Skip to main content

UNESCO Hebron motion important to all faiths

UNESCO's decision to classify the old city of Hebron as a world heritage site, despite Israeli protests, should be seen as a confirmation that the city's heritage is much bigger than disputes between Palestinians and Jews.
An Israeli soldier walks past Ibrahimi Mosque, which Jews call the Jewish Tomb of the Patriarchs, in the West Bank city of Hebron July 7, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad - RTX3AJ9Z
Read in 

UNESCO's July 7 decision to name the old city of Hebron a World Heritage site in danger has been reassuring to many faithful believers around the world. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad Malki welcomed the vote while Israeli officials angrily attacked it and even mocked the decision by the UN agency.

The UNESCO decision used the English word Hebron and the Arabic word for the city, Al-Khalil. Al-Khalil means companion, a reference to the biblical words that called Abraham God’s companion. Safeguarding such a holy place should be a goal of members of all faiths. Palestinians argue that attempts at monopolizing such sites to one faith or using religion as an instrument of political power is not a helpful move.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.