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 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.
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.
At the beginning of the Al-Aqsa Intifada 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.
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.
- "The Palestinian Authority and the Jewish Holy Sites". JCPA. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
- Jewish Jericho - description and photos, including the synagogue
- http://www.jewishjericho.org.il/english/thoughts/VisitingTheCityofJericho-en.html - in-depth article about the synagogue and Jericho in general
- Jewish Jericho - recent films & photo albums of prayers in Shalom al Israel (in Hebrew)