Seals from Judean Kingdom Period Shed Light on Life in Ancient Jerusalem

By: Daniel Eisenbud; jpost.com

Some of the seals are inscribed with biblical names, several of which are still used today, such as Pinchas.

A complete seal bearing the name “Achiav Ben Menachem.”. (photo credit:ISRAELI ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY/ CLARA AMIT)

A rare collection of ancient seals inscribed with the names of officials dating to the Judean Kingdom prior to the Babylonian destruction has been unearthed near the Old City’s walls during excavations conducted by the Antiquities Authority.

Dozens of seals, made of small pieces of clay used to officially close letters, were well preserved in the City of David and serve as evidence of their owners.

According to Ortal Chalaf and Dr. Joe Uziel, directors of the excavation funded by the Ir David Foundation (Elad), the seals illustrate the advanced administrative underpinnings of Jerusalem during the First Temple period.

“The earliest seals bear mostly a series of pictures,” the archeologists said on Monday.

“It appears that instead of writing the names of the clerks, symbols were used to show who the signatory was, or what he was sealing.”

Dr. Joe Uziel with ancient seals at the City of David. (Eliyahu Yania/ The City of David)

During later stages of the period – from the time of King Hezekiah (approximately 700 BCE) and up to the destruction of Jerusalem, in 586 BCE – the seals bear the names of clerks in early Hebrew script.

“Through these findings, we learn not only about the developed administrative systems in the city, but also about the residents and those who served in the civil service,” they noted.

Some of the seals are inscribed with biblical names, several of which are still used today, such as Pinhas.

“One particularly interesting seal mentions a man by the name of Ahiav Ben Menahem,” they said.

“These two names are known in the context of the Kingdom of Israel: Menahem was a king of Israel, while Ahiav does not appear in the Bible, but his name resembles that of Ahav [Ahab] – the infamous king of Israel from the tales of the prophet Elijah.”

Although the spelling of the name, “Ahiav,” differs somewhat from “Ahav,” they said it appears to be the same name.

“The version of the name that appears on the seal discovered, Ahiav, appears as well in the Book of Jeremiah in the Septuagint, as well as in Flavius Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews 15:7-8),” they said.

Chalaf and Uziel added that the appearance of the name “Ahiav” is interesting for two main reasons.

“First, because it serves as further testimony to the names that are familiar to us from the Kingdom of Israel in the Bible, and which appear in Judah during the period following the destruction of the Kingdom of Israel,” they said.

“These names are part of the evidence that after the exile of the Tribes of Israel, refugees arrived in Jerusalem from the northern kingdom, and found their way into senior positions in Jerusalem’s administration.”

While Ahab is portrayed as a negative figure in the Bible, his name continues to be in use, albeit in a differently spelled version.

“It was used both in Judea during the latter days of the First Temple, as reflected in Jeremiah and on the seal; and also after the destruction in the Babylonian exile, and up until the Second Temple period, as seen in the writings of Flavius Josephus,” the researchers said.

The stamps, along with other archeological findings discovered during recent excavations, will be exhibited to the public for the first time at the 18th City of David research conference, the annual archeological conference held by the Megalim Institute, on September 7 at the City of David National Park.

 

US Police Train in Counterterrorism in Israel, Attend 9/11 Memorial

By: Daniel K. Eisenbud; jpost.com

“In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job, and I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland.”

Members of the Police Unity Tour salute their Israeli counterparts at the Beit Shemesh police academy Monday.. (photo credit:POLICE SPOKESPERSON’S UNIT)

For the second consecutive year, the Police Unity Tour, a delegation of 52 American law-enforcement officers from 12 states, arrived in Israel to train in counterterrorism techniques and attend an annual 9/11 memorial service outside Jerusalem.

According to the delegation’s leader, Michael Safris, chief of the Essex County’s Sheriff’s Office Deputy Division, the Police Unity Tour was established in 1997 to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

“We are here to honor fallen police officers from the US and Israel,” he said on Monday.

“The motto of the Police Unity Tour is ‘We ride for those who died,’ and last year when we came here we did a one-day bike tour with Israeli officers, and in May we had 12 Israeli officers ride with us from New Jersey to our police memorial in Washington, DC, to participate in a candle-lighting vigil for fallen US officers,” Safris said.

