Daily Israel Report

More Than 20,000 Celebrate Biblical Purchase in Hevron

More than 20,000 Jews descended on Hevron. The Torah this Sabbath recounts Abraham's purchase in Hevron. The modern courts question a new purchase.
By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
First Publish: 11/22/2008, 7:53 PM

Flash 90

More than 20,000 Jews descended on Hevron this Sabbath as Jews around the world heard the portion of the Torah that recounts the first recorded sale in the Bible - the purchase of the Patriarchs' Cave in Hevron by Abraham, the world's first Jew. No representative of the Jewish People has ever sold the Cave since then.

Hundreds remained Saturday night to show support for Jews trying to hold on to the Peace House, a four-story building that was purchased from Arabs but which the courts have ordered to be taken away from Jews.
Hundreds remained Saturday night to show support for Jews trying to hold on to the Peace House.

The justices said the civil courts must determine the true ownership of the building but said that they found the weight of evidence was in favor of Arabs who claim that Jews forged the purchase.

Thousands of nationalists have noted that the claims have come the same week that the weekly Torah reading describes of the deception of Hevron residents in the sale of the Patriarchs' cave to Abraham. They initially indicated that he could take the property without a formal sale and without a request for money. After his insistence to pay, the sellers named an exorbitant sum, to which Abraham agreed.

Despite the large number of visitors to Hevron, the Sabbath passed quietly and without violence except for one incident in which one teenager was arrested allegedly for attacking policemen. The youth was detained as he and one other allegedly attacked policemen who previously had taken one person to the Hevron police station for an incident at the David's Dream outpost.

Media Bias
However, at least two Israeli English websites headlined the arrest, and Haaretz did not note it was the only incident reported despite the tensions resulting from the High Court order to expel more than 20 families from the building.

The building is known as the Peace House, but Haaretz referred to it as the "Contention House" and called supporters of Jewish claims to the building "right wing extremists." One of the hundreds of people who have moved into the building to show solidarity is Shas Knesset Member Zev Nissim.

Haaretz newspaper's website emphasized the arrest and recalled the incident during the past week when turpentine was thrown at one soldier and graffiti was scrawled at a Muslim cemetery and on a mosque.

Hevron leaders noted that police have not arrested anyone for the attack and that provocateurs, planted by the government, may have been responsible.

YNet also headlined the arrest but also noted the day was "relatively quiet."