The Cave of the Patriarchs (and Matriarchs)

The ancient double cave of the patriarchs and three of the matriarchs, in Hebrew called Ma’arat HaMachpela, is located in the holy Jewish city of Hebron.  During the reign of King David, Hebron was initially crowned as the first capital city of Israel until King David later relocated the capital to Jerusalem. In Jewish tradition, the tomb is considered the second holiest site after the temple mount in Jerusalem as it is the place where the patriarchs and three of the matriarchs–Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah—are buried.  According to Jewish tradition, Adam and Eve are also buried in the cave.

The cave was originally purchased by the patriarch Abraham 3,700 years ago and has been a destination for Jews throughout the ages. In more modern times, until 1967 when Israel won the Six Day War, many restrictions were put on Jews’ rights to visit this holy site depending on which nation controlled it. After Israel’s victory in the Six Day War, the Jewish people gained greater access to the site but still face many restrictions regarding when and where they are allowed to pray, as the site is largely controlled by the Muslim Waqf.

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