In Genesis 23, Abraham purchased the Cave of Machpelah from Efron the Hittite. Several generations of Abraham's family were buried there, although eventually new burials ceased.
According to Jewish law, who owns this cave today?
- Literally no one (when did it become ownerless)?
- The entire Jewish people collectively?
- All descendants of Abraham, collectively, whether Jewish or Gentile?
- A specific group of people (e.g. all members of the tribe of Levi, collectively)?
- Some specific person who is known?
- Some specific person whose identity is known only to HaShem and/or Messiah?
- Messiah himself?
- Something else?
For example, have property rights in the cave been passed down "invisibly" through Jewish inheritance laws for all these thousands of years, vesting ownership in some specific person (maybe some tailor in Brooklyn, or that really tall accountant in Montreal, whatever) who probably has no idea that he is the single rightful heir, or has something happened to positively extinguish ordinary real estate rights?
Note, I am asking this question solely as it relates to Torah Law, as opposed to Israeli law, Palestinian law, Islamic law, Roman Catholic Canon Law, international law, or any other legal code, nor am I asking about the political propriety of trying to claim ownership of or exert property rights over (e.g. trying to bury additional people in) the cave today.