During their stay, the US delegation will be based at the Beit Shemesh police academy, where they will participate in multiple counterterrorism training exercises, meet with elite units, and be briefed by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.

The delegation will conclude following a September 11 memorial service held at the 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in the Arazim Valley.

Safris, 72, who is Jewish and has hosted Israeli police delegations in the US for the past 10 years, said he has visited Israel 40 times.

“From all my trips, I know the delegation forms an important relationship, and if something happens in the US or something happens here, we stay in touch and honor each country’s fallen officers,” he said. “The relationship and comradery developed over the last two years is one of the reasons we keep coming.”

In terms of heightened antisemitism in the US – recently manifested by violent white supremacists who chanted “Jew will not replace us!” while marching in Charlottesville, Virginia – Safris said the country is indeed becoming alarmingly polarized.

“There is definitely a big divide, and I think people feel more emboldened by some of the things that President Trump said, or didn’t say,” he said. “There is a definite uptick [in antisemitism].”

Asked if security for Jewish people and organizations has been heightened in the US, Safris responded “100 percent.”

“Jewish communities have hired security directors and people now have to sign in at synagogues and community centers,” he said. “It’s a lot different than it was over the last year.”

Safris said what distinguishes the Israeli police internationally is their commitment not only to law enforcement, but to Israel’s existential struggle.

“In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job, and I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland,” he said.

“We have a lot of discussions about this when we are here,” Safris said. “It’s not just about keeping Israel going, but keeping it strong. You know, you can’t put down your weapons; you gotta be strong and act quickly, otherwise it’s going to be a lot worse.”

“They are protecting a way of life here,” he added.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, who met with the American delegation, said Israel’s ongoing security threats and the police’s efficient handling of them makes it an ideal arena for officers from across the globe to train.

“In terms of counterterrorism tactics that have been used and implemented at numerous scenes across the country, where unfortunately terrorist attacks have taken place, the Israeli police have used those tactics to minimize injuries, as well as find rapid solutions,” he said.

“Over the next few days, the Police Unity Tour will learn and see a number of these tactics across the country,” Rosenfeld added.

 

Israel to Offer Mexico Aid, Approves $1 Mill for Houston Jewish Community

By: Herb Keinon; jpost.com

The prime minister is set to meet with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, in a “historic” visit to Latin America.

The helmet of an Israeli soldier and member of an aid delegation is seen as he waits for a flight to Nepal at Ben Gurion international airport near Tel Aviv, Israel April 26, 2015.. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Israel extended offers of aid Sunday to the US and Mexico following a string of devastating natural disasters.

The government unanimously approved a proposal at the weekly cabinet meeting put forward by Education and Diaspora Affairs Minister Naftali Bennett for a $1 million aid package to help rebuild Jewish institutions in Houstonhit badly by Hurricane Harvey.

“This is a time for the Jewish State to help our Diaspora brothers at their time of need,” Bennett said. “They helped us when we needed it, it is our turn to help them.”

Bennett said the funds, which which will go to assist in the rebuilding of schools, synagogues and the local JCC that were damaged by the hurricane, are a “clear message about mutual responsibility.”

According to statement put out by Bennett, many of the schools and synagogues serving the 60,000-strong Jewish community cannot be used, and the community’s senior citizens home and JCC have suffered extensive water damage.

Regarding Mexico, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, set to leave for Latin America this evening, told the cabinet Sunday that when he meets Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto on Wednesday, he will offer Israel’s assistance to areas hit by the devastating earthquake there last Thursday.

Netanyahu said these are “not easy days for Mexico,” and sent his condolences to the victims of the disaster. At least 90 people were killed and hundreds more injured in the earthquake which badly hit the states of Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas.

Netanyahu characterized his trip to Argentina, Colombia, Mexico — and from there to New York where he will address the UN General Assembly — as “historic,” inasmuch as it will be the first ever visit by a serving Israeli prime minister to South or Central America.

“This visit will strengthen our economic, security and technological ties with Latin America, and will constitute the continued strengthening of Israel’s position in the world, something we are leading in a successful and systematic manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, Nadav Argaman, the head of the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) briefed the cabinet before Netanyahu’s departure.

