The Jobar Synagogue was frequently but incorrectly perceived to be a 2,000-year-old synagogue located in the suburb of Jobar, Damascus The earliest verifiable literary sources indicate that it is at least medieval in origin. It was built in commemoration of the biblical prophet Elijah, and has been a place of Jewish pilgrimage for many centuries. It also is the burial-place of a wonder-working sage of the sixteenth century. Often, though wrongly cited as one of the world's oldest synagogues, on March 31, 2013 it was reported to have been burned to the ground during the Syrian civil war, with both government and rebel forces trading blame over which party looted and destroyed the building. However, In June 2013 al Aan broadcasting corporation published a video which demonstrated that the synagogue had not been destroyed. It had nonetheless suffered from the effects of mortar fire with damage to the ceiling. In December 2013 photographs of the synagogue also surfaced that disproved the claim that it had been destroyed.
According to tradition, the synagogue was built atop a cave where the prophet Elijah concealed himself during persecution. The synagogue was said to have been built by Elisha and repaired during the first century by Eleazar ben Arach. Another tradition states that the biblical anointing by Elisha of King Hazael of Syria took place at the synagogue.
One of the earliest sources mentioning the existence of a town by the name of Jobar (Abi Gobar) is from the Talmud, which states that Rabbi Rafram bar Pappa prayed in Jobar. although the Socino version suggests that the town Abi Gobar was in Babylonia and not Damascus. The much cited Talmudic source is subject to scruitiny and cannot be taken at face value.
During the medieval period, Jobar was home to a significant Jewish community. Ibn Tulun[disambiguation needed] (d. 1546) mentions that "Jobar is a Jewish village with a Muslim presence." In 1210 a French Jew, Samuel ben Samson, while visiting Damascus, recounted the "beautiful synagogue situated outside the city", (in Jobar). An anonymous Jewish traveller who arrived a few years after the Spanish immigration found 60 Jewish families living in the village of Jobar, who had a very beautiful synagogue. "I have never seen anything like it," says the author; "it is supported by thirteen columns. The "Chronicle" of Joseph Sambari (1672) says that the Jewish community of Damascus lived chiefly in Jobar, and he knows of the synagogue of Elisha and the cave of Elijah the Tishbite. Benjamin II (d. 1864) described the synagogue as reminding him of "the Mosque Moawiah." "The interior is supported by 13 marble pillars, six on the right and seven on the left side, and is everywhere inlaid with marble. There is only one portal by which to enter. Under the holy shrine . . . is a grotto . . . the descent to which is by a flight of about 20 steps. According to the Jews, the Prophet Elisha is said to have found in this grotto a place of refuge. . . . At the entrance of the synagogue, toward the middle of the wall to the right, is an irregularly formed stone, on which can be observed the traces of several steps. Tradition asserts that upon this step sat King Hazael when the Prophet Elisha anointed him king".
|“||Last week the wicked entered the synagogue at Djobar and pillaged the whole edifice. The holy scrolls they have torn into pieces; they even took some of these holy coverings of the scrolls and other sacred writings and used them most contemptuously.||”|
—A private letter from Damascus, June 4, 1840.
Documents from the early 19th century reveal properties in the village that belonged to Jewish wakf (religious endowment), which were leased to members of other communities. During the rioting following accusation of ritual murder against the Jews of Damascus in 1840, the mob fell upon the synagogue, pillaged it and destroyed the scrolls of the Law. In 1847, only one Jewish family was left in the village, and they took care of the synagogue. On festival days, many of Jews from Damascus assembled at the synagogue to worship and during the year, the synagogue was often visited by Jews. A few rooms in the court adjoining the synagogue were used as a retreat by some Damascus Jews for a few days during the spring and summer.
After the establishment of the State of Israel, Jews in Syria faced greater discrimination as the Syrian government enforced tighter restrictions on them. Jewish property could not be sold and those that had been abandoned were confiscated. The synagogue was taken over and converted into a school for displaced Palestinian Arabs.
The synagogue is venerated as one of Syria's holiest pilgrimage site for Jews. In the past, sick people were brought into the cavern below the synagogue and left there alone at night in the hope that Elisha's spirit would exercise a healing influence over them. According to an extract from the Syrian cadastre of the Djobar district, its east side is 17–3 m long, its west side 15.7m and the building 12.13m wide.
Syrian civil war
According to opposition activists, the synagogue was damaged by Assad forces. Syrian forces, however, credit the rebels for causing the damage. However, an expert on Jewish sites in Syria wrote in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz that the damage was probably much less than reported. The fate of the synagogue remains a source of controversy 
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