The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) voted recently to officially declare Rachel’s Tomb to be a mosque. UNESCO director Irena Bokova had previously stated “concern” at Israel’s decision to treat the tomb as a heritage site.
The vote called for Rachel’s Tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs – the burial site of the other Biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs – to be removed from Israel’s National Heritage list.
The Palestinian Authority has claimed that Rachel’s Tomb is holy to Muslims as the site of a mosque called the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque. The PA [Palestinian Authority] demands control over both the tomb and the Tomb of the Patriarchs in Hevron, as well as the Temple Mount in Jerusalem….
Journalist Nadav Shragai, writing for Yisrael Hayom, noted that Muslims living in the land of Israel have historically referred to Rachel’s Tomb as “Kubat Rahel,” the Arabic term for “Rachel’s Tomb.” Under Ottoman rule, Rachel’s Tomb was a Jewish site. Only in 1996 did the PA begin to call the site the Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, he said.
The recent nature of the Muslim claim to the site is documented by Elder of Ziyon here. And here is a picture of it from the early 1860’s: