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Félix Bonfils 
"Chêne d'Abraham" ["Abraham's Oak"] 
1875 (ca) 
  
Albumen print 
Weltmuseum Wien 
Nr.16462, Fotosammlung 
  
 
LL/84843 
  
n Hain Mamre near Hebron now thrives only an allegedly 5,000 year old bushy "oak" of venerable beauty, under which once the great progenitor Abraham should have pitched his hiking hut. This is what it says in the Holy Books. In Hebron is also the tomb of Abraham and the Arabic name of the city located in today's West Bank, al-Khalil ("the friend of God"), also refers to the common ancestor of the Jews, Christians and Muslims. Hebron is sacred to many, and where something is said to be sacred and historic, it gets a bit complicated.
 
Once the "Abraham's Oak" was a tourist magnet. Jews and Christians who were denied access to the cave, where the patriarchs and mothers are known to be buried, performed their prayers there. At the beginning of the 20th century twigs still sporadically carried leaves. In 1996, the main strain died; since then heavy iron bar clamps hold the rest together. Monitoring towers, walls, fences and checkpoints characterize the cityscape of Hebron today. In 1998, "Abraham's Oak" is said to have pierced the ground by a small shoot. 
 

 
  
 
  
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