Syria Accuses Israel Of Stealing Artifacts From Ancient Synagogue by the Forward

Syria Accuses Israel Of Stealing Artifacts From Ancient Synagogue

Image by Getty Images

(JTA) — Syria has accused Israel of stealing ancient and valuable Jewish artifacts from a historic synagogue near Damascus.

In an official complaint filed with the United Nations Security Council last week, Syria accused Israel of smuggling religious books and other artifacts from the Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue in cooperation with Turkey and with terrorist groups operating in the area.

The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, located in the Jobar district of Damascus, is believed to be built on the spot where the prophet Elijah is believed to have hid in a cave and in the place where Elijah is said to have anointed the prophet Elisha.

Jobar was home to a large Jewish community for hundreds of years until the 1800s, according to the Jerusalem Post.

The synagogue was said to have been mostly destroyed in mortar attacks during a May 2014 battle between troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar and rebel troops. The synagogue reportedly was looted following the battle

According to a plaque on the building, the synagogue dates from 720 BCE.

Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Bashar Ja’afari, wrote in the letter of what he called “credible evidence” that “the terrorist groups that are active in the area of Jobar, near Damascus, cooperated with the Turkish and Israeli intelligence services to loot artifacts and manuscripts from the ancient synagogue there.”

The letter continued: “The items were then smuggled through local and foreign intermediaries to Istanbul, where they were received by antiquities experts who certified that they were extremely valuable antique objects. The items were subsequently smuggled to New York.”

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon, called Syria’s accusations “another attempt by the Syrian regime to draw attention away from the horrible atrocities it commits against its own people.”

“While the Assad regime continues mercilessly slaughtering innocent civilians and children, Israel continues giving humanitarian aid to Syrian residents and treating Syrian wounded that arrive at its doorstep,” Danon also said.

Author

Syria Accuses Israel Of Stealing From Ancient Synagogue

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Syria Accuses Israel Of Stealing Artifacts From Ancient Synagogue

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close