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      Arab Rioters Attack Jewish Worshippers at Tomb of Rachel

      The Tomb of Rachel was closed down to worshippers Monday after masked Arab rioters threw stones at the entrance to the site.
      By Rachel Hirshfeld
      First Publish: 5/14/2012, 2:42 PM

      Rachel's tomb
      Rachel's tomb
      Israel radio photo

      The Tomb of Rachel (Kever Rachel) was closed down to worshippers Monday afternoon after masked Arab rioters threw stones at the entrance of the holy site.

      Military forces arrived at the scene and instructed worshippers standing at the entrance of the Tomb to enter the holy structure until they managed to calm the riots after a confrontation between soldiers and Arab rioters. Israeli Defense Forces managed to restore calm to the area and permitt access the site.

      While in the last year there has been relative calm in the area, within recent weeks several violent incidents have been reported, including pipe bombs thrown at Jewish worshippers. The attacks did not result in any casualties.

      The Gush Etzion emergency number has not yet reported the incident.

      The Jewish matriarch, Rachel, is not buried in Hevron with the other matriarchs and patriarchs. She died in childbirth and her husband, Yaakov (Jacob), buried her on the road toward the city of Efrat, adjacent to Bethlehem. The prophet Jeremiah (chap. 31) mentions Rachel crying for her children who have left her, alluding to the destruction of the Temple and the resulting exile. The Jews prayed at the site on their way to exile in Babylon, and have continued to do so ever since, asking the Jewish matriarch, Rachel Imenu, to listen to their prayers. The site is full at almost every hour of the day.