The 29th of Iyar on the Hebrew calendar marks the day in which Hebron was liberated from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan who occupied it for 19 years and barred entry to Jews. It follows Jerusalem Day in which the Israel Defense Forces liberated the Old City of Jerusalem and reunified the city during the Six Day War of 1967.
Last year celebrations were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, with the success of the vaccine and the dramatic drop in coronavirus infections, celebrations resumed on a smaller scale with a parade for children and singing and dancing in front of the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs.
At the historic site, special prayers were held for the safety of those affected by the rioting, rocket attacks and shootings throughout the country. A special prayer was recited for the IDF forces engaged in Gaza as part of Operation Guardian of the Walls.
Events were organized by the Jewish community of Hebron and the municipality of Kiryat Arba.
A day before, on Jerusalem Day hundreds took part in a bicycle event that started in Kiryat Arba and ended in Jerusalem and special mini-marathon is planned for Thursday in Hebron.
Eliyahu Libman, head of the Kiryat Arba local council called it a complicated week with the the difficultly of the attacks mixed with the celebrations. He said both Jerusalem Day and Hebron Day are of great importance in the history of the Jewish people in Israel and the Diaspora.
“It is a great privilege for us to develop Kiryat Arba and Hebron and preserve this place where our forefathers and mothers are buried. We will continue to grow and develop,” he stated.
CONFERENCE CELEBRATES HEBRON HISTORY
A conference was held at the Touching Eternity visitor’s center and museum at Beit Hadassah for Hebron Day. Dr. Noam Arnon who recently earned his doctorate for his comprehensive research on the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs was honored and spoke about the archaeological artifacts found inside the cave. He discussed his research which helped authenticate the Jewish origin of the structure which was built by King Herod the Great as a memorial to the founders of Biblical monotheism.
Other speakers included Dr. Gershon Bar-Kochva who spoke about the Land of Israel during the Nazi era. Among the historical documents he displayed was a telegram from leading Nazi party member Heinrich Himmler, a main architect of the Holocaust, to Haj Amin El Husseini, a leader of an Arab faction in the Land of Israel. In the letter, Himmler stated that he sought the annihilation of the Jewish people and was supportive of Husseini’s actions against Jews in what was then the British Mandate of Palestine.
Ariye Klein spoke about events leading to the Six Day War. He mentioned that the Jabari clan of the Hebron hills region at the time advocated approaching Israel peacefully. Veteran Hebron pioneer Shmuel Mushnick spoke about the early days of the new settlers and his successful career as an artist. Rabbi Hillel Horowitz who serves as mayor and head of the Jewish community of Hebron city council also spoke. The event was moderated by Yishai Fleisher, international spokesperson for the Jewish community of Hebron.