Shalom Al Israel synagogue
Overview
 
The Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue, (lit. "Peace Upon Israel Synagogue"), dates to the late 6th or early 7th century CE and was discovered in Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

 in 1936.
The synagogue, dating from the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 period, was revealed in excavations taken in 1936 by Dr. Baramki of the Antiquities Authority under the British Mandate. The owners of the site kept it in excellent condition and allowed visits to the site with a small entrance fee as agreed by the British government.
Encyclopedia
The Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue, (lit. "Peace Upon Israel Synagogue"), dates to the late 6th or early 7th century CE and was discovered in Jericho
Jericho
Jericho ; is a city located near the Jordan River in the West Bank of the Palestinian territories. It is the capital of the Jericho Governorate and has a population of more than 20,000. Situated well below sea level on an east-west route north of the Dead Sea, Jericho is the lowest permanently...

 in 1936.

History

The synagogue, dating from the Byzantine
Byzantine Empire
The Byzantine Empire was the Eastern Roman Empire during the periods of Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, centred on the capital of Constantinople. Known simply as the Roman Empire or Romania to its inhabitants and neighbours, the Empire was the direct continuation of the Ancient Roman State...

 period, was revealed in excavations taken in 1936 by Dr. Baramki of the Antiquities Authority under the British Mandate. The owners of the site kept it in excellent condition and allowed visits to the site with a small entrance fee as agreed by the British government. They also built a house on top and used it as a winter house for the family which originates from Jerusalem. It appears to have been in use from the 5th to 8th centuries, though the date of its construction is unknown.

The synagogue contained a large floor mosaic with drawings of the Ark of the Covenant
Ark of the Covenant
The Ark of the Covenant , also known as the Ark of the Testimony, is a chest described in Book of Exodus as solely containing the Tablets of Stone on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed...

, the Menorah, a Shofar
Shofar
A shofar is a horn, traditionally that of a ram, used for Jewish religious purposes. Shofar-blowing is incorporated in synagogue services on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.Shofar come in a variety of sizes.- Bible and rabbinic literature :...

, a Lulav
Lulav
The Lulav is a closed frond of the date palm tree. It is one of the arba'ah minim used in the morning prayer services during the Jewish holiday of Sukkot...

 and a Hebrew inscription "Peace upon Israel", after which the mosaic was named.

After the 1967 Six Day War, it came under Israeli military control and remained under the administrative responsibility of the owners (The Shahwan family). Tourists and Jews began visiting the site regularly for prayers. In 1987, the Israeli authorities confiscated the mosaic, the house and a small part of the farm around it. They offered compensation to the Shahwan family but that was rejected. Following the OSLO agreement, the site was given to the PA. Since then the PA deploys a special security forces to protect it.

Recent events

After the 1995 Oslo Accords
Oslo Accords
The Oslo Accords, officially called the Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements or Declaration of Principles , was an attempt to resolve the ongoing Palestinian-Israeli conflict...

, control of the site was given to the Palestinian Authority. It was agreed that free access to the site would continue and it would be adequately defended.

At the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada
Al-Aqsa Intifada
The Second Intifada, also known as the Al-Aqsa Intifada and the Oslo War, was the second Palestinian uprising, a period of intensified Palestinian-Israeli violence, which began in late September 2000...

 the site became a source of conflict. On the night of October 12, 2000, vandals entered and desecrated the building, damaging the private house on top of the ancient mosaic. Later, the PA repaired. The Torah scroll stored at the synagogue was rescued from the fire which had been started and was taken to Mevo'ot Yericho
Mevo'ot Yericho
Mevo'ot Yericho , founded in 1999, is an Israeli settlement and a communal settlement located in the West Bank's southern Jordan Valley just north of Jericho, in the Yitav Valley. The site is 150m below sea level. It falls under the municipal jurisdiction of the Bik'at HaYarden Regional Council...

.

In 2005 a group of Israelis were able to visit the synagogue after being restored by the Municipality of Jericho. Currently the IDF allows only monthly visits - on the first of every Jewish month - in order to conduct prayer services.

External links

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