The Secret Chambers Hidden in the Cave of Patriarchs Will Astound You [PHOTOS]

Dominated by a large, aboveground stone structure, visitors to Hebron are left wondering about the cave described in the Bible. A cave does exist, and even though its entrance is in plain sight, very few people have ever been inside.

Noam Arnon, spokesman for the Jewish community in Hebron, has been studying the Machpela for decades. His passion for the site began about 35 years ago when, risking imprisonment and the ire of the Muslims, he pried open the stone covering the entrance to the burial site and ventured into the chambers underneath the building.

Arnon explained his motives. 35 year ago, Jews were just beginning to resettle Hebron after a long absence following the massacre of 69 Jews in 1929. The Arabs were trying to distance them from their ancestral city and the site that lay at the heart of Judaism.

“At the time, we were beginning to hear opinions in politics and even academia that the entire story of the Machpela and Abraham was a myth and not based on fact,” Arnon explained to Breaking Israel News. “We needed to prove that the Biblical account was accurate.”

The Waqf, the Muslim authority, was trying to restrict Jewish access to the site. Arnon and five friends decided to find the cave and prove its historical authenticity.

But no one was permitted to explore the site. Arnon had heard rumors of a lower chamber. After Hebron was conquered in 1967, Moshe Dayan, then Secretary of Defense and an amateur archaeologist, lowered a young girl down a covered shaft that tradition said led to the cave. When she came back, she described a small chamber and stone steps leading back up to the hall.

Based on a crude map drawn by the young girl, Arnon determined that the stairs led up to the Hall of Isaac, a section of the complex normally forbidden to Jews. The group decided to make their

attempt in the month of Elul, when Jews were permitted into the hall at night in order to pray Selichot, a special service asking for forgiveness said in the days preceding Yom Kippur.

“Selichot prayers are very loud and are accompanied by many shofarot (rams’ horns), so it provided a good distraction and cover,” Arnon told Breaking Israel News. “After some searching, we found the opening. It was covered by a flagstone in the middle of the floor in the public area. We had brought in some tools and at a point when the shofarot were the loudest, we pried the stone open.”

In front of their eyes were revealed the stairs the young girl had described, carved into the bedrock.

“We descended to the bottom where there was a long and narrow tunnel, sloping even further down, that opened into a chamber with a roughly tiled floor,” Arnon said. But there was still no sign of the cave as described in Genesis.

“I felt a slight wind and realized there had to be another opening,” Arnon said. “We followed the airflow and and tracked it to an opening in the floor covered by a stone. We pried it open and crawled down into a cave carved into the bedrock.”


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