The Gate of Legacy

The Religion of Abraham—a Common Ground
  • Shai Har-El


Nowhere in the world can we presently experience the intensity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict more than in Hebron, the city of Abraham. Hebron is regarded by the Jews as second in sanctity to Jerusalem, and by the Muslims as the fourth-holiest city after Mecca. In both traditions, the name of the city refers to Abraham, “the friend of God.” The name Hebron is derived from the Hebrew word “ḥavēr,” meaning “friend.” So is the Arabic name for the city, “Al-Khalīl” In 1968, immediately after the Six Day War, the Jewish community of Hebron had reestablished itself just east of the city in a place called Qiryâ t Arba’, which carries the ancient name of Hebron. 1 And since 1979, a small group of settlers has also been living in Shkhunāt Avrahām Avīnu (Our Father Abraham’s Neighborhood), an enclave located in the middle of an overwhelming Muslim community


Jewish Community Straight Path Jewish Tradition Hebrew Word Ethical Element 
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  1. 35.
    See analysis by Reuven Firestone, Journeys in Holy Lands: The Evolution of the Abraham-Ishmael Legends in Islamic Exegesis ( Albany: State University of New York Press, 1990 )Google Scholar

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© Shai Har-El 2014

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  • Shai Har-El

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