Hevron and Herod
Taking a car near the dead sea we were told not to go up route 60 within the west bank, to go to Hebron and see the only surviving Herodian structure, which was built to venerate the most important figures in the Jewish religion who are said to be buried in the cave below. Following a similar design to the temple mount, Herod had his engineers build a retaining wall around the cave rock formation which allowed for him to construct a solid structure around it. Since that time the temple has become a church, a mosque and now back to a jewish/mosque shared space. Getting to the area was not a problem, but you can see the instense level of security, and we were stopped at numerous check points. We also met some of the locals there, who gave us a tour of the inner settlement of Hebron, which was home to a long standing Jewish community. It is certainly a little strange in that people are escorted by army officers, and children play under the watch of soldiers with machine guns. No one seemed to be faced by it, and so long as the two gun shots didn't cause an alarm the city seemed a little more calm than it has been for the past few years.