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Sunday, October 23, 2016

A few years ago, I bought a leather Etrog box - used during the holiday of Sukkot that ends today- in Hebron.

It looks like this:

The words are a paraphrase from a Midrash written before 500 CE:
אמר ר′ יודן: שלושה מקומות אין אומות העולם יכולות להונות את ישראל ולומר להם גזולים הם בידכם, ואלו הן: מערת המכפלה וקבורתו של יוסף ובית-המקדש
R. Yudin says: In three places the nations of the world cannot taunt Israel and say that they stole them from their hands, and they are: the Tomb of the Patriarchs, the burial place of Joseph and the Holy Temple.
According to UNESCO, the Temple Mount is exclusively Muslim, the Tomb of the Patriarchs is primarily Muslim and Joseph's Tomb has little to do with Judaism.

The Arab world, of course, deny any Jewish connection to any of those sites, as well as for Rachel's Tomb and other Jewish holy sites. While most towns in the region retain their Biblical names, for these three places these sites are in have been renamed "al-Khalil" instead of Hebron, Nablus instead of Shechem, and Al Quds instead of Jerusalem.

The very three places that Jews have always known belong to them are the ones that the world claims to be exclusively Arab and Muslim.

The irony is too bitter for words.

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