One person's field trip, another’s fanaticism

Politicians and educators on the Left and the Right face off over a proposal to send schoolchildren into a cauldron of controversy.

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April 1, 2011 12:58
Purim in Hebron

Purim in Hebron . (photo credit: reuters)

 
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AT PASSOVER IN 1968, MOSHE LEVINGER, A gaunt, bearded, 33-year-old firebrand of a rabbi, checked into the Park Hotel in the southern West Bank city of Hebron with his family and several other clans in tow. It was 10 months after the Six Day War, when Israel came into possession of Hebron and other locales considered central to the Jewish biblical narrative, and just under four decades since the last of the city’s Jews fled a horrific Arab massacre.

Hebron is the site of what many consider history’s first parcel of land to come under Jewish ownership. The Book of Genesis says the plot, with its series of caves, was purchased by Abraham to bury his wife Sarah. According to Jewish tradition, it ended up being the burial spot not only for Sarah, but for Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, for Isaac’s wife Rebecca, and for one of Jacob’s two wives, Leah, coming to be known as the Cave of the Patriarchs. Many consider it Judaism’s second-holiest site, after the Temple Mount, which includes the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

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