Once again demonstrating its anti-Semitic slant, UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) passed a resolution Wednesday saying that the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem were no longer Jewish sites but were actually Muslim sites.
An initial draft of the resolution had also called for the Kotel (Western Wall) to be listed as an Islamic site – or more specifically as an “extension of the AlAqsa Mosque” – but that detail was hastily withdrawn after widespread condemnation, including from UNESCO’s own Director-General.
A major strategy of the Palestinians in their goal of ultimately taking over all of Israel is to deny Jewish ties to the land. They do this by de-legitimizing the Jewish connection to the site and/or destroying Jewish Holy sites. That’s why they hold on to the Temple Mount, destroying artifacts. That is why they burned down Joseph’s Tomb and it is why they Claim the Cave of the Patriarchs and Rachel’s Tomb. But it’s not only Jewish sites, the Palestinians have laid claim to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and in 2002 invaded and trashed Jesus’ birthplace in Bethlehem.
The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (Chevron in Hebrew) was the first piece of land ever purchased by the Jews in Israel. Approximately 38 centuries Avraham (Abraham), our forefather purchased a cave (at full market price so there would be no question) in Hebron to bury his beloved wife Sarah. The story is in Bereisheet (Genesis) Chapter 23.
The Cave and the adjoining field were purchased and now house the remains of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah. Some say that Esau’s remains are also there, there is a legend that when Jacob was buried in the cave, his twin Esau tried to stop his sons from burying him there. Chushim, the deaf son of Dan, asked what was going on, and became livid when he learned that Esau had halted the funeral of his revered grandfather. With a mighty blow of his sword, Chushim severed Esau’s head, which rolled into the Cave of Machpelah and came to rest in Isaac’s lap, where it remains to this day.
As far as Abraham’s other son, Ishmael who is credited with being the ancestor of the Muslims supposedly he was buried next to his mother in Hijr Ismail, which is next to the Ka’bah (the square black shrine located near the center of the Great Mosque in Mecca and considered by Muslims everywhere to be the most sacred spot on Earth). In the picture below the crescent-like structure to the right of the Ka’bah is Hijr Ismail:
Jews owned land in Hebron where the cave is located pretty much from the time Abraham made his purchase till about 80 years ago.
In 1929, all that changed. On Friday night August 23 Rabbi Ya’acov Slonim’s son invited any fearful Jews to stay in his house. The rabbi was highly regarded in the community, and he had a gun. Many Jews took him up on this offer, and many Jews were eventually murdered there. As early as 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, Arabs began to gather en masse. They came in mobs, armed with clubs, knives and axes. While the women and children threw stones, the men ransacked Jewish houses and destroyed Jewish property. With only a single police officer in Hebron, the Arabs entered Jewish courtyards with no opposition. Rabbi Slonim, who had tried to shelter the Jewish population, was approached by the rioters and offered a deal. If all the Ashkenazi yeshiva students were given over to the Arabs, the rioters would spare the lives of the Sephardi community. Rabbi Slonim refused to turn over the students and was killed on the spot. In the end, 12 Sephardi Jews and 55 Ashkenazi Jews were murdered.
Because of the massacre the remaining Jews left the city, which makes the Cave and the City of Hebron territory occupied by the Palestinian Muslims.
Rachel’s Tomb (Kever Rachel) lies on the northern outskirts of Bethlehem, about 460 meters (about 500 yards) south of the Jerusalem municipal border, and is been identified as the tomb of the matriarch Rachel the beloved wife of Jacob, and mother of Joseph and Benjamin (who died giving birth to Benjamin). There’s a vast amount of literature written by pilgrims; Jewish, Christian and Muslim ones document the site as Rachel’s burial place.
Jews have visited the site for generations, coming to pray, request and plead. The place became a kind of miniature Wailing Wall where suppliant Jews came to pour out their hearts and recount their misfortunes at the bosom of the beloved mother, where they could find consolation and cure.
According to Jewish tradition, Rachel’s tears have special powers. Beginning with the first exile of the Jewish people from the Holy Land, tradition says Rachel’s weeping convinced God to make the exile a short one. Jeremiah (the prophet not the bull frog) 31:15 reads
So says the Lord: A voice is heard on high, lamentation, bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children for they are not. So says the Lord: Refrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for there is reward for your work, says the Lord, and they shall come back from the land of the enemy. And there is hope for your future, says the Lord, and the children shall return to their own border.
Writers, poets and biblical exegetics identified her tears with almost every catastrophe or trouble that plagued the Jewish people. And the Palestinians are angling to take Mother Rachel away from her children.
