into the underground double cave. Tours of the historic casbah and Tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz will also take place.
The Hebron Fund will be again sponsoring a special program for English speakers. The VIP weekend program including three catered meals with Members of Knesset, IDF commanders and soldiers, and leaders of the Jewish Community of Hebron. Inspiring Shabbat prayers will be led by by Chazzan Sruli Hersh and Rabbi Simcha Hochbaum. On Shabbat morning there will be a hot kiddush, followed by tours of the city, special speakers and discussions. This year's guest speakers will be Caroline Glick, deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post and law professor Eugene Kontorovich of the Kohelet Policy Forum.
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