Another Tack: Ibrahim and Ibn-Rabah

A Jewish postcard from 1900 featuring Rachel’s Tomb.

Quite incredibly, representatives of Western democracies on UNESCO’s executive delivered a self-destructive blow to their own heritage when demanding that Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem and the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron be removed from the inventory of Jewish heritage sites. UNESCO’s resolution redefined them as mosques – as if Muslim from time immemorial. It sought to detach seminal biblical place-names from any Jewish connections.

It’s one thing to willfully subscribe to mind-blowing colossal deception; it’s quite another to shake the foundations beneath one’s own civilization.

Politically incorrect as it may be in our postmodern, multicultural existence, Europe’s and America’s democracies are constructed on Christian foundations. By accepting Muslim deconstructionist diktats, the West not only injures the Jews, it injures its own legacy.

To be fair, the world’s current most inveterate revisers of the past, the Muslims, are relative newcomers to the fanciful world of fabricated historiography. Long before Islam existed, Christians were obsessed with their own retrospective rewriting and they were preceded by pagans. Perhaps it was all already foretold by the biblical Balaam, who prophesied (Numbers 23:9) that Israel shall be “a people who dwells alone and shall not be counted among the nations.”

Consequently Christianity could expend so much effort on cleansing the historic Jesus of his Jewishness. But telltale vestiges remain in the New Testament attesting to the truth which volumes of convoluted rationalizations and distortions couldn’t quite erase. Just turn to Mark 12:28-30, where Jesus is asked which is the most important commandment of all. He replies without equivocation: “Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God is one; and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul and all your might.”

Any Jew would instantaneously recognize this as the primary article of Jewish faith, a direct quotation from Deuteronomy 6:4-9. For observant Jews it is an obligatory prayer each morning and evening. It’s the Jewish bedtime prayer. It’s the prayer inscribed within the mezuza on every Jewish doorpost. It’s the final prayer uttered by the faithful before death. It is the prayer with which Jewish martyrs perished at the hands of their executioners – whether from the ranks of the Catholic Inquisition, Muslim jihadists or Hitler’s henchmen. It is what Jesus valued most.

He surely would unreservedly identify Hebron and Bethlehem as incontestably Jewish and the tombs therein as unquestionably sacred to Jews like him. Thus when Christians voted as they did to call the Cave of the Patriarchs the Ibrahimi Mosque and Rachel’s Tomb the Bilal ibn-Rabah Mosque, they thereby also belied and betrayed Christianity. Their narrative cannot stand apart from Jewish history.

SINCE ISLAM’S debut on the world stage, however, Muslims have made it their routine custom to expropriate the holy sites of others. When Muslim conquistadors first invaded Jerusalem, they called it Bayt al-Maqdis, their adaptation of the Hebrew Beit Hamikdash – the Holy Temple. Al Quds – the contemporary Arabic contraction for this original appellation – daily highlights the very Jewish heritage which Arabs now take inordinate pains to obliterate.

Their latest claim is that the very inclusion of the Hebron and Bethlehem tombs among Jewish heritage sites will somehow compromise Muslim freedom of worship.

The irony is that Arab notions of freedom don’t extend to others. One hundred years ago Yitzhak Ben-Zvi (in time Israel’s second president) and his wife Rachel Yana’it Ben-Zvi hiked to Hebron. Each described, in separate books, how they were barred from the cave.

Ben-Zvi wrote: “The entrance to the Patriarchs’ Cave was prohibited to non-Muslims. Jews were allowed to climb no higher than the seventh step in the courtyard. Only brave-hearted Jewish women dared enter, masquerading in Arab garb and their faces veiled according to Arab custom.”
Rachel recalled: “Hebron’s Jewish women would sometimes infiltrate the cave veiled and costumed like Arabs. Only by stealth could they pray at our forefathers’ tombs. When Hebron’s Arab fanaticism escalated, Jews were forbidden even to glance into the cave. Hate spewed from the Arab guards’ eyes and from Arab worshipers who brushed against us on their way in. We arrived at the steps and stood silent. I refused to climb the seven permitted stairs. The insult was too searing.”

So much for Arab pluralism and tolerance. Actually, the Arabs don’t demand liberal equality of us, which we anyway grant. They want it all and they want us out, as they did when their forebears descended in 1929 on peaceful homes in Hebron’s ancient Jewish community and hideously hacked their innocent inhabitants to death to glorify Allah.

Were Israelis to unconditionally submit to ever-mutating Arab historiography, all attachments to the Western Wall and Mount of Olives would have to be abjectly relinquished. By the wisdom of reworked Arab chronicles and UNESCO, it behooves us to obey. Hence Jerusalem isn’t one whit different from Hebron or Bethlehem.

Bethlehem’s case is the most enlightening. Until 1996 Bethlehem Arabs themselves spoke of Rachel’s Tomb.
Only then, at the height of their terror offensive, did they switch to calling it the Bilal Ibn-Rabah Tomb. Ibn-Rabah was an African slave and Muhammad’s muezzin, reputed to have fallen in battle in Syria. Indeed Damascus’s Bab Saghir Cemetery has dibs on what’s said to be his grave.

In July 2000 Yasser Arafat insisted to Bill Clinton at Camp David that no Jewish temple ever existed. This is now an official PA mantra. PA headliner cleric Sheikh Taissir Tamimi proclaims repeatedly that “Jerusalem has always only been Arab and Islamic.” The Cave of the Patriarchs, he declared, “is a pure mosque, which Jewish presence defiles. Jews have no right to pray there, much less claim any bond to Hebron – an Arab city for 5,000 years. All Palestine is holy Muslim soil. Jews are foreign interlopers.”

