Located 37 km south of Jerusalem, the city of Hebron is the center of the southern West Bank. Home to 230,000 people, it is also the largest city after Jerusalem in the West Bank, as well as the region’s commercial and industrial center. The city is closely associated with Abraham, known in Arabic as Ibrahim el-Khalil, the friend of God. Hebron is also famous for its glass and pottery factories. Much of the charming, traditional pottery and elegant glass made in Hebron is sold in stores across the country.
- Ibrahimi Mosque: Hebron is a holy city for the Jewish, Muslim, and Christian faiths. Abraham and his wife Sarah, together with Isaac, Rebecca, Jacob and Leah, are believed to be buried in the place there the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpela is built. The building is probably one of the oldest holy sites in the world and is considered to be the second most holy site for the Jews and the fourth most holy site for the Muslims (and Joseph according to Islamic tradition). In 1994, an Israel army medical doctor, went into the Ibrahimi Mosque/Cave of Machpela and opened fire, killing 29 praying Muslims and wounding more than 100. After the massacre the site was divided into a Muslim and a Jewish part with two separate entrances. Ten days every year the whole site is open exclusively for the Jews and ten days exclusively for the Muslims. All visitors should observe modest dress codes. For women, covering their arms, legs, and chests, as well as covering their hair completely with a scarf is required. Men should avoid wearing shorts and both men and women should remove their shoes at the entrance. The women’s prayer area is on the second floor. It’s best to avoid visiting the mosque on Fridays or directly after the prayer call, when it’s at its busiest.
- The old city and bazaar: This area is divided in to H1 (under PA control) and H2 (under Israeli control). Most parts of the old city are under H2, and within these areas there are three Israeli Settlements. You will need to bring your passport to show at the checkpoints if you plan to see the mosque, synagogue, or Shahuda street areas. The Old City is really beautiful withstone archway tunnels and open courtyard areas. There are still shops open in the souq and any support to the local economy is much appreciated. It’s a great idea to shop in the Old City. Shopkeepers direly need customers and they also sell excellent merchandise, including beautiful Bedouin carpets in all sizes and traditional Keffiyehs in every color (purple is a big hit with females). According to a study by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), conducted in 2009, 77 percent of the Palestinians in Hebron’s Old City in H2 live below the poverty line.
- Shuhada St. and the Jewish settlements: Shuhada Street was once the main market street of Hebron. In 1994 by military order it was closed to Palestinian vehicles and pedestrians. According to the Hebron Protocols from 1997, the street should be re-opened to Palestinians. This was partially implemented in 1997 and 1998. However, since the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000, the street has again been closed to Palestinians. Tour Shuhada Street to learn about the settlers and checkpoint in Hebron and the West Bank.
- Glass and ceramic factory: Here craftsmen still use traditional age-old methods and you can watch their amazing work, including glass blowing (amazing stuff!) and ceramic making/painting. You can also visit the shop which has beautiful items including Christmas-themed merchandise for a good price.
- Mamre: Abraham’s house and the Oaks of Mamre, the place where according to tradition, three angels visited Abraham at his tent, predicting that Abraham and Sarah would have a son (Isaac).
- Recommended to meet one of the following organizations in Hebron:
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