Taken from the Committee For Rachel’s Tomb website, http://www.rachelstomb.org/:
Judaism’s third-holiest site, has been the scene of prayer and pilgrimage for more than three thousand years. [Smooth: Mohammed, by the way, wasn’t even born until 570 AD. ] Rachel, the beloved wife of the third Patriarch, Ya’acov (Jacob), died in childbirth on the way to Hebron returning to his family’s home:
They set out from Bayt-El; but when they were still some distance from Efrat, Rachel went into childbirth, and she had hard labor, When her labor was at it’s hardest, the midwife said to her, “Have no fear, for it’s another boy for you.” But as she breathed her last –as she was dying– she named him Ben-Oni, but his father called him Benyamin. So Rachel died. She was buried on the road to Efrat — now Bethlehem. Over her grave Ya’acov set up a pillar, it is the pillar at Rachel’s grave to this day. Torah, Parshat Vayishlach (Genesis 35:16-21)
Ya’acov buried Rachel at this spot, rather than a the family burial plot at the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, because he foresaw that his decedents would pass this site during the the forced exile to Babylon in the year 423 B.C.E.
And then Rachel would pray for their safety and ultimate return, as it’s written:
Rachel, weeping for her children, she refuses to be comforted for her children who are gone. Thus said HaShem: Restrain your voice from weeping, your eyes from shedding tears for there is reward for your labor’ declares HaShem. ‘They shall return from the enemy’s land and there is hope for the future’ declares HaShem: ‘Your children shall return to their own country.’ Jeremiah 3:15-17
So Ya’acov set up a monument over her lonely grave site so that exiled Jews would recognize it and pray and be comforted as they were being led into captivity. Ancient writings describe the grave marker as 12 stones that represented the 12 tribes of Israel with one large stone that symbolized Ya’akov.
Since the time of her burial the Tomb of Rachel has always been a special place for prayer. To this very day, men and women go to Rachel’s Tomb to shed tears and beg “Mother Rachel” to intercede with G-d on their behalf — for the health of a loved one or for Divine Intervention for those in need. Rachel, the childless woman who ultimately became mother of the Jewish People, has become a special symbol of hope for childless women — teaching them the power of prayer. Hundreds of requests are sent every month to the Committee For Rachel’s Tomb from Jews world wide, requesting prayers to be said on behalf of the ill, the childless and those in need of a special blessing.
From the Byzantine period until the 1800’s Rachel’s Tomb consisted of a tiny domed structure. It was Sir Moses Montifeori who renovated the Tomb in 1841 and added on an anteroom and enclosed the dome over the grave marker so that pilgrims could find shelter from the elements.
The town of Bethlehem has grown several fold but then Mother Rachel’s Tomb was in an open area on the road side.
Today it stands in the center of the town with one of the main streets passing right next to it. Since 1948 Muslims have created their own cemetery surrounding the building on three sides.
Our own generation remembers these views of rustic charm from the time before the State of Israel agreed to give Bethlehem to Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.Rachel’s Tomb is a living symbol of HaShem’s promise to Rachel that her children will return to the Land Of Israel. Jewish life today thrives in Rachel’s Tomb. In these days, despite the on-going war of attrition people still go to recite Tehillim (Psalms), pray and learn Torah. Classes by renowned Jewish speakers are held there. Rachel’s Tomb has also become a place of joy as Britot and Bar/Bat Mitzvah celebrations are held within it’s walls.
The Committee For Rachel’s Tomb is sponsoring the Rachel’s Tomb Educational Center which reaches out to the thousands of teenagers visiting Israel and to Israeli students, teaching Jewish heritage through the legacy of the Matriarch Rachel and the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The Palestinians, who have shot at the compound nearly every day, have already singled it out as the next Jewish holy site which they want to “liberate.” Recently, the Palestinian Authority newspaper Al Hayyat al Jedida published an article entitled: “After the liberation of Joseph’s Tomb – Can we liberate the Belal ibn Rabakh mosque? (the Arabic name for Rachel’s Tomb).
“Rachel’s Tomb, or the Belal ibn Rabakh mosque,” the article stated, ” is one of the nails hammered into many Palestinian cities by the occupation governments and the Zionist movement. The outpost lies at the northern entrance to the town of Bethlehem. After the Oslo accords, the place became a military outpost surrounded by a beautiful marble wall, and a Jewish synagogue and other rooms were built.
“The Palestinians,” reported Al Jedida, “affirm that this tomb is fake, and that it was originally a Muslim mosque … until the occupation forces captured the Palestinian territories and considered the place to be Rachel’s Tomb. The question is whether after the evacuation of Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus, the Palestinians will succeed in forcing the occupation to evacuate Rachel’s Tomb as well.”
In sermons given in the mosques, the “mosque” is also referred to as the next brick which must be removed from the Jewish-Zionist edifice, after Joseph’s Tomb.
And these are just some more of the reasons why Jews negotiating peace with racist-terrorists, who believe themselves to be superior to all others, is never going to work. Islam’s hatred of non-Muslims explains why Israel, on May 14 and May 15, 1948, [the DAY AFTER Israel declared her independence], was invaded by seven Arab armies: Egypt, Trans-Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen.
So folks, it’s not about “occupied territories”. Muslims began their reign of terror before one Israeli ever stepped foot into the West Bank or Gaza Strip. The current killings of Jews by Palestinians — and, earlier, by Arabs who didn’t yet consider themselves Palestinians — predated the establishment of the state of Israel. The killers did not differentiate among their targets. They just had to be Jews, random Jews, any Jews: farmers on some remote kibbutz in the Galilee, working people in Haifa, or pious men and women from a town like Hebron where Jews had lived continuously since several centuries before Mohammed ever set foot on this earth.