Netanyahu said before that briefing that the Shin Bent thwarted the efforts of more than 70 cells that were planning attacks. “Israeli citizens don’t know everything that the Shin Bet does,” he said. “I want to express my deep appreciation to the Shin Bet and all who deal with this important work for Israel’s security.”

 

Researcher Verifies Historical Existence of 50+ Men in Old Testament Using Archaeology

By: Garrett Haley; christiannews.net

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A Purdue University researcher has verified the existence of 53 men mentioned in the Old Testament by painstakingly reviewing ancient historical sources and comparing them to the Bible.

Dr. Lawrence Mykytiuk is an associate professor of library science who specializes in history and Jewish studies. In the 1990s, Mykytiuk began to study the archaeological record, looking for evidence of those mentioned in the Bible.

“While some would put their hand on the Bible and really mean it when they take an oath, a few revisionist academics would throw it out and say, ‘That’s creative writing.’ I was looking for concrete, objective evidence outside of the Bible that would help build the case,” Mykytiuk said in a recent press release from the university.

Typically Mykytiuk considers a biblical person verified only if three identifying characteristics (such as the person’s name, the person’s title, and the person’s father’s name) match with an extra-biblical historical source, like an ancient inscription.

“If it matches the same three mentions in Scripture, it’s a virtual certainty,” Mykytiuk said, according to a report from Times of Israel. “There might be a few people with the same name, father’s name, but same title? That’s stretching it. I consider it a virtual certainty, either a dead ringer or virtual certainty.”

“Sometimes the three-step process is not necessary, as when we know that the person in an inscription and the person in the Bible are both connected to a one-time circumstance or event that fits one and only one person,” Mykytiuk explained.

“For example, Ahab, king of Israel, ruled during the period in which the famous battle of Qarqar was fought in 853 B.C.,” Mykytiuk said. “His Assyrian enemy wrote about ‘Ahab the Israelite,’ one of the kings he fought in that particular battle. Therefore, Ahab, king of Israel in the Bible, and Ahab, the Israelite king at the battle of Qarqar in the Assyrian inscription, must have been the same person.”

Using the painstaking three-step research process, Mykytiuk initially confirmed the existence of 50 Old Testament individuals and described his findings in a 2014 report. Then, earlier this year, he announced the addition of three more people to the list, bringing the total number of historically-verified Bible characters to 53.

“[These figures] mentioned in the Bible have been identified in the archaeological record,” Mykytiuk wrote in his report, which was published in Biblical Archaeology Review. “Their names appear in inscriptions written during the period described by the Bible and in most instances during or quite close to the lifetime of the person identified.”

The list of people Mykytiuk has verified include Egyptian pharaohs; kings of countries neighboring Israel; officials from the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires; and several well-known Israelite kings, including Ahab, Jehu, David, Hezekiah, and Manasseh.

Although Mykytiuk says that verifying a person’s existence does not prove everything the Bible details about the person, he believes it is still a good start.

“If you get the person’s name, his or her father’s name, and the person’s office or title, that doesn’t verify that they did certain things. But it can sometimes show they were in a position to do the things Scripture says they did,” he stated. “That’s often as far as you can go. Still, there are some longer inscriptions from ancient Israel’s neighbors that mention people and events in the Old Testament, just describing them from a different point of view.”

“This evidence shows that it is not essential to have religious faith in order to understand and accept much of what the Bible presents,” he opined. “It demonstrates that even on the basis of writings outside of the Bible alone, Scripture does have a considerable degree of historical credibility.”

 

Syria Warns Israel of ‘Dangerous Repercussions’ After Attach on Chemical Weapons Site

By: jpost.com Staff, Anna Ahronheim; jpost.com

Syria accuses Israel of targeting a chemical weapons plant and killing two of its soldiers; Israel has yet to confirm or deny the allegations, but Israeli security officials are speaking out.

