Almost 2,000 year-old synagogue vandalized in northern Israel

"This holy place will not be desecrated. You have been warned," was graffitied in red on one of the 1,800 year-old stone walls."There will not be an archaeological park here."

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March 4, 2019 14:55
1 minute read.
Almost 2,000 year-old synagogue vandalized in northern Israel.

Almost 2,000 year-old synagogue vandalized in northern Israel.. (photo credit: CONSERVATION DIRECTOR OF THE ISRAEL ANTIQUITIES AUTHORITY)

 
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An ancient synagogue was vandalized in northern Israel according to the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), who filed a complaint on Monday.

"This holy place will not be desecrated. You have been warned," was graffitied in red on one of the 1,800 year-old stone walls. "There will not be an archaeological park here. Mount Meron is not abandoned. Be warned."

The synagogue is in Mount Meron Nature Reserve, near the grave of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai, a second century rabbi who wrote the Zohar, according to many Orthodox Jews.

"There is no apparent reason or rational basis behind the spray painting of these inscriptions," Uri Berger, an archaeologist for the Antiquities Authority said after he reported the incident.


This wasn't the first time an incident happened. "There are a handful of strange people, ostensibly in the name of faith, who try to damage our Jewish heritage," Berger said. "When a stranger harms a synagogue outside of Israel it's painful and irritating. But, when it is done by our own people in the land of Israel, it's inconceivable."

This synagogue is one of the largest in the Upper Galilee. It has been a focal point for pilgrimages and is even associated with the Galilean Jewish traditions of the coming of the Messiah.

The IAA has worked to conserve the synagogue with an effort in 2014, funded by the Prime Minister's Office, where walls were strengthen and graffiti was removed.

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