In 1979, a group of settlers from the Kiryat Arba settlement returned to the Old City in Hebron and established the Al-Dabbuya/Beit Hadassah settlement, the first settlement in the centre of Hebron. The three other settlements in Hebron, Al-Hay Al-Yahudi/Avraham Avinu, Madrasat Osamo/Beit Romano and Tel Rumeida settlement, were established shortly after, between 1980 and 1984. There are currently between 500 and 800 settlers living in the old city.
The first settlement to be established in the old city was Al-Dabbuya/Beit Hadassah. The ground floor of the settlement was built in the 1880s by Jewish residents in Hebron. In the early 1900s, the building served as a Jewish hospital and after the last Jews had been evacuated from the city in 1936 it was used as a dairy factory before being turned into an UNRWA school in the 1970s. In 1979 a group of women and children occupied the building and while the Israeli Government did not formally recognise the settlement, it did not remove the individuals either. In 1980, six Yeshiva students were killed in front of the building and the Israeli government decided to allow for settlers to remain the building which was renovated and expanded with governmental support. Today the settlement consists of a cluster of buildings, and a museum of the Jewish history in Hebron and a memorial of the 67 Jews who were killed in 1929 has been opened.
Hay Al-Yahud/Avraham Avinu
The largest of the settlements in the old city is built around the old Jewish quarter in Hebron and the original synagogue. It was built in the early 1980s with the support from the Israeli government. The Jewish settlers claim it was bought by Jewish exiles in 1540 and that it is therefore considered the property of the Jewish community in Hebron. Since the closure of the adjacent Wholesale Market in 1994, settlers have repeatedly been occupying parts of the market.
Madraset Osama/Beit Romano
Established in 1983, the Madrasat Osama/Beit Romano settlement is made up of a Yeshiva school and an IDF military camp. According to the settlers, the first Beit Romano was constructed in 1879 by Avraham (Haim) Romano, a wealthy Jew from Turkey, as a home for the elderly of the Turkish community. In 1917, the British Mandate Authorities confiscated the building and used it as headquarters and police station.
In 1948, the Jordanians opened a boys’ school at the site called Osama ibn Munqidh. The school was closed by the IDF in 1981/82 for security reasons. In 1980, the Israeli government permitted the restoration and expansion of Beit Romano/Madrasat Osama.
Yeshivat Shavei Hevron was established in Madrasat Osama/ Beit Romano in 1983, and there is a rotation of students twice a year. In July 2008, the Israeli Minister of Defence approved the construction of a multi-storey structure adjacent to the existing Yeshiva as dormitories for additional students. The construction began in 2001, but was halted in March 2002 following a decision by the Israeli High Court of Justice.
Tel Rumeida settlement
The settlement is located on a hilltop overlooking the old city of Hebron. It is believed to be located in the original Biblical Hebron, home of King David. The Tombs of Jesse (father of King David) and Ruth (grandmother of King David) are believed to be located on the southern part of the hill. In 1984 a group of seven settler families placed portable caravans on the hilltop, calling it the Admot Yishai neighbourhood. The construction of permanent buildings was approved by the Israeli government following the death of one of the residents, Rabbi Shalom Ra’anan, in August 1998.
Beit Al-Rajabi/Beit Ha Shalom
Located between Kiryat Araba and the old city settlements, Beit Al-Rajabi/Beit Ha Shalom is the latest settlement in Hebron, established in 2014. In 2007 some 100 settlers occupied the building, claiming it was bought from the Palestinian owner. The court ordered a temporary eviction of the settlers and they left the buidling in 2008, however, in 2014, the court ruled in favour of the purchase and a few families move back into the settlement. The building itself can accommodate hundreds of people.