People seen fleeing the alleged site of the Israeli attack on a Syrian post where chemical weapons are manufactured. . (photo credit:SOCIAL MEDIA)

Syria accused Israel on Thursday of carrying out an aerial attack on Assad posts overnight. The alleged Israeli attack hit a scientific research center where chemical weapons are manufactured, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In a statement, the Syrian army warned Israel of “dangerous repercussions of this aggressive action to the security and stability of the region” following the attack.

According to the reports, the attack was launched at 2:30 a.m. on targets located in central Syria, in the area of Hama, and also targeted several weapons convoys that were en route to Hezbollah strongholds in the area.

The Syrian army charged later on Thursday morning that Israel killed two of its soldiers during the aerial attack. An IDF spokeswoman declined to comment on the reports, saying that the army does not comment on operational matters.

Arab media claimed there are three casualties as a result of the attack, which centered on a regime post that belongs to the scientific research center on the outskirts of Hama, situated in the northwestern part of the country. In the scientific center, the regime reportedly develops munitions such as missiles and has developed chemical weapons as well.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that an airstrike on Masyaf in Syria hit a Scientific Studies and Research Center facility and an adjacent military camp where ground-to-ground rockets are stored.

The United States has imposed sanctions on employees of the Scientific Studies and Research Center, which it describes as the Syrian agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons including chemical weapons, something Damascus denies.

Syrian social media activists reported that “Israeli airplanes infiltrated from the valley area in Lebanon and attacked the center.”

Lebanese media reported that around 4 p.m. IAF fighter jets were spotted circling above Lebanon.

Speaking to Army Radio early Thursday morning, Gen. (res.) Gadi Shamni, who previously served as the military secretary of the prime minister, said that Israel “must do everything to prevent Iran from getting a better stronghold than that which it already has on Syria.”

He also said that he “assumes there’s a level of cooperation with the Americans following such an attack or beforehand, but we don’t have to ask for their approval.”

Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence and Executive Director of Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) took to Twitter stating that the strike was not routine and targeted a Syrian military-scientific center that develops and manufactures, among other things, precision missiles.

“The factory in the attack also produces chemical weapons and barrels of explosives that killed thousands of Syrian citizens. If the attack was conducted by Israel, it would be a commendable and moral action by Israel against the slaughter in Syria,” he wrote.

“The attack sent 3 important messages: Israel won’t allow for empowerment and production of strategic arms. Israel intends to enforce its redlines despite the fact that the great powers are ignoring them. The presence of Russian air defense does not prevent airstrikes attributed to Israel.

“Now it’s important to keep the escalation in check and to prepare for a Syrian-Iranian-Hezbollah response and even opposition from Russia.”

While the IDF does not comment on foreign reports, it would not be the first time Israeli jets have hit Assad regime and Hezbollah targets in Syria. Jerusalem has repeatedly said that while there is no interest by Israel to enter into Syria’s civil war, there are red lines that Jerusalem has set including the smuggling of sophisticated weaponry to Hezbollah and an Iranian presence on its borders.

Former Israel Air Force Head Maj.-Gen. Amir Eshel stated that Israel carried out at least 100 strikes in the past five years,  against the transfer of advanced weaponry from the Assad regime to Hezbollah, including the transfer of chemical weapons.

Just yesterday, the United Nations released a report affirming that the Syrian regime, governed by Bashar Assad, had indeed used chemical weapons (specifically Serin gas) to attack its own people when it had bombed the province of Idlib this past April.

The UN investigators confirmed that more than 80 civilians died as a direct result of the lethal attack on Khan Sheikhoun.

This is a developing story.

Yasser Okbi and Reuters contributed to this report.

 

Not A Wizard

Though a charlatan, the “wizard” in Oz merely made a motley crew of seekers aware of blessings they already possessed.

Enjoy this clip from the award-winning movie.

 

Israeli Leader Says Relations with Arab World Are Best Ever

apnews.com

JERUSALEM (AP) — Israel’s prime minister says the country is enjoying its greatest relations ever with the Arab world, even without a peace accord with the Palestinians.

Benjamin Netanyahu addressed Foreign Ministry personnel Wednesday ahead of the Jewish new year, saying the extent of relations has yet to fully be made public. He said their scope was greater than “any other period in Israeli history.”