In 2000, after hundreds of years of recognizing the site as Rachel’s Tomb, Muslims began calling it the “Bilal ibn Rabah mosque.” Members of the Wakf used the name first in 1996, but it has since entered the national Palestinian discourse. Bilal ibn Rabah was an Ethiopian known in Islamic history as a slave who served in the house of the prophet Muhammad as the first muezzin (the individual who calls the faithful to prayer five times a day).When Muhammad died, ibn Rabah went to fight the Muslim wars in Syria, was killed in 642 CE, and buried in either Aleppo or Damascus. The Palestinian Authority claimed that according to Islamic tradition, it was Muslim conquerors who named the mosque erected at Rachel’s Tomb after Bilal ibn Rabah.
The Palestinian claim ignored the fact that Ottoman firmans (mandates or decrees) gave Jews in the Land of Israel the right of access to the site at the beginning of the nineteenth century. The Palestinian claim even ignored accepted Muslim tradition, which admires Rachel and recognizes the site as her burial place. According to tradition, the name “Rachel” comes from the word “wander,” because she died during one of her wanderings and was buried on the Bethlehem road. Her name is referred to in the Koran, and in other Muslim sources, Joseph is said to fall upon his mother Rachel’s grave and cry bitterly as the caravan of his captors passes by. For hundreds of years, Muslim holy men (walis) were buried in tombs whose form was the same as Rachel’s.
The Palestinians are targeting the Jewish sites in the holy land by saying that they were really Muslim sites. But don’t fret, because once they stake their claims on Jewish Heritage, Christian Heritage sites are next. Appearing on official Palestinian TV on September 16th of this year, Palestinian Chairman Abbas, the man who arraigned for the financing of the Munich Massacre said, “The Al-Aqsa Mosque [Temple Mount] and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher are ours.”
[T]he Palestinian Authority-appointed Waqf (Moslem religious property) authorities attempted to break through into the Church of the Holy Sepulcher from the adjacent al-Hanaqa Mosque. [They] decided to install a latrine on the roof of the Church. According to a May 11, 1997, report in Ha’aretz, “A Waqf internal report, written two weeks ago by the Waqf’s Jerusalem engineer, ‘Isam ‘Awad, confirms many of the Christians’ claims in the conflict that has emerged adjacent to the Holy Sepulcher Church regarding construction in the Church. The Church’s claim [is] that the Waqf has harmed the historical and architectural substance of the Holy Sepulcher, as a result of a construction addition to the courtyard of the ‘Hanaqa,’ which leans on the wall of the Holy Sepulcher and even darkens it by its height.”
Israel attempted to calm down the conflict after the Churches complained and issued a work stoppage order against it, which was promptly ignored. The same Ha’aretz story reported that “The Jerusalem district archeologist in the Antiquities Authority, John Zeligman, wrote to the Waqf director, ‘Adnan Husayni, pointing out to the Waqf the damage to a site that is declared to be an antiquity and threatens to go to law if work is not halted immediately.” Finally, the illegal construction was halted due to Israeli and world pressure, but we can be certain that without such pressure the desecration would have continue.
And don’t forget what happened right after Easter in 2002 when over a hundred Palestinians took “refuge”in, and trashed Bethlehem’s Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lord–the birthplace of Jesus.
On the morning of April 2, 2002, 10 armed Palestinian men wandered into the basilica. Father Ibrahim Faltas, O.F.M., and I approached them and explained that we do not allow arms in the basilica and that they would have to leave. They did so quietly and politely. We then bolted the front door of the church
Around 3 p.m. we heard a lot of gunfire, and yelling in and near the basilica. We quickly entered the church to find several hundred Palestinians running into the nave of the basilica with several dozen men carrying guns and semi-automatics. Apparently, they had broken the front door of the church.” (The Bethlehem Siege: An Insider’s Account”St. Anthony’s Messenger, August 2002)
(…)Eiman Abu Eita, the then-representative for Fatah in Bethlehem, has admitted to Aaron Klein that the entire incident was pre-planned in order to give the mainstream media the impression that Israel was to blame. “The conspiracy was to make a siege and put all the fighters inside the church so Israel would make the siege. People from the Palestinian Authority collaborated with this conspiracy”
This is what the Basilica of the Nativity of Our Lord looked like after the terrorists left.
And don’t forget that the Temple Mount which the Palestinians claim for themselves is also holy to Christians who are also not permitted to pray at the site.
The UNESCO vote today is simply the latest attempt of the Palestinian Muslims using the world body to steal holy sites from other faiths to remove any association with the holy land.
A message to my Christian friends if you don’t fight it now, your holy sites will be targeted by the U.N. next.