Hevron Jews in Ancient Lag Ba’Omer Custom
Jews in the biblical city of Hevron were able to fulfill an ancient custom on Thursday, the holiday of Lag Ba’Omer. They entered the Palestinian Authority-controlled sector of the city to visit the tomb of Otniel Ben Kanaz.
Ancient books describing the Jewish community of Hevron note that it was customary to visit the tomb. “On Lab Ba’Omer afternoon, they would go out to the fields and would go to the grave of Otniel Ben Kanaz,” one book states.
Israeli residents of Hevron who made the trip told Tatzpit that why were overjoyed that the trip was made possible. IDF soldiers provided security for the worshippers.
The city’s Jewish community has called to secure Otniel’s Tomb every day, so that Jews may continue to visit and pray at the site without fear of PA violence. The site was to have been open to Jews under agreements with the PA.
The Jewish community of Hevron existed through modern times, but was expelled from the city in 1929 following an Arab massacre in which dozens were murdered. Jewish families returned to the city shortly after the Six Day War of 1967, and have since built a flourishing community with thousands of residents.