Israel has peace agreements with Egypt and Jordan. In recent years it has grown closer to Sunni nations over shared concern about Iran’s growing influence in the region. However, Saudi Arabia and other Arab nations are hesitant to normalize ties before a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Netanyahu has been promoting Israel’s improved international relations under his watch. Next week he makes a first visit to South America.

How is a Small Nation Like Israel Providing Significant Humanitarian Aid Around the World?

By: Susan Michael, ICEJ US Director; israelanswers.com

Israel was one of the first countries to send a team of disaster management experts, mental health experts, and engineers to Houston after hurricane Harvey hit last week. This team, sent by IsraAID, is working together with local authorities and is seeking to provide emergency assistance to those in need and to help rebuild the community of Houston, TX.

Even though just the size of New Jersey, Israel has achieved acclaim all over the world with its humanitarian aid efforts. With the advent of the modern Jewish state in 1948, Israel set its course to embrace its biblical history of charity, “repairing the world,” known in the Hebrew language as “Tikkun Olam.”  Isaiah 1:16–17 sums it up: “Devote yourself to justice, aid the wronged, uphold the rights of the orphan, defend the cause of the widow.” This value permeates Israeli society which transports Tikkun Olam to nations in need.

Several agencies oversee Israel’s world impact including MASHAV, established in 1957 under Prime Minister Golda Meir. As an arm of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, MASHAV runs Israel’s official humanitarian assistance program. MASHAV’s training courses have impacted the lives of millions living in poor nations by enabling 270,000 participants from 132 nations to return to their countries to improve agriculture, medicine, water, and other necessities.

IsraAID, a non-profit, non-governmental organization, focuses on disasters and long-term support. Since its establishment in 2001, it has been on the ground in nearly every major humanitarian crisis in the 21st century. Their civilian and Israel Defense Force personnel, including medics, doctors, search and rescue teams, and post trauma experts, often arrive in the earliest days of a disaster.

For example, when Haiti’s 2010 earthquake hit, IsraAID’s team was the first on the scene, saving thousands of lives. They set up a world-class field hospital recently named in a ceremony by the World Health Organization as “the number one in the world.” At the time, The New York Times reported, “Years of dealing with terrorist attacks, combined with an advanced medical technology sector, have made Israel one of the nimblest countries in disaster relief.” IsraAID has helped in 140 countries.

Israel even reaches out to its enemies in overt and covert ways.  Ziv Hospital located in the northern Israeli town of Tzfat has treated more than 2,000 seriously wounded Syrians who make it to the Syria/Israel border.

In another fascinating outreach, Israeli humanitarian aid volunteers undertake dangerous missions from Israel into Syria to deliver medicines, food, and other necessities to hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrians. They secretly go to countries without diplomatic ties to Israel.

One of its leaders describes their work: “We are a group of Israeli citizens who love their homeland and believe in a Jewish tradition and culture that values compassionate, open-minded respect for the sanctity of human life and dignity.  We believe we are blessed to be born in a democratic country that enables its citizens to travel to challenging and dangerous places … Israel feels a moral and ethical duty to become ‘the voice of the voiceless’ … even among some of our toughest and cruelest enemies.”

Bennett: ‘I Am the Education Minister for Everybody’

By: Sarah Levi; jpost.com

He praised the state of Israeli education, adding: “Education is our real national security.”

Naftali Bennett. (photo credit:AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

I am the education minister for all the children of Israel – religious, secular, haredi, Druse, Arab, Circassian, Beduin, all,” Naftali Bennett said during Wednesday’s Education, Culture and Sport Committee meeting ahead of the upcoming school year.

Led by Shas MK Ya’acov Margi, head of the committee, and Bennett, the session touched on a variety of issues relevant to the education system including, hadata (“religionization”), classroom size, parent payments, special education and the Transparency in Education initiative.

“The Education Ministry is leaping in infrastructure and achievements in math, physics, chemistry, English, while classroom sizes are shrinking significantly,” Bennett said.

He praised the state of Israeli education, adding: “Education is our real national security.”

Bennett explained the need to build more classrooms, recruit better teachers and change the model of preschools, adding: “It’s a lot of hard work; I want to start the school year drama-free. The department should be for the students, not for theatrics.”

