Monday, February 11, 2008

The Patriarchs

Bethlehem was an interesting place to visit. But being in the West Bank, my friends and I decided that it was the perfect time to go deeper. To go further into the Palestinian territories.

After all.... we were there already!

We looked at the map we had and decided that based on where we were, the best direction to head would be south!

So we went to Hebron.

Hebron is one of the most tension filled places in the West Banks. Whilst the Jewish settlers in other parts of the West Bank live in settlements isolated from the Arab population, here in Hebron they live intermingled.


Whilst sitting on the bus to Hebron, Kamil mentioned to us that someone had been shot and killed by the IDF in Hebron the day before. Again.... lovely.

When we reached the place, we were surprised by just how friendly and welcoming the people were. Everywhere we went, people wanted to stop and say hello to us.

We continued walking through the city and eventually we reached a long and windy souq. Sadly, the souq was almost deserted. What could easily be one of the most beautiful and bustling souqs in the Middle East was nothing more than a empty side street, the only noise being the occasional yells of children and the repetitive march of IDF boots.
Eventually we reached the end of the souq. Security gates were waiting for us. We were trying to get in further because it was here that the Ibrahimi Mosque is situated.

After a long wait and two security checks. We managed to get through.

At first, we were unsure about what the fuss was. There was nothing much to see. We were on the verge of turning around and going back to Jerusalem.

But just as we were about to walk out, an old man in the mosque motioned us to walk in further. We followed his smiling advice and continued in further.

What we found was beyond comprehension.
This was the tomb of the Patriarchs.

Abraham, Sarah, Jacob, Leah, Isaac and Rebecca.
Their cenotaphs all stood silently, representing what had come before.

However, in the middle of the great room, was a small well.
This well led to a cave where it was believed that the Patriarchs were actually buried.
Standing next to the cenotaph of Isaac! Standing above the cave that legend claims Adam and Eve are lying in!
Every step I take in this land, I see more and more that leaves me completely astounded.

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