The birthright of the Jewish people in the land of Israel was given by God Almighty to the fathers of the nation at Beit El.
Each one of the patriarchs was told to make a symbolic act of possession, kinyan, of the land as the patrimony of the nation-to-be.
Above the town of Beit El rises the commanding peak of Mt. Baal Chatzor. Abraham, who pitched his tent near the city of Luz-Beit El, was told to ascend the summit of the mountain, as most of the land could be seen from this peak.
To make this kinyan legally binding, he was instructed to measure the length and breadth of the land, “For unto you and your descendants I gave it” (Genesis 13: 17).
Isaac directed Jacob, on his flight to Haran, to first tarry at Luz, to receive the inheritance of Abraham. In this way, Isaac settled the controversy with the violent brother Esau. There on the rocks of Luz, with the glory of God above him, Jacob was told, “The land upon which you are resting, unto you it is given.”
This Divine pronouncement has a twofold meaning. “It is given to you for conquest and for care and protection.” (See Rashi’s comment to Genesis 28:11). The Almighty at the same time promised Jacob he would return from exile and dwell in the land as its owner.
At Luz, Jacob’s name was changed by God Himself to Israel, and the name of the place was elevated from Luz to Beit El. Canaan, too, was renamed the land of Israel.
It is an amazing affirmation of the Divine bequest of the land as an eternal inheritance to the nation of Israel that this deed of ownership is etched into the very landscape of Beit El. A satellite picture of the site of Jacob’s vision revealed the ineffable name of God (the TETRAGRAMMATON) in the form of the curving steep valleys around the site.
Another physical feature of the Divine bequest is expressed by the specific location on Mt. Baal Chatzor. Abraham was instructed, Raise your eyes and look north, south, east, and west, from the very place [hamakom] where you are. You will be able to see the land as a whole only from this location, from Mt. Hermon in the far north to Ashkelon in the south, from Mt. Nevo in the east across the Dead Sea to the seacoast in the west.
The widespread denial of Israel’s birthright to the heartland of the country makes the claim of “occupation and Jewish settlement” a rejection of biblical truth. The archeological evidence proves that the place of Jacob’s vision became, from early on, a national monument.
Burial caves and mikvehs abound, although the area was not inhabited. The rival sanctuary of King Jeroboam, and a grove of ancient oak trees considered holy by the ancients, are found next to the site of Jacob’s vision. Later a Byzantine church was built there, followed by a Crusader chapel.
All of the above testifies to the need for the Biblical Heritage Center at Beit El. It is a project of the Beit El Education Center. Literature on Beit-El will be sent on request (hbohrer@Arutsheva.org).