Our fathers, their heritage? Machpela Cave
Our fathers, their heritage? Machpela CaveiStock

Much has been said since Friday about the UNESCO resolution defining the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hevron as a “Palestinian heritage site.”

Much has been said about the acquisition of the cave by our forefather Abraham, but is that historical line of reasoning relevant to today’s diplomatic-political-legal discourse? Arutz Sheva spoke with Rabbi Avi Gisser, head of the “Mishpatei Aretz” center, which works to provide Torah-based answers to questions which arise in modern law.

From the outset, Rabbi Gisser established that the historical discourse is, indeed, completely relevant when talking about acquisition rights in the present day.

“International law every place in the world recognizes heritage, and UNESCO is supposed to be the place that cultivates heritage and creates international recognition of historical bonds. It’s clear that we’re talking about the greatest lie of all when [UNESCO] attributes heritage to the Palestinian Arabs, and .. the organization itself asserts that whoever has heritage rights in a certain place, can claim not only a historical right to the place, but can also claim ownership by virtue of law and acquisition,” Rabbi Gisser said.

“Of course, 100 years ago the League of Nations, the precursor to the UN, recognized, following the Balfour Declaration, which was only a British political declaration, the connection of the Jewish people to the land of Israel - and the League of Nations said it did this because of the historical biblical bond. The League of Nations knew biblical law and history.”

“Oftentimes they attribute the establishment of the state to the November 29 [1947 UN “Partition Plan”] decision as a sort of reparation for the injustices of the Holocaust, but 1922 [when the League of Nations issued its “Palestine Mandate” recognizing the historical connection of the Jewish people to Israel] was long before that. The Partition Plan didn’t mention anything about history and heritage. In contrast, the League of Nations noted that any international approach needs to include the historical connection.”

“[Biblical] passages have significance in the legal world. The world knows how to grant that right to every native group and tribe in the world; It’s a pity that it’s so blind to the Palestinian lie in the land of Israel.”