Thursday, June 28, 2012

Battir, West of Bethlehem Not Heritage Site With UNESCO

Nadene Goldfoot
UNESCO turned down the Palestinian Authority's bid to name Battir as a Heritage site because the PA is not a state and cannot make nominations for such.  The PA had nevertheless made the attempt to pass themselves off as a state with this power.

UNESCO has made the mistake of calling the Tomb of Rachel outside of Bethlehem as a mosque.  Evidently people on their board may know the difference between the PA and a real state such as Israel but not the difference between a mosque and a synagogue and to what religion these names belong to.  it must be hard for people to remember who only are familiar with churches.  

Rachel was one of the 4 matriarchs of the Jewish people.  She was the 2nd wife of Jacob, a twin of Isaac and Rebekah, and the daughter of Laban, who was Rebekah's brother..  She had lived in Haran in Aram-Naharaim.  Jacob,  loved Rachel but was tricked by her father into marrying her older sister, Leah, instead.  He had to work 7 more years to wed Rachel and then had 2 wives.  Rachel became the mother of Joseph and Benjamin and died near Bethlehem in giving birth to Benjamin.  

Battir, also known historically as ancient Betar,  is in Judea 5 km west of Bethlehem and SW of Jerusalem.  it is well known as the site of the final defeat of the Jewish leader against Rome, Bar Kokhba's revolt in 135 CE and where  Simon bar Kokhba , the leader,  fell  

The modern village is now administered under the Palestine Authority and has a population of about 4,000 Arabs.  It also served as an armistice line between Israel and Jordan from 1948 to 1967.  It is said that it is also the site of of the tomb of Eleazar of Modi'im, a Tannaic sage.  

After 1967's Six Day War, Battir came under Israeli control .  Since 1995 and the signing of the Interim Agreement on Judea-Samaria and the Gaza Strip, it has been under the PA administration.  The state of Israel has 6 Cultural Heritage sites listed under UNESCO in the Asian zone.  


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