In 1950 poet Natan Alterman penned a tongue-in-cheek reply to a near-identical proclamation (“Palestine is an Arab country and always was. Foreigners have no part in it.”) Entitled “An Arab Land,” Alterman’s verses appeared on the Labor daily Davar’s front page. By replacing biblical Hebrew names with Arabic adaptations, Alterman appeared to amplify the spirit of progressive Arab scholarship. I translated it two decades ago:

A clear night. Treetops shiver,
Vibrating the view with an airy whisper.
From above, Arab evening stars
Sparkle over an Arab land.

The stars wink and flicker
And bestow their quivering glitter
Upon the tranquil city Al-Quds
In which once reigned King Daoud.

And from there they gaze and witness
The city of El Halil in the distance.

The city of Father Ibrahim’s tomb,

Ibrahim who begat Is’hak.

And then the clever rays so fast
Rush the golden glow to cast
Where the waters of the river El Urdun flow,
Where Ya’acub once did go.

A clear night. With an airy wink
The stars legitimately blink
Over the mountains of an Arab land
Which Mussa from afar beheld.

4 thoughts on “Another Tack: Ibrahim and Ibn-Rabah

  1. The cowardly West has surrendered to the darkness that is Islam and Israel is their easy throw away sacrifice to them.
    WHO CAN’T SEE THAT AT THIS LATE HOUR ?
    So the question I must ask is why do you Israel go along so willingly with this national suicide to an evil foreign god know as the Road Map ?
    The Muslims who only have lies from a false Prophet to guide them and much chutzpah always seem to get over on the rightful owners of the land of Israel.
    They have more zeal for lies than Israeli’s have for the truth.
    The Arabs never budge while the descendants of Abraham are notorious for bending in the slightest breeze.
    To throw it all away for a phony peace,it must not be worth much to the present crop of grasshopper owners.
    I think the God of Israel wil remove the grasshoppers and replace them with those who will not let go of one inch of the land for any reason.
    Those kind of Jews deserve to live in the land of milk and honey,the others have provent they would be content to be carried off as dhimmis somewhere else.

    Israel is incapable of saying no ever in her religious zeal and devotion to her adopted god of no peace on the Potomac.
    They asked Israel for a few fingers and Israel obligned,then they asked a foot and then both arms and then the leg and Israel said ,no problem ,we only want to pleasde our god of no peace.
    Now Israle’s adopted god has asked for the head and Israel’s follower who is fearful to lead meets in secret to deliver what is left.
    Secular Jewish leaders dooms Israel.
    It takes a Jew with real faith tO stand up against the global anti-Israel flood now drowning the nation who can say NO to enemies and those who masquerade as friends.
    Fearful and faithless leadership whose only solution is capitulation are not capable of saying No.
    The end result of secular Jewish leadership has always led to this growing dark cloud of gloom and doom.
    It is so because to ignore the Holy One of Israel and obey evil men and place them above Him is the perfect recipie for the coming major calamity.
    Israel You followed lies and liars and the result is anything but good in the short term.
    Long term when the survivors have learned hard lessons and secular Jewish leaders are no more Israel will know to only lean on the One who was Avraham’s Friend.

  2. LOL! More hysterical funnies which may not seem so funny to most honest Christians. The silent doctrine is best seen when Muslims chant the Jewish temple is a Zionist myth. Here they attack Christianity far more than Judaism. While Jews have survived when the Jewish temple was destroyed by Rome, it begs the question if Roman Catholicism can survuve a mythical Zionist temple: did Jesus visit a mythical Zionist temple? This makes the Gosples a lala land fairy tale, no?

    Ultimately these are not Jewish problems but Christo-Islamic problems: both have thus far ignored their destructive mutually contradictive doctrines of the same sace-times, deflecting instead on Zionists. But for how long?

    Honest Christians are clearly being burdened with too heavy a baggage here and placed in a straight jacket: they become berayers of they confront any historical truths. This syndrome extends to Papal silence of heinous falsehoods which came from the Vatican’s own backyards: blood libels and The Protocols parading the Islamic world today as Gospel truths.

  3. Dear Sarah
    As a believer that Yeshua is the Messiah and consequently a follower of Him, I find it extremely frustrating that an intelligent woman like you cannot make the distinction between the true and the false.We can go as far back as Torah for this command, so please make application in this instance. Any Christian teaching that does not hold to the truth of the Tanach is false according to the Brit Hadassah. These people who you call “Christian” are by Biblical definition NOT Christian. They may fall into an apostate “Christendom” but please do not discredit those who care for the Jewish people and Israel by putting us in the same camp. Those changing the name of Rachael’s Tomb are pagan by any Biblical definition.

  4. “When Christians voted to call the Cave of the Patriarchs the Ibrahimi Mosque and Rachel’s Tomb the Bilal Ibn-Rabah Mosque, they betrayed Christianity”…???

    Actually they did not: they showed that what Xtians really want is to see no Jews nor Jewish practices, things, monuments, land, state, etc.. It’s either BACK IN THE GHETTO or DIE!
    Most (and CERTAINLY their Churches leaders) love and get moved to crocodile tears by dead Jews; but they can’t stand those Jews who are alive and practicing their traditions, just as we have been doing for thousands of years (contrary to their predictions and wishes to see us disappeared or humbled forever), and who are not defenseless victims.

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