Very few nations can boast a history that is truly clear and unambiguous, and few regions in the world offer a panoramic view of the nation’s life and history. This unique vantage point overlooking the road from Jerusalem to Hebron tells the ancient as well as modern history of the Jewish nation from the days of the Patriarchs until this very day.
Emek Habracha – About 4,000 years ago, our forefathers Abraham and Isaac walked along the Path of the Patriarchs, passing through the beautiful Emek Habracha (“Valley of Blessing”) which we view ahead of us, on their way to the “binding of Isaac” atop Mount Moriah. This is also the path that our patriarch Jacob took when he fled from his brother Esau to Haran, and upon which he travelled on his way back home. This was the route that his son Joseph later followed as he went to search for his brothers and in all probability the route that he traversed upon his return with his brothers dozens of years later, leading their father’s coffin to his final resting place in Hebron.
Mitzpe Oz Gush Etzion
Mitzpe Oz – More than 3,000 years ago, in the days of Joshua, pioneers from the Tribe of Judah established a community on the Mitzpe Oz hill, surrounded by a solid wall. About 3,000 years ago, they watched as a large delegation comprising Jewish elders from all the different tribes crossed the valley before us on their way to Hebron to anoint David as the nation’s new king.
Approximately two hundred years later, King Jehoshaphat gathered his forces the entire people in the Valley of Blessing to publicly thank God for their victory against the foes that attacked from the east.
Beit Tzur – Approximately 2,200 years ago, the fourth battle of the Maccabees took place at Beit Tzur on the far side of the valley, ending in an astounding victory for the handful of dedicated soldiers led by Judah the Maccabee over the powerful Seleucid army. Following this historic victory, they continued to Jerusalem, purified the Temple and lit the menorah anew.
Arbaya Caves – About 1,900 years ago, at the time of the Bar-Kokhba revolt, some of the Bar-Kokhba rebels found shelter in the Arbaya caves, located east of the El-Arroub refugee camp, seen in the valley to the left of the main road. A letter discovered in the Judean Desert indicates that in the Jewish month of Tishrei, orders were sent by the commader Bar-Kochba to Yehuda bar
Menashe who was stationed in these caves to deliver the myrtle and willow branches necessary for the holiday of Sukkot to the military camp.
The Russian Monastery
The Russian Monastery – In the year 1948, during the War of Independence, the Jordanian Legion placed cannons on the Mitzpeh Oz hill, and shelled the Gush Etzion defense posts. On our right, note the hill on which the brave Etzion Bloc defenders barricaded themselves in the Russian Monastery (which has since been destroyed) before the final battle in which they fell along with their highly respected commander, Moshe Silbershmidt (“Mosh”).
Only 19 years later (during the Six Day War), forces of the Jerusalem Brigade after freeing Gush Etzion, sped down the road crossing the valley which you see before you, on their way to Hebron – the City of the Patriarchs. Almost 4,000 years after our patriarch Abraham purchased the Cave of Machpelah for an exorbitant price, his descendants returned, thereby fulfilling the prophecy of Jeremiah “and the descendants will return to their land” (“Veshavu banim ligvulam”).