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Kiryat Arba

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Kiryat Arba
Region West Bank
District Judea and Samaria Area
Government Local council
Hebrew קִרְיַת ־אַרְבַּע
Arabic قرية أربع
Name meaning Town of the Four [Giants]
Also spelled Qiryat Arba (officially)
Population 7,200 (2008)
Area 4386 dunams (4.386 km2; 1.693 sq mi)
Founded in 1968–1971
Coordinates 31°31′42″N 35°7′7″E / 31.52833°N 35.11861°E / 31.52833; 35.11861Coordinates: 31°31′42″N 35°7′7″E / 31.52833°N 35.11861°E / 31.52833; 35.11861

Kiryat Arba or Qiryat Arba is an Israeli settlement with local council status in the Judean Mountains region of the West Bank adjoining the city of Hebron. In 2008 it has a population of 7,200.[1]


The Hebrew name is קִרְיַת־אַרְבַּע, meaning "Town of the Four [Giants]", and transliterated in Standard Hebrew as Qiryat Arbaʻ and in Tiberian Hebrew as Qiryaṯ-ʼarbaʻ. The equivalent Arabic name is قرية أربع Qiryat ʼArbaʻ. The place is mentioned in the English Bible as Kirjath-arba. Biblically, it is generally regarded as another name for Hebron.[2]


Kiryat Arba is made up of four neighborhoods, not including the Jewish community in Hebron proper. The central and largest one is the Kiryah, made up mostly of older apartment buildings. North of it lay the small neighborhood Ashmoret Yitzhak and the larger Ramat Mamre (also called Givat Harsina), which consists of newer, houses and duplexes. The last is Givat Avot, located at the entrance of Hebron. Surrounded by Arab buildings, it sits next to the Israeli police station for Hebron, the Jabra.

Recent history

In 1968, a group of future Jewish Gush Emunim members led by Rabbi Moshe Levinger and Rabbi Eliezer Waldman founded Kiryat Arba immediately to the east of Hebron. New settlements around Hebron were claimed to be justified in light of the 1929 Hebron massacre and the continued presence of Jews in the area until then. Building began on an abandoned military base in 1970, and residents moved in 1971. The town is a self-sufficient community, with pre-nursery though post-secondary educational institutions, medical facilities, shopping centers, a bank and a post office. Kiryat Arba attained Local council status in 1979. The population in December 2006 was approximately 7,000, with an additional 2,700 Israelis living in a number of smaller surrounding settlements, including immigrants from the CIS and a community of over 500 Bnei Menashe from Manipur and Mizoram.[3] While Kiryat Arba is located within the territory of the Har Hebron Regional Council, it is an independent local council. Beit HaShalom, was established in 2007.[4][5][6]

The town is home to the Rabbi Meir Kahane Memorial Park, in memory of the founder of Kach, a Jewish religious and nationalist right wing organization designated as a terrorist group by the US, the EU and Israel. The grave of Baruch Goldstein, who perpetrated the Cave of the Patriarchs massacre lies across the street from the park and has become a place of pilgrimage for the Far Right.[7]

The chief rabbi of the town is Dov Lior, who also serves as rosh yeshiva of the local Nir Yeshiva.

Origin of the name Kiryat Arba

In the Book of Joshua (14:15) it says: "Now the name of Hebron previously was Kiryat Arba, he [Arba] was the great man among the giants [Anakim]..."[8] According to the rabbinical commentator Rashi, Kiryat Arba ("Town of Arba") means either the town (kirya) of Arba himself, the giant who had three sons, or is referring to four giants: Anak (the son of Arba) and the three sons of Anak, Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmi who are described as being the sons of a "giant" in Numbers 13:22: "On the way through the Negev, they (Joshua and Caleb) came to Hebron where [they saw] Ahiman, Sheshai and Talmi, descendants of the Giant (ha-anak)..."[9] which is according to the Targum and Saadia Gaon, but some say that Anak ("Giant", see Anak) is a proper name (Targum Jonathan and the Septuagint),[10] and that he, Anak, may have been the father of the three others mentioned in the Book of Numbers as living in Hebron, which the Book of Joshua says was previously called Kiryat Arba.

Alternatively, the name refers to the four couples buried in the Machpela Cave: Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebbecca, Jacob and Leah, and according to the Zohar, Adam and Eve.(Israel Handbook)

External links


cs:Kirjat Arbaru:Кирьят-Арба

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