Jews were banned from the Cave of the Patriarchs on June 8, the last Friday of Ramadan, and all Jewish symbols and objects that could be removed were taken from the site. But apparently, even this was not enough as Jewish worshippers returned to find the holy scrolls at the portal their second holiest site desecrated.As reported by Jewish News International, June 17, 2018:
As the burial site of all three Biblical Patriarchs and three of the four Biblical Matriarchs, the structure, built by Jewish King Herod in the first century BCE, is holy to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity. 80 percent of the structure is given over to Muslim prayer, 20 percent to Jewish prayer, and Christians can pray in both sections. Ten days of the year, the entire structure is given over to Muslim prayer and ten days of the year it is entirely reserved for Jewish prayer. Two weeks ago, all Jewish items were removed in preparation for a day of Muslim prayer. When the Jews returned, they were dismayed to see one Mezuza desecrated and another missing entirely.
A Mezuzah is a parchment inscribed with specific verses from Deuteronomy. The Torah commands Jews to hang this parchment from the doorposts of their buildings.
Inscribe them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. Deuteronomy 6:9
Noam Arnon, the spokesman for the Jewish Community Hebron was one of the first to discover the theft of the holy object.
“Apparently, hiding all signs of Judaism was not enough,” Arnon told Breaking Israel News. Arnon related how all of the Mezzuzot were stolen two years ago when the site was given over for a day of Muslim prayer. “I respect the rights of all peoples to pray but if that respect is not mutual than no arrangement will work,” Arnon said.
Arnon said that the police are looking at security videos in an effort to recover the stolen Mezuza.
The Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron is the second holiest site in Judaism after the Temple Mount. The purchase of the site by Abraham is explicitly documented in the Bible.
Avraham accepted Ephron’s terms. Avraham paid out to Ephron the money that he had named in the hearing of the Hittites—four hundred shekalim of silver at the going merchants’ rate. Genesis 23:16
Israel conquered the city of Hebron in the 1967 Six-Day War and for the first time in nearly 700 years, Jews were permitted to enter the Cave of the Patriarchs and worship. In 1996, the Israeli government turned over custodianship of 81 percent of the building to the Waqf, the Islamic religious trust.
The Jerusalem Islamic Waqf took advantage of the final days of the holy month of Ramadan, when Jews were barred from visiting the Temple Mount, to eliminate from the compound piles of earth that were rich with archaeological treasures dating back to the Temple period, Makor Rishon reported Friday. The piles of earth were created initially by illegal renovations the Waqf carried out in 1999.
The soil that was now eliminated was dug up by the Waqf as part of its project of erecting a new mosque in the Solomon’s Stables area on the Temple Mount. At the time, 400 truckloads of ancient soil were unloaded in city dumps and in the Kidron Valley. Eventually, Israeli legal authorities became involved and banned the removal of the remaining piles of soil on the Temple Mount.
The Waqf was planning to get rid of those piles as well, but a court petition by the Public Committee for the Prevention of Destruction of Antiquities on the Temple Mount was accepted by the High Court of Justice, which in 2004 issued an injunction against the removal of the piles of soil.
But the Waqf never agreed with the court’s decision, which stood in the way of its plan to pave over the eastern part of the compound, as they have done elsewhere on the Temple Mount. An Israeli archaeologist, Tzahi Devira, who runs the Sifting Project that has revealed tens of thousands of treasures in the dumped soil, has been keeping watch on the Waqf for close to two decades, to make sure they don’t sin again.
So the Waqf did what so many faithful Muslim officials do when faced with a legal prohibition: they cheated, using the Israeli gesture of closing off the Temple Mount to Jews on the last week of Ramadan to complete their heinous crime against history and culture, and recruited more than 1,000 men to remove the piles of soil – this time making sure to get rid of the pesky evidence of there ever being a Jewish Temple there.
According to Makor Rishon, a group of Jews who stood near the Temple Mount gates one night this week noticed a truck entering the compound.
At this point, those tall piles of soil are gone from the Temple Mount, replaced by terraced stones. The crime paid. All evidence of a Jewish Temple has been permanently eliminated.
Israel Police offered a reassuring statement in response to the Makor Rishon inquiry – read slowly, let the implied message sink in: “The irregularity has been identified by Israel Police, and once the situation is restored to normal by the Waqf and under the supervision of professionals, additional measures will be weighed.”