35,000 Jews flock to Hebron for Shabbat, setting ‘all-time record’

Tens of thousands of Jews visited Hebron on Shabbat, setting an “all-time high.”

By: World Israel News Staff

Some 35,000 Jews were in Hebron over the weekend to celebrate Shabbat Chayei Sarah, during which Abraham’s purchase of the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hebron is recounted in the weekly Torah portion.

Shabbat Chayei Sarah has become a day for connecting world Jewry to the Jewish community in Hebron.

The Torah records that Abraham negotiated for and purchased the Cave of the Patriarchs from Efron the Hittite, a local resident. Abraham insisted on purchasing the cave because he wanted the Tomb of the Patriarchs to be preserved as Jewish property for generations to come.

For this annual event, Jewish residents of Hebron open their homes to visitors.

Thousands of Jews descended on the 2,000 year-old structure for Sabbath prayers, which included vibrant singing and dancing. The streets of Hebron and the suburb of Kiryat Arba were filled with tents and caravans.

Arutz-7 reported that Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, Social Equality Minister Gila Gamliel, Environmental Protection Minister Zeev Elkin, Deputy Defense Minister Rabbi Eli Ben Dahan, Members of Knesset, rabbis, public figures, and guests from Israel and abroad all converged on the holy city. Uri Karzan, director of the Jewish community in Hebron, said the number of participants this year was at an “all-time high.”

“This is a special day for Hebron and Jews around the world,” he told Arutz-7. “In the near future, God willing, we will host people in the new buildings, which are being planned for the Hezekiyah Quarter.”

Israel recently approved construction of 31 housing units in the city, the first such move in 15 years.

“I have a great personal commitment to the Jewish settlement in Hebron in particular and to the settlement in Judea and Samaria in general, and we are acting responsibly to increase settlement. We are doing this wisely in spite of the pressure and the objections,” Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman stated.