Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue
|Shalom Al Yisrael Synagogue|
|Location||Jericho, West Bank|
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 in 1936.
The synagogue, dating from the Byzantine period, was revealed in excavations conducted in 1936 by Dr. Baramki of the Antiquities Authority under the British Mandate. An Arab family built a house over the mosaic floor and charged admission to visit it.
The mosaic floor incorporates Jewish symbols such as the Ark of the Covenant, the Menorah, the Shofar and the Lulav. There is also a Hebrew inscription, "Peace upon Israel" (שלום על ישראל), after which the mosaic was named.
After the 1967 Six Day War, the site 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 Palestinian Authority (PA). Since then the PA has deployed a special security force to protect it.
At the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada the site became a source of conflict. On the night of 12 October 2000, vandals entered and desecrated the building, damaging the private house on top of the ancient mosaic. Later, the PA repaired the damage. The Torah scroll stored at the synagogue was rescued from the fire which had been started and was taken to Mevo'ot Yericho.
In 2005 a group of Israelis was able to visit the synagogue after it was 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.