Hebron, located in the Judean hills south of Jerusalem, is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world, dating back to Biblical times. Today, Hebron is home to some 250,000 Palestinians and approximately 700 Jews. An additional 6,000 Jews live in the adjacent community of Kiryat Arba.
Hebron (Al-Khalil in Arabic) is located 32 kilometers south of Jerusalem and is built on several hills and wadis, most of which run north- to-south. The Hebrew word "Hebron" is explained as being derived from the Hebrew word for "friend" ("haver"), a description for the Patriarch Abraham. The Arabic "Al- Khalil," literally "the friend," has a nearly identical derivation and also refers to Abraham (Ibrahim), whom Muslims similarly describe as the friend of God. Hebron is one of the oldest continually occupied cities in the world, and has been a major focus of religious worship for over two millenia.
Hebron has a long and rich Jewish history and is the site of the oldest Jewish community in the world. The Book of Genesis relates that Abraham purchased the field where the Tomb of the Patriarchs is located as a burial place for his wife Sarah. According to Jewish tradition, the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, as well the Matriarchs Sarah, Rebecca, and Leah are all buried in the Tomb.