Bennett praised the new Transparency in Education website, saying: “It’s the first of its kind in Israel which allows transparency in all aspects of the educational systems including details on institutions, budgets, educational climate, classroom violence and how many graduates go to the army or national service. Now, everything is open and on the table.

I invite you to look. This will help us deal with questions in the future.”

He also emphasized putting more effort in teaching English, promising that this year, the level of English will increase.

“It is 2017 and there are kids who can’t write a email or have a conversation [in English]; we will fix this,” Bennett said.

During his presentation, he unveiled a program called “Israeli Judaism.”

“I am proud of this program,” he said. “There’s talk of religionization; there is no religionization, which is to give every child in the State of Israel a chance to get to know the ways of our people, to know what kiddush is, to know who Tchernichovsky is and who is the Rambam, and who is Moses; to know what havdala is.

“It’s not a sin to open a siddur.

We are proud of this. I am proud of this program and I invite all the members of the Knesset, everyone, to open the book and stop with the media spinning.”

Bennett also explained that this program gives teachers the ability to teach “why we need a state and why not move to Australia. We need answers for these things.”

On the issue of haredim in the school system, Bennett said: “I am not at war with the them. I don’t want a war, I want to work.”

Addressing the issue of parent payments, he promised to reduce such payments by 2019, noting his connection with the Finance Ministry.

He concluded with special education, describing that when he arrived at his current post, problems abounded as the system was on “autopilot.” He explained the budget was sufficient but wasn’t reaching enough. “With my political power, I procured a quarter of a billion shekels and 100% is going toward special education.”

His comment was met with angry outbursts from a mother who, while holding up a photograph on her phone of her son, claimed her son was being neglected and that there was no place in the school system for him. She was then physically removed from the meeting.

Next Friday, some 2.2 million students from preschools to high school will begin the school year.

 

Hebron’s Jewish Community Receives Separate Municipal Standing

By: Tovah Lazaroff; jpost.com

38 years after returning to the West Bank City, Hebron’s Jewish community has acquired the official status of an independent settlement.

PARTICIPANTS IN the annual Hebron march show the flag, with the Tomb of the Patriarchs in the background. (photo credit:TOVAH LAZAROFF)

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman upgraded the municipal status of Hebron’s Jewish community, separating it from the Palestinian municipality, which governs the West Bank city.

Liberman announced the change in the status of the 1,000 Jews in Hebron during a briefing with reporters in Tel Aviv.

A 1997 agreement split the city, of what is now more than 220,000 Palestinians, leaving 80% under the auspices of the Palestinian Authority and 20% under Israel. But the Hebron Municipality is expected to provide basic services to the Jewish community, which has limited ability to government its own life.

The upgrade severs them from the Hebron municipality and allows them to independently seek services from the Civil Administration, which oversees civilian life in Area C of the West Bank.

The move was necessitated this year after the Palestinians in Hebron elected as their Mayor Sheikh Tayseer Abu Sneineh, who had been convicted and served time for his role in killing six Israelis in a terrorist attack.

“For years, Hebron’s Jewish residents lived without a municipal authority to take care of all the services required for normative civilian life,” said Deputy Defense Minister Eli Dahan (Bayit Yehudi). “After the election of a murderer for mayor of Hebron, the idea that they will receive these services from the municipality has become even more absurd.”

He added: “This is another important step in normalizing the lives of the Jews in Hebron, in particular, and in all of Judea and Samaria, in general.”

The upgrade comes during a visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories by United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

In July, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization registered Hebron’s old town and the Tomb of the Patriarchs to the State of Palestine on its World Heritage List.

The inscription focuses on preserving the Muslim character of the 3,000-year-old-city with ties to three monotheistic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Most of Hebron’s Jewish community of close to 1,000 people, live in the city’s old town.

It also comes as the Defense Ministry is in the midst of fierce negotiations to sway 15 Jewish families in Hebron to peacefully evacuate Beit Hamachpela, a three-story apartment building they illegally moved into in July.

The families have worked for the last five years to register their property claim and have provided documentation to show that they purchased it from the Abu Rajab family, which disputes the claim and has filed a petition before the High Court of Justice, seeking the removal of the Jewish families.