Hebron, located 32 km. (20 miles) south of Jerusalem in the Judean hills, is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world, which dates back to Biblical times.
The Book of Genesis Abraham's purchase of the field where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located as a burial place for his wife Sarah.
According to Jewish tradition, the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are buried in the Tomb. The Cave of Machpelah (in Hebron) is the world's most ancient Jewish site and the second holiest place for the Jewish people, after Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The cave and the adjoining field were purchased (at full market price) by Abraham some 3700 years ago. These are considered the Patriarchs and Matriarchs of the Jewish People. The only one who is missing is Rachel, who was buried near Bethlehem where she died in childbirth. It's there today marked by this uniquely impressive building is the only one in the region that stands intact and still fulfills its original function after thousands of years. Foreign conquerors and invaders used the site for their own purposes, depending on their religious orientation. The Byzantines and Crusaders transformed it into a church and the Muslims rendered it a mosque. About 700 years ago, the Muslim Mamelukes conquered Hebron, declared the structure a mosque and forbade entry to Jews, who were not allowed past the seventh step on a staircase outside the building. Hebron has a long and rich Jewish history.
It was one of the first places where the Patriarch Abraham resided after his arrival in Canaan. King David was anointed in Hebron, where he reigned for seven years. One thousand years later, during the first Jewish revolt against the Romans, the city was the scene of extensive fighting. Jews lived in Hebron almost continuously throughout the Byzantine, Arab, Mameluke, and Ottoman periods. It was only in 1929 - as a result of a murderous Arab pogrom in which 67 Jews were murdered and the remainder were forced to flee - that the city became temporarily "free" of Jews. After the 1967 Six-Day War, the Jewish community of Hebron was re-established. It has grown to include a range of religious and educational institutions. (thanks to Crystal links.com and Paradise Sunday School.blogspot.com)