In 1807, Haim Bajaio purchased, on behalf of the Hebron Jewish community, a five dunam plot of land adjacent to the centuries old Jewish Quarter, for ‘1,200 grushim’. The deal was witnessed and signed by no less than 22 Hebron Arab notables. This property served Hebron’s Jewish community and later accommodated the home and synagogue of Hebron Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Manni.
Following the Jordanian occupation of Hebron in 1948, the entire Jewish Quarter, founded by Spanish-Jewish exiles in 1540, was razed to the ground. Among the structures destroyed was the ancient Avraham Avinu synagogue. In the early 1960s, an Arab fruit and vegetable market was constructed on the property bought by the Hebron community in 1807. Following the liberation of Hebron during the 1967 Six-day War, these structures continued to function, having been rented to the Hebron Arab municipality by the Israeli government. The property contracts for these buildings expired in the 1990s, and the site was gradually closed over a period of several years, due to security precautions.
It was finally shut down following an attempted terror attack: Arabs placed a booby-trapped teddy bear in a plastic bag in the market near the entrance to the Jewish neighborhood, hoping a Jewish child, finding it, would play with it and be killed in the ensuing explosion.
Excerpted from Murdered Twice? by David Wilder, www.hebron.org.il