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2. The Return to Zion 


Many of the returnees to Zion, the immigrants from Babylon who returned to Judea with the return to Zion, during the period of Ezra and Nehemiah, rebuilt the communities from which they and their parents had been exiled.  The major part of the contemporary Jewish community extended from Bethel in the region of Benjamin and till Beit Zur in the outskirts of  Hebron. The region at that time was called the Pashalik "Yahad" and was the cradle of the Hasmonean kingdom.  The battles waged by the Maccabees in defense of Jerusalem to the south took place in Beit Zur and Beit Zechariah, in the heart of Gush Etzion. In the battle of Beit Zechariah a supreme effort was mounted to prevent the Syrian-Greeks (Seleucids) to break through to Jerusalem. Elazar  Horan, the brother of Judah, sacrificed his life by killing a Seleucid elephant.  The elephant collapsed and crushed Elazar to death.

The final campaign for Jewish independence in the land of Israel during antiquity, took place in our region.  Herodion, Arbiya (Arub) and Beitar – the major redoubts of the Bar Kochba rebels, were located in the Hebron Hills as well as the rebels hideaway caves on their descents. With the destruction of the Jewish community in the Hebron Hills, the years of extended exile began.  In the southern Hebron Hills a flourishing Jewish community managed to survive for many more years. There are many legends connecting the birthplace of the messiah with places in our region: Migdal Eder, Birat Arava of Judean Bethlehem, etc.

Mount Hebron is the cradle of the Jewish nation, and furnished the setting for numerous important events in the annals of our people.  These events left their imprint on the Jewish people for generations.  It should therefore come as no surprise that Jews strove with all their hearts to return and settle this region, once the Jewish community renewed itself in the Land of Israel.  Again and again Jews arose to assume the task of linking and establishing a bridge between the Holy City and the City of the Patriarchs, between Jerusalem and Hebron.


The four species scroll


Coins with the